The Best of MLS: A Checklist to Get the Best Quality Home Photos

Real Estate Agent with The Kelly Group Real Estate

    19700 NW Adcock Rd, Yamhill                 351 NW Alder St, Dundee                    6000 SE Sartore Rd, Amity


In the process of pulling comparable properties for clients, my office staff often stumbles upon some real gems. By gems, I mean spectacular photos that showcase a property or home at its best. Open curtains with natural light flooding in! Level photos that showcase each room at its best angle, showing every desirable feature! They are the photos that make sellers happy and entice buyers to visit a property. And then, there are the other photos, what we all refer to as the worst of MLS…

You’ve certainly seen them before. A gorgeous home with tons of top selling features that looks like a dungeon with blinds shut, lights off, and hardly anything visible. Or the agent’s reflection in the mirror? Or maybe just a picture of the floor, taken with, dare I imagine it, a cell phone. Why? I mean, sure it is beautiful flooring, but isn’t there a better way to showcase that?

No matter the price of the property, sellers should expect the listing broker to do the best he/she can to get their property sold, and that should include providing quality photos that showcase the home at its finest. This not only makes for a happier, satisfied seller, but it helps bring attention to the property for potential buyers. Who cares if all the features are beautiful and it’s listed at a good price if, when scanning through the MLS photos, you don’t see any of that, just dark photos that make it seem like a prison cell. A prison cell in the middle of a particularly dark Siberian winter…

But it isn’t always easy to get great photos in Oregon. With gloomy winter weather and weeks of rain, exterior photos can be a nightmare to schedule and can certainly hold up listings from going active on the market. And getting beautiful interior shots aren’t always easy either. Maybe the tenants have trashed the home or the seller just has too much stuff, making every photo over-crowded and claustrophobic. It’s not to say that the home won’t sell with lower quality photos, but they probably aren’t sending buyers running for the opportunity to view or purchase the home.

That is in part why I have a checklist to help sellers get their home ready for the photography appointment. It includes how to best prepare the exterior of the home, through general yard maintenance, removing trash cans and removing cars from the driveway. Also, for advice on preparing the interior, I discuss overcrowded rooms and countertops, and removal of personal/confidential material from view. And many sellers have appreciate this advice!

However, for listing brokers that are starting their careers, obtaining quality professional photos of their sellers’ home, at a reasonable price, can be a daunting task. So, to help those new to the profession learn from my own experience and mistakes, here are a few pointers to help get the best photos of your client’s home:

  1. Give your sellers suggestions specific to their home when you go on a listing appointment. It will help prepare the property both for photos and the showings to come once it is active on the market. It also shows that you are attentive and dedicated to helping them sell.


  2. Get photos of the property’s best features. Is there a view? Granite countertops? Large yard or entertainment room? Sellers will want this highlighted and, now with the potential to add 32 photos on MLS, you have endless opportunities to help showcase each property’s finest details. Buyers want to see this too and can glean more from photos than from the MLS remarks.


  3. Try to include photos of every room, or at least the best rooms of a home. This isn’t always easy, especially with large, luxury properties or small homes with limited amenities. But if you use multiple photos of the same thing, buyers will likely think there isn’t anything else to see. So why schedule a showing?


  4. Fill all 32 photo slots when possible! There are 32 photo slots to fill, and each one is a bid to get a buyer interested in viewing the home and making an offer. Use only the best photos and make it count! If the weather was bad or if there was remodeling being done when the photos are taken, schedule another appointment to get updated photos that show the property at its finest.


  5. Arrange photos so the layout is clear. Don’t mix photos from an upper level with photos from the lower level. Try to arrange photos as you would see the home during a tour or showing. It makes the layout clear for buyers and helps reduce calls from buyers’ agents with questions about the floor plan.


  6. Find a reliable, professional photographer. It is worth the investment to work with someone who will show up to appointments on time, take quality photos, and return the final products to you in a timely manner. After all, your job is to be the listing broker, not the photographer, and you shouldn’t spend your time doing a job that someone else will likely do much better. The photographer will also represent you and your business, so make sure you clearly communicate your expectations.


  7. The seller is always right. The seller is your client and you want them to be thrilled with your service! If they don’t like the photos or want something changed, listen to them and follow through in a timely manner. Calmly communicate any concerns you have as to why a suggestion they make may not be the best for showcasing their property.

Using these guidelines has certainly helped keep our sellers thrilled with the quality of photographs used to market their homes! We even get the occasional complaints from buyers that the photos made a property look better than it was upon actual viewing. Well, while it is disappointing to have this type of feedback, at least the MLS photos brought potential buyers to see the property!!

Posted by

Local, National, Global.

Your Home Marketing Done Right.

Kelly Hagglund, Principal Broker, Licensed in Oregon.


This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Real Estate Best Practices
real estate
best practices
home photos
home selling

Spam prevention

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Kelly Hagglund

SW Portland Real Estate Expert
Ask me a question

Additional Information