What is this picture supposed to tell buyers?

Real Estate Agent with Thompson Company, REALTORS® MD594797

From priceless to essential to just plain bad: What is this picture supposed to tell buyers?

I've been working with a couple of awesome relocation clients for a while now, sending a listing update every Monday. We are in the understanding-what-my-money-can-buy-me stage which not only requires properly filled in listings and accurately pinned locations but also pictures, good pictures.

Pictures can be tremendously helpful to a buyer when trying to understand what is available in ones price-range. They can show off the flow of a home, draw attention to upgrades and features unique to the property, give a glimpse about maintenance (or lack thereof), highlight the curb appeal and outdoor space, showcase the community features ... in short, pictures can help sell a home.

Sometimes, however, I come across a listing and its pictures which do anything but .. I find myself scratching my head and wondering what these kind of pictures are supposed to tell buyers? The home has corners? A window? Cable is available? I do not understand the purpose of a "room-corner" picture .. the only thing that it's telling me is that the room has got to be super tiny.

Bad pictures are almost as bad as worse than no pictures. Sometimes, less is more! If I cannot show off the size of a room in a picture then it is not a picture I would post. Room-corner pictures do not help sell houses. Neither do toilet pictures or cluttered counter-top pictures or a yard full of weeds pictures ...

Great pictures are priceless! Good pictures are essential! Bad pictures are just .. well .. bad and, frankly, I am too embarrassed to email those to my clients. 

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Thompson Company, REALTORS

16910 Oak Hill Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20905
o: (301) 384-9177 c: (240)593-2860


Andrea is a REALTOR® based in Silver Spring, MD, who has enjoyed assisting buyers and sellers in Montgomery and Howard County, MD (and beyond) for 16+ years now. She always answers the phone with a smile, enjoys running, hiking, and traveling, speaks German, reads a lot, blogs a little, and drinks too much coffee. 


Ready to fall in love? Then let's get started on writing your personal digital Real Estate story. Join Andrea on the very best, responsive, intelligent, and collaborative home search there is, powered by the MLS. Just click here to begin!


 Andrea Bedard, Thompson Company, REALTORS: from Just Listed to Just SOLD


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Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

hey, you didn't realize that was showing the "time out" corner?  :)  it's crazy. . . and why I use a professional photographer.

Mar 20, 2012 11:21 AM #30
Toronto, ON

Hi Andrea - Well, it does tell you about the corner, the floor covering in that part of the room, the wall colour and gives you some information about the window.  Perhaps the agent thinks that enough information is conveyed with the photo.

Mar 20, 2012 11:30 AM #31
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Andrea- I so agree!  Buyers begin their search on the internet and I've been totally surprised/amazed at some of the photos I've seen on the MLS.  Doesn't the seller ever look at their MLS photos?  And, what must that say about the listing agent. 

Mar 20, 2012 12:10 PM #32
Bart Foster
Keller Williams Realty Boston - Metro - Boston, MA
Boston MA Real Estate

The worst offenders of bad photos are those taken by agents representing lenders. Here's my vote for today. What was the plumber thinking... mounting the toilet to the wall... no wonder the lid could not be closed.

Mar 20, 2012 12:37 PM #33
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Andrea, we've all read a billion blogs about there never being enough pictures online for potential buyers to view. This one tells me that this room is not round.

Mar 20, 2012 12:39 PM #34
Joni Bailey
101 Main St. Realty - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

Laughing out loud at Eric's comment above! :OD  You're right... BAD pictures are...


they make me wonder if the seller has EVEN LOOKED at their listing online. ?!?

Mar 20, 2012 01:01 PM #35
Barbara Altieri
Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Andrea -- That's a good one. Thanks for the laugh. That pic surely will not sell any house.

Mar 20, 2012 01:01 PM #36
Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Ha Andrea,

Don't-cha you just love it? How many times do we see things like this...all too often.

Mar 20, 2012 02:01 PM #37
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Andrea - There are far worse pictures than those showing the corner of the room that I've seen in the MLS.

Mar 20, 2012 02:58 PM #38
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


At least the lighting is good on the corner the agent chose to put in the MLS.  I see so many pictures that are so dark, you can't make the room out at all.

Mar 20, 2012 03:17 PM #39
Janet Jones
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC - Kihei, HI
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Hi Andrea--this is a great post and a great Feature.  I love your last paragraph--it says it all.  I often wonder what kind of marketing the agent is doing when bad photos are the representation of the property on the Internet. 

Mar 20, 2012 05:19 PM #40
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hi Andrea,

A wide angle camera would be good!

Some rooms are hard to take a good picture of.


Mar 20, 2012 07:53 PM #41
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Probably the corner that bad photographers need to go to, that's my thought.

Mar 20, 2012 08:48 PM #42
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
Empty houses with neutral walls are a photography challenge that prospective purchasers still value seeing on line.
Mar 20, 2012 09:00 PM #43
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

Andrea it tells me it is a small room with little angle to take a picture with a cheap camera with no wide angle lense or wide angle switch. Great topic a this happens quite often when reviewing mls listings

Mar 20, 2012 10:06 PM #44
Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

Andrea, we like it, if the pictures are bad, probably their whole marketing is bad.  The house won't sell, it will be available for a new listing agent.... maybe you!

Mar 20, 2012 10:17 PM #45
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Carla: 2 very good points! I'm surprised that anyone would find this picture acceptable. And I'm even more surprised that sellers allow their home to be marketed this way.

Hi Joy: No, I totally missed the point, but I get it now ;-) At time-out corner is obviously considered a great selling feature by some.

Hi Marc: Yep, we got a tiny room with dark carpet and bland walls .. at least the window looks new.

Hi Kathy: I may be way off but I'm going to assume that the LA was too busy to retake pictures or to care. It's sad.

Hi Bart: LOL! Thank you for adding your example! I don't know if I should cry or laugh about it though.

Hi Eric: Yes, it seems to be a never-ending story. We are just a bunch of complainers .. we complain when there are no pictures and we complain when there are room-corner or toilet pictures. Shame on us.

Hi Joni: I did, too! I don't think the owners have an idea!

Hi Barbara: Hm .. I thought buyers would be lined up to see that room-corner ;-)

Hi Lynda: It's a shame how many times!!

Hi Christine: No question.. like the "toilet-mounted-to-the-wall" one Bart posted.

Hi Evelyn: This picture is just an example of the room-corner picture.. I made sure one can actually see the corner.

Mar 20, 2012 11:19 PM #46
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Janet: Thank you! I wonder, too ... In my opinion good pictures are not optional.

Hi Phil: That's very true and I have def. struggled myself with small rooms or weird angles but if a picture is not to the listing's advantage, I wouldn't post it.

Hi Gabe: You funny!

Hi Cheryl: This is not about an empty room or empty walls. It's about not being able to see much of anything.

Hi Scott: It happens too often.. Small rooms are hard to photograph, there is no question, but if all that's in the picture is a corner, then it should not be posted.

Hi Al & Peggy: Now that's a thought!! Wish there was a LIKE-button for your answer!


Mar 21, 2012 04:18 AM #47
Dominique Britton
GoHomeToAtlanta.com Realty LLC - 678.250.5022 - Buford, GA
Experience the Difference in Real Estate Services

Rolling on the floor at Bart's photo (comment # 34).

Great post Andrea. Great photos are a must!

Mar 21, 2012 08:04 AM #48
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Congrats on your feature, Andrea.  I've never gotten the whole corner of a room photo...nor those that focus on the furniture.  Add to that blurry photos, crooked photos or cluttered photos.  Go figure.

Mar 23, 2012 12:49 PM #49
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