Real Actual Listing Photos: Little Fibs & Big Fireworks

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.

No theme this month, just a random assortment of high quality sales material.

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

2802 Fairview Ave E Seattle, WA 98102“The Enclave is a never-before/never-again opportunity to own a residence along the Lake Union waterfront seconds from downtown.”

Hey, since it doesn’t even exist yet (note “Year Built: 2012”), why not go all-out with the phony photo? Just throw whatever you want in there—improbable fireworks coming from every direction, some kind of nuclear flame cloud in the outdoor fireplace, and toss a flowing American flag in there just for good measure. And hey, as long as we’re making stuff up, let’s call an 11-minute drive to downtown “seconds.”

621 I St NE Auburn, WA 98002“This property has been remodeled over it’s past eight years with new roof, new black-top, new curbing and all units upgraded on turn overs.”

Note that the lion is this listing’s only photo. That is a cool lion, but really, the only photo of a $3.5M listing?

8314 16th Ave NW Seattle, WA 98117“Basement has been completely finished with 3rd bedroom and a family room, den or office…”

Because who doesn’t want to sit on a tiny ottoman and watch movies on a flat-screen TV while eating popcorn off a folding end table? Nobody, that’s who. Also, does that ceiling look “completely finished” to you? Hmm.

8019 18th Ave NW Seattle, WA 98117“Period details incl. coved-recessed ceilings, sculpted archways, built-in cabinets, double-hung windows, wide moldings, hardwood floors, panel doors, large fireplace and more.”

Not sure how the archways pictured in this listing could be considered “sculpted,” but hopefully the roses are included in the $450k price? The description’s closes: “Equity awaits!” It waits, and waits, and waits…

621 NW 52nd St Seattle, WA 98107“Charming Classic 1928 Ballard Tudor with lots of old world charm still intact.”

Ahh, that’s what you call it when your chimney shoots up randomly through a room right in front of the door. “Old world charm.” Got it.

7011 NE 182nd St Kenmore, WA 98103“Backyard has a little garden shed for storing the yard tool essentials.”

This place is just across the street from my old digs. Kenmore: where lawn furniture goes to die.

Let me know if you have an idea for the next “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.


  1. 1

    Interesting Group of Pictures

    The Lake Union condo has another phony appearance too….the window has no seams and structure [probably way too big too]….just a wonderful giganic/seamless view of the fireworks….yeah right.

    The brick lion thing looks like the door knocker from Ebineezer Scrooge…

    The finished basement looks like a slap together alright, they just painted over glueboard doors and such?

    That phony sculpted wall would look better covered up with a 3-D flat digital TV, than the rose out of nowhere…

    The recessed indoor chimney probably wouldn’t meet today’s “fire danger” building codes either…or fire codes 40-50 years ago for that matter.

    The only thing nice in the “ram-shackle backyard” is the new looking green lawn mower….it appears from lack of use.

  2. 2
    FenceSitter says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 1

    SWE – I think that the picture of the fireworks is actually on a (rooftop?) deck.

  3. 3

    RE: FenceSitter @ 2

    Yes….the lawn furniture just looks FAR better than most of our living room furniture….they must work four $10/hr Amazon wharehouse jobs in that household to score those babies….

  4. 4
    FenceSitter says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 3
    The deck looks like it is the size of the entirety of my apartment’s living area. I wonder if the furniture comes with the townhouse?

  5. 5
    Haybaler says:

    The Kenmore listing has an interesting pattern on the price history page. The asking price is being reduced by 10K WEEKLY….it’s also a short sale. Kary?

  6. 6

    RE: FenceSitter @ 4

    I Didn’t See the Listing Price On These Gems

    But if ya didn’t get designer furniture with a $300K+ condo/apartment ya got ripped off…

  7. 7

    RE: Haybaler @ 5 – I can’t comment on active listings, but I will point out that a week has more than four days. ;-)

  8. 8
    Lurker says:

    I find it sad that they are going to burn (or eat?) the flag on Independence Day. What a sick joke, they must really hate freedom.

  9. 9
    FenceSitter says:

    RE: Haybaler @ 5

    Maybe they are trying to keep up with this one in Magnolia –

  10. 10

    RE: FenceSitter @ 9 -You’re missing something. Look at each listing very carefully.

  11. 11
    FenceSitter says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 10RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 10

    Oh my gosh! I didn’t look at the agent on the Kenmore listing! Fascinating.

    Edited to add:

    Looking at the King County Dept of Assessment, the last reason for sale of both properties is “Trust.” Not entirely sure what that means, but perhaps he specializes in that type of sale/situation.

  12. 12
    Raymond says:

    I like how the artist didn’t bother to move the cushions on the couch or even the drink on the table in the fireworks picture compared to the daytime picture in the same listing. (On the other hand, the bushes were kind enough to get out of the way for the fireworks show. And is that a mushroom cloud off in the distance?)

  13. 13
    ChrisM says:

    RE: FenceSitter @ 9 – At what point does such a listing turn into a Hendrickson (sp?) issue – are they pricing that listing reasonably, that is, what a bank would be likely to accept?

    Also, an amusing example of the horrors of low-balling. Nearly 40% reduction in price since June 19. How many Realtors ™ would say that offering 500k on 9/16 would have been offensive to the seller?

  14. 14
    TeaKake says:

    I don’t see why the finished basement picture is such a big deal. The others, I agree, have issues but the only real problem I see in the basement is a lack of staging. True, the lack of a ceiling is a bit odd but, really, this photo doesn’t belong anywhere near the same category of WTF as the other three.

  15. 15
    John Bailo says:

    The Enclave looks like the place where the Tralfamdorians put Billy Pilgrim and Montana Wildhack.

  16. 16
    Scotsman says:

    I put this on the Monday open thread- still no answer on what was going on in that kitchen. . .

    One of the quirks of looking at lower priced listings like mine and Tim’s last example above is that the quality of the photos seems to track price pretty well. With Tim’s last example when you go to look at the overhead pic at the bottom of the listing it shows a vacant lot next to a bunch of trailers. Is that an error, or commentary? ;-)

  17. 17
    The Tim says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 16 – Much larger version of the photo here (click to enlarge):

    Seems to just be a lamp in the living room. It does look funny when it’s too small to see the detail though.

  18. 18
    FenceSitter says:

    RE: ChrisM @ 13
    I really have absolutely no idea what the strategy is, but I the agent claims to be a short sale specialist, so I guess he knows what he is doing. As a buyer I would probably watch it for another couple of months to see if it would go under $400k. Then I would question why no one else had made an offer….

  19. 19
    Macro Investor says:

    The chimney in the middle of the room is funny. The door looks like it won’t open very far. In dim lighting people will bump into it.

    The flowing flag is funny too. Quite a wind blowing out from the house and through the balcony.

  20. 20

    By ChrisM @ 13:

    RE: FenceSitter @ 9 – At what point does such a listing turn into a Hendrickson (sp?) issue – are they pricing that listing reasonably, that is, what a bank would be likely to accept?

    Speaking generally, and not in regard to any particular listing, that’s not a black and white issue. It’s sort of like the old saying about pornography that is obscene. You know it when you see it! ;-)

    That reminds me I still need to work through the final Hellicson decision. It’s been sitting on my floor for a couple of weeks. I did note that they indicated it was a breach of standard of care not to do a price analysis prior to each price change.

  21. 21

    RE: FenceSitter @ 18 -Hellickson also claimed to be a short sale expert. Hellickson lost his license, and short sale pricing behavior was the offense that the DOL and the ALJ found most significant to the punishment.

  22. 22
    Haybaler says:

    RE: FenceSitter @ 9
    Oh, that’s a record. I figure that in about 10 more weeks they’ll be priced right.
    Somebody’s spending alot of time doing comparative market analysis every week, I wonder if they’re using an automated template?

  23. 23
    Nick Sincere says:

    Has anyone looked at the door knocker listing. It’s for an interesting multi-family dwelling. For instance, Unit 1 has 7 bedrooms, 99 baths and 9 fireplaces all in 100 square feet!

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