Real Actual Listing Photos: Just Leave the Swastika Up

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.

Do not forget, you can check out Looney Listing all month long for a steady stream of bizarre and amazing listing photos from across the country. If you’ve got a nomination for a listing photo that should appear here, drop me a line.

No particular theme this month. Just enjoy a collection of odd listing photos found by readers and yours truly.

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

423 E Illinois St Lot 1, Bellingham, WA 98225“a completely empty shell for whatever you can think of!”

Also, here is a photograph of the listing agent’s hand! Found by Spencer W.

411 Sea Home Rd, Quilcene, WA 98376“Current home is dry but needs some work.”

Gotta love that they couldn’t even be bothered to paint over the swastika flag graffiti before listing this home. Found by JP.

[Update: A few hours after this post went live, the swastika photo was removed from the listing on the MLS. It can however still be found on less up-to-date sites like Zillow.]

8316 35th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126“Charming 3 bd. bungalow”

You’re looking at the primary photo for this listing. I’d like to know how they fit 3 bedrooms in there. Found by John R.

4801 S Spencer St, Seattle, WA 98118“Hillman City fixer with tons of potential located on a fully fenced corner lot.”

Well it was fenced whenever the Google Street View car drove by, anyway. Found by KDM.

9502 Evanston Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103“New tiled floors with bamboo in living room and all upstairs.”

Don’t believe that this house really has tiled floors? FOOL! Behold and be shamed!

1619 E Marion St, Seattle, WA 98122“Pete Granger Homes proudly presents this Modern View home”

Um, Pete… I don’t know how to break it to you, but… that is not a home. That is Seattle University.

Let me know if you have an idea for a future “Real Actual Listing Photos” theme, and be sure to check out Looney Listing for listing photo amusement throughout the month.

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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

    This piece is currently showing in Google News for Seattle. I wonder if it’s the title?

  2. 2

    The swastika photo now appears to be gone from the listing.

  3. 3
    The Tim says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 2 – Hah! I guarantee it was a response to this post. Looks like the change was made 2 hours ago. It was the same set of photos from the time it was emailed to me 9 days ago through this morning.

    Looks like they only updated the MLS though. Zillow still shows that photo in the set: is still out of date as well:

  4. 4

    RE: The Tim @ 3 – Those sites don’t update as often as broker sites.

    Now that the picture is not attached to a listing I present my “Top Ten Possible Comments” about a random picture:

    10. The seller did not want to paint over, because they thought the buyer might end up just having to replace it.
    9. For some unknown reason, all the offers had “neighborhood review” checked.
    8. A great buying opportunity for those who want to feel superior.
    7. Seemingly someone doesn’t know about the 24 hour rule for tagging.
    6. The NWMLS’s “report a listing” feature apparently isn’t too popular on the peninsula.
    5. I’m shocked. A picture of a circuit breaker panel from Zinsco.
    4. Great property for “meetings.”
    3. Best “Real Actual LIstings” picture since the bondage chair!
    2. The CDOM proves that the fair housing laws are unnecessary.
    1. Hey, where did the picture go?

  5. 5
    Erik says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 2
    My sale is over! Thank you seattle bubble!! No more juanita condo talk.

  6. 6
    redmondjp says:

    By Erik @ 5:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 2
    My sale is over! Thank you seattle bubble!! No more juanita condo talk.

    Congratulations . . . and thanks in advance!

  7. 7
    mike says:

    I looked up the original deed to my house from 1940-something and it said ‘white people only’ – while that kind of deed restriction isn’t enforceable, perhaps it’s implied with this listing? We still have some folks living in the past.

  8. 8
    Erik says:

    RE: mike @ 7
    That is crazy. I had no idea you could put those kinds of things on there. That was only 74 years ago too. Seems pretty absurd to put that today.

  9. 9

    RE: Erik @ 8
    I don’t think you’d find restrictions like that for individual houses, but entire communities/neighborhoods had white only covenants, and they were common. It wasn’t that long ago(50 yrs?) that many neighborhoods in Seattle had ” No Blacks, No Jews, No Asians” restrictions written into the covenants for home owners. That is why the Central District was mostly Black for a long time- because they weren’t allowed to live anywhere else.

  10. 10

    By Erik @ 8:

    RE: mike @ 7
    That is crazy. I had no idea you could put those kinds of things on there. That was only 74 years ago too. Seems pretty absurd to put that today.

    He’s talking about a 40 year old deed, but those covenants never go away. Even if you gathered up all of the current owners of the property affected by the one covenant and got them to agree to eliminate the covenant, the title companies would likely still report the original covenant (with their standard disclaimers about them being unenforceable), just as when a condo declaration is amended the original declaration is still referenced. Once it’s recorded getting rid of it is sort of like trying to unring a bell.

    Easements are a similar problem–they don’t just disappear, and many of them are poorly written and can cause problems virtually forever.

    But in Mike’s case I think the owners back then just had incredible foresight and were trying to prevent this guy from moving in.!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/gal-tan-boehner-jpg.jpg

  11. 11
    Erik says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 9
    I didnt know that. Very interesting.

  12. 12

    RE: Erik @ 8

    Yes Erik

    Thank goodness America is by far the most ethic diverse country in America, hades, our immigration numbers alone in this country dwarf the rest of the world’s countries all put together.

    Its time to go after the rest of the world for its segregation?

  13. 13
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 10
    I remember in the HOA i was in for condominium complex, the amendments didn’t really even matter. The original declaration held all of the authority. We had to pay to change the original declaration in order to even make any of the declarations enforceable. Next condo I live in, I will have a lawyer look over my documents from the HOA before I purchase the condo. It is confusing how some documents matter and some don’t.

  14. 14
    ChefJoe says:

    In the absence of the swastika flag photo that is not gone, photo 7 of the set shows that the door along the red exterior wall has information about someone who loves “male genitals”.

  15. 15
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 9

    In many, MANY (not an isolated incident) Seattle neighborhoods those restrictive covenants appear in the actual individual deeds for every house in the neighborhood. There was an action against an Open House agent not too long ago for having that Deed sitting out at the Open House. It was in a “Buyer’s Packet” including the Seller Disclosure form and the agent used The Deed as the “legal description” instead of a more standardized “Exhibit A” description.

    The Afro-American woman was extremely uncomfortable reading the Deed in the room with the agent and other potential buyers and sued or threatened to sue. Pretty sure it was settled out of court. That the language “wasn’t enforceable” was not the issue. That the woman was subjected to the emotional impact of reading it was the issue…in public…just sitting out on the table. I know about it as many agents thought the woman was being ridiculous…I did not agree.

    How information is conveyed is important. The mere “it’s not enforceable” is not sufficient. Someday…somehow…this language has to disappear from current conveyances and remain only in the History Books…certainly not on a table in an Open House.

    To Erik…it wasn’t until 1968 that Seattle City Council passed an Open Housing Ordinance making restrictive covenants illegal. Not that long ago really. Consider that in 1964 in Seattle, voters rejected a referendum to prohibit housing discrimination, so the 1968 ordinance was not simply a broad correction of an already accepted standard.

    While the Supreme Court decided in 1947 that restrictive covenants were not enforceable, that restricted governments (primarily States) from participating in enforcing the restrictive covenants, but did not prevent private parties from doing so. Even after the 1948 Supreme Court ruling, the Realtors in Seattle were bound by Article 34 (first enacted in 1924) of the Realtor code of Ethics as late as 1950 “A Realtor should never be instrumental in introducing into a neighborhood a character of property or occupancy, members of any race or nationality, or any individual whose presence will clearly be detrimental to property values in that neighborhood.”

    NAR was founded in 1908 but this year, 2013, is the 100th Anniversary of The Realtor Code of Ethics”. One of my favorite “old” codes involved “horseback appraisals”…the precursor to “drive by appraisals”. :)

    The restrictive covenants in Seattle are the worst I have ever seen anywhere. The language still appears in many new Deeds, as Kary indicated, as the persons preparing the New Deeds in today’s real estate transactions do not have the authority to remove this language. So the preparation of a new Deed for a new Owner will perpetuate this language in the Deed.

    Not only do many say “white only”, but they also have hours within which “domestic help only” of other races could enter the neighborhood and a time they needed to leave by.

    Someone has to figure out how to rid the city of this language in current Property Deeds if they haven’t already done so, and I don’t believe they have.

    Disclosure: I am not a lawyer or a member of The National Association of Realtors (at present). The “facts” in this post are somewhat and primarily from public sources. Your research may provide additional and/or different information.

  16. 16

    By ARDELL @ 15:

    How information is conveyed is important. The mere “it’s not enforceable” is not sufficient. Someday…somehow…this language has to disappear from current conveyances and remain only in the History Books…certainly not on a table in an Open House.

    Someone has to figure out how to rid the city of this language in current Property Deeds if they haven’t already done so, and I don’t believe they have..

    I didn’t say that language would appear in deeds today, but instead that the covenants would be referenced in title reports.

    There is no reason it has to appear in a deed today or even in the past. Sometimes you’ll see a deed with part of a title report attached listing the encumbrances of record, or the language “subject to covenants and encumbrances of record” and I think that’s just to make it clear that the seller was excluding those items in the warranties granted by the warranty deed, but I don’t believe that was ever actually necessary, as opposed to just being a precaution.

    It’s the recording of the covenant that makes it effective, not the mention of it in a deed (although mentioning it would be necessary if it was not recorded).

    As to the situation you mentioned, using a deed old enough to contain such language would be risky for other reasons. For example, over that amount of time there might have been a lot line adjustment.

  17. 17
    ChefJoe says:

    @15 A small sampling:

    Capitol Hill 935 properties, 38 blocks That no part of said premises shall ever be used or occupied by or sold conveyed, leased, rented, or given to negroes or any person or persons of negro blood,

    Loyal Heights Loyal View No part of said property hereby conveyed shall ever be used or occupied by any person of the Ethiopian, Malay, or any Asiatic race…

    Lake Forest Park That said property, or any part thereof, shall be used for residence purposes only, and shall be occupied only by persons of the white race, except that servants not of the white race, but actually employed by a white occupant, may reside on said property .

  18. 18

    RE: ChefJoe @ 17 – While Washington never had separate drinking fountains and building entrances (that I know of), local developers apparently weren’t exempt from the “there goes the neighborhood” type of thinking. I remember jokes expressing that viewpoint on TV shows in the late 60s, early 70s.

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 16 -I’m going to step back a bit from my own comment. The statute that creates the warranties in a statutory warranty deed isn’t exactly a model of clarity. While I doubt someone could claim an easement to PSE or a sewer easement would interfere with their “quiet enjoyment” of their property, particularly where they were informed of it prior to purchase, it probably wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to imagine someone suing over such a thing, and that’s probably why deeds reference existing matters of record. And when you further take into account that most deeds are prepared by an escrow company who is technically not getting paid to create the deed, you can see why they’d not want to take the risk of being drug into such a lawsuit as a third party defendant. (Also, I haven’t researched the issue, which is another reason to step it back.) That said, there still would be no reason today to reference any racial restrictions in a deed.

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