Buying a Home? The Difference Between Listing Pictures and an In-Home Tour



Shopping for a new home may seem easier when you can browse listed photos of homes that interest you instead of driving over to see them in person. But there are disadvantages to relying on a property’s pictures instead of seeing the place for yourself. Here are some differences to consider between listing pictures and an in-home tour.

Pictures May Not Be Recent

Sometimes when a property is relisted within a few years’ time, the same pictures are posted, which do not clearly show the current state of the home. The house may currently look better or worse than the original photos suggest. If the realtor is not familiar with the property’s history, recent improvements might be overlooked that should be emphasized. 

Select Areas Might Be Used

The realtor who represents the sellers will want to post pictures that show the house’s best features. Recent updates to the bathroom might be posted, for example, without showing the run-down condition of the kitchen. Some areas in poor light that look great when seen in person might be bypassed in favor of well-lit rooms. Certain types of paint do not show up well in pictures, and they may reflect poorly on the house. Since the best angles and areas will be showcased, the potential buyers may get a positive impression of the home without seeing everything about it. Additionally, home staging experts know how to take pictures to make rooms look larger than they are or make the state of a home look better than it actually is. 

Odors Cannot Be Detected

A home’s smells reveal a lot about the condition of the property. Odors of mildew or mold suggest the possibility of water damage. Smoke scents might imply the fireplace has not been cleaned in recent years or that a chain smoker previously lived in the home. The stench of dog or cat urine or feces may indicate carpet damage or worse from the owner’s pets. Strong bathroom or kitchen smells could mean that the vent fans are not working effectively. Walking through a home and sniffing each room can tell you a great deal about the house and its history.

Nooks and Crannies are Missed

Posted pictures of a property usually don’t include smaller but significant areas as would an in-home tour. For example, a beautiful hearth photo might be distanced enough to keep viewers from seeing a crumbling brick segment. Steps leading to the basement may be clean or carpeted, but beneath the steps might be signs of termites. Entire rooms can even be skipped in the pictures if there is undesirable damage to areas or obvious repairs that need to be made. A real estate agent can explain what to look for in a property’s online photos as well as what to ask the seller’s representative. Your realtor can also guide you through a personal tour of a property to check out all the key aspects.

Don’t get too serious about buying a home just by looking at pictures of it. Visit the property and walk through with your realtor for a comprehensive overview of the property. These among other reasons are why you should definitely have an in-home tour.


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