Why unappetizing home photos represent a great opportunity

For Thanksgiving, Patty made a delicious casserole dish and brought it to her in-laws. But during the car ride, there was a big bump and the casserole turned over on its side.

The only good looking piece of the delicious casserole

The only decent-looking piece of the Patty’s delicious casserole

When Patty opened it up, the casserole looked like a mess. It still tasted delicious, but now it looked very unappetizing.

Like the casserole, photos of homes for sale must look “appetizing” to entice buyers to schedule a visit.

Unfortunately (or fortunately for some), many pictures of homes for sale aren’t very good.

Here are some examples of unappetizing home photos

  • Exterior shots: Crooked, cut-off, or with a dark, grey, ominous sky
  • Dark, shady, and grainy interior
  • Pictures of wall corners in small rooms (where it’s impossible to see the room itself)
  • Photos of toilets (really?)

The good news is that these unappetizing home photos can be a very good thing for a smart buyer.

As a buyer, unappetizing photos represent an opportunity

Most buyers who surf through photos of homes online might be turned off by ugly or weird photos.  But smart buyers can see through the ugliness and recognize possibility.

For example: Instead of thinking that the rooms are small because of a poor photograph, a smart buyer can look at the room dimensions to confirm that the rooms are small – or not.

But let’s not stay with the theory, here is a real-life story from a few weeks ago.

A real-life story about royal blue garage doors

These garage doors aren't as bright as they seem

These garage doors aren’t as garish as they seem

Missy and Dan were shopping for homes in their favorite school boundary.  One of the homes that came up in their email alert had a photo of royal blue garage doors.

The photo didn’t make the garage doors (or the roof!) look good, but Missy and Dan saw opportunity and drove by the home before discounting it.

To their surprise, the garage doors were blue, indeed, but not the garish royal blue that they appeared to be on the photographs.

The blue garage doors were actually ok. A little out of the ordinary among the more common white doors, but they were completely livable.

Turns out that the home has many good characteristics, but many buyers might have discounted it because of the photograph of royal blue garage doors.

Luckily for Missy and Dan, now they have an opportunity to purchase the home without much competition (which means getting it for a lower price too!).

Have you seen unappetizing photos of homes for sale that make you cringe?

Admit it.  We all have.

But next time, when you see an ugly photo, think of the fallen casserole: regardless of its appearance, the home might actually be more “delicious” than its photos.

Remember: unappetizing home photos might represent a great purchase opportunity for a smart buyer.

Can you spot the current home purchase opportunities in your favorite school boundary?

If you want to see homes for sale with photos (the good, the bad, and the unappetizing):

  1. Log in to the Fairfax County Map of School Boundaries,
  2. Select a school boundary, and
  3. Click on the red “Find Homes” button to see homes for sale (with photos)

Log in to the Fairfax County Map of School Boundaries

Fairfax County Map with high school boundaries
Click to access the Fairfax County Map (with UP-TO-DATE high school boundaries)


Log in to the Fairfax County Map of School Boundaries (a.k.a the Affordability Map) to see the location of each of the most UP-TO-DATE boundaries within Fairfax County and to choose your ideal boundary.

When you log in to the Fairfax County Map of School Boundaries, you will find:

  • UP-TO-DATE School boundaries
  • Photos and videos
  • Highlights of the area covered by each boundary
  • Transportation options
  • Statistics about housing
  • School rankings for schools in each boundary

See you on the other side!

If you haven’t subscribed yet, why wait?

The No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax, VA
The FREE No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax, VA

Downloading The No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax, VA is free, and you’ll get access to our unique home-search (by school boundary).

Plus, you get the Fairfax County Real Estate Affordability Map, AND access to detailed information about each Fairfax County School boundary.

Blue garage doors image by MRIS,  Casserole image by SweetOnVeg on Flickr

Happy House Hunting!

Your turn, what do you think?

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