The Top 10 Things MLS Photos Should NEVER Include

Reblogger Tamara Inzunza
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Executives

Finally, the list that has been in my head for over 15 years is finally written down.  If you are selling your Alexandria VA home and your days on the market count is steadily increasing, Google your house and look at your photos...that is, if you even have any.  Today's buyers decide in front of their computer.

Original content by Kathy Nielsen

The Top 10  26  39 Things MLS Photos Should NEVER Include:

Based on some incredible comments, this list now extends beyond the top 10 and now sits at 39! Thanks everyone for adding suggestions in your comments! This may end up being the most conclusive list of items NOT to include in your MLS photos ever!

Special thanks to Randy Lindis who added several. And... Rick Obst!

Also - a special thanks to those who have re blogged and/or intend to redistribute the list!  

  1. Trash cans - Inside and outside. Let's face it, trash cans are not appealing. 
  2. Cars in driveways - I once viewed pictures on the Internet only to relay back to the seller that I know what his license plate number is. He wasn't happy.
  3. Cars in garages - A garage will look far more spacious without the cars.
  4. Unmade beds - Buyers are beginning their search for their home on the Internet. Your unmade bed will hardly draw the buyers into the home.
  5. Tissue boxes, sprays, toilet bowl scrubbers in the bathrooms. 
  6. Pets - Your pets are not for sale. Your house is.
  7. Dead plants - they're simply not the most attractive thing. On top of that, it shows a sign of neglect.
  8. Names on walls - sure the room may be theirs now. However, you want buyers to envision it being their room
  9. People - They, too, are not for sale (smile).
  10. You, the picture taker in the mirror. I see this mostly in bathrooms. I get that most bathrooms are small. However, you can kneel to take the photo.
  11. Toilet seat up - If your photo must include the toilet (and sometimes, there's just no avoiding it), make sure the lid of the seat is put down.
  12. Time/Date stamp on the photo - and like Brian Kuhns says below in the comments, this is ever a good idea unless the house sells within 5 days or less.
  13. TV's on in the background - this can be extremely distracting.
  14. Magnets and clutter on fridge - Eyesores, I tell ya. Eyesores.
  15. Children's toys scattered about - This applies to the inside as well as the outside.
  16. Dirty towels in bathrooms - It literally takes less than a minute to place the towels in the laundry. 
  17. Dirty clothes - especially in the bedrooms. 
  18. Family photos - As Steve Warrene Butler points out, the MLS photos will be all over the Internet. For safety precautions, it's simply makes sense to remove them.
  19. Flash reflecting from mirrors or windows - I too have seen photos where this has happened. It simply doesn't make for a "great" picture.
  20. Dirty dishes in sink and/or counter tops - There's nothing appealing about seeing dirty dishes. Heck, even clean dishes in the dish drain doesn't look good. Simply put - make sure all dishes are taken care of.
  21. Window glare - Seems minor. However, it can also be distracting.
  22. Gun cabinets and guns - for safety reasons, you'll not want these on display in your photos.
  23. Jewelry and jewelry cabinets - as you never know who might be searching the Internet for items such as these.
  24. Large liquor displays - Great that you like liquor. However, some people don't.
  25. High-end electronics - this one may not be as easy to NOT photograph. However, if they can be avoided, great.
  26. Nudity in artwork - may be viewed by a potential buyer as distasteful.
  27. Litter boxes 
  28. Political signs in front yard - My neighbor just put one up and now I can't stand him. Just kidding. You get the point.
  29. Holes in walls or doors - Heck, why not just fix it?
  30. Side view mirror - Really? Seriously? It would take two seconds (okay, maybe 5 seconds) to get out of the car.
  31. Shadow of your thumb or hand near the edges of the picture - Let's not waste a single picture on something so silly.
  32. Prepared food - (especially liver and onions). Okay... I added the liver and onions. But, you never know what the potential buyers like or dislike.
  33. Heavy snow drifts in front or back yards - At times I'm sure these are difficult to avoid. However, it's worth the cost of the shovel, and the effort that goes along with it, for sure.
  34. Lots of long icicles hanging from the eaves - Some are pretty, I get that. But, for those visiting the home first-hand, they could be hazardous.
  35. Dead stuffed animals - some people may be offended.
  36. Religious or highly ethnic paraphernalia 
  37. Hoses - especially those strewn over the yard. 
  38. People sleeping in beds - Unless you add zzzzz's over their head and a caption that reads  "leave me alone, I'm sleeping", it should be avoided.
  39. Rival sports teams 
This top 10 things MLS photos should never include was created based on my own experience as a professional home stager in Atlanta.  As you can see, the list has now grown to 39 based on the comments.

Feel free to add to the list!
Update: The list will continue to grow based on the ever-supportive and oh-so-knowledgeable Active Rainers!

Home Staging Atlanta - Kathy Nielsen - 678 522 8392

RESA Professional Stager of the Year - Southern Region 2011

This Atlanta home stager understands what it takes to separate your home or listing from the others on the market. Armed with a massive inventory, we can add the furniture and accessories befitting the style of the home as well as the demographics of the buyer. We also provide our after pictures at no additional charge. 


Atlanta Georgia Home Stager Kathy Nielsen


Our Atlanta home staging services have helped hundreds of sellers secure a contract quickly. Visit our website at to see first-hand the solutions for selling your home, listing or flipped property. Contact us today to schedule your appointment by emailing Kathy at or by calling 678 522 8392. We've got the furniture and accessories your home needs!



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Bill Reddington
Re/max Southern Realty - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Certainly lots of tips. Thanks! Most are pretty obvious. I always ask for some kind of clean up but remind sellers they have to have a life also.

Oct 31, 2012 12:03 AM #1
Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC - Bowie, MD
I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES

This should be added to my recent blog I did. Are you going to enter the Blogging Challenge starting next month? I really need to. Not sure if I can commit 30 days straight again. But we will see.

Oct 31, 2012 06:53 AM #2
Kathy Nielsen - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

Tamara - I'm glad you found the list valuable. Thanks for reblogging.


Nov 04, 2012 08:57 PM #3
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Tamara Inzunza

Close-In Alexandria and Arlington Living
Call Me to List Your Home Today at 703-623-8759!
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