Crime Scene Photos: A Surprisingly Effective Marketing Tool


I was all set to write this week’s article about the pros and cons of hiring a mentor for your real estate wholesaling career, but then I happened to see this article that fellow BiggerPockets blogger, Florence Foote wrote earlier this week.

As I was reading through her hilarious post about the ridiculous remarks that some Realtors write in their listings, I was reminded of a photo that I saw in an REO listing last Spring.  When I first saw the photo I did a double take.  Actually, I think I did a triple take.  And then I almost fell out of my chair.

Here, have a look for yourself:

Now, I’m no marketing expert, but I’ll just go out on a limb here and say that the subject property would probably have a much better chance of selling had the Realtor omitted the crime scene photo from the listing.  I’m not sure which is more disturbing- the pool of blood over to the right, or the bloody footprints all over the carpet.

I actually thought this was some sort of joke, so I called the listing agent the next day and left him a message asking what the deal was with the photo.  He never did call me back, but he sent me an email with the lock box code so I could go inside and check it out myself.  My morbid curiosity got the best of me, of course, and I drove out to the house to investigate.

When I got there, I saw that the carpet had been removed, although I could still see the red stains on the terrazo floor where the mysterious red substance had soaked through.  The hair on the back of my neck was standing up after about 30 seconds in the house, and I ended up getting the heck out of there as quickly as I could.

I never did get an answer as to what went on in that house, and I am still scratching my head wondering why in the world anyone in their right mind would have a photo like that in a listing.

I am also wondering why the agent didn’t just go all out and include a bloody axe and a limbless torso in the photo as well.  I bet that would really get the phone ringing, don’t you think?

About Author

Formerly a bartender, Steph Davis is now a full time wholesaler in Tampa, FL. If you'd like to get an idea of what it's really like out there in the trenches, head on over to her blog:!


  1. Dang Steph…What a Dark Post Today? lol Nah but seriously, this is pretty wild. I can’t believe you even worked up the courage to driver over there. What’s even more wild is that they agent actually tried to sell it as is.. That is going a little overboard. I think there are some standards when it comes to rehabs and when blood is involved, I think that might be when the line is crossed. lol Although…he probably could have much success with it in October. 😐

  2. OMG what was the agent thinking?! Even though I preach against it, sometimes NOT using a photo really is a better option! LOL… I’m linking back to you on Too funny!

  3. Wow!

    What a seriously disturbing photo!

    It’s like a car wreck…I can’t stop looking at it.

    I do not think that this photo is a demonstration of how ‘lazy Realtors are’.

    Rather, it is a demonstration of poor judgment on the part of this individual Realtor.

    Or perhaps pure marketing genius on the part of the Realtor. The property did sell, right?
    …And to a wholesaler I suspect.

  4. Wow, talk about selling “as-is!” I’ve been to some pretty bad houses, but I think you’ve got me topped out on this one. It must have been creepy going into this house, I’d even be scared to go in during the day! It’s so crazy to hear stories like this, never a dull moment in real estate! Thanks for sharing, Steph!

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