My Ten Commandments of Photos for Sellers and Agents

By
Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CalBRE License #01490977
http://actvra.in/4PP9

10 Things You Should NOT Do With MLS Photos

 

Real estate photos for marketing a listing effectively are a huge deal – we all know that, as does the buying public.

 

Buyers expect to see lots of photos, and will, in some cases, make decisions about not seeing a house based on the photos they see. Sadly, some agents don’t take the issue of having quality photos very seriously. In this age of digital photography, or the reasonable cost of a professional photographer, there is no excuse to not have top quality photos to showcase a seller's home!

 

A real MLS photo

 

But having good photos requires the cooperation of sellers, too. It’s hard to take great photos when there is stuff everywhere and the curb appeal is lacking. Some sellers don’t seem to be concerned about it either, perhaps assuming buyers can look beyond all the junk.

 

Maybe. Maybe not!

 

So here are my 10 Photo Commandments, sellers and agents. Are you listening?

 

Thou shalt include multiple photos - the maximum allowed on listing sites and the MLS (our San Diego MLS allows 25 and many websites allow more). Why on earth would you include only 1 or 2 photos? Maybe if there is a tenant and they refuse access (which leads to other problems), or the house is such a disaster you just don’t dare show more. But in most cases 1 or 2 isn’t going to cut it and it can chase buyers away.

Thou shalt take photos of the interior and the exterior. I don’t get why listings may brag about the beautiful yard but there are no photos. Buyers live indoors and out, they want to see both. If it’s that ugly you have a much bigger issue ahead of you. And if there is no exterior photo buyers wonder if something is being hidden? I saw a listing recently of a very nice looking house without exterior photos. Turns out there were 2 large high-tension wire towers 100 feet away from the back yard.

 

open toilet seatThou shalt not include photos of an open toilet, EVER! Why oh why do agents do this, over and over? Just shut the darn thing. Or forget about a picture of the toilet anyway – no one really needs to see it unless it’s pretty special, like it’s gold plated or is one of those fish tank models.

 

Thou shalt take multiple photos of each room from different angles to enable the best pictures to be selected. Even a professional will take multiple photos to get the best shots. And if despite that the photos still suck, it’s better to not use them.

 

Thou shalt not take photos of blank walls, corners of an empty room, the floor, or the ceiling, or OF YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR TAKING A PHOTO, unless there is something pretty darn special, like a wall or ceiling mural, extravagant moldings or unusual flooring. Honestly, who wants to see a photo of the bright green shag rug, or a blank white wall? If it’s vacant room then consider not taking a photo.

 

Thou shalt not include photos of driveways with cars and trucks. First of all they block the view of the house. And they don’t likely come with the property. It’s not that hard to move them and put them on the street on photo day is it?

 

Thou shalt not take exterior photos of the home on trash collection day. We know trash gets picked up, and we don’t need to see your trash bins. Somehow trash bins don’t do much for the curb appeal. This includes not taking photos of all the crap you are throwing out that is still in the driveway. Buyers will be pleased you cleaned up, but probably don’t care to see all that junk you carted away.

 

Thou shalt not include photos of dirty dishes in the sink or on the counters. If the seller has not taken care of this on photo day, you might use other photos. Hopefully you won't have to hint to the homeowners that things would look much better if this stuff were put away

 

Thou shalt NOT take photos of dirty laundry on the floor, or anywhere for that matter, and unmade beds. No, I am not picking it up for you before taking photos, you need to be responsible for getting this stuff in order yourself. We all have dirty laundry – buyers, too – they don’t want to look at it. And for heaven’s sake pick it up before showings. Who wants to walk around dirty underwear (and I've seen it!)

 

Thou shalt not include photos in the MLS which are crooked, upside-down, out-of-focus, or too dark to see what they are. It’s pretty surprising how bad some photos are, or that agents would actually take the time to upload them. This does not help showcase the home, unless the home is crooked, upside-down, out-of-focus or too dark. And it certainly does not reflect well on you as the listing agent about how attentive you are to details when you do this. Not!!

 

There’s a saying a picture is worth a thousand words. What words are YOUR photos screaming about your client’s home?

 

Rest assured if we work together to sell your home, these ARE the 10 commandments I follow, and then some.

close

Re-Blogged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Lynn B. Friedman 03/15/2016 06:19 PM
  2. Ginger Harper 03/16/2016 01:04 AM
  3. Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers 03/17/2016 12:11 AM
  4. Winston Heverly 05/31/2016 10:29 PM
  5. Praful Thakkar 07/19/2016 07:40 PM
Topic:
Home Selling
Groups:
CALIFORNIA REAL ESTATE
SAN DIEGO Real Estate Agents & Loan Officers
Local Expert
Advice for Sellers
San Diego Realtors®
Tags:
mls photos
advice for sellers
humor
bad mls photos
home selling tips and advice
bad photography
jeff dowler crs
how not to take photos

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Jeff Dowler
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Tammy Lankford 

Well that's a nice compliment!

Yep, I like photo shoots without anyone around, whether I am taking photos or my photographer is

Jeff

Mar 20, 2016 10:34 AM #172
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Mike Baltierra 

Thanks for the compliment. We clearly ALL experience frustration, and laughter, at some of the photos out there in MLS-land. And buyers usually have lots to say about them, too.

Jeff

Mar 20, 2016 10:36 AM #173
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Allyson Hoffman 

Thanks for stopping by and for the compliment. Clearly lots of us feel pretty much the same about MLS photos!

Jeff

Mar 20, 2016 10:38 AM #174
Rainer
3,260
Scott Willhite
Seattle Real Estate | AlkiHomes.com - Seattle, WA
Serving Alki Beach & Fine Seattle Neighborhoods

I believe in letting professionals do what they do best! Photos inform and impress... you want good information and good impressions! A few dollars and a few minutes editing make for successful sales and happy sellers.

Mar 20, 2016 11:29 AM #175
Rainmaker
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Jim West
Keller Williams Capital Partners - Marysville, OH
Our Passion Is Helping 1st Time Home Sellers

Great tips & ideas. Just recently, I heard something from a buyer that surprised me though. He said my professional photos onling made the rooms look bigger than they actually were. 1st time I have ever heard a buyer say that

Mar 20, 2016 11:52 AM #176
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Jeff Dowler
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Thank you Michael Jacobs

That's high praise and I appreciate it. Glad you felt it worthy of a read, and comment.

Jeff

Mar 21, 2016 03:11 PM #177
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Jeff Dowler
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Kathleen Daniels 

Oh yes, we do wonder...over and over. There are a few agents who just seem to have no pride in the quality of their work. One has to wonder why the clients are not more concerned...or maybe they are and nothing  happens?

Jeff

Mar 21, 2016 03:13 PM #178
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Lisa Glowacki 

Ha ha, yes the toilet seat is definitely a hot button, and oh so common. It's pretty easy to redo photos to get the best pics if the first go around doesn't work

Jeff

Mar 21, 2016 03:15 PM #179
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Gene Riemenschneider 

Those are all good questions, and sometimes it really IS a challenge - you do the best you can. The toilet mouth would be pretty funny, but perhaps not appealing to all buyers. LOL

Jeff

Mar 29, 2016 11:36 AM #181
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Robin Hobbs 

Well I agree. I don' think pets add anything, despite how often cats and dogs are used in marketing these days. And keep out the people!

Jeff

Mar 29, 2016 11:38 AM #182
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Victoria Palmer 

Well said! I can't see why anyone would want others to see ugly photos they have taken. It is just not acceptable in my book. There are some exceptions, I suppose, if you have a house than is tenanted. And vacant homes are really tough if the seller is not open to staging - not sure how I feel about virtual staging.

Jeff

Mar 29, 2016 11:40 AM #183
Rainmaker
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Victoria Palmer
Victoria Staging & ReDesign - Lake Havasu City, AZ
Home Staging & Redesign

It is tough if a seller is not open to home staging.  However, when they are shown the statisics; understand that home staging is cheaper and the first price reduction (in most cases); and the cost savings of from a quick close and they still do not want to prepare their "assest" for sale then there is not much we can do with their decision.  Education is the key. 

Mar 30, 2016 01:43 PM #184
Rainmaker
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Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Jeff Dowler CRS ,

Excellent feature worth post!! I'm constantly amazed at photos I see in the MLS advertising a home!! I believe in doing what I do best (listing and selling) and pay a professional for the rest. The photographer I use always produces wonderful photos  and my sellers are over the top pleased!!

May 31, 2016 10:42 PM #185
Rainmaker
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Bill Roberts
Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate - Oceanside, CA
"Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner

hi Jeff Dowler CRS As you know,I don't do PHOTOS very well. But you are the "expert." If I have the need for some photos, can I "hire" you?

BTW I am looking to buy a used Expedition right now. It really annoys me when the seller only has one picture or maybe no pictures at all.

Bill Roberts

Jun 01, 2016 12:15 AM #186
Rainmaker
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Rebecca Gaujot
Perry Wellington Realty, Adam Conrad, Broker - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Jeff, great post and I do hate to see the toilet seat up in the MLS photos. These are great tips and wished every agent would read this post and adhere to them.

Jun 01, 2016 05:03 AM #187
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Dorie Dillard 

Some of the photos we see are pretty scary, and shameful. The person who took them should be mortified!

Jeff

Jun 01, 2016 01:56 PM #188
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Bill Roberts 

I would be happy to help you if it makes sense!

Digital photos are pretty easy these days - if you can't or don't want to take them (and many people don't), then hire someone to do it for you. Visuals are key these days on the Internet!

Jeff

Jun 01, 2016 01:58 PM #189
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Rebecca Gaujot, the Go To Realtor® 

The open toilet photos drive me nuts. There is simply no excuse...ever!

Jeff

Jun 01, 2016 01:59 PM #190
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Eren Millam
Realty World Cosser & Associates, Inc. - Chehalis, WA
Certified Negotiation Expert

When I came into real estate, I noticed that all of these commandments were being broken on the daily! I wanted to provide a better service so I hired a few different photographers. None of them knew what they were doing and it cost me money so I bought my own camera and learned how to shoot real estate professionally. Now, because of my photos, other agencies have hired full time photographers for all their listings. Some agents still don't get how important the photos are, so it's still a great tool to separate myself.

Jun 10, 2016 09:38 AM #191
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Jeff Dowler
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Hi Eren Millam 

Good for you! You are so right - there are some really bad photos out there and in this age of digital photography there really is no excuse. And there ARE some good photographers out there.

Jeff

Jun 10, 2016 09:42 AM #192
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