The Top 10 Things MLS Photos Should NEVER Include

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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!
Posted by

Home Staging Atlanta - Kathy Nielsen - 678 522 8392

 TOP 10 Professional Stager of the Year in the

United States 2013  - RESA

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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Re-Blogged 18 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Mark Loewenberg 10/29/2012 11:55 AM
  2. Marie Graham 10/29/2012 02:12 PM
  3. Tammie White, Broker 10/29/2012 03:48 PM
  4. Wallace S. Gibson, CPM 10/29/2012 07:33 PM
  5. Ginger Harper 10/29/2012 11:14 PM
  6. Linda Just 10/30/2012 03:17 AM
  7. Karen Baker 10/30/2012 04:33 AM
  8. Kristi DeFazio 10/30/2012 04:42 AM
  9. Barb Hutson 10/30/2012 07:00 AM
  10. Barbara Altieri 10/30/2012 08:17 AM
  11. Curt Hess 10/30/2012 10:19 PM
  12. Tamara Inzunza 10/30/2012 11:30 PM
  13. Candice DeFore 10/31/2012 12:00 AM
  14. Lori Cain 10/31/2012 12:05 AM
  15. Gabe Sanders 11/04/2012 08:07 PM
  16. Dorette Oppong-Takyi 11/05/2012 07:37 AM
  17. Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional 11/05/2012 09:34 PM
  18. Fred Griffin 02/05/2013 01:43 AM
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Suzi Sandore
RealtyONEGroup - San Diego, CA
North County San Diego Homes

How about Christmas trees in April? Go back and retake the photos after the holidays!

Oct 30, 2012 01:43 PM #92
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Kathy, I have to admit, I've commited a few errors in MLS photos. Live and learn I guess. I think I've avoided making the same mistake twice.

Oct 30, 2012 02:22 PM #93
Peg Barcelo
Fluff My House! Home Staging Inc. 250.486.6369 - Summerland, BC
The FlufftasticStager from Summerland, BC

What a Great List Kathy! It's unfortunate how many of these things we see in MLS photos! Fortunately if we all show this post to everyone we know than maybe the bad pix will stop...

Oct 30, 2012 07:11 PM #94
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate

Great list Kathy & right on the mark.

Like what Carla said above, winter photos in the summer or summer photos in the dead of winter.  It says 'how long has this house been ont he market?'

Oct 30, 2012 10:25 PM #95
Tamara Inzunza
RE/MAX Executives - Alexandria, VA
Close-In Alexandria and Arlington Living

Glad to see pets and up toilet seats make the cut.  Two things that I can't stand to see in MLS photos.

Oct 30, 2012 11:28 PM #96
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
"Franklin MA Homes"

Hi Kathy.....that's a pretty thorough list of what not to have in photos....

Oct 30, 2012 11:56 PM #97
Lee Jinks
Jinks Realty - McAllen, TX
Oct 30, 2012 11:58 PM #98
Candice DeFore
Gladwin, MI

what a great idea for #10, always wondered how to get away from that! love the list!

Oct 30, 2012 11:59 PM #99
Ann Nguyen
eXp Realty - Truckee, CA
Lake Tahoe Truckee Homes For Sale
Kathy, This is a great checklist. I will make sure to have a print copy with whenever I go out and take pictures from now on.
Oct 31, 2012 12:32 AM #100
Mihir Gandhi
First Team Real Estate - Placentia, CA
Real Estate in Placentia - North O.C. CA
Some of these can slip in or go unnoticed very easily, so it is good to have this list for reference. Thank you.
Oct 31, 2012 01:23 AM #101
Patricia Ebrahimi
SHOW SMART! HOME STAGING & Color Consultant - Rockville, MD
Home Staging the Washington DC Area from Rockville MD
Guns and other weaponry, except perhaps antique, decorative Samurai swords and the like are offensive and/or scary to many.
Oct 31, 2012 10:04 PM #102
Patricia Ebrahimi
SHOW SMART! HOME STAGING & Color Consultant - Rockville, MD
Home Staging the Washington DC Area from Rockville MD
Oops! Thought I had read the list carefully, but I missed guns.
Oct 31, 2012 10:05 PM #103
Janelle Ancillotti
Seneca Home Staging - Syracuse, NY
HSR Certified Home Stager, Syracuse, NY

Kathy, these seem to be common sense, but I can honestly say that I've seen MLS photos with almost every one of these no-nos. Some people just don't get it. I would agree with all except maybe #13: A TV on and tuned to a beautiful landscape or some kind of pleasing image is better in some cases than seeing a huge "black hole" in the photo.

Nov 01, 2012 03:21 AM #104
Don Duvall
Chapman Hall, REALTORS, Atlanta, GA - Northlake, GA

So you're telling me I shouldn't have had a photo in a previous listing showing a nude drawing the husband made of his wife?? Or of the rottweiler or 600 lb pig in the back yard?!

Just kidding. I steered clear of those obstacles for the photos! Unfortunately I couldn't get the sellers to remove any of them. When anyone went to see the bedrooms, the woman's backside was greeting them from the end of the hall--and the pig, plus the loud rottweiler, were detriments in the back yard.

That seller has her license now. I hope she reads this posting. <sigh>

Nov 05, 2012 07:32 AM #105
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Kathy - Thank you for the detailed list of information about the top ten things MLS photos should never include.

Nov 05, 2012 10:20 AM #106
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

Great list and well worthy of the reblog that it is about to get. Thank you!

Nov 05, 2012 09:33 PM #107
Kathy Nielsen - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

Thanks everyone for your comments. I just noticed that this post has been re-blogged 17 times. I'm so glad it was useful for so many.


Nov 05, 2012 09:39 PM #108
Mark Loewenberg
KW of the Palm Beaches - Palm Beach Gardens, FL
KW 561-214-0370

maybe the house should be vacant?  that is a l o n g list!  just kidding but great tips for folks to learn about.

Nov 05, 2012 10:34 PM #109
Kathy Nielsen - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

That's funny, Mark. I've actually staged for a homeowner and they did indeed move out. Of course, I brought everything in (furniture and accessories) and made it look dreamy (smile).


Nov 05, 2012 10:59 PM #110
Pat & Steve Pribisko
Keller Williams Greater Cleveland West - Westlake, OH

Kathy, by the number of comments alone, this is a great blog.  I could add more, but you have an excellent list.

Feb 05, 2013 06:28 AM #111
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