Top 4 Don'ts for Your Home Listing Photos
After viewing one too many photos of your toilets (and let’s keep in mind that one is really one too many), it seemed like a good idea to address the top four don’ts for your home listing photos, especially if you're doing a For Sale by Owner.
Not really much to my surprise, I’m not alone in my distaste for snapshots of your commode. What I was not expecting, however, was the OVERWHELMING response from real estate agents that you are driving nuts with your pictures of them! Let me tell you, they do not like having to forward pictures of your privy to their prospective customers.
Instead of sharing my top 4 what not to do’s for your home photos, I’m going to share words of wisdom from the experts.
Top 4 Don’ts for Your Home Photos (from real estate agents and real estate photographers!)
1) Don’t take photos of your clutter!
I could almost feel the shared visceral response to photographs of clutter coming from emails from all over the country. Every single person who shared a “don’t” included clutter! Here are some of the best reasons why:
Military spouse Trish Alegre Smith of So Your Life Photography has experience in real estate photography She shares,
"Pick up the clutter around the room or space you're about to photograph--even if it's thrown into a laundry basket for the short time you're taking the picture. This also applies to outdoor spaces."
Bill Horne, Editor of The Telecom Digest, reminds us that home buying is supposed to be enjoyable. Sell buyers the dream, not the responsibility of the home. He warns that,
"Nobody wants to be reminded of things that they have to take care of, so lose the dog, the cat, and the kids’ toys. Those are all responsibilities."
Kristin Geenty, President of The Geenty Group Realtors in Branford, CT, says that clutter can make you look like a "neglectful owner." She tells home sellers that,
"Stacks of mail, shoes in the doorway, bookcases crammed with everything but books not only take away from the photo but also scream to the buyer that there is no storage in the space."
So, take a hint and put away your stuff! After all, as Bruce Ailion, Atlanta-based Realtor and Attorney with Location, Location, Location writes, "Who wants to see a bathroom that looks like 12 guys in a frat house share it?"
For more advice, download A Guide to Selling Your Home
2) Don’t forget to move "the yuck" out of the line of sight of the photo.
Put the toilet seats down already, shares Deb Tomaro, Broker Associate with RE/MAX Acclaimed Properties in Bloomington, IN. She also encourages home sellers to "remove shampoo bottles, duckies, etc. from tubs and showers," and "remove trashcans from photos."
Horne adds that home sellers should realize that the yuck is, in fact, a big deal. He says,
"Pay attention--in fact, a lot of attention--to covering up wall marks, water stains, scuffed baseboards, cracked window glass, and every minor defect that you know is 'no big deal.' To someone who's about to make the biggest investment of their lives with too little time and too little information, everything is a big deal."
3) Don’t think your personal items are appealing to buyers… and personal items include pets!
Smith shares that "What makes a house a home differs from one person to the next. Don't assume that your personal mementos and family photos will make your house feel more 'welcoming' for your potential buyer."
Geenty says that pets are even more problematic. She offers good advice to pet owners: "Don't put your dog in every picture because he's always smiling. You'll scare off every buyer with a pet allergy."
4) Don’t stand in the room!
Smith warns home sellers to not stand in the room when taking home photos for two reasons. First, you miss sharing the scope of the room. She says, "Unless you're highlighting a special detail you want to show an entire space (and its size) in your photos. Try shooting from the corner of a room and lower than eye level."
Second, you may end up including yourself in the picture. "This happens often by accident," she shares, "You'll be taking pictures in a bathroom or small foyer and your reflection in a mirror or on a glass window will show up in a photo." Some trial and error is needed while you figure out how to keep your reflection out of frame.