We’ve all had the experience of seeing a new listing hit the market only to be left with a head-scratching, “What were they thinking?” moment when the photos appear online.
Here is our roundup of the biggest mistakes agents make in their listing photos. We know you’d never be guilty of these photographic crimes, right?
1. Low-resolution photos
Low quality, grainy photos will never show a home to its best advantage. Whether you’re outsourcing your photos to a professional or shooting yourself, make sure you’re capturing the highest possible resolution to make a positive first online impression.
2. Fish-eye photos
They were a favorite for a hot minutes, but now fish-eye photos are a relic of a bygone era. Although the intention was good — showing an entire room — the effect was not. Make sure you’re shooting from the proper angle to get a good overview of the room without the fish-eye.
3. Poorly lit photos
Photos taken at night, on cloudy days or in a space with insufficient lighting will never look as good as properly lit photos. Professional photographers can tweak the lighting during the editing process, resulting in even better results.
4. Photos out of order
Photos on a listing should take the viewer on a tour of the home, telling a story about what is important and offering a logical progression through the space. A jumble of mixed-up photos is frustrating and might keep buyers from wanting to see the real-life version.
5. Floor plan confusion
Similarly, photos that are out of order can create confusion about the flow of the space, resulting in frustrated buyers who thought that there was a porch on both the lower and upper floors or that there was a ground-floor owner’s suite.
6. Photos of people
Yes, we have indeed seen homeowners and agents in the listing photos sitting pretty on a porch or even washing dishes. Your homeowner might think a photo of their charming grandchild sitting on the sofa will get the home sold. Just say no.
7. Reflective photos
Similarly, many agents have been caught in the reflection of mirrors and windows while taking photos. Make sure you’re not shooting into a reflective surface, and always check such surfaces in photos before you post.
8. Photos of pets
Although your clients might think that a picture of their Pekingese will charm prospective buyers, what it really does is suggest that the house smells like wet dog (or worse). For buyers with allergies, such photos might in fact be deal-breakers.
9. Random photos
Photos of corners. Photos of towel bars. Photos of toilets (with the seat up.) Photos of blank walls, paintings and pieces of furniture. There is no end to the ingenuity of amateur photographers in taking photos of completely random objects or features in a home.
Do not post these on the MLS.
10. Messy rooms
Every home can’t be straight out of Architectural Digest, but homes that are filthy don’t sell.
If homeowners are unwilling to properly clean their home before photography, they should at least get a bin and put clothing, dishes and other messy items away until each room has been photographed.
11. Ugly photos
Muddy yards. Piles of junk being stored. Giant carpet stains. These give the lie to the saying that “more is better.” We know you want to show how big the garage is, but you can’t show that if it’s full of bins and boxes.
If something is likely to make buyers say “Yuck,” it doesn’t need to be included in the listing photos.
12. Holiday photos
As the holiday season stretches from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31, it might be difficult to find a time to take photos of your listing when there are no decorations. However, if your sellers really want to get their home sold, they’ll need to create a neutral look for the listing photos.
13. Too many photos
Photo fatigue is real. This is especially true when the photos aren’t great, are repetitive or are mostly drone shots of the neighborhood. Choose the photos that get buyers excited rather than showing how many photos your MLS allows.
14. Not enough photos
Alternatively, just a few photos will make buyers wonder what you’re hiding, especially if you mention something in the property description that isn’t shown. At a minimum you should have a front view, rear view, kitchen and bedroom, along with outdoor spaces like porches, patios and pools.
15. Notable omissions
Similarly, if you have plenty of photos but something in particular is missing, you will raise questions in the minds of potential buyers. A collection of beautifully shot interiors without one view of the kitchen will suggest that something is seriously amiss in the heart of the home.
You don’t have to hire a professional photographer to have great listing photos.
- Take a class, either online or in person.
- Invest in a good quality camera, either new or used.
- Learn photo editing for basic lighting correction.
- Take the time to properly stage your listings for photos.
- Take your time as you upload photos to the MLS, ensuring that they paint a coherent picture of the listing.
If you do these simple things, and avoid common mistakes, you’ll attract more traffic and ensure happier sellers.
Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate. She is also a Florida Realtors faculty member. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook, Twitter, Instagr