My 10 Photo Commandments for Sellers

Photos for marketing a listing effectively are a big deal. Every buyer I have ever talked to in my real estate business tells me that. And they are very important for me as a listing agent.

Buyers want AND expect to see lots of photos, and sometimes make decisions about not seeing a house based on the photos they see, or don’t see. In this age of digital photography, and given the reasonable cost of a professional photographer, there is no excuse to not have top quality photos to showcase a seller’s home, and they deserve it, in my opinion!

Sadly, some agents don’t take the issue of having quality photos very seriously – I see poor photos in MLS listings often, and there is just no excuse for this. It’s embarassing.

Of course having good quality photos also depend on the cooperation of the homeowners, and having a home that is photo-ready.

So here are my 10 Photo Commandments.

Thou shalt include multiple photos – the maximum allowed on listing sites and the MLS (our San Diego MLS allows 25 and many websites allow more). The more photos the better, at least if they are good ones!

Thou shalt take photos of the interior and the exterior. It’s funny that a listing may note a beautiful yard or view but there are no photos. And a buyer might wonder if there is a problem with the yard, or certain rooms in the house like the kitchen, if there are no photos.

Thou shalt not include photos of an open toilet, EVER! This is a joke in our business – why DO agents do this, over and over? It may be best to just forget about a picture of the toilet anyway – no one really needs to see it unless it’s pretty special, like being gold plated or it’s one of those fish tank models or one that lights up!

Thou shalt take multiple photos of each room from different angles to enable the best pictures to be selected. Even a professional will take multiple photos to get the best shots.

Thou shalt not take photos of blank walls, corners of an empty room, the floor, or the ceiling, or OF YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR TAKING A PHOTO. The exception might be unusual molding or unique flooring. If there are vacant rooms, or the house is vacant, here’s where I put in a plug for staging.

Thou shalt not include photos of driveways with cars and trucks. There are several problems with this – they block the view of the house plus they don’t likely come with the property. Curb appeal is critical – a car in the driveway does NOT add to that appeal. And exception might be a luxury home with a Lamborghini in the drive.

Thou shalt not take exterior photos of the home on trash collection day. Buyers don’t need to see your trash bins and they do nothing for the curb appeal. .

Thou shalt not include photos of dirty dishes in the sink or on the counters. No one wants to see dirty dishes, or worse. They do nothing to help sell the house (keep this in mind for showings, too!).

Thou shalt NOT take photos of dirty laundry on the floor, or anywhere for that matter, and unmade beds.  Everyone has dirty laundry – buyers, too – they just don’t want to look at it in a photo, and during showings!

Thou shalt not include photos in the MLS which are crooked, upside-down, out-of-focus, or too dark to see what they are. I am always amazed at how some listings have photos like this…what a disservice to the seller and to the house! Yes, sometimes technology goofs…proof read your listing and correct the mistakes!

There’s a saying a picture is worth a thousand words. What words are YOUR listing photos screaming about your home?