Happy Halloween! Houses of (Photographic) Horrors

All that's needed is a chalk outline of the body

All that’s needed is a chalk outline of the body

When buyers peruse listings, they rely heavily on the pictures posted by the listing agent. Usually pictures entice, however sometimes they’re scary, wary, or pointless. I know when I look at homes, I expect the pictures to be a storyboard that escorts me through a property.

I want to see the exterior, the entryway, and onwards as though I’m walking through the home. I give extra points if pictures “connect.” By this I mean that if I see a chair in one picture, I want to see it from the next picture. It becomes a bridge that gives the viewer an idea of how the rooms flow.

We all know we’ve seen listing pictures uploaded to the MLS in a scattershot fashion – bathroom, basement, attic, master bedroom, backyard, etc. Viewers can’t get a feel for where anything is. And in the end, agents wind up visiting homes that a buyer would have axed had they been given a better storyboard.

Storyboards are all well and good, but if the pictures are bad, it won’t matter much.

We don't know what this is ... except bad.

We don’t know what this is … except bad.

Scary Pictures
Once an agent has decided to tell a photographic story, make sure it’s a good story. Halloween is only one day a year, a listing shouldn’t have a spooky theme. If the seller isn’t going to pop for any staging, the selling agent still owes it to buyers to come up with something better than dark pictures of empty rooms or rooms in bad repair (unless it’s being marketed as a fixer-upper).

 

Don't hire a Realtor who whips this out of their pocket or purse!

Don’t hire a Realtor who whips this out of their pocket or purse!

Bad Pictures
Sellers interviewing Realtors must ask to see their cell phone. If they whip out a Nokia candy bar phone, don’t hire them! If you do, your pictures will look like this online …

 

Actual size picture from MLS

Actual size picture from MLS

Another thing to avoid would perhaps be an agent whose eyesight or balance may be questionable. As a seller, you don’t want your home to look like Titanic on its way down.

Does the cook go down with the (blurry) sinking kitchen?

Does the cook go down with the (blurry) sinking kitchen?

This agent obviously got the “storyboard” note as viewers can see the dishwasher from what I expect is the dining room (below). However, this photographer seems to have broken one heel off her stilettos.

This dining room and kitchen are in the same (sinking) boat.

This dining room and kitchen are in the same (sinking) boat.

With the State Fair over and Six Flags winding down for the season, this picture will have to satisfy roller coaster junkies in need of a vertigo fix. Or perhaps this picture will attract the buyer with birds looking for the perfect perch for them?

Taken by a Hitchcock buff?

Taken by a Hitchcock buff?

This more-level picture was snapped before the high heel seemingly snapped, but there’s still a certain blurriness that can’t hide the “mowed lawn” ceiling rows and the sad wall heater. That poor pale blue wall tries to cheer up the room but instead of minimizing the paneled wall, the clashing color palate just calls attention to it.

Mister Rogers couldn't be happy in this "neighborhood"

Mister Rogers couldn’t be happy in this “neighborhood”

I saw the picture below and wondered if a Cher drag queen lived here. The tacky smoke-stained gargoyle fireplace literally reeks of bad taste and points towards a flue that doesn’t work very well.

If only we could "turn back time" and slap whomever did this.

If only we could “turn back time” and slap whomever did this.

In this next picture all I can say is, “nail up a picture of something.” I mean all I can see is a renovator too cheap to buy the six extra panels of backsplash tile needed to finish the job over this kitchen sink.

$60 in tile would have made all the difference.

$60 in tile would have made all the difference.

Pointless Pictures
For some reason some agents like to take pictures of the exceedingly obvious or highlight a poorly designed detail. I can see taking pictures of staircases to show how they fit within the larger space, but to take a picture of a cropped-in staircase seems pointless. Are viewers supposed to count the carpet threads to judge quality? I don’t get it.

Oh my! A multilevel home has ... stairs!

Oh my! A multilevel home has … stairs!

And who doesn’t love a hallway with more doors than an Abbott and Costello skit? All this photo does is point out how badly designed this area is. I guess if you have children or pets that love to run around in circles, this may be your home, but for the rest of us … what was the architect thinking? What was the listing agent thinking? Is cramming the maximum number of doorways in the smallest area a “thing” now?

One small room; five doorways!

One small room; five doorways! Whose “must have” list would this be on?

Bwaaa-ha-ha! I hope these pictures didn’t scare you too badly. Realtors, the next time you upload pictures for a new listing, keep these tips in mind. If you don’t, maybe you’ll be immortalized in next year’s “Houses of Horrors” column!

Remember: Do you have an HOA story to tell? A little high-rise history? Realtors, want to feature a listing in need of renovation or one that’s complete with flying colors? How about hosting a Candy’s Dirt Staff Meeting? Shoot Jon an email. Marriage proposals accepted (they’re legal)! sharewithjon@candysdirt.com

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