Shockingly bad photos and why I had to look at them

Our house finally went on the market…YEAH!! We had our first Open House on Sunday and we have high hopes of getting it sold ASAP. I will go on record and say that downsizing is not for the faint of heart…in fact, it sucks! However, one storage unit and five truck loads of charity donations later we are done. The feeling is one of relief although as soon as we get settled in our new place we need to address the storage unit. I just couldn’t do all the purging at once without having a breakdown. 

As far as our next home, my husband and I have decided that we will sit out the housing market for a year or so. We have rented a small apartment that is a stones throw from his job and within walking distance to restaurants, coffee shops, and grocery stores. It will be such a huge life style change for us after living in the country for the past twelve years. However, before we decided that an apartment was the way to go, I spent hours upon hours searching for a smaller house closer to Boston. Talk about DEPRESSING!!  Boston is currently the third most expensive real estate market in the US,  just behind San Francisco and New York City. Prices in Boston proper average $1,000/sq. ft.

It’s not that much better five to ten miles outside the city either. What were once very affordable and even sketchy towns are now “hot” and prices have sky rocketed 50% or more just within the past few years. Buyers often end up in a feeding frenzy with well priced homes in halfway decent condition selling WAY over asking price with multiple offers. I heard of one house just outside the city selling for $70K over asking with 17 offers the first day it went on the market….and the house hadn’t been updated in over 30 years! 

What is even more shocking to me though than the prices are some of the listing photos! Between all the pretty images I see daily on Instagram and Pinterest my eyes are not accustomed to viewing such shockingly bad photos. I just don’t get it. What are people thinking when they are listing their biggest asset (presumably) yet they don’t take the time to get a decent photo?

Here is an sampling of some of my favorite shockingly bad real estate photos. Keep in mind these are actual photos I pulled directly from the MLS listings. I did not edit them in any way and all of these photos are from homes priced between $500,000 and $650,000 just outside Boston. 

Poorly lit photos seem to the number one problem with bad real estate photos. This room might not be appealing even with the lights on but it’s hard to tell by this photo.

Bad and poorly lit real estate photo.

Not sure what the seller had in mind when posting this one. It’s hard to know if this house has been on the market since Christmas or the owner just likes a fully lit Christmas tree in their dark living room year round.

Bad real estate photo

I don’t know what is going on with that shinny textured pink wall but that roll of paper towels sure looks inviting on the leather chair. Also, for some reason there is a lamp on a lamp. Maybe they should have turned them both on before they took the photo.

bad real estate photo dark room

Pets in real estate photos are always a big no no but many sellers don’t get the memo. I don’t know what kind of hump back animal that is scurrying across that sofa but it looks like some nocturnal creature from the Outback.

The photo below is even stranger. It appears to be some kind of tiny animal house but it looks too small for a cat. Whatever or whoever it’s for, it’s obviously important since the seller went to great pains to place it just so at the foot of the bed. There is even a larger one against the wall for when whatever it is grows up.

Besides pets, there are never ending photos of rooms filled with odd objects. If I had to guess, maybe a disassembled pipe organ? The exercise bike on the braided rug is a nice touch don’t you think?

The next photo is half way decent as far as lighting goes but the garden hoe leaning against the cabinet spoils it for me. On the plus side, I’m so busy wondering why there is a garden hoe in the kitchen that I am distracted from the too busy back splash fighting with the speckled granite.

Really??? The seller couldn’t take two seconds to close the lid before taking the photo? Although maybe they wanted to show that they cleaned the toilet for the first time ever!bad real estate photo

If you want to see some of the ugliest painted rooms look no further than the online real estate photos. Nothing says a restful bedroom more than neon red walls, or maybe they are orange, it’s hard to tell.

Bad angles of rooms are another problem. The way this photo was taken it appears as if those beams are 4 feet off the ground. Hopefully that’s not the case or the buyer pool will be severely limited.bad real estate photosI especially like the photo below. I can just imagine the mom saying to her teenage son, “now pick up all those jerseys before the photographer gets here”. Too bad the room has no closet and they have to be hung on the drapery rod…or maybe those are the drapes?

Bad real estate photo

This next photo is probably my favorite. The home looked beautiful online and was already under agreement after one day but it looks like the seller forgot to measure the windows before they went out and bought drapes for the photos.

Too long drapes

Or maybe they just got a really good deal on 150″ long drapery. Every room had ridiculously long drapes pooling on the floor.

too long drapes

Now that we have decided to rent I no longer have to subject myself to viewing these terrible images. Too bad they didn’t read any of my blog posts on how to take better cell phone photos since these all look to be taken with a phone camera.

I hope these photos have added a little comic relief to what has been a stressful news week. 

How about you? Have you seen some shockingly bad real estate photos lately?

22 Responses to Shockingly bad photos and why I had to look at them
  1. Susan Silverman Reply

    I just about peed my pants weeping with laughter whilst looking at these photos. I especially loved the one with that humped back animal and the low-beamed room. Thanks so much for my morning chuckle!

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks Susan, I’m glad I started your day with a laugh. It’s so funny but sad at the same time!

    • Caroline McKay Reply

      I enjoyed my chuckle as well. You found some real doozies (is that really even a word?) in your local market. I truly don’t understand the state of some homes for sale, not just the photos but the showings they don’t clean up for. Best of luck with your move Linda. Sounds like your house should be a quick sale. Sounds like a great opportunity to try city condo living before committing.

      • Linda Holt Reply

        Thanks Caroline. My husband and I worked ourselves ragged getting our home in mint condition, staging and having professional photos taken. Looking at listings though I think maybe we are in the minority.

  2. Angela Taylor Reply

    Wow! Not what I expected to see on your blog but very interesting Linda. I thought house prices were bad here in the Seattle area but you have us beat. I wish you all the best in your search for the home of your dreams:)

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks Angela! Ha! I have never posted bad photos on my blog before but these were just too good (bad) to ignore!

  3. Linda Pakravan Reply

    Hard to beat these for “bad”!

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Agreed Linda! I just kept thinking “what are they thinking”?

  4. mariann roach Reply

    I have many agents in Denver that hire me to stage and prepare for photos. They are selling these homes so quickly with multiple offers. One has to spend money to make money, especially in this market. Love those puddled drapes and the toilet seat up. Mariann

    • Linda Holt Reply

      We are on the same page Mariann. We spent close to $10,000 “staging” the house and getting it in pristine condition to list.

  5. Rachel Moriarty Reply

    Love it! I couldn’t stop looking either!! LOL

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks Rachel! Crazy right???

  6. Darla Powell Reply

    He he he. I got a chuckle reading as house shopping a few years ago and my take away from the photos was job security for home stagers.

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks Darla! I guess the word hasn’t gotten out to these home sellers about staging.

  7. Claire Jefford Reply

    OMG, isn’t it amazing that people allow such terrible photos when trying to sell their biggest investment? Laughed out loud at your comment about the ‘pooling’ drapery. Thanks for the giggle!

    • Linda Holt Reply

      I completely agree Claire! Even though Boston is sellers market it still is so surprising to me that people would not want to show off their home in the best possible light.

  8. Carla Aston Reply

    OMG… bad!!! But hilarious! I see the same thing when I look at VRBO pics. I cannot believe what people will post! 🙂 Good laugh!

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Carla, There is just no explaining what these sellers are thinking!

  9. Anne Reply

    Great post Linda-those photos made me LOL. I’ll be watching closely as you spend your year in a small apartment in a convenient location. Hoping it will be fun, as I want to do it too (me and a LOT of other babyoomers)!

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks Anne! The closer we get to moving the more excited as well as scared I get. Such a big change even if it is one we chose to make.

  10. Anne DeCocco Reply

    What are you scared of? I think that would make a great blog post. It’s part of the journey.

  11. Barbara Reply

    Having done the “Boston Bidding Wars” four years ago, one realizes staging was not and still isn’t a requirement to sell a house. What was needed was a great realtor and accurate GPS to maximize our Saturday and Sunday viewings, and a really great sense of humor. Good luck!

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