Real Actual Listing Photos: The Best and the Worst

Our regularly-scheduled “Real Actual Listing Photos” post is a couple weeks away, but these two photos sent to me by readers were just too good to sit on any longer. Click the photo to view the real actual home listing.


First up is one of the (genuinely) best real estate photos I’ve seen in quite a while.

2926 162nd Ave SE Bellevue, WA 98008

Great color, nice lighting, and a rainbow all the way across the sky. They even resisted the urge to photoshop away the power lines. Nice. Hat tip to Wyatt for finding this gem.


The next one is, shall we say, on the opposite end of the spectrum.

7011 Dayton Ave N Seattle, WA 98103

Wow. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here, but judging by the apparent buttons on the right and the reflections of the words “Audio & Video” as well as a store rack full of small electronics accessories, it appears to be a photograph of the screen on some sort of photo kiosk at a Wal-Mart or something. Yikes. Hat tip to Brendan for spotting this… thing.

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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.

27 comments:

  1. 1
    redmondjp says:

    That first picture is beautiful, but I would never want to live in that house unless those huge trees were removed from the front yard.

    Several people were killed by trees just like those, inside their own homes, in the recent storms in the south. Sure, trees are beautiful, but if your spouse and child died underneath one of them,
    you might think differently.

  2. 2
    Ahau says:

    Hey, man…when your house looked better before digital cameras were invented, you don’t own a scanner, and you don’t want to spend 2 big ones on burning a scanned photo to a CD at wal-mart, what else are you going to do?

  3. 3

    RE: redmondjp @ 1

    Lots of Trees Make Those 90 Degree Summer Days Bearable With Natural Shade

    And cuts down on air conditioner energy waste too.

    Another good reason for lots of trees: earthquakes and landslides….the root systems keep your home’s cement foundation from cracking easily from shifting soil. That’s why they plant them on freeway hills, to prevent landslides like last winter’s BAD ONE on Hwy 18….it was lucky this happenned in the middle of the night or there would have been many very likely deaths, all at once too. Like the condemned waterfront homes on landslides we see frequently on the news too.

  4. 4
    deejayoh says:

    By softwarengineer @ 3:

    RE: redmondjp @ 1
    ….the root systems keep your home’s cement foundation from cracking easily from shifting soil.

    Just like they do sidewalks. wait…

  5. 5

    There really is no excuse for picture #2, but picture #1 is awesome!

  6. 6
    Scotsman says:

    I really hate all the photo tweaking- especially the high contrast, high density hyper colors that every photo seems to deem necessary. It looks so obviously fake.

    One of my favorite sayings is “just because you can do something doesn’t make it a good idea.” Never truer than here. Make the photos clear, numerous, and from far enough back that one has some perspective.

    Like a woman’s make-up, if you see the make-up more than the woman, it’s a fail.

  7. 7

    RE: deejayoh @ 4

    Sidewlks and asphalt are a fraction of the thickness of home foundations, so although I agree with you, its still likely a moot point compared to homes….if your home’s foundation is sitting on dry soil [it better be or something is seriously wrong underneath your house] the roots will never go in there anyway. Water can seep/get under sidewalks though.

  8. 8
    Still Anonymous says:

    Well, it’s not a double rainbow, but it is a single rainbow all the way. What does it meeeeeean? (They they will get top dollar on the sale?)

  9. 9
    Steve says:

    My wife and I are actually considering putting an offer on that house. The rainbow won’t factor into our decision. If someone else values a picture of a rainbow more than us, they are welcome to the place. (See also: How do you respond to multiple offers as a buyer?)

  10. 10
    Betsy says:

    RE: redmondjp @ 1

    The way to avoid killer trees is to have them trimmed regularly. Horrible ice storm in Spokane in 1996 (a more local example than Arkansas) and not one tree or even one large branch fell at my family’s home due to regular (I think every other year) check-ups. UW research suggests removing mature trees is a quick way to lower the value of your home (see fast facts): http://depts.washington.edu/hhwb/Thm_Economics.html

    Full disclosure: I love mature trees

  11. 11
    redmondjp says:

    RE: Betsy @ 10 – No surprise that we have a lot of tree-huggers here ;<) Did any of you read the link in my first post? A man was killed while holding his child (who died also) earlier this year by a tree that crashed through their home – some of the firefighters that got the tree off of them came outside the house and wept after seeing this. Imagine that being your husband and child, with you surviving just a few feet away in the other room!

    But seriously, 120' tall fir trees have no business being within 150 feet of your house. Contrary to what many believe, the root systems on some of these behemoths are very shallow. All it takes are the super-wet conditions we've had all winter long to saturate the soil combined with a good windstorm. And cedar trees tend to rot out from the inside as they get older which is is not typically visually apparent, so they can break off in a storm when they had no issues during previous storms.

    How do I know all of this? Both sides of my family had timber property and my grandfather was a logger. After the major windstorms in Western WA we would drive out to the property to check for blowdowns and usually found them. I was amazed that some of the trees apparently had most of their roots in the top 2-3 feet of soil (in wet areas, they don't have to go any deeper) and that was it, and the whole 8-10' diameter root system was 90 degrees to the ground afterwards.

    I'm not against trees at all – there are many different varieties that will still provide plenty of shade and beauty without the lethality of trees taller than your house is long. When you buy a house, you should be aware of all of the issues on your property that could kill you, and tall trees in your (or your neighbor's) yard is one of those things. Especially vulnerable to the wind are lone trees or small clusters (as pictured above) that are out in the open and do not have the wind protection from other nearby trees.

    The trees in my front yard are 35-year-old maples and (ugh) locusts, and they are on the far edge of the property so if they blew over, I'd be OK. Now, the neighbor's poplar trees lining my back yard, well, that's another story!

  12. 12

    RE: softwarengineer @ 7 – I don’t see fir trees has having the type of root system that would damage a foundation. As noted, they tend to be shallow.

    And I don’t really see that many larger trees that would be close enough to a house to damage a foundation. For sidewalks they tend to push them up, but I don’t think they’re likely to do that with a foundation. Off the top of my head I can’t remember seeing a single house with a foundation damaged by trees.

  13. 13

    By redmondjp @ 11:

    But seriously, 120' tall fir trees have no business being within 150 feet of your house.

    Do they run at the house, or just how to you think they go that extra 30 feet? ;-)

    And I wouldn’t be too worried about the very tops in any event. So at best I would agree with you if you said 150 feet trees shouldn’t be closer than 120 feet.

    Proximity to other trees, the thickness of branches and prevailing storm wind direction are other factors.

  14. 14
    Dweezil says:

    In the first picture, clearly you should buy either of the houses next to the listed house. That is where the rainbow ends and where the pots ‘o gold lay!

  15. 15
    David North says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 12:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 7 – Off the top of my head I can’t remember seeing a single house with a foundation damaged by trees.

    I can recall seeing only one, which wasn’t damaged by roots. In the center of a concrete patio a maple tree had been planted. The patio was surrounded on three sides by concrete block foundation walls. When the trunk of the tree eventually grew larger than the hole in the center of the patio, the patio cracked and was gradually pushed into the concrete block foundation wall on one side, causing the foundation wall to crack and bow inward.

  16. 16
    Jonness says:

    RE: redmondjp @ 11 – I own a house in Puget Sound on 5 treed acres (great big firs, pines, and cedars). The house is typically pretty protected because it’s in the middle of the lot, so the wind can’t get to the inner trees. However, neighbors on all sides of me logged their land during the bubble runup, so I don’t have any edge protection from the wind anymore. This winter, I lost more trees than ever. Two of them came darned close to my house just missing it on two sides. I guess the good of owning a small house on a large lot is it’s harder to hit. :)

  17. 17
    Macro Investor says:

    The newer developments that have all the trees sawed down are ugly to me. OTOH, I love the older neighborhoods that have plenty of mature trees. And guess what — it costs less to live in the prettier neighborhood because so many people think newer is better. Win/win for me.

    I’ll live with the danger, just like I live with 10 million times the danger of riding in a car. I will be more wary of sick trees or extremely windy areas.

  18. 18
    Lo Ball Jones says:

    I ate his liver with some fava beans, and a good Chianti…http://media.cdn-redfin.com/photo/1/bigphoto/996/190996_11_1.jpg

  19. 19
    Cheap South says:

    RE: redmondjp @ 1

    My friend – if you have problems with mature evergreens on your property, you live in the wrong part of the world.

  20. 20
    The Other Ben says:

    By redmondjp @ 1:

    That first picture is beautiful, but I would never want to live in that house unless those huge trees were removed from the front yard.

    Several people were killed by trees just like those, inside their own homes, in the recent storms in the south. Sure, trees are beautiful, but if your spouse and child died underneath one of them,
    you might think differently.

    <3 deaths/year happen in the U.S. due to trees falling on houses and killing the occupants. (http://www.treecareindustry.org/articles/Safety/TCI1208_p8.htm) (if you ignore cyclones and tornadoes, neither of which occur here)

    Seems like there are more significant things to worry about.

  21. 21
    The Tim says:

    By The Other Ben @ 20:

    Seems like there are more significant things to worry about.

    Yeah, like tsunamis.

    *evil grin*

  22. 22
    David S says:

    My mom was injured by a falling tree in the last big PNW windstorm years ago. House was total loss. Stuff happens,,,,,,,,,

  23. 23
    Steve says:

    You are in a lot more danger from the car in your driveway than you are from the tree in your front yard.

  24. 24

    RE: The Tim @ 21 – You beat me to it! :-( :-D

    I wonder if the risk of death is reduced by which way the rafters run relative to the tree. Using the pictured house as an example, if the tree fell down the middle, in what is presumably the living room area, I could see it slicing all the way through the house with little problem because it would go between rafters and studs. But if it hit off to the side, where it would have to cut through several rafters and more of the studs would distribute the weight, and it would continue to be suspended by the house.

    Not that falling sheetrock might not be a problem–I’m just thinking of the tree actually hitting you inside the house.

  25. 25
    ChrisM says:

    I, too, am a little surprised by the tree denial here. A couple of months ago we had 50mph winds that brought down six fully grown doug firs and one adult maple. By sheer luck, the maple fell within 15 feet of my well house. Had it landed on the well house, it would have been destroyed. The firs were in the forest part of the property (8 acre lot) but of course would have done significant damage had they landed on a structure.

    The doug firs all had shallow root systems.

    One tree fell across the power line, taking out the neighborhood for a few hours.

    The property across the street just had a full size doug fir come down as well. It is a vacant 10 acre lot, but again, no root system.

    The place I lived prior to this (in Vancouver) also had a significant number of doug firs, but this was in the city. In the past 10 years, developers had cleared out some of the trees. Well, the remaining trees had until that point been sheltered from the wind. It wasn’t too long before a wind storm came up, and one tree dropped down on someone’s car in the driveway, destroying it. Sheer chance it didn’t land on the house.

  26. 26
    jd says:

    Not sure how to submit a detrimental listing photo, but check out the size of this bed!

    http://media.cdn-redfin.com/photo/1/bigphoto/120/220120_7_0.jpg

    (for this listing: http://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/3909-Ashworth-Ave-N-98103/home/119343)

  27. 27
    zb says:

    RE: redmondjp @ 11
    I, personally, worry about meteors falling on my house. How do I reduce that risk, do you think?

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