Friday, February 23, 2024

Marty and Max: You deserve better

| April 7, 2023 1:00 AM

Too many times I am searching properties for a buyer and after narrowing my search, I find several that seem to be perfect. The listing caption reads “MUST SEE.” As I review these, I am filled with great anticipation. The problem is that when I click to see more, I only see a few cellphone images. Currently, on the MLS there are numerous multi-million dollar listings that seem to be a great fit, however, they are not professionally presented. There are waterfront properties that paint the word picture of “dreamland,” and “Must SEE,” however, the only images found on the MLS are ones that show a mobile home, some chairs, and some random cellphone pictures from “cellphone Sally.” Although they say, “Must SEE,” they never show me the dream. These are currently on the MLS as I write this.

My client deserves better. I literally have an investor flying in on Monday to purchase waterfront acreage and has a budget of several million dollars. I can’t take a chance to show these properties based on these images. My client deserves better. We have limited time when looking at properties. There is not enough time in the day to try to figure out which properties are real and which ones are fool's gold. Many would conclude this is real estate malpractice. Most of these are listed at discount rates.

When you list your property make sure you have professional images, videos, drone images and panoramic images. Many sellers believe they are being shrewd when negotiating real estate fees. Why not? Everyone plays “Let’s Make a Deal” when they purchase a car. Real estate is different. Their thought is if they can save half a percent or perhaps one, or better yet two percent, that they will end up with more dollars in their pocket. It is unethical for a buyer's agent to limit showings based on rates, however, I have seen real estate agents who do.

What the sellers fail to realize is that they may dilute their pool of potential buyers by not insisting on quality marketing. It is OK to try to negotiate rates, but never lower your standards to do so. Idaho is in a state of mass migration both in and out and if you cannot market to out-of-town buyers, you are taking a haircut on your investment. Many refer to this as stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime.

There are only a few quality real estate photographers, videographers and drone pilots locally. My first tip is to make sure the drone pilot possesses a current 107 license. Any drone image used for real estate must be taken by a commercially licensed pilot or both you and your Realtor are in violation of the law and can be penalized by huge fines.

We all know that famous line from Dirty Harry. Well, that’s what the FAA is saying to Realtors with their new regulations concerning drones. Many agents think “I can get Jimmy down the street to do it. He has a drone and needs a few bucks and it’ll be cheaper than hiring a licensed professional.” I belong to several large groups of professional photographers across the U.S. and the world, many of whom are pilots and licensed drone operators. We have been discussing and sharing news, information and ideas for many years. Here’s the latest from the PFRE website…


“Just as an update, the FAA confirmed in writing this week of the fines that can be applied. For a pilot who is unlicensed, the fine is $1,100 per occurrence/flight where imagery is used commercially. More importantly, perhaps, the fine for the real estate agent who hires an unlicensed pilot is $11,000. Of course, if you’re an agent who bought a drone and took the photos or video yourself, you will be liable for both fines.”

Let me put that into plain words for you. Every time you take “Jimmy” (the local high school kid) with you to shoot some “commercial” (that’s you) drone shots, he is liable for $1,000 in fines and you are liable for $12,100 in fines. Then to make matters worse, you are presenting them with the proof just by publishing those images on the MLS. All it takes my friends is a competitor to turn you in. We all know that never happens. None of you ever had anonymous complaints sent to the Realtor Board about some advertisement or website that unknowingly bent the rules just a little. That never happens does it?” ––

Make sure your agent is using a professional photography and drone company for your home’s photography. Although their specialty is real estate marketing, I am going to share with you who was selected by The Festival at Sandpoint, REO Speedwagon, The Beach Boys, Lindsey Sterling, the Spokane Symphony and They also give back to the community with training videos for East Side Fire and the 75th anniversary for St. Vincent de Paul. We all chose the same professional photography and videography by Charlotte's Web and Media. Regardless of who you choose for an agent, make sure to negotiate your marketing package. When you write up your agreement with your Realtor, you can ask them to write in (Section 39 Other Terms and Conditions on the RE-16) whomever you choose to do your marketing. You can also add that you can select what and how it is done. If you aren’t sure what to look for or what to ask for with your agent, we’ve included samples of what is available to market your home. We recommend them to anyone listing their home and all of our clients.

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Marty Walker is a licensed real estate professional and paid consultant. Information shared in this column is of a general nature. For specific questions in relation to your unique property, email to set a time for a consultation. Information: or

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