Online Real Estate Photo “Don’ts”

The most recent stats indicate that 96% of home buyers start their search on the internet…with websites like, Zillow and Trulia available this probably isn’t much of a surprise.  And as you might expect, buyers make decisions about which homes they would actually like to see based on the photos displayed online.  I look at listings online every single day…and I am amazed at what is out there.  I thought I would list some of my recent favorites…most of these are actually from Maine, where I am looking at vacation property…I won’t name where it is as I don’t want to call out any agents, but some of these fall into the WTH are they thinking category.

Probably my all time biggest pet peeve is the toilet lid that is up (and I have even seen ones with the toilet seat up).  Look, it’s bad enough that a toilet has to be in the photo, it isn’t that hard to put the lid down.   This photo isn’t even actually from Maine, it is from the greater Boston area…because I see this all the time.  PUT THE LID DOWN!!




I know it can sometimes be difficult to get sellers to cooperate with reducing the clutter and clearing off counter space but these next two photos from the same property make me want to cringe.

l22dd1545-m6xd-w640_h480_q80 l22dd1545-m5xd-w640_h480_q80

Then there is the out-of-focus photo…seriously, what does this accomplish other than to make one feel dizzy?


This photo is actually from Belgium but I had to include it because it just cracks me up…and trust me, I see photos of homes in the US posted with people in them too.  You are trying to help a buyer imagine themselves in your home…do not include photos with you or your relatives hanging out, no matter how awesome you might think the photo is.


Then there are the ones that you really don’t get their purpose…is this photo going to make me want to see the house?


And this one, from the same house…are you trying to show us the water damage on the ceiling?
l7abd3a45-m30xd-w640_h480_q80 And finally (and you see this ALL THE TIME)…photos that are so dark you can’t even tell what is going on.  This one just kind of creeps me out.  l7abd3a45-m12o


If you are thinking of listing your home for sale, make sure the agent plans to get a professional in to take the shots unless the agent is really, really good with a camera…I was told unless you have a camera that you can operate in manual mode and you have a tripod, you have no business taking the photos for your listing.  Now I’m going to cut my Maine friends some slack here, it’s different when you are listing property for sale in the remote corners of Maine…there probably aren’t even people who take professional real estate photos.  But some of these are still inexcusable.  Would YOU buy a property based on these photos?

If you would like to discuss buying or selling a home, I would love to talk to you!  And I promise to use a professional!

About Lisa Van Dore

I have lived in Sherborn, Dover and most recently North Walpole, for a total of 15 years (and counting). Having recently been through the process of selling a home and buying (and renovating) a new one, I understand the conflicting emotions of excitement and anxiety inherent in the process, whether you are a seller or buyer, whether this is your first home purchase or your tenth. I have a BA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Indiana University. My early career found me working as a CPA, and later as the controller of Crate & Barrel. More recently I spent seven years running my own personal training business. I understand the hard work and dedication necessary to build a business and a reputation...most of my personal training clients came to me by referral and my first client was still with me when I decided to leave personal training. This speaks to the level of effort I put forth for my clients, week after week. On a more personal note, I raced triathlon for seven years and more recently completed my first half marathon. In my free time I enjoy cooking, reading, Maine, hiking and, in the fall, following college teams are the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and Texas Christian University (Go Frogs!).
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2 Responses to Online Real Estate Photo “Don’ts”

  1. Wow, some of those photos are impressively bad! Thanks for sharing

    • Truth is stranger than fiction sometimes. 🙂 I am going to start collecting these and post periodically. Sometimes it is hard to believe agents will post such bad photos.

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