More and Better Pictures, Please

I received this note last week:

Can I just complain about the horrible photos on the Cville MLS? There is a listing with 25 photos and 11 of them are of the kitchen. This house has 3 bedrooms, and there are NO photos of any of them. Am I expected to sleep in the refrigerator? I think it is time for a photo article again. There are some repeat offenders out there. Help them Jim. Help them.”

And then a Realtor friend (and remarkable photographer) posted this:

Photos so bad, you'd think a Realtor took 'em

One would think that taking quality photos for marketing a home would be one of the more basic core competencies of a Realtor, but unfortunately, this too often is not the case.

A few of the more critical faults:

1 – No pictures.

2 – ONE picture.

3 – Pictures of everything but the interior.

4 – Not enough photos (the Charlottesville MLS allows up to 50 pictures)

5 – Not enough pictures of everything.

Statistics say that approximately 85% of home buyers search online. Why in the world would a seller allow his or her hired representative to be so delinquent in the marketing of his or her most valuable asset? Heck, even things for sale on craigslist have photos!

On homes that have been trashed, people still want to see what the inside looks like. Not every home is going to be beautiful (and none are perfect) … but buyers understand this. And they still want to see more. More of the inside, more of the outside, more of the street view, more of everything.

Ultimately, in all things real estate, the client is responsible. If you as the seller are not checking your Realtor’s efforts on your behalf, you are failing to do your due diligence in ensuring that your home is being marketed effectively.  And really, what I say doesn’t matter. What should be most concerning is that buyers are, rightly or wrongly, dismissing your home if the pictures are bad or non-existent.

Thank you to the reader who sent that to me via my meebo widget (it’s in the sidebar). I have an idea about bad Charlottesville MLS photos. If you’re game to try, please contact me. Frankly, I think the pictures I take and have processed look pretty good. 🙂


Coming soon – a discussion about real estate video and buyers’ and sellers’ conflicting demands/desires/goals.



(Visited 108 times, 1 visits today)


  1. Erika Eaton June 23, 2009 at 13:05

    Bad marketing photos are a big pet peeve of mine as well. It’s such a disservice to the clients. I’ve written about this topic on my blog about atlanta real estate.

  2. Deborah A. Rutter June 24, 2009 at 09:28

    I think that agents should stick to what they know, and hire out for pictures…there is no excuse not to; it’s and inexpensive ROI, considering that photos get people in the door, and that’s how homes are sold. Every photo and marketing opportunity needs to be optimized for web viewing and browsing. Good photographers bring lighting to a shoot and we all know what lack of good lighting looks like. Most of us don’t cut our own hair…we shouldn’t take our own pictures, either.

  3. anonymous June 24, 2009 at 20:54

    Listing a home without photos is a waste of everyone’s time and effort. For example here is a new listing and there are many more just like it. A very BIG pet peeve is not being able to see the inside of the house. Also pictures of flowers, sunset, furniture, etc. are not helpful.

  4. Jim Duncan June 25, 2009 at 06:40

    anonymous –

    I absolutely agree (obviously) …

    Two things –

    1) Did you know that you could link directly to properties from my search tool?
    2) If you are interested, please contact me offline – I have an idea I would like to run by you.

  5. Doug Francis June 25, 2009 at 21:17

    I consider myself a photographer… but some houses just aren’t very photogenic. Really, it’s tough when the place looks like the 1970’s or is a real mess.

    Maybe there is a blog out there with a tutorial, ideas on how to adjust your camera, suggestions like move the garbage can out of the picture, or to come back when it is sunny. Because we know that one photo can make it happen.

  6. anonymous June 27, 2009 at 00:29

    Agreed, it is tough to photograph homes . . . especially when the seller is trying to entice a buyer to come look at one that is a wreck and overpriced. I would suggest lowering the asking price if the home “looks like the 1970’s or is a real mess”. Firesale prices can be the ultimate draw for such fixer uppers. And there are many that fit in this category in C’ville.

    I just looked at a 35 year old home priced at $515,000 that obviously needed a new roof, replacement of rotted masonite siding, waterproofing in a damp basement, removal of large trees too close to the house, a revamp of baths, and new plumbing/mechanical systems.

    The few pictures were a dream and featured the brickwork, garden and new kitchen cabinets, but deceiving. The home is probably worth half of what it was listed for. Price matter and pictures should be numerous and objective, IMHO. It was a total turnoff to take the time to tour without the benefit of advance warning as to the home’s condition. At a minimum less flowery sales pitch and more accurate description would be appreciated by most buyers.


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *