Posted by: Timothy Ellis (The Tim)

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

35 responses to “Real Actual Listing Photos: Foreboding, Filth, and Flying”

  1. Conor MacEvilly

    Actually Gollum called me yesterday and he’s making a cash offer on the “currently uninhabitable” home. Keeps rambling on about “my precious” the whole time. THE most deranged buyer I’ve ever worked with but he’s motivated for sure! And as for that comb-over of his….

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  2. Kary L. Krismer

    There’s nothing wrong with that first picture. Most buyers prefer a full moon to a half moon. ;-)

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  3. David S

    Makes me laugh every month. Cheers.

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  4. softwarengineer

    Those Pictures are Gems Tim

    Makes you wonder if they’re really taking their job seriously anymore….

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  5. ARDELL

    The “hazmat crew” listing is pending. My favorite pic is the one with Jesus on the cross over the bed strewn with mountains of clothing. The only thing that would make that picture better is if they put some of the clothing ON Jesus. It is getting pretty cold around here ya know.

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  6. wreckingbull

    A serious note for you buyers – sometimes you need to be an a-hole about forcing prior owners to get their crap out. I bought my current place from an old lady who was a hoarder. You cannot reason with a hoarder. I played the nice guy. Perhaps it was the right thing to do, but the subsequent dump runs cost me a good deal of time and money – far more than I would have imagined.

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  7. ARDELL

    RE: wreckingbull @ 6

    Agree. I just spent $4,000 of my own money getting a property ready for market vs showing it in “hoarder” mode. I can’t imagine just doing a “point and shoot” of photos for mls display. But, that one in Tim’s post sold without the cleanup. Hard to argue with that except to say it could have sold for more.

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  8. wreckingbull

    RE: ARDELL @ 7 – It’s an interesting debate, to be sure. For example, my folks spent quite a bit of money fixing up their place for sale, before they moved into a retirement home. There was a multiple bid situation, but the winner was a non-resident Chinese national who just rents it out now. Was the money spent worth it? I doubt it, but that is just a gut feel. I seem to recall that Kary prefers the ‘as-is’ approach, which may be valid. I suppose it depends on the market and neighborhood.

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  9. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: wreckingbull @ 8 – I only prefer “as-is” when you can’t do anything about it. Don’t make the pictures have the situation appear better than it is, and don’t have the pictures mislead buyers.

    One of my photos made it into the detrimental listing photos post in the other forum, but the use of that photo was purposeful. It was technically a tenant situation, so cleanup was not an option. And as the property was priced it had more than sufficient showings even with the picture, and none of the viewers were likely disappointed when they walked in. The last thing you want when someone sees a property is disappointment.

    But yes you can do things to fix a property that will not get any dollars. My wife once had a buyer client rip out yards of brand new carpet because the buyer’s children had allergies. We don’t know what the old carpet looked like, but it would have had to have been really bad to affect the client’s willingness to buy the property.

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  10. ChrisM

    Someone likes their fisheye lens way too much:

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Vancouver/5524-NE-23rd-Ave-98663/home/14663186

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  11. ARDELL

    RE: wreckingbull @ 8

    I suffer from both Jewish (mother) and Catholic (father) guilt syndrome. Went to 12 years of Catholic School and remember the nuns saying…if there was so much as a smudge on the paper you handed in: “Really! You would put YOUR NAME on THAT!!!!???”.

    If I can’t get it into a condition where I would “put my name on it” I feel compelled to just walk away. Same with a price I just can’t believe in.

    I’m one of those people who has to actually like Wheaties to be on the Wheaties box. As Monk would say: “It’s a blessing…and a curse. sigh” :)

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  12. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: ARDELL @ 11 – How can there be a condition you don’t believe it? Condition can almost always be better, but there is such a thing as a fixer. Do you not like fixers?

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  13. ARDELL

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 12

    I think you read that wrong, Kary,. I said a condition I wouldn’t put my name on OR a “price” I don’t believe in.

    I don’t think you can “believe in” a “condition”.

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  14. Blurtman

    RE: ARDELL @ 11 – When I was in 5th or 6th grade, I was in the principle’s office on unrelated charges. I witnessed the following abuses:

    1.) after hitting a rather unflinching young man acress the face with her open hand, the principle picked up a phone book, and did the same with it.

    2.) After ordering a young man to pull down his pants for a licking, the principle mercilessly wailing on the poor fellow after he attempted to do so, asking him indignantly if he had no shame.

    Kind of funny in retrospect, but terrifying at the time. The lesson was: don’t step out of line, and some folks are batsheet crazy. At the time, parents would offer no sympathy.

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  15. ARDELL

    RE: Blurtman @ 14

    A friend of mine just related a similar story on facebook. But usually it was a boy. I don’t remember anyone treating girls like that. Do you?

    I do remember the nun hanging Yvonne DeFelice up on the cross near the ceiling of the classroom by her uniform belt for the rest of the day. But I don’t think she actually got hurt.

    I sometimes wonder if they hit the boys in public school back then, or if it was only in Catholic Schools. One nun almost took Ermano Pasquini’s ear off with a metal edged ruler, and then blamed it on him for making her do it by being bad.

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  16. Blurtman

    RE: ARDELL @ 15 – No, only the boys. Girls were usually shamed in front of the class. I recall the principle on a tirade, measuring skirt lengths. Above the knee and your are gollyed. The priests at the parish church were pretty cool. Never hit anybody that I recalled, even over things like drinking the sacremental wine.

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  17. ARDELL

    RE: Blurtman @ 16

    I liked Sister John. She would put on boxing gloves and give the boy boxing gloves too.l That seemed a little more fair even though the boys rarely punched back.

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  18. Kary L. Krismer

    By ARDELL @ 13:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 12

    I think you read that wrong, Kary,. I said a condition I wouldn’t put my name on OR a “price” I don’t believe in.

    I don’t think you can “believe in” a “condition”.

    Okay, I missed that distinction, but same question. If you won’t put your name on it due to condition, does that mean you won’t take a listing on a fixer? If so, why not?

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  19. apartment boy

    RE: ARDELL @ 15
    They were doling out swats in public schools, too. Man, those things hurt.

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  20. ARDELL

    RE: apartment boy @ 19

    Thanks apartment boy. I’ve always wondered. Speaking of “swats”, I do remember “the board of education” hanging in the closet next to the chalk and erasers.

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  21. David Losh

    RE: ARDELL @ 17

    For God’s sakes why did you bring this up?

    Yes, I was in the fifth grade, and Sister Mary Armella had Mark Saturn stand in the front of the class while she went to get a small hunk of 2X4 that she used to spank the heck out of him.

    I may have a nightmare tonight.

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  22. ARDELL

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 18

    “Fixer” is such a nebulous term. I have yet to come across a house that needs absolutely nothing “fixed” if you look hard enough. But within the context of this post, I might list the homes that come under the category of “filth”, using Tim’s caption word. But I would not snap and shoot pictures of something that would merely take some effort and elbow grease to remedy.

    If someone hired you to help them sell their car and it was loaded with candy wrappers and McDonald’s french fries, well I would think part of the job is to at least remove the trash and shine the car up a bit.

    There’s a lot of talk about what is and what isn’t our job. When representing a seller our job is to help them sell it “at the highest price,achievable, in the shortest amount of time (or what is appropriate to their situation) and at the least inconvenience to them”. In representing that person well, maintaining their dignity when friends and family see pictures of their home all over the internet comes into play. .

    Today, the photo array is a large part of marketing the home. So if you take on the job of marketing that home, then some attention is required to present the home in its best possible light. Not perfect…still needs things “fixed”. But no excuse for point and shoot at piles of stuff and filth.

    Some day I may run into a seller who would rather the photos be of piles of stuff and filth, and then if they had a good reason to want that and I agreed with it, then I might help them do that. But in 22+ years I haven’t run into anyone with that as an objective…yet.

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  23. ARDELL

    RE: David Losh @ 21

    Actually I was talking about something I learned in school that prevents me from putting my name on a listing that doesn’t “present” well in the photo array.

    “… remember the nuns saying…if there was so much as a smudge on the paper you handed in: “Really! You would put YOUR NAME on THAT!!!!???”.

    I did not go off into abuse territory…but it’s almost the holidays and all blogs tend to go a little loosey goosey over the holidays.

    Personally I like it better than you and Kary duking it out over which one of you knows the least about real estate. THAT gives ME nightmares. :)

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  24. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: ARDELL @ 22 – Most often it is probably tenant situations that prevent cleanup. In other cases though, elbow grease might be just obvious lipstick on a pig. But in any case, if a client is advised of what they can do to fix up the property and elect not to go that route, I don’t see what the problem is.

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  25. David Losh

    RE: ARDELL @ 23

    It’s just odd that I can remember that day, in school, like it was yesterday. It’s one of the most vivid memories that I have.

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  26. Blurtman

    RE: ARDELL @ 17 – I recall a friend in 6th grade taking a swing at a nun who was wailing on him. He kept his head down, and took a looping roundhouse swing at her. She was stunned, and he fled down the hall as fast as he could. Almost a score one for the little guys moment. It was the right approach, and the way to deal with bullies. Too bad he didn’t connect.

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  27. Kary L. Krismer

    By ARDELL @ 23:

    Personally I like it better than you and Kary duking it out over which one of you knows the least about real estate. THAT gives ME nightmares. :)

    If that gives you nightmares, this probably gives you nightmares too, because it’s the same outcome.

    http://melissahardytrevenna.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/blackknight.jpg?w=300&h=200

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  28. ARDELL

    RE: Blurtman @ 26

    I didn’t want to mention this…but you know that conversation in facebook going on now of a friend of mine I mentioned earlier? Apparently two of the boys knocked two of the nuns out cold. That was over in the Irish Catholic school. I don’t remember any such happenings in my Italian Catholic school. But I thought that mental imagery might do your heart good on a cold, rainy morning. :)

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  29. ARDELL

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 24

    “…if a client is advised of…” I never understood that mentality. I find that if I roll up my sleeves and start doing things, the seller is right next to me happy for the “pace car” and before you know it…the place is transformed. I start moving things at the listing appointment.

    If they knew how…they would have done it already. Handing people a list of things to do and then saying “oh well…they didn’t” is very common in this business, I know. But that just never made any sense to me.

    That is not “lipstick on a pig”. Lipstick on a pig is when I tell the agent there is mold and a leak in the closet and wood destroying insects in the wall, and he goes over and shuts the main water off and paints over the mold and puts caulk on the hole where the termites are “leaking out” in plain view.

    Washing the dirt off the pig is different than putting lipstick on the pig. Another fine distinction. :)

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  30. corndogs

    RE: David Losh @ 21 – You’re going to have a nightmare because of a nun with a 2X4? That’s probably what the priest looked like after he slipped you a mickey.

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  31. ARDELL

    RE: corndogs @ 30

    Actually the only person I ever saw go after someone with a 2 x 4 in my life was my mother going after my brother. He wasn’t a bad kid really…just constantly infuriating. My Mom is very short, just about 5′ tall, so it was actually kind of funny.

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  32. corndogs

    RE: ARDELL @ 31 – I was trying to make an inappropriate sexual innuendo at Loshs’ expense, actually, as would be expected…. but yes, my mom tried to get into the action sometimes as well, but wasn’t very good at it. I had to take the belt away from her once because she was going to hit me with the buckle end. I had to say listen, you’re going to kill somebody here, call the neighbor or something and figure out what you’re doing.

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  33. Ira Sacharoff

    By ARDELL @ 28:

    RE: Blurtman @ 26

    I didn’t want to mention this…but you know that conversation in facebook going on now of a friend of mine I mentioned earlier? Apparently two of the boys knocked two of the nuns out cold. That was over in the Irish Catholic school. I don’t remember any such happenings in my Italian Catholic school. But I thought that mental imagery might do your heart good on a cold, rainy morning. :)

    Italian boys wouldn’t do that. They’re known for being mellow and laid back.:)

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  34. ARDELL

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 33

    No…they just knew they might not live if their father found out they decked a nun.

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  35. joe

    Nice, a return of the wood paneled rumpus room with a bar … underneath that “hazmat crew” junk (which looks mostly like glasses and assorted junk stashed there).

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