Please critique photos before we list

persnicketydesignFebruary 23, 2014

Hi all! We set our house up on Zillow as a Make-Me-Move listing last year, because we weren't ready to put it on the market yet. We're about ready now and I just added interior pics to the listing. Could you please take a look and let me know some of the things that need to be changed before we actually do list it? I live here and don't have a critical eye in regards to the house anymore. lol Thanks!

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Well, I want to live in an area where a third of an acre has a house like that with a dock and pool and all for 315K.

Pretty house and you have clearly worked hard to get it ready for pictures.

So to make the pics better: (in no particular order, because I didn't take notes)

1) Outside first shot of house is subtley off-kilter, can you get the roof line flat by rotating and cropping the picture?

2) I never want to see toilet in a real estate pic. Nor a closed shower curtain, shades of the Bates Motel - who is lurking behind it? Bathrooms are tricky, but for ordinary ones where you're just ticking off their existence, I think less is more.

3) Master bath has awkward corner of shower showing in shot that also shows corner tub - can't see what's beyond edge of shower enc. Needs better framing.

3) Picture of breakfast room that shows island beyond makes island look dinky compared to its actual size as seen in kitchen shots.

4) Sewing room looks dark, though I'm sure its not.

5) What is illustrated by shot of table with lamp? Not sure the point, or which room it is in.

6) Picture looking down stairs in foyer gives me vertigo, plus it makes the two-story cavity seem narrow and too vertical for its width.

7) Clothes closet is something I'd rather not see. Ok when I'm on the premises, but nothing special and messy-looking (though it's not messy, that's just the nature of racks of clothing.) If you must have a closet shot, then remove 30%+ of the stuff and the hanging bathrobe on the door, etc. It's too personal somehow. If you say "walk-in closet" let that be something people can discover on a site visit.

8) The bathroom table with the tulips juts out and makes the space seem cramped.

9) In the shot in the MBR looking towards the stting area, put some soft light (unseen in photo) in the sitting area so it doesn't like a gloomy hole. (Plus actual picture of sitting area is from too high up IMO.

10) People will probably tell you to remove some more decor in the kitchen, I'm OK with it, though the stuff on vent shelf and counter doesn't appeal to me, but I'd definitely take at least one, possibly two, small appliances off the shelf next to the fridge. What you have there makes it seem crowded on that counter.

11) While I'm not interested in clothes closets, I def. want to see inside a pantry. Remove about half the stuff that may be there, organize the remainder and pantry-fy it to the max (think Martha Stewart matching cannisters, and stacks of plates.) This is fantasy item, so I'm not interested in seeing jars of Worcestershire sauce next to a quart of vinegar, I want to see home-canned-style pretty pickles or jams next to baskets of folded striped dish towels on shelves. Feel free to fake this!

12) Get the remote off the chair arm.

This is really picky: There is a wierd reflection on the wall of the room with the black desk and sofa. Plus the dark desk and chair (and to some degree the plant) make that corner look difficult to see.

In general take the pictures on days when the light outside is more diffuse as your pics have a lot of glare coming in the windows which washes out the intensity inside the rooms. I'm not totally sold on the higher angle of shooting, but perhaps because that's I am short and it all looks lke a giant was looking down at the rooms.

Also, no pics of garage??? No pics of back of house and how it relates to pool, dock play area? Is there a porch there, too?

Anyway, hope this helps and I hope you understand that I am NOT criticising your house, your taste, your decor, your moral stature, or your preferences in jelly bean colors, just the pictures that you showed and asked for suggestions on how to make them more appealing in order to sell your house. Good luck with your sale.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 6:31PM
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What a beautiful home!

Just a few technical suggestions:
I agree with liriodendron that the roofline needs to align with the top of the first photo just a little better.

I think you could do without the upstairs landing photo.

Also, if you could use the 'highlights' adjuster on adobe Lightroom, I'd knock down the overexposed widows in the breakfast room, kitchen, master BR and master sitting suite shots. If you can't manipulate them digitally, you might consider reshooting them using a tripod and shoot one of each for the window exposure, and a second for interior exposure and combine them in HDR mode.

These are very minor criticisms, and your photo series does a great job presenting your home as is. (but you asked).

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 6:40PM
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The decor is nice/tasteful but I would still remove a good third of it--especially in the kitchen. Take down the pics on the fireplace. The whole idea is to showcase the home and features like your fireplace, not your decor. There is a picture of a table and one of a love seat and coffee table. They look like pictures of vignettes that someone would post on a decorating blog as opposed to featuring the home. If a picture doesn't convey your home so people get a sense of the room, get rid of it because it doesn't belong. Remove the smaller plants from the floor. You are used to them but they read as "clutter" in the pics and its easy for people to trip over them if they're not paying attention. Clean out the closet and remove a good third. I don't see the need for pics of closets, people will see that on their own and get a better sense of the space. I believe in the philosophy of always under promise and over deliver. Use pics of the best rooms to get them into your home but leave just enough of the smaller perks out so they walk out of your home and are pleasantly surprised. And I laughed at Liridendron's last line because its funny because it's true ;-) You have a great home, nice decor, and it looks well kept.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 7:02PM
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WOW! Thank you so much for the quick replies. And absolutely no offense taken. I really do need fresh eyes to look at this place and I appreciate the help. :-)

I took out the pics of the landing, foyer and MB closet. I'll have to retake the other pics that all of you mentioned.

I'd love to be able to take a pic of the inside of the pantry, but with a husband and 3 teenage boys it's always packed full. I'm afraid I won't be able to stage it...unless it's supposed to look like aisle 3 at the grocery store. lol

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 7:35PM
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Below is clickable link (I hope) to your house.


Here is a link that might be useful: Clickable link

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 7:39PM
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Maybe you already mentioned this - why are you showing us a picture of a white loveseat? I think there's a bed picture, too, which doesn't show much house, just bed. I'm not interested in your furniture. :)

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 7:45PM
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Thanks for the link maddielee.

Littlebug5...The photo that's mostly bed shows the (open) pocket doors that lead to the sitting room. The loveseat is in there. Guess I need to remove both of those photos too!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 7:52PM
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Beautiful house & property.

Agree with most of other comments.

Would crop out curb from 1st pic, that may be contributing to the weird angle look. Will also make your front yard/grass look even larger.

Remove mat from bottom of stairs, detracts from beautiful entrance.

Pillows on couch, would lay out more casually vs lined up like soldiers.

Rearrage couch & chair in great room so it doesn't look like a movie theater.

Remove mixer, etc from kitchen counter.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 8:13PM
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I always look at these photos with two things in mind:

1. Do the pics make me want to go see the house in person?
2. Is there anything in the pics that's a red flag or just "off"?

Neither. I think the house looks neat, clean and modern and I would certainly go take a look. Good job!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 9:21PM
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I always look at these photos with two things in mind:

1. Do the pics make me want to go see the house in person?
2. Is there anything in the pics that's a red flag or just "off"?

Neither. I think the house looks neat, clean and modern and I would certainly go take a look. Good job!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 9:28PM
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I think about the only thing I would change is the angle of the chair in the great room. Just angle it. To me it is the only red flag. Makes me think it is hard to arrange furniture in that room.

I would not worry about taking a picture of inside the pantry. It is clear from the pictures there is one. That is all that is needed. Do organize it though as people will be looking. You want it to appear to be spacious.

Now nit picky - the office/living looks a bit cluttered, but wouldn't stop me from looking at the house at all.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 9:29PM
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Your home is lovely. The photos made me wish homes like that would be offered in our area for anywhere close to your listing price, so they must be pretty good. ;) The listed days on Zillow is showing at 262. If you switch to For Sale, will those Make Me Move days be added to your new listing days? If so, that could be problematic; it would appear as if your house had been on the market for a very long time, possibly causing buyers to submit lower offers.

Could you share the paint color in the master bedroom? I will be repainting a bedroom in the future, and that might be the one.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 10:23PM
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Some great suggestions here. I suggest including pictures of the screen porch, deck, and backyard.

You have a beautiful house!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 11:33PM
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I always like to see staircase and hallways that show how rooms are connected - I do think those are important for conveying an overall sense of how the house is to live in.

(FWIW - just a generic comment here - I wish floor plans were more commonly included in listings. Hardly anyone does that though unless its a historic or unusual house. )

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 8:29AM
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Thanks for the kind words and suggestions everyone.

Gyr_Falcon...the color in the MB is Svelte Sage by SW. Good point about switching on Zillow from a MMM to "for sale". I'll definitely check in to that.

There is a screened porch as well as a deck, but I was going to wait to add pics of the yard when it greens up in a couple of weeks. Spring comes early in The South!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 9:01AM
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I think your pictures are tons better than many realtor pics that we see here. I agree with the posters that mentioned that it looks a bit cluttered. If you remove the small plants, accessories, wall shelves and other decorative items the rooms will appear more spacious.

We lived in Jones Creek for many years and miss the Augusta area. Good luck with your home sale.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 9:28AM
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I think that the photos make your house look quite appealing, and I would like to look at it if I were in the market. I agree that having a back yard photo would be nice to show what is there and to illustrate that the pool, dock, and play structure are not on your land, but are for the neighborhood. I think you've been given some good feedback on ways to reduce the distractions in your photos. The few things that pulled my attention away from the house were the "awesome" on the kitchen wall and the line of pillows on the couch. I found the photo of the fireplace with the chair and table to be confusing.

I know you asked for photo critique, so I hope it's OK if I add a couple of things you might want to change in the description. The phrase "heavy trim work" - unless that is a common real estate phrase I haven't run across, I'd choose a different word than "heavy", which to me is a term indicating overbearing or chunky trim. Also, you've used the wrong it's=it is rather than its= belonging to it.

Best wishes with selling your lovely home.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 10:01AM
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I haven't read through all the comments, so I will just mention a couple things that jumped out at me. I would remove some of your small accessories and all the house plants. On the entry, I would remove the plants on the steps to create a more open look. The arrangement of the leather chair and sofa is odd. I am presuming there is a tv inside the cabinet there. I'd move that furniture in front of the fireplace and keep the cabinet closed during showings.

I cannot believe you can buy such a lovely home for that price! Very nice.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 10:31AM
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lol Of course it is Svelte Sage! I think that one is on my short like list about 8 times already. It was the color I mentally pictured for the living area of our house, but we had to go with Dunn Edwards paint. A few mismatches later, I got talked into a blue under-toned color my husband loves, and I don't hate. sigh

There are so many elements of your home that I like. And I have stolen a couple of ideas from your photos, such as the single stool at the end of the island. My thoughts were that I'd need to plan for two visually, even though I need only one for my kitchen. But your solo showed that it would be fine. Now if I could just get your master bathroom layout into my 64sq' space. ;)

May you have a quick and smooth sale.

This post was edited by Gyr_Falcon on Mon, Feb 24, 14 at 13:11

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 1:10PM
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deee...Jones Creek is right down the street from us. Small world!

Here are a couple different pics of the master bath. Are these preferable to the one that is in the listing?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 1:23PM
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Just noticed the hand towel needs straightening. *sigh*

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 1:24PM
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I like your second bathroom picture - the one just above. It shows more of the room and its connections to other rooms. I'd get rid of the clock and at least one of the rugs. Otherwise, it's very nice.

Bathroom picture #1 has too much stuff - all the stuff on the tub, the lamp on the vanity, the plant on the wall - TOO MUCH stuff.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 1:35PM
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Your home is gorgeous. I've been on Zillow and Trulia a lot lately looking for condos here in Florida and believe me, your house looks immaculately clean and well taken care of. I just love that kitchen! Can I ask what color the paint is? It looks gray/blue which is what I'm looking for to paint my villa before I list it. I think your pictures are just fine.

Good luck with the sale. I'm betting it'll go pretty fast considering square footage, price and condition.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 9:47PM
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Persnickety, I followed your home build - still have your spreadsheet and pics of Nichiha siding! Gosh, here I am still waiting to build and you are ready to sell! Time flies.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 9:37PM
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Persnickety, I agree that it might be a good idea to remove about 1/3 of your personal items, especially small ones. Our realtor advises packing them up and sending them to storage for the duration. Your home is lovely and frankly, I nearly fell over when I saw the listing and pictures on Zillow. (If the home doesn't sell in the time frame that works for you, you might put the entire place on a truck, move it to San Francisco, and promptly get several million dollars for it.)

Best of luck with your sale.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 7:24PM
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I am not sure why most home sellers are so reticent to remove personal items. Serious buyers want to see the home and decor is such a distraction to most people. As a seller, I'd rather just have that head start of having the extra boxed up and ready to go--it's less to pack later.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 8:33PM
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You have a pretty house. I think there is too much stuff, and I bet you have already de cluttered, but you need to do more. If you remove things, the effect is a more spacious house, and buyers want that. I would remove the office chair in the living room, the little table in the master bath by the shower, the throw rugs all over and the desks in the bedrooms. You have little tables and benches here and there against walls that are not part of the main furniture, and so remove them. Get rid of all the plants and the book case in the breakfast nook. Make it bare to make it look spacious.

This post was edited by sheilajoyce on Sat, Mar 1, 14 at 18:18

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 6:12PM
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Thanks everyone! Sorry it's taken me so long to get back online...been busy decluttering.

Patti43....the color in the kitchen is Benjamin Moore's Nimbus Gray.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 9:45AM
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Thanks, persnicketydesign!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 9:26PM
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Thanks, persnicketydesign!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 9:30PM
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