Toilet Appeal

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There is apparently no limit as to how stupid some real estate agents can be. Or maybe they just don’t care. One of my pet peeves is the outrageously awful service/marketing that some real estate agents provide – especially on foreclosures or short sales. In addition to not answering the phone or returning phone calls there is a pattern of using really awful photos. It’s one thing to take your own photos (we do not) but these realtors are really bad photographers:

  • Pictures taken with cell phone cameras
  • Poor lighting
  • Out of focus
  • Center on the wrong thing

The last point is my favorite, of which there are numerous examples. For instance, it is fairly typical to see pictures of floors or corners of rooms as in this picture below for a condo in Bronzeville (it took me less than 3 minutes to find a picture like this).

With absolutely no perspective on the room, it’s not at all clear what attributes the realtor is trying to highlight. The dirty carpet? The abandoned phone in the closet?

However, nothing compares to this photo found for a listing in Riverside, CA, which quickly became an Internet sensation because of the contents of the toilet, which were not pixelated in the original listing.

I first learned about it in the comments section for a post on Cribchatter and it was originally part of this listing from Redfin. Now if you go to the Redfin listing link you will no longer find this photo because apparently they eventually figured out that they were drawing the wrong kind of attention to the listing. Fortunately Dr. Housing Bubble preserved the photo for posterity and had the good sense to pixelate the contents of the toilet. I might not have been so sensitive.

So let’s give this realtor the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the water had been turned off and the toilet couldn’t be flushed. But then why isn’t the lid closed? I see pictures of toilets all the time in the MLS (but not dirty) and it always fascinates me that a) they took the picture of the toilet in the first place and b) they left the lid open.

The bottom line: if your home is currently for sale you should run to the nearest computer to find out if your realtor is highlighting your toilet.

Gary Lucido

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