Picture help- Pretty Please!!

shathawayMarch 1, 2011

So we are getting ready to do a "self-serve" MLS listing. Since I'm going to be in charge of all my own pictures, I was wondering if I could get some preliminary opinions and advice on staging. I have some pictures up on Zillow and am wondering what I should change prior to putting them up on Realtor.com. Please be brutal!!! I have found my forever home and NEED to sell this one ASAP. Thanks in advance!


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If you need to sell that quickly best bet is to hire a professional for advice. Otherwise, you stand to waste a lot of time with trial and error.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 11:59PM
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We have already talked with several realtors and have had very positive reviews of our home. We looked at all the comps and figured the best way to get it sold fastest would be to put it on ourselves and pull the commission out of the price. So this way, we will come in lower than any of the competition homes. Right now, I want as many opinions about my pictures as I can get. I know that the internet pictures determine whether someone decides to come and see the home or not. As a result, I'd love advice about what I can do to make mine more appealing to the masses. Also, we don't NEED to sell. I just really WANT to! Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 7:38AM
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First glance impression, very fast:
#6 - remove, too cluttered picture of nothing.
#7 - declutter, too busy, sofa throw and something sticking out of the back of the left side, mirror is distracting
#9 okay, but doesn't add anything
#12 work on this bathroom picture, just don't put one if this is the best you can get
#14 can you get a wide angle lens to get the rest in, cut-off bath is bad
#15 frame the bottom of the toilet instead of the ceiling, cut-off look is bad
#17 #18 are okay, but would benefit from wide angle
#20 remove towels near toilet
#21 if you can't get more in the picture from a wide angle, remove, I just think it'd be better to get the whole bathtub than show bits of it with the shower head

You don't have to show EVERYTHING in the house, just enough to tempt someone into a showing. But you don't want to look like you're hiding anything either, so I understand the desire to put in those cut-off bathroom shots.

If this house was in the area I wanted, school district, price range (or just above), #bath, #bed #car, I'd definitely want a showing after seeing these pix!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 8:46AM
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Picture #8 - remove desk from in front of the bay window. Totally doesn't work there. Maybe also remove the mirror.

I think there are too many things on the walls - maybe remove some so you show a cleaner look.

Not crazy about the pink bedroom - possible to paint it?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 10:02AM
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Pretty house!

#5 Get the breakfast area without the rattan chair in the shot, maybe take a picture from the door on the right of the shot, there is too much going on and the breakfast area/window is lost.

#6 get rid of this

#7 take down one of the pictures, the mirror should go too.

#8 take the furniture in front of the window away.

#9 remove picture

#12 better angle, maybe move the picture over the toilet?

#15 reframe as poster above indicated

#17 Don't love this angle, leave it out

#19 ceiling beam makes the ceiling appear low, reframe the picture lower

#20 same as poster above remove towels

#21 skip this one

#22 get rid of rocking chair, try a different angle.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 10:18AM
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Perfect! This is exactly what I want!! I agree that a wide angle lens would help a lot! I was also REALLY concerned about all the colors going on in the kids' bedrooms. The agents all said that everyone expects kids rooms to be "bright". As long as the rest of the house is fairly neutral, it's okay. My question is, would all those colors stop you from coming to see the house? I will start working on all the other suggestions this afternoon. Keep them coming!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 10:29AM
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I have three boys and I love the pink bedroom the best. It wouldn't detract me from purchasing because it looks very well decorated with attention to detail! I'd figure you had that attention elsewhere as well. The two other rooms don't look as pretty in pictures, and while I'm sure they are great in person I think you should keep the shot of the pink room only because it shows a great window and the room is large enough to hold two twins and a dresser between.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 11:19AM
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Real Estate agents are not design/staging/color consultation pros. They may know what sells and what does not...but they don't know how to pull it all together to get the end result that appeals to the masses most.

You want your house to stand out from the crowd...not simply blend in with every other house that has been prepared for sale based upon generic information.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 11:56AM
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I agree with most of what was said. I also like the pink bedroom. It's pink, but it is a nice shade. I think you could leave it. I would straighten out the bedding or remove that dark sheet or whatever is hanging out below the bed.

I also think you need to rearrange the green bedroom if you want to include it in the pictures. It needs to look more like a model if you are going to use those bright colors. You might try putting the bed on the other wall. Pull it out from the wall so there is space to walk around to the other side.

The bed in the blue bedroom needs to switch places with the nightstand so the bed is not against the wall. I would probably put a bigger picture or something there.

Picture #20, I would leave nice towels, but hang them differently in the bathroom and the sink area. You might try somethink like the example in the link. Make sure you are using the good towels.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bathroom towel example.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 12:15PM
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Wow! Your home is beautiful. Almost exactly what we're looking for in a new home (but we're not in your state).

My only thoughts are that a wide angle shot of the exterior of the house might look a little nicer that what you have. I too worry about the desk infront of the bay window. It potentially detracts from that great window. I didn't understand the tall mirror in that room either. The only kids bedroom that concerns me is the green one. Its a fun color but how many people have stuff to coordinate with a boldish green? So, I think many people would immediately think they would need to repaint that room. (Its easier to coordinate with the blue and pink rooms.) But having to paint one room wouldn't deter me from buying the house for minute. I don't know if moving the furniture angle or taking the photo from another angle would help to take the focus off the walls.

Also, if I'm being picky...I might do something different with the towels in picture 20. The ones on the back wall just look a bit messy. And the one by the sink looks lonely. Try folding it and putting another one next to it. Also, what would it look like if you pushed the shower curtain to the other end? Would we get a nice view of the shower or tub? (I can't tell which it is - I'm guessing tub.)

Love your house though!! I can only imagine what you're moving up to.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 3:23PM
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Nice house! Many nice features and it looks nice and bright and sunny.

Good comments above. 1st thing I noticed were the towels in #15; they look kind of rumpled. I'd only use new, freshly folded towels. 2nd thing I noticed was the green bedroom, but because I also have a Delaney! Love the name.

Good luck with your listing and selling!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 3:33PM
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I looked at the pictures before reading the comments. I was wondering if it was too nitpicky to point out the towels, but I guess it bothers a lot of other people too! Who knew?

Overall, the house looks great and I bet it actually will show better in person than in the photos. It is just about impossible to take pictures of small rooms like baths, hallways, entries etc without a wide angle lens.

Just a note on FSBO pricing - buyers are going to assume that they can bid 3-6% lower because "you don't have to pay an agent." Also, don't forget about the 2-3% you'll need to offer buyers agents. Most buyers have agents, so if you want to sell quickly, you have to be willing to work with them.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 4:25PM
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Thank you guys for all the help! Currently our house is full of guests, so I decided to just take some pictures that were already on computer and throw them up as a "make me move" on Zillow. I couldn't handle company and trying to sell my house. As a result, a lot of the detail stuff is messy(i.e. towels, beds, etc). I'll fix those in the "official" pictures.So far, the changes are
-New, fluffy towels in all bathrooms that are for show only
-Remove the desk from the front window (definitely something that worked for our family but was NOT pretty). I will probably get two occasional chairs and a table for that spot instead.
-No paint- Our market seems to be picking up and I'd rather get on then spend a few weeks painting. If it causes negative feedback, we'll offer a painting allowance.
-Currently decluttering the living room. My problem with this room is that the couch is almost the same color as the wall (originally had dark leather furniture in this room). All the "stuff" was my attempt to distract from that. But, I agree that it was overwhelming.
Anything else???

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 8:09PM
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The window is pretty, try some pics with nothing in front of it.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 8:27PM
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You have a very beautiful home. But the decoration is too cluttered, too home-made for me.

There are so many small scaled objects everywhere, on the wall, floor, couch, beds, tables and fireplace mantel...etc. They do not do anything for the space other than distracting the beauty of your rooms.

Professional interior designers usually pick a few well proportioned, high quality objects to make distinct statements. Less is more!

I believe if you remove most items as other posters suggested, your home will look even more stunning.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 9:43PM
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Our market was tough when we tried to sell (we ended up renting). Our agent told us not to worry about the brightly painted bedrooms (and they were bright and designed to please the kids, who had picked everything out).

After enough comments, we spent a LONG weekend painting the 3 non-master bedrooms a nice shade of builder beige.

Those rooms were GORGEOUS--if you were a teenage boy or 12 year old girl (or my best friend to who's taste I'd decorated the guest room). But they sure didn't sell the house--and according to agent feedback, were a real negative.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 9:50PM
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Love your house, very pretty, sparkling clean. You should have no problem selling. Wish I could find 'anything' in NY for that price.

You did a great job with your photos. Its funny how different people have different reactions.

My first impression was that the house looks unlived-in, a bit too bare. Yet, others said it looked cluttered, not to me.

I love the colors in the kids rooms. I would leave those rooms alone.

Here's what caught my eye.

#3- the photo of the deck looks to barren. Needs some bushes or landscaping. I realize you can't do that now, but maybe pull that photo. You have a great shot of the deck and that would be enough.

#7- I think the room looks too bland. Needs some color. The couch and walls fade into each other. I would put a few pillows on the couch in a color which would pop with the couch/walls. Like a deep burgandy or orange.

#8- Agree about the desk. That window looks like it should have a window seat. Can't do that but maybe a couple of chairs would work.

#22-I don't like all the black in the room. I would change the pillows on the bed to a soft or bright color. I'd put some color on the white shelves, maybe a few books with colored covers or painted baskets. The rocker should have a small pillow with an accent color.

The house looks great as it is now. I'm just pointing out some things which caught my attention, but none of those things would keep me away.

Good luck and please let us know how it goes.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 11:23PM
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Completely updated home in an established, "non cookie-cutter" neighborhood. Very family friendly house with newer roof, deck, Marvin windows, appliances and mechanicals, & solid Amendoim floors. Over $70,000 in updates in the last four years!

Just my opinion, but when people are looking at houses on the internet, that's not the time to be talking about the new roof and mechanicals. They are important later, but this is the time to make them want to see the house.

You want to describe the basics, 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, general size of the house and yard then mention amenities. Buyers don't care how much you spent on upgrades - just tell them what they are. I don't know what a "very family friendly" house is - rather, tell us what makes it that way. Delete the word updated, it just reminds people that the house is old enough to need to be updated. Change "non-cookie cutter neighborhood" to "neighborhood of customs homes."

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 9:33AM
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I like what 'graywings' just said above. One thing I learned when selling our home was, people don't care how much you spent in upgrades! They just want to SEE a nice, clean, updated house!
You want to entice them in by the bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, etc.
Beautiful home too, by the way!
Good Luck!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 10:26AM
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Description help too!!! You guys are awesome! Thank you so much for every piece of advice. The company's gone...so I'm working hard and fast on the house! Hopefully we'll be on the MLS by Monday at the latest. Again, I truly appreciate everything!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 1:09PM
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You have a really beautiful home. I'll add my comments, since you are still working on your staging. I agree with Azmom, that there are too many small scaled objects. You can make some of the little things look larger by placing a lamp on top of a large pretty box, for example, or adding a few large plants, like the 5-foot potted palms I saw at Lowes the other day for $10 each. Some oversized pillows would help, or an ottoman.

I like to see some greenery in every room. Even silk plants look fine, like a big fern in each bath and something green in the kitchen.

Can you pull some of the furniture away from the walls? I would angle the bed out from the corner in #13 to emphasize the nice ceiling, and I'd angle the bed out from the corner in #18 just to add interest to the room. Put the nightstand right next to the bed.

The pink room will remain the pink room. Sounds like Jackie Kennedy giving a tour of the White House.

The bookshelves in #22 could use some color. They look too empty. Even some books covered with pastel wrapping paper would do the trick. And a few plants there, too.

I think the exterior photos are fine.

I would remove the names of your children from the walls. You never know who's going to be coming through your house and what information they might want to collect. Creepy, but true. How about substituting some large framed children's art, mirrors, or some floral pictures?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 2:32AM
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re: pink overalls' comment "like to see some greenery in every room. Even silk plants look fine, like a big fern in each bath and something green in the kitchen."

... I hate silk plants, and think they look cheesy. So for every potential buyer who likes it, others will hate it. Makes it tough to stage, eh!!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 6:53AM
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I found these pics the other day, and while getting the total look isn't affordable or practical, I liked clicking on the links to see how accessories, towels and yes, fake plants were staged.

Model homes usually use fake plants, I figure the people who stage those probably have figured out what is pleasing to the greatest number of people. I think they soften a room.

Good point about the names on the wall. That is probably really good advice especially because you will have your address and names on the internet.

Here is a link that might be useful: model home pics

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 1:12PM
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I tried to see your home but the link didn't work for me. Can someone post a clickable link? Please?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 1:44PM
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Try cut and pasting this:


Here is a link that might be useful: model home pics

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 1:53PM
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Coming to the defense of fake plants. We're not talking about plastic cemetery flowers. We're talking about silks that imitate orchids and ferns, and bunches of peonies and tulips. The good ones don't call attention to themselves. And they never need watering or replacing. They never look wilted or past their prime. I especially like small imitation succulents. They are very convincing, even the inexpensive ones.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 10:17PM
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On the Today show this morning they had their real estate pro talking pictures
1) good hd camera, rent a wide angle lens (rent the camera too if you have too)
2) take pictures on a bright sunny day
3) take down curtains
4) get rid of clutter - and she seemed pretty serious about what she considered clutter given some of the examples - less is more
5) but not to the point of an empty room
6) take off bed skirts so you can see under the bed - ok I thought this one was a little strange:)
7) if its winter or drab like know see if you have outside shots taken in summer or late spring you can use instead
8) experiment with cropping the pictures of your outside shots to make the house look good, you do not have to stand at the end of the driveway
9) the average # of pictures is 8 - she said 12 is the magic number since people usually like a few more

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 10:05AM
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This should help:

Here is a link that might be useful: Original Poster Link

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 10:14AM
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I think your home is beautiful. I don't care for the bright green bedroom but it wouldn't stop me from buying your house. I think at this point it's all about price.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 11:15AM
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