Jon and Leslie Foster

7 Listing Photo Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your Home

7 Listing Photo Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your Home

A photograph can be worth more than a thousand words. This is especially true in real estate. You might have the most desirable house in the neighborhood, but if you do not take and post the right pictures, your home will not appeal to as many buyers. 

In the 2021 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 84 percent of home buyers find photos very useful. Furthermore, 41 percent of recent buyers said the first step they took in the home buying process was to look online at properties for sale. This is why it is important for your online listing to make a good impression. You want to show that your home is worth considering setting up in-person showings.

Since you might not get a second chance to make a first impression, you cannot afford to mess up your listing photos. Here are some of the most common real estate photo mistakes you need to steer clear of and some tips on how you can avoid them. 


Blurry or out-of-focus images can leave an impression that the seller is hiding certain house features, while grainy photos can make a house look menacing due to deep shadows. With today’s camera technology, there is no excuse for having such images anymore, especially when selling a product such as a home.

Listing photos need to look professional. If you do not want to hire a professional who specializes in residential photography, at least use a quality camera or smartphone that can give you high-resolution images. More so, use a tripod to enhance the stability of the camera and prevent blurred photos. 


Lighting is a critical aspect that can make or break a photo. Good lighting can make a property look more spacious, fresh, and inviting, especially if you highlight the natural light it provides. This is why interior photos are best taken during the day, with windows and blinds opened, curtains drawn back, and lights turned on to produce bright and illuminated spaces. Similar principles apply to exterior images to best feature your home’s curb appeal.


One of the worst kinds of listing photos features a cluttered house. Papers on the side of the refrigerator, groceries and food items on the kitchen counter, unmade beds, clothing on chairs, personal belongings like diplomas and other memorabilia still on display—you name it.

While it does not directly affect the quality of the photos, a clean and organized house is critical to a successful photo shoot. If you cannot stage your home or hire a professional stager, do your best to clean, declutter, and organize beforehand. Remember that the goal is to photograph your home to look like a model home to entice potential buyers without being misleading. Any clutter and personal items will only distract them from seeing the most attractive aspects of each room and might hinder them from scheduling a showing.


The main goal of prospective buyers is to focus on your property, not to check who or what resides in it. Although you love your pets and they are adorable, keep them out of your pictures. Not everyone loves pets or may be allergic, so including your pet in listing photos can negatively impact house hunters. They might worry about fur on the carpet, scratched floors, or nasty pet smells and stains. 

Similarly, listing photos should never be photobombed by you, your cute kid, or anyone living in the home or taking the photographs, which often happens when there is a mirror in the room. Remember that it is your home that should take center stage, so skip the selfies or family shots so buyers can easily envision themselves living in there.


Pictures of your property’s exterior should not include a close-up of a patch of grass. Or a tree in the backyard. Or a random plant. Interior photographs, on the other hand, should never include close-ups of everyday home items—from not-so-fancy ceiling fans, and water heaters to every appliance you have that would not qualify as sought-after amenities.

While the intention is likely to show the condition and age of these items, in reality, dull close-up shots make rooms look small and repetitive. So take a step back and photograph your property’s look and flow, focusing on spaces such as the kitchen, bathroom, closets, outdoor living space, and unique home features, so buyers can have the feel of the home just by looking at photos. The brand of the refrigerator can wait until they schedule a showing.


Another mistake sellers often make is featuring pictures taken several months ago that are outdated, maybe in an attempt to save time and effort. But listing photos should always be up-to-date and show the current state of the house and how it would look to a potential buyer in person.

Additionally, it is important not to post seasonal photos, especially with decorations from a holiday one celebrated months ago. For example, if you are listing your home for sale in February or March, you do not want buyers to see photos of your Christmas tree and twinkly lights. So take down all holiday decorations before taking pictures for your listing, unless you want people to think that your property has been on the market since December. Your listing photos should feature a neutral home and reflect the current season to attract more buyers.


Aside from having good quality listing photos, buyers would want to see as many photos as possible to help them make an educated decision on whether to schedule a showing of the property. If the listing has limited photographs, buyers might wonder what the seller is hiding. For instance, only featuring photos of the exterior could mean the interior is outdated, and vice versa. If your listing says your home has two bathrooms, you would want to show both of them. Make sure to include images of every part of the home, highlighting the rooms and spaces you want to.

Each Multiple Listing Service and real estate websites have different limits on the number of photos a home seller can include. Whatever website you and your real estate agent choose to use, it’s a good idea to upload the maximum photo limit. 

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