HO listing photo aren’t current/using sales listing photos

Hello everyone! I’m seeing sits where the HO listing includes photos that are actually from a MLS (house for sale) listing. The giveaway is the watermark on the photos. So what happens is the expectation isn’t the reality. I get that having a video call with the HO could flesh this out but I’d rather now waste time applying to find out the sit isn’t as ‘advertised’.

Anyone else noticing this? What is the likelihood of having MLS photos be banned from listings? I got burned on a recent sit so I’m paying closer attention to the photos now.


Hi we recently had a sit where we were shocked at the condition of the house and the neighbourhood as they looked old and run down in comparison to the pictures posted. The house was also extremely dirty and disorganised. I feel there needs to be a place that as sitters we can review things like this without the homeowner seeing it. It’s extremely awkward to put this kind of information in one’s review but we would have appreciated knowing all this upfront from previous sitters.


It should definitely be real and current photos. We’ve learnt that if there are a lot of animals the house is never as clean as the photos appear. I wish HOs would be made to include accommodation pics and a minimum number too if say 8.


For newer home owners 5 pictures are mandatory! But which pictures seems not to be checked.

This has been discussed before on the forum. If you’re interested in the housesit I would, as you suggest, have a video call with the owners but maybe ask beforehand if they can swap the house for sale pics for pics as their home actually is. I don’t think that THS has enough staff/time to check through pics and I don’t think this situation happens that often tbh. Go with your gut instinct


Yes I’ve seen many listings that are using such photos. I even saw one the other day with sales photos being used and it was an empty house!
Quite honestly, if an owner isn’t prepared to put the work into creating a better listing I’m not interested in applying. There is plenty of advice given on how to create listings and also guidelines about what should be included.
My assumption, rightly or wrong, is that someone creating a ‘lazy’ listing is under valuing the service we offer.


To be honest, real estate phots never bother me. I’ve sat for some and have never been disappointed. That being said, they’ve been pretty nice houses overall and the reviews told me they were lovely. So it’s not always just about the photos. If I was concerned, I might ask for a current photo of the sitter’s bedroom so I can see the bed I’ll actually be sleeping in.


As far as the neighborhood, goes, I always do a Google Maps street view walk-around before applying for a sit. Even though listings don’t give you an exact address, a lot of times they tell you enough about the location that you can narrow it down to a small area. Then Google street view gives you a clear feel for that area.

Regarding the house itself, I’m personally not disturbed by homeowners using real estate photos. I tend to assume good faith on the homeowner’s part, and figure that the reality will always be a little bit different than was shown in the photos. But I can see why it would be an issue to sitters who’ve been burned by a home turning out to be far less hospitable than what they expected.


Hi @EJB I can appreciate your concern. Seeing real estate listings doesn’t bother me, but maybe because I’ve only had one experience of that and it was a positive one. As it turned out, the owners bought the unit that was used for the open house. They purchased everything in it - furniture, paintings, everything. When I arrived it was exactly as was shown in the photos. :slightly_smiling_face:

Perhaps because I don’t apply to many sits, I’d rather apply with the expectation that it will be similar to the photos, and then address it, if a video call is arranged. Although my initial assessment is heavily influenced by photos, it is just one way I assess whether it’s a good fit for me.

I brought up this same topic a while back as I did a local sit where the pics were real estate photos. The home appeared extremely bright and when we went to do the sit, it was very dark inside and looked totally different. I didn’t feel comfortable the duration of the sit as our own home is very bright and for that reason I wouldn’t return to do another sit there.

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We did a sit recently where in their photos everything was quite ‘minimalist’ and clutter free which we like. When we got there everything was changed, even a lot of the furniture and it was quite cluttered by our standards. We laughed and made ourselves at home by temporarily moving some of the clutter so we could cook and sit comfortably. We always take pictures so we know where to return things and the kitties and owners were delightful.
We had a video call before accepting but it started in the office and then went to the lovely garden as that was where the cats were, lesson learned but it wasn’t a big issue.


Could I please ask that owners put UP TO DATE photos of their residence. I arrived at my latest house sit to an unrecognisable situation.

Also, I do love seeing more photos of the pet first and not the house unless it is honest and up to date. Age and weight would also help as I am small framed and this would be helpful for me.

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That’s a really good idea, and something I’d do too - however, I might add to my home description that sitters should ignore the state of the outside of our home if they do find it on Google Maps - no one would come here as it was a wreck :rofl::rofl:

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@Cazbo I had one sit where when the owner gave me the address and I looked it up on google maps the house was covered in scaffolding and you could straight through the upstairs to the garden beyond! They had said that it was recently remodelled! Wasn’t much help in identifying the house as we drove down the road though…