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Why Pets Don’t Appear in Listing Photos

The Wall Street Journal // May 14, 2013

While the prized possessions of property owners might feature in residential listing photographs—artwork, furniture, décor—there’s one thing that won’t: their pets. No matter how cute, fluffy or personable they might make a property for pet lovers; marketing directors have traditionally shied away from including them in listings.

“A pet is not a universally appealing value proposition in a home,” says Nicole Oge, senior vice president of marketing at Town Residential. “Eight out ten people—if you show them a photo with a dog in it, they wouldn’t remember the apartment, they would remember the dog.”

This week’s Mansion video segment explores why pets don’t regularly feature in agents’ listing photographs. (Separately, we searched our archives to showcase some of the pets photographed for the WSJ House of the Day feature, which profiles high-end properties on the market.)

“What you’re trying to do is paint a picture of the type of experience one could imagine [having], living in that home,” says Ms. Oge. “What you want to do is avoid a really strong focal point that is completely subjective.”

At least one broker wishes that wasn’t the case: Sotheby’s Phyllis Gallaway, who has been in real estate for almost 30 years and has made a name for herself catering to pet loving home buyers.

A pet lover herself and owner of five dogs, Ms. Gallaway feels photos of a pet would “warm up a picture,” give it character and differentiate it from a “run-of-the-mill real estate photo.” But she says she understands why photos of pets could be a turn-off for people who aren’t pet owners or are allergic. “Not everyone loves pets,” she says.

Elizabeth Kosich, Director of Marketing and Digital Strategy at CORE, says brokers have such a short window to engage potential buyers that they “really focus on featuring brick- and-mortar qualities of a property.”

Original Article: The Wall Street Journal