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Poor-Quality House Selling Pictures And The Terrible Excuses That Follow

Poor-Quality House Selling Pictures And The Terrible Excuses That Follow

We are not going to teach you the fundamentals of photography because there are far better websites on the net for that sort of thing. We are going to show you the mistakes other home sellers have made when photographing their house. Our tips range from simple to sophisticated, from taking photos at the bottom of your stairs, to how good lighting should mean the absence of shadows. The poor quality house selling pictures featured in this article have excuses attached. Each home owner thought he/she was fully justified in the way he/she presented his/her house…but I beg to differ.

I know that this article will probably rank 210,000 on the Google search engine results pages because of its awkward title, but it is very difficult naming an article such as this one. I could have gone for “Worst Home For Sale Photos Ever,” but it seems a bit spammy. Plus, these are probably not the worst and most dumbest home seller photograph mistakes, there are probably worse pictures on the Internet. I have added the home seller’s reasons why he or she did what he or she did. I also added a short version of my reply to them. Enjoy.


Has The Tenant In The Photo


Man in his rented house

I have started with this photo because I think it is one of the funnest ones. The person selling this house actually thought this picture would be a good idea. As he was quickly taking photos of the house, he also caught the tenant in his bathrobe making a cup of something in the kitchen. There is plenty wrong with this picture to start with, such as how the house could have been better arranged, better lit, and better decorated. But, the seller is also telling us that the tenant smokes in the house, tapes up his art with duct tape (top right corner), and that the tenant doesn’t mind a stranger photographing him in his bathrobe.

The Seller’s Reasons

I took plenty of photos of the room, but they were blurry and/or poorly shot, and this one was the best of a bad bunch……I am selling the house with a tenant in it, and I felt it was rude to offer images that didn’t show the state of the house.

My Reply

Firstly, if these are your best photos, then go back and take some more. Plus, you could always redecorate the house and sell it since most buyers are not going to pay the list price if this is how your house looks. Even if you do not decorate, you could remove the tenant. Have the tenant leave by giving him a thousand or two in order to keep him sweet, stop him suing, stop him trashing the place, and so forth. The money you lose paying the tenant to leave will be made back (and then some) when you show people an empty house without a fella wafting around it with a cigarette in his mouth. Plus, if you sell a house with a tenant in it, then you restrict your buyers to investors who are looking for buy-to-let houses. Having a tenant pre-installed when you sell a house will alienate all the people who are looking for a home to live in.


Signs That Your House Is In Terrible Shape


A home with damp on the walls

What bothers me about this photo is that it speaks volumes, but in actually dramatically misrepresents the state of the house. Even somebody who has never bought a house is going to notice the damp spots at the top of the window, and the damp is no doubt why there is no wallpaper on the wall. I have no idea why somebody would show a picture like this when selling a house when the leak is easily fixable, the wet is easily fixable, and putting up new (and dry) plasterboard is also rather easy. This is like trying to sell your car by neglecting to wash the mud off the bumpers.

The Seller’s Reasons

The leak is from the drainpipe that drips into the wall and is very easily fixable, and so is the plasterboard problem. The new buyers will probably want to refurbish the room anyway, so I will simply explain the issue when they visit the house and tell them how easy it is to fix.

My Reply

The house looks unloved. Whomever is living there while it is being sold has clearly neglected the house, and the issue with the damp is far bigger than you imagine. All your other rooms could look like five star hotel rooms, but this room looks unloved, tatty, and damp. People will apply what they see in this room to all over the house. They will look at your other rooms and wonder what the current owners have done in there, and wonder where the damp is covered up, or what other health hazards are not apparent.

Telling people “Why” they should buy is far harder than fixing the damp and filth problem. You are choosing to ignore an easily fixable problem and take the difficult route of making a hard sell.


Assuming The Buyer Can See Through The Clutter


A cluttered bathroom

What bothers me is how easily this image could have been improved. Clear everything that can be picked up and moved out of the bathroom, open the curtains nicely and turn the lights on. They are not even getting the easy things right…like putting the toilet roll on the hanger correctly.

The Seller’s Reasons

It’s okay. The buyer imagines what they are going to do with the room anyway. They know they won’t be living in the house as it looks now. A bit of clutter makes no difference.

My Reply

Why put your buyer through that? You can clear the clutter, have a clean up, turn on a few lights, and not only will the room look a lot bigger, but it will also look more inviting.

There is a very good chance that the buyer is going to look at the room and think about updating the wallpaper and resealing around the top of the bath, but why have them imagine what it looks like without clutter and dirt when you can clear it for them?


Not Bothering To Make An Effort Because You Are Selling Cheaply


Room that needs renovating

I don’t get it. I know and have known people who own assets worth thousands of dollars, such as cars and property, but they are not interested in getting the best price for it when they sell. It boggles my mind that they will do their research and haggle to get the best price when they buy, but they treat selling like a hassle that can be quickly brushed off. The woman selling the house in this case had a rundown house that didn’t need a lot of money investing into it to make it nice, it just needed a quick and professional renovation.

The image above doesn’t show a room in a dire state. It shows a room that any decorator can fix. Yet, selling this house was such a hassle for the owner because it wasn’t one of her favorite projects, so she took a few photos and listed the house for a very low price to get rid of it quickly. Yet, what boggles my mind more is that she still asks me and my bosses (the echeck.org team) how to build her wealth more efficiently. She still wants to be rich, wants wealth, and yet she is handing away thousands of dollars that she could have made when selling this house.

The Seller’s Reasons

I am selling at a cheap price, so people expect this sort of thing. People want a house that they can “Do Up” (renovate) and flip for a profit.

My Reply

Some people think this is an “Investor’s Attitude” but it isn’t. It is a Bad Attitude!

People do not “Expect” a bit of dirt, clutter, and crap if the price is low. Dollar stores do not serve you by kicking your purchases from under the counter. McDonalds do not throw their one-dollar burgers at your face in the drive through. Thrift stores clean their secondhand clothes before they sell them to you, they do not ball them up in a bag with half a kipper and an empty condom wrapper.

Everybody wants to find a house that they can tidy up, decorate a little, and then flip for a big profit, but people are not stupid enough to think your shoddily presented house is a gem because it has a slightly lower listing price.


Dark Images Are Unforgivable In Any Situation


Go online now and look for houses for sale and you are going to see some images that are dark, blurry, poorly lit, or just plain ugly, and there is no excuse for this. The house in the image below is a great example of that. It is from a set of house selling pictures from a house owner in Scotland.

Dark house exterior

The Seller’s Reasons

She said that she didn’t have time to take a bunch of good pictures and that she couldn’t get into the house during the day, so she had to take this and a bunch of other dark photos. She said, “It is better to put up an advert with pictures than to have no pictures at all.”

My Reply

Most wouldn’t fault her logic about it being better having “Any” picture rather than no picture, but I think most people are confusing dating sites with house-selling sites. There are several good reasons why you should put up fantastic images…or no images at all.

The most important reason is because dedicated house buyers have estate agents that alert them when new houses hit the market, and many buyers have email alerts when new houses appear on websites, and the first thing these people are going to see is an ugly example of what your house looks like. Even if you replace the images eventually, the negative impression given to the buyer is irreversible.

People who search for houses will memorize the houses they do not want and do not like. They do this because they have to flip through numerous different estate agency websites and many have the same houses listed on them, so buyers memorize the houses they do not want so that they do not waste time clicking on them. Even if you put up nice photos and drop the price, you will still find that if people have already dismissed your house, then they will not change their minds.

Finally, most of your best offers will come at the very start, which is why it is very important to show off your house in its truest glory. If you cannot find time to take photos, then have none at all. The first time people see your house, they need to see it with perfect pictures because first impressions really count. If you do not have time to take perfectly staged, lit, and clear images, then wait until you do have time before you put your house up for sale.


A Well-Lit But Lazy Photo


I have no idea where the image below came from because I didn’t have anything to do with the house sale, but I thought I would show it to you to contrast the whole “Dark Images” point I made in the previous section.

Lazy but well lit kitchen

Again, I have no idea where the image came from or even which country it is from, but it is a very well lit image. It is not a good photo (not by a long shot), but it is evenly lit all around the room. It is just as light in the corners as it is on the work surfaces. There is hardly a shadow to be seen, and the light from outside is bright without overpowering the internal lighting.

With that said, this amateur photographer deserves credit for lighting, but disdain for the image. The photographer could have improved the photo quite a bit by clearing up a little. Remove the pipe from the sink and hide it, remove the bag, metal, and whatever else is on the left counter top, and remove the toilet rolls from the top of the washing machine.


Incorrectly Drawing Focus


Learn a little about photography if you are going to take your own house selling pictures, or at least hire an amateur hobbyist to take the photos. Do not leave it to your estate agent otherwise you will get photos like this one.

An attic room with an exercise bike in it

As you can see from the image above, not only is the room poorly lit, but the photo draws the eye to the exercise bike, which may be permissible if this room were used as a gym room…but it is not!


Claustrophobic And Narrow Stairs


Always shoot stairs from the bottom and looking up because looking up makes the stairs look bigger and more open. Shoot facing down the stairs and the area looks narrow and claustrophobic.

Claustrophobic and narrow stairs

Let us first ignore the fact that the whole house looks dirty and grubby, and focus on the fact that you never shoot a photo down the stairs when selling a house. Unless your stairs lead down to a Cinderella-esk ballroom, you should always shoot upwards.

Sadly, the photographer did the right thing and lit up the bottom of the stairs with more intensity than from where he/she was shooting from. However, you are supposed to be shooting upwards. Take your shot looking up the stairs, and have plenty of light at the top of the stairs to make them look inviting and to make them look bigger. If the top of the stairs is darker than where you are taking the photo from, then it looks awful to the point of looking scary.

Want more tips on selling your house, then try our How To Write House Seller Adverts article.

About The Author

Ash The Great

After a varied career in different industries from the hospitality industry to the financial consultancy industry, Ash now spends his days working as a professional writer.

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