Designed to Sell: Part 2

Today I shall continue with some of the things that are a turn-off to buyers…or at least to Daniel and I. Usually they are small things like just picking up stuff off the floor, decluttering and taking 5 seconds to think about how to take the BEST picture. If you want sell quickly, we feel these are things that are important enough to spend a Sunday afternoon doing before putting your house on the market.

In my first installment, I went over kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms etc. so today we’ll be venturing off into bedrooms (mostly master suites) and backyards. With a random scarecrow thrown in the mix.

You’ll see.

Like I said, and like many HGTV folks say, the kitchen & bathrooms are usually the things that sell the home. I know those are our top 2, but coming in a very close third and fourth are master suites and backyards.

Here are some awful master suites currently on the market in Beeville:

^This bedroom is in a $149,000+ home. It looks like it was a part of the set for That 70’s Show. A fresh coat of white paint would have done wonders for this photo, and would be a quick, inexpensive fix. The room is quite large, but most buyers would probably be turned off right away.

This suite looks spacious, but the bed frame is TOUCHING the ceiling. This makes me feel claustrophobic. Furthermore, put away the orange shirt, the ironing board, the dust rag on the coffee table and perhaps the red slippers. If they’re trying to stage this to appeal to a buyer, they’ve gone about it the wrong way. An INSTANT way to make this room feel large (because it truly is) is to remove the canopy from the bed. You’d still be left with a massive poster bed, but at least it wouldn’t feel as small.

I am getting an anxiety attack just looking at the above picture. I think this bedroom may be beyond remedy.

This photo isn’t awful, but it doesn’t really show me anything but a quilt, half a dresser and a chest.

What’s the point?

Also, TURN OFF THE DATE/TIME STAMP FEATURE of your camera or crop it out if you don’t know how! Especially if it’s wrong. This photo was apparently taken 1/22/2007 at 5:37 pm. If someone not familiar with the area saw this photo, they may very well assume the DOM is high. DOM=days on market. The higher the DOM, the more a buyer thinks, “Why hasn’t this sold yet?”
Especially after 3.5 years.

Daniel and I do not have children yet, but for someone that does, photos of children’s bedrooms like this may scare them:

Too. Much. Stuff. I know people live here, but your kid does not use those items every day.


Attack of the stuffed animals. They’re taking a nap on the bed, keeping a watch in the crib, and trying to escape from the window. But apparently the kid uses the vacuum on occasion, so bonus points there.

Now let’s look at some GOOD examples:


Plain, clean, spacious.


Again- plain, clean, spacious AND natural light. Bonus!


This rooms feel cozy, not crowded. Looks good overall.


This one can go either way- for me, it feels small and it looks like if I sit up in bed, I could get hit in the head with a ceiling fan. But it at least looks neat.


I couldn’t find many decent kids rooms, but this one is nice. The colors are very tween oriented, but it’s a cute, clean space that wouldn’t make me want to run for the hills. Easy to picture as a kids room, nursery, guest room, office, etc.

Why don’t we take this outside?


What’s wrong with this picture? Well, it seems like a great space, but the shadows of the trees make it hard to see the hot tub in the corner and the swing set in the opposite corner. Not a horrible picture, but a different angle could have worked wonders in this photo.


In this photo we seem to have an above ground swimming pool who is too shy to be in the picture. Either get it all in the picture or leave it for it’s own photo.


All I see is a random handle in the bottom, lots of wires, wind chimes, a leaning BBQ pit, and a…Christmas tree? Too much going on here- this photo lacks focus.


Nice, clean, simple.


Spacious deck, plenty of dining room, a nice pit, pretty trees=a spot I would love to be in!


I like the space, but I am thinking of all the leaves I’d have to rake. I mean, Daniel would have to rake. But nice space!


Gorgeous gazebo, pool, and lots of shade. PARTY!


Can grass get any greener? Gorgeous!

So, there we have it. I think I covered some basic stuff that buyers look for when looking at photo listings of homes online. The photos online will immediately tell me whether or not I want to bother looking at your house in person. You want to get buyers into the door of your home and eventually into a contract, so first impressions are CRUCIAL in this tough market. Even in a small town competition can be stiff, so put your best foot forward by taking some time to think about how to stage, frame and light your pictures.

I know many realtors probably have just a basic point and shoot camera, and that’s fine! I am not saying to buy a fancy camera or hire a photographer, but open some windows, turn on some lamps, etc. to avoid having to use the flash. Angles are also huge- walk around to find the best shot, stand on a chair, lay on the floor and look up with your camera. Get creative!

Also, make sure your realtor takes a ton of photos. There’s no excuse for one listing to have 4 and another to have 16 photos. Also, declutter! I truly believe the more stuff you have in your photos=a higher DOM rate.

And lastly, don’t use stuffed animals or scarecrows as props.


My next installment will be for buyers rather than sellers. I hope to have that up later this week, but for now, tell me what the most important room(s) were/are to you when looking for a home? What is the least important?



  1. Kate
    July 20, 2010 / 5:43 pm

    Another tip–I learned when taking pictures of my apartment that if you photograph from a lower angle, it will make the room seem larger because the ceilings will be further away from the camera.

    July 20, 2010 / 7:33 pm

    Monica – you are too funny with these picture descriptions! When we were looking to buy a house we were looking for one that just "felt" right. The only major requirement that I can remember was a two-car garage. Overall it had to be nice and feel like home without any major re-dos.

  3. erin.mclarty
    July 20, 2010 / 11:22 pm

    I think they're all wonderful points, and it's so true!

  4. Stephanie
    July 22, 2010 / 1:29 am

    I remember a house that we looked at had a doll collection. Can you say C-R-E-E-P-Y?!?