This Phoenix home made an impression on our reader Jayne, but not a good impression. This is the master bedroom, for example.
The sellers trimmed their olive tree. They lion-tailed the branches. Also known as lollipopping. It’s a topiary terror.
Or it’s a spaceship on the bottom section with aliens waving around. Thank you, Jayne!
Tags: Staging · Landscaping · Bedroom · Clutter · Phoenix Homes · Wood Paneling
Thank you, Diana, for sending us photos of this Wesley Chapel, Florida home.
Slip covers on the couches! Pink and tan are an interesting color combination.
The table to the right of the sofa is crooked. Please straighten it. Thank you.
That pink carpet sure looks like it’s holding up well.
Euro style cabinets were all the rage in the late 1980s & early 1990s. What would make the kitchen divine would be to de-vine the plastic plants.
Pretty in pink.
Tags: Carpet · Living Room · Bedroom · Window Coverings · Cabinets · Fake Plants & Flowers · Other US Cities · Grandma's House · Bedspread
One of our readers, Mario, sent us these photos. The city is unknown. The bathroom did not impress Mario.
He wasn’t thrilled by the brick wall in the living room.
Nor the two beds squished into one bedroom. Thank you, Mario, for sending us the photos.
Tags: Bathroom · Living Room · Bedroom · Dolls · Other US Cities
Tupac lives! Marijuana leaf. Buyers will put this house high on their list. It’s listed for 420?
Marilyn Monroe bedspread! Gentlemen prefer bland bedspreads. And completely painted walls.
The elusive white tiger.
Tags: Staging · Bedroom · Phoenix Homes · Glendale, AZ Homes · Peoria, AZ Homes · Bedspread
What do you think of this remodeled shower? They spent a lot of time installing the stone wall. Must be tons of fun to clean around the stones & grout: soap scum, mildew, hard water deposits, etc. You can already see the discoloration.
Tags: Bathroom · Remodeling · What Were They Thinking?!?! · Chandler, AZ Homes
I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
From Rialto, California.
From Franklin, Pennsylvania.
From San Antonio, Texas.
Tags: Staging · Bedroom · Clutter · Wood Paneling · Other US Cities
If you can make it safely down the rail-less stairs to this Philadelphia, Pennsylvania basement…
…you’ll see what possibilities exist down here.
So much potential. For radon gas, for mildew, etc.
Tags: Safety Issue · Dirt, Dust, & Filth · Fixer-Upper · Other US Cities · Basement
Today I was featured in the Arizona Republic newspaper’s real estate section!!
Here’s a link to article; there’s a slide show at the top, and the article below.
Written by Gremlyn Waddell of the Arizona Republic (with my photo comments added in brackets  ):
In his 16-year career as a Valley real-estate agent, Leif Swanson has seen some less-than-memorable images on online house listings.
There are depressing photos of dirty, cluttered spaces; the classic raised-toilet-seat-in-the-bathroom shots; and his pet peeve, the ones with a photographer’s reflection in the mirror.
Those kinds of photos, along with the ones featuring a cat’s litter box, a weed-filled yard or children mugging for the camera, astound the Realty One Group agent. He knows nearly 100 percent of today’s homebuyers look at online listings before they even call a real-estate office. So a seller may have only one chance — through attractive photos — to get a potential buyer in the door.
“A buyer may overlook a house that’s great just because the pictures were poor,” Swanson said. “And if you were putting a picture of yourself online for a dating service, wouldn’t you at least comb your hair? It’s the same idea with your home.”
In November 2007, he launched his uglyhousephotos.com website to educate sellers and entertain buyers. He posts many of the unbecoming photos he sees as a Realtor (along with his comments that veer from observational to a bit sarcastic), but he’ll often offer suggestions on how to improve the shots. He’ll also post before-and-afters of inspirational rooms.
“The goal isn’t to humiliate anyone,” Swanson said, adding that he blocks out people’s faces as well as addresses, license plates or any indication of sellers’ names. “I was just tired of seeing bad pictures, especially when I know there are easy solutions.”
Whether the seller or seller’s agent is the photographer, or even if the seller has hired a professional photographer or commercial service, Swanson said the following tips go a long way toward making photos stand out online:
• Take more photos than you think you should, then edit judiciously. “You don’t have to publish every picture you take, but while you’re at the home, you should preview your photos. Chances are that you’re shooting with a digital camera, so look right there and then at what you’ve taken and make sure you have something good.”
• Keep the camera still while shooting; blurry photos are not pretty. And keep those fingers away from the viewfinder.
• Exterior shots look best when the sun’s at an angle, so shoot during the early morning or late afternoon. Watch for shadows and try to avoid having them in photos.
• When photographing a room with a mirror in it, stand to the side (not straight in front of the mirror); otherwise your reflection will be in the mirror — and that looks amateurish. Same thing goes if you’re using a tripod; keep it out of sight.
[Just move a foot or two over to avoid the reflection, as shown here]
• For interior shots, turn on all the lights. It’s smart to bring an extra camera along to see whether you can get better shots with it, too. Swanson often shoots photos with his cellphone camera when the shots with his standard camera appear too dark.
• Remember to look for a room’s best feature and highlight it in your pictures. Is it the vaulted ceiling, the picture window or a fireplace? “Focus on the stuff that makes up the room, not what’s in it,” Swanson said.
• Think about what you’d like to see in listing photos. Do you really want to see the back of a chair or couch? You may need to try a different angle to get the best vantage point. Even moving a foot or two can make a difference.
• Don’t use a flash too close to a window or you’ll see mostly glare in your picture.
[With the sun pouring into the open window and no kitchen lights or camera flash, the kitchen looks dark. I closed the window shades, turned on the kitchen lights, and used a flash. An improvement, but a better option would be to take the photo earlier in the day when the sun was not at the window.]
Tricks of the trade:
• A straight-on shot of a still swimming pool looks boring and lifeless, so Swanson either uses a net or his hand to “chop” the water in a pool several times so it gets some nice ripples going. Then he grabs his camera and shoots. “Then I can call it a ’sparkling, clean pool’ in my listing,” he said.
• Even in a bare backyard, you can introduce a pop of color. Find a bougainvillea bloom or other plant, position it in either the bottom-right or bottom-left portion of the camera’s viewfinder and take the picture.
• Move cars off the driveway (or, heaven forbid, the yard) when taking photos. If cars are blocking the home’s exterior, move them down the street temporarily. If a neighbor’s nearby driveway is full of vehicles, try to exclude it from your shots.
[I had a corporate relocation listing interview with the house on the left. I sent this photo to the relocation department to let them know buyers might be turned off by the neighbor’s parking lot.]
• If the house has incredible sunset views, take some photos at dusk to showcase them. Highlight any desert or mountain views as well.
• You may love your pets, but don’t include their evidence — cages, food bowls, litter boxes — in your pictures. Buyers will assume the house smells, Swanson said.
• Don’t include family photos in online pictures, and limit or entirely exclude political and religious paraphernalia. Would-be homebuyers want to imagine themselves in a home, not be reminded about the sellers and their preferences.
A few parting thoughts:
• Remember that sellers are ultimately responsible for, and have final approval of, any listing photos of their homes.
• Tacky posters in your teen’s bedroom or an exceptionally cluttered guest room? Not every single room in the house has to be photographed.
• Pictures are a wonderful tool for selling a home, but there can be too much of a good thing. Most folks get “photo fatigue” after looking at 25 or 30 photos, Swanson said.
[Final example: taking a house photo straight on. It can make a house look boring. Try stepping to the side and taking the photo at an angle. It might add some excitement to the photo.]
Tags: Phoenix Homes
Before Living Room. 1930s-1940s bungalow. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath. Was purchased in poor condition as a short sale for $39,900.
After Living Room. The wall to the kitchen was removed. Once the house was renovated, it sold for $97,000.
After Living Room. Here’s what buyers see when they enter the house. Buyers love open spaces and being able to see long distances.
After Living Room.
After Bathroom. The size of the bathroom was doubled. Not sure where they found the extra space.
Before Bedroom One.
After Bedroom One. Because the walls are brick, it was difficult to add electric wiring through the walls. They had to add electric conduit along the back wall.
Before Bedroom Two.
After Bedroom Two. New windows. But no electric outlets on two walls.
Before Front of House.
After Front of House.
Before Back of House.
After Back Yard.
Before Roof. This home had gas heat and evaporative cooling before. Regular air conditioning and a new roof were added during the renovation.
Before Basement. Sorry, no after photo available.
Tags: Flooring · Curb Appeal · Bathroom · Living Room · Kitchen · Bedroom · Remodeling · Phoenix Homes · Back Yard · Before & After · Basement
Buyers start their home searches on-line and they judge houses based on photos. Sellers only get one chance to impress and entice buyers.
Buyers don’t want to see fingers in real estate photos.
Buyers are turned off by over-exposed photos.
Buyers are also turned off by under-exposed photos. Yes, these are actual photos used to promote the sale of houses.
Buyers do not like panoramic photos, especially if several photos were stitched together. Look at the uneven floor.
Unless it’s a view of mountains or a golf course outside the back yard, panoramic photos indoors should not be used.
Buyers do not like fish-eye photos or peeping Tom photos through fences or in bathrooms.
Tags: Phoenix Homes · Other Arizona Cities · Poor Photography