Real Actual Listing Photos: Bank-Owned Edition

Speaking of poorly-marketed bank-owned listings

It’s time for another installment of Real Actual Listing Photos. Once a month (or so) I round up some of the most bizarre listing photos from around the Seattle area and post them here, with brief excerpts from the real actual listing description, and probably a bit of snarky commentary.

The idea for this series stems from the ongoing forum thread Detrimental Listing Photos, which is where you should post your nominations for next month’s Real Actual Listing Photos post.

Enough explanation. Let’s get to the photos! Click the photo to view the Real Actual Listing.

2593 234th Place SW Brier, WA 98036“Lush, mature landscaping outside.”

I think the photo of that front lawn speaks for itself, but apparently the listing agent didn’t agree.

1716 Cedar St Everett, WA 98201“Home is very desirable easy going”

The listing agent for this home took 8 photos, each more unbelievably out of focus than the one before.

1706 112th St Everett, WA 98204“This cutie is close to all of the amenities”

…and by “amenities,” I mean large, dense trees, of course.

3806 High St Everett, WA 98201“Charmer”

ABANDON SHIP! SHE’S GOING DOWN! ABANDON SHIP!

2511 Fulton St Everett, WA 98201“Charming opportunity in North Everett awaits your buyers.”

I think “awaits your buyers” isn’t quite the right phrase to describe what’s going on here. I’d go with “lurks sinisterly in the shadows.” Photo 4 in this set is pretty great too.

43701 284 Ave SE Enumclaw, WA 98022“Features a formal living room with valuted ceilings, bay window with seating area.”

…oh, and a possessed kitchen. Did we mention the possessed kitchen? Oh well, they’ll find out about it soon enough on their own.

Let me know if you have an idea for another “Real Actual Listing Photos” theme.

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About 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. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

24 comments:

  1. 1
    David S says:

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Maple-Valley/21117-276th-Ave-SE-98038/home/375093

    This is a good one. I love “midway through a remodel”. I think the previous occupants completely finished the remodel and have moved on to another project.

  2. 2
    David Losh says:

    This is exactly what I’m talking about. Get used to the fact that the pictures mean nothing. We just refused to continue work for a Real estate agent who was covering defects. The pictures will be beautiful, because for $250 for a photographer, good pictures are what Real Estate is all about. It’s in the presentation.

    In the world of bank owned property it’s all about the numbers. Yes, you have to get in the car and look at a couple of hundred bank owned homes to see what’s worth the price. The inventory of bank owned changes hourly, or by the minute, depending on what’s going on in the world. You may pick a good day when a bank will take $200K for a $380K property.

    The photos are a suckers bet. It’s for the rubes who have abosolutely no clue about Real Estate, the Real Estate industry, the market place as a whole, or how to get a deal together.

    The photos are for the whankers who hang around in the house in pajamas thinking they are doing something.

  3. 3
    ray pepper says:

    The lack of professionalism with these pics is only the start. Did you ever try to get a hold of the listing agents who take these listings? Seems nobody is manning the ship on these listings. So many just have 1 picture and most of the time it appears they never get out of the car.

  4. 4

    By David Losh @ 2:

    The photos are a suckers bet. It’s for the rubes who have abosolutely no clue about Real Estate, the Real Estate industry, the market place as a whole, or how to get a deal together..

    Don’t hold back David. Tell us how you really feel! ;-)

    I sort of feel the same way about virtual tours, but buyers seem to like them for some reason. I don’t have the patience to sit through one myself.

    But as to your point on the $250 photographer (or what I think it was anyway), there is a risk to photos which make the property seem better than it is. It’s sort of like advertising a 2 bedroom as a 4 bedroom (which I have seen done). You want the photos to be good enough to get people in, but not to hide things such that when they actually see the property their most significant reaction while at the property is disappointment. Stated differently, photos should manage expectations.

    That said, I don’t think there’s ever an excuse for a photo that is terribly out of focus.

  5. 5
    Scotsman says:

    “desirable easy going”

    Now that’s what I want! I’m tired of waking up every morning in a house full of attitude. I already have teenagers who think they’re smarter than I am.

  6. 6
    Cheap South says:

    By David S @ 1:

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Maple-Valley/21117-276th-Ave-SE-98038/home/375093

    This is a good one. I love “midway through a remodel”. I think the previous occupants completely finished the remodel and have moved on to another project.

    That “midway through a remodel” comment is funny; but I have to admit, the property looks nice. Large land, large attached garage. At 2600sq.ft., the house is a bit too big for my taste, and about 300K over what I can spend; but the main pic looks nice (Losh – don’t worry, I would not buy on pics alone.)

  7. 7
    masaba says:

    ‘Lush Mature Landscaping.’

    Sparing no expense, they even landscaped the cracks in the driveway!

  8. 8
    David S says:

    I could go on. Replace every plumbing fixture, replace every cabinet, all flooring, all trim all lighting, entirely redo kitchen and all bathrooms, and then, replace all mechanical (HVAC, water heater, well pumps, septic pump), finally, repair wiring and plumbing or more simply just replace the copper stuff that needs to be there. Yeah, it’s too good to be true. Don’t miss the opportunity!

    By Cheap South @ 6:

    By David S @ 1:

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Maple-Valley/21117-276th-Ave-SE-98038/home/375093

    This is a good one. I love “midway through a remodel”. I think the previous occupants completely finished the remodel and have moved on to another project.

    That “midway through a remodel” comment is funny; but I have to admit, the property looks nice. Large land, large attached garage. At 2600sq.ft., the house is a bit too big for my taste, and about 300K over what I can spend; but the main pic looks nice (Losh – don’t worry, I would not buy on pics alone.)

  9. 9
    Cheap South says:

    The one with the dirty lens. “REDUCED TO SELL HOME IS RENTED PLEASE NOT DISTURB RENTERS.”

    Seriously?? $189/sq.ft for a 100 year old place in Everett, and it has been reduced?? Really?? The 348 days on the market say it should be lower, much lower.

  10. 10
    RoflCatDown says:

    I’ve rarely seen photos for a listing that truly made the house look better than it did in person.

    Typically you can tell where the real issues are by simply noting what photos are missing.

    IE: If they say jacuzzi tub but don’t show a shot of the bathroom, it’s some nasty pea-green thing that probably doesn’t actually work, or has permanent stains in it. Maybe a crack. Or it’s just a cheap one that has a single jet designed to burrow a hole through your back like an escaping alien creature.

    Or

    If they say it’s a 3 bedroom, but only show one (or no) bedrooms) because the kids have spilled paint on the carpet, or the blood stains of the former owner who committed suicide upon eviction haven’t been painted over yet.

    So, sure, take a look at the pictures. You can often rule out how much you like the outside of a house by one, and get a good feel for how much or little light the place gets based on what you’re looking for.

  11. 11

    By RoflCatDown @ 10:

    If they say it’s a 3 bedroom, but only show one (or no) bedrooms) because the kids have spilled paint on the carpet, or the blood stains of the former owner who committed suicide upon eviction haven’t been painted over yet.

    Well first, bedrooms without furniture can be difficult to photograph, so that could be a reason for not showing all the bedrooms.

    Second, you don’t just paint over blood. ;-)

  12. 12
    LA Relo says:

    All the more reason why I think RE ads should be limited to a floorplan and facts:
    – street address
    – square footage
    – lot size
    – beds/bath
    – garage
    – construction style
    – year built

    Meaningless hyperbole and flat out lies only perpetuate the mistrust of Realtors IMO, and the rest is fluff anyway. No one buys a house based only on granite counter tops.

  13. 13
    RoflCatDown says:

    RE: LA Relo @ 12 – Sure a turd with granite counter tops is still a turd, but it’s got granite counter tops! Kind of like why some people put $4000 rims on a $500 car.

    If your choice of what you could afford was a turd, or a turd with granite counter tops which would you picK?

  14. 14
    EastBellevueEtherBinge says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 11:

    Second, you don’t just paint over blood. ;-)

    Better bring the luminol before you buy…

  15. 15
    David Losh says:

    RE: Cheap South @ 6RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4RE: ray pepper @ 3

    You’re missing the point that these are bank owned properties.

    For a nice comforable purchase of a Green Lake bungelow, or down town condo the $250 is well spent, but bank owned is all numbers.

    If you are shopping a bank owned by internet your out of the game. You have to see a bank owned property to know if it’s good.

    The second part is that being all numbers it’s about the return for the dollars you put in. If you want the family home, stick with the family home formula.

  16. 16
    softwarengineer says:

    Let’s Face the Pragmatic Facts Too

    Who’s got the money to really fix up these charmers to top new construction code, especially hiring at contractor estimates?

    The bottom line: be weary of the ones that have immaculant carpets, newly painted and perfect landscaping too. Even a do-it-yourself flipper can whitewash a mess to “look nice”. If you smell lots of incense and air purifying chemicals on Summer sales units, check for undetected blotches of mildew evidence [dark spots]….albeit, that can be covered up with special oil base paints made for the job. The ants may be gone now, but before the exterminator rid the place of them, they ate through the base floors? Even cracks in cement foundations and brick chimneys can be covered with patch and painted over; or the cracks aren’t visible from the outside [yet]. Wiring on the verge of failure or incorrectly installed can fool any building inspector too….piping defects in the walls too. Even new roofs applied over partially rotted wood may never be detected and the roof looks replaced.

    The bottom line, ya buy anything on a risk and rent is buying a dead horse, but at least you’re not buying a live horse with terminal cancer bills, if you keep renting.

  17. 17
    Jessica says:

    Thanks Tim and other posters! These pictures and comments have been very funny.

  18. 18
    HappyRenter says:

    The house with the possessed kitchen says it needs some work. Probably to fix those cabinets and drawers ;)

  19. 19
    Racket says:

    “If you are shopping a bank owned by internet your out of the game”

    Ditto if you let them hit the MLS.

  20. 20
    Anon. says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 11

    Then you’re doing it wrong Kary…. You’re doing it wrong..

  21. 21

    By softwarengineer @ 16:

    The bottom line: be weary of the ones that have immaculant carpets, newly painted and perfect landscaping too.

    As I’ve mentioned in the past, we recently had a buyer for a Fannie (or Freddie) property that was very well fixed up cosmetically. Even so, there were a lot of remaining defects, at least one that was unexpected. Still, what they did do would have cost a lot to do, and most likely recovered for the bank more than it paid for repairs (I never saw the property beforehand, so it’s hard to say). But this warning is good–just because it looks great doesn’t mean it is great.

  22. 22
    David Losh says:

    RE: Racket @ 19

    OK, yes, that’s also true, but the ones going to the MLS are determined to be salable. If the property hits the MLS and gets returned to the bank, then again yes, that may be a deal.

    A client of mine bought a bank owned for $35K, which was what was owed to the bank, after sitting on the market for months. The price was just too low, no one wanted it. You also needed a release from the seller who owned a porno shop, no one wanted to go see him. My client sold the house for $65K, plus costs, the day after closing.

    Speaking of $65K a duplex on Capitol Hill was purchased at that price as a fixer, from the bank. The bank refused to do the work, for some reason, probably because they thought the price was attractive.

    The bank does hold and control the inventory. You can buy direct if you are a known operator, a problem solver, a person who will take on projects, and can make a financial case to investors.

  23. 23

    I saw a short sale Townhome in Bothell last October that was beautifully staged, in great condition and had excellent photos on-line. Needless to say, it got an offer in 2 weeks. I personally phoned and thanked the agent for making so much effort for a short sale because I’m tired of lazy ***** agents who get distressed listings and do NOTHING to promote them. I have avoided distressed properties because in my experience, dealing with the agents who list them has been so frustrating….rarely returning phone calls, terrible at completing paperwork and definitely cheap when it comes to photography!

  24. 24

    […] Real Actual Listing Photos: Bank-Owned Edition – 07/19, 23 comments, 3,973 views […]

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