Pictures Virtual Tours Plus A Shaggy Dog Story

Dated: 04/27/2017

Views: 1047

Listings, Science, and a Shaggy Dog StoryImage title

We all know what shaggy dog stories are. They’re the jokes that go on and on and then peter out without much of a punchline. I think I found a scientific study about real estate that fits that description—but you can decide for yourself.

We remember that true “science” is only possible when a theory can be experimentally tested and then repeated by others. Since the real estate market conditions are always in flux, controlled laboratory conditions don’t exist. The result is that marketing residential real estate is rightly classified as at least as much art as science.

Since that’s the case, whenever serious study is aimed at the field of real estate sales, it deserves consideration. Such was the case a while back when a professor at George Washington University published an “econometric” study about real estate transactions. It dealt with “The Effects of Pictures and Virtual Tours on Home Sales.” 

Since it involved some heavy-duty mathematical analyses, a little introductory history might be in order. It wasn’t that long ago that “listings” meant Xeroxed pages quaintly carried around in agents’ 3-ring folders. Some of those pages may still survive in a museum someplace, but they went bye-bye as soon as online real estate sites gained access to the digital listing information. It took a while longer before the web was fast enough to regularly include pictures and videos as a matter of course, but by now we all know that listings almost always feature lots of pictures, sometimes a video, and sometimes both.

So when the GWU study promised to add insight into how those visual elements are influencing home sales, it attracted more than just academic attention. For those preparing their homes to go on the market, for instance, it would seem to be worth looking into. The paper is 32 pages in length, with six tables using things like the White Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Method to calculate the covariances. True, I didn’t spend a lot of time examining the columns of numbers, but I’m glad they are all there in the tables (along with the 24 References naming the economic journals cited).

So here’s the punchline—what the Conclusions section tells us about the effects of pictures and virtual tours on home sales: 

They help. 

To quote the findings precisely, they “suggest that pictures and virtual tours both increase the expected transaction price and decrease the average time on the market…” 

Susan "Property MatchMaker"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Property Pad Blog                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Text/Call  405-655-8088

OKC Property Pros / eXp Realty
[email protected]


Latest Blog Posts

Priority Tasks For Your Move In

Moving into a new home is an exciting time, and you’re probably daydreaming about decor and paint schemes and new furniture. But before you get into the fun stuff, there are some basics you should

Read More

5 Secret Weapons For DIY Projects

Is there a home maintenance project that’s been lingering on your to-do list for too long because you’re dreading the trip to the hardware or craft store? There are some projects you can tackle

Read More

Ideas For Accent Walls

An accent wall can totally transform a room, taking it from boring and drab to bold and exciting. Accent walls create a new focal point for your space, add liveliness and contrast, and are typically

Read More


Luckily, staging your home for potential buyers doesn’t require a professional, and it doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. When you’re ready to sell your home, you definitely want to

Read More