How NOT to Sell a Home in the Upper Valley

Some practical do's and don'ts for photos in a real estate listing.

As an obsessive real estate listing junkie, I've seen thousands of homes, from the amazing to the atrocious. My #1 take away is good photos are essential to increasing foot traffic to your property, even if you are selling a fixer-upper. Here are some do's and don'ts to maximize the odds of a satisfying home sale...

Don't photograph your home at night with the curtains open and a blinding camera flash on the window glazing. Even though it seems the Upper Valley enjoys only three hours of daylight in the wintertime, do use that fleeting light to photograph your home. And do open all curtains and blinds and turn on light fixtures to brighten the space. You're selling a home filled with sunshine, not a dark hobbit grotto. I assume.

Do remove any stuffed animal heads or carcasses from the walls. You have every right to be proud of that ten point buck you felled, but taxidermied wildlife won't help you sell your house. Lovingly wrap up your prize and store it for your next home.

I don't know, is it starting to feel crowded in here?

(photo courtesy of

Don't forget to wash your dirty dishes and put away your laundry. Or, just throw everything in the backyard to deal with later, but don't include them in your listing photos. Dirty dishes in the kitchen suggest you probably haven't kept up with the regular property maintenance. Like vacuuming and squirrel remediation.

Do include a photo of your legendary perennial gardens. Don't include ten. We appreciate your green thumb, but what about the bathroom? Is there something growing in there, too, that we should worry about?

Do include photos of features that actually sell the house and exclude photos of aspects that don't. Sounds obvious, right? We don't really need to see grainy images of your Gun Room with the industrial strength metal mesh door.

A good place to store your weapons. Or children.

(photo courtesy of my dad!)

Do consider hiring a professional photographer. There are many talented photographers in the Upper Valley and you'd be surprised by how affordable they are. For a few hundred dollars, they can make your home look enticingly adequate. Realtors will photograph your home, but would you rather have it documented with a fancy camera, a wide angle lens, and careful image processing or captured with a smartphone and an app?

Your real estate listing gets one chance to make a first impression. Let's go for oooohh! Not ewwwww.

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