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Photos of the front of the house - bad idea?

Hi folks,
I am wondering if its a bad idea to include a photo of the front of my house? I have noticed that not many hosts seem to do that, and I am wondering if there’s a reason. Maybe you don’t want people to just show up without reservations? Or for tax purposes or county laws? I’m speculating here, so please enlighten me. In case that changes anything, I am in California.

That’s my reason. Plus I don’t want people coming to check the apartment out before they book. It’s simply not practical because I almost always have back-to-back bookings. The listing and the photographs tell them all they need to know.

Why would it be tax purposes though?

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I don’t have a photo of the front of my house as we are on a small island and I know we’d be easy to find outside of Airbnb. I CA we had a typical Taco Bell design house so showing the front was not a problem lol

  1. I don’t want people IDing the house from the picture who aren’t guests.
  2. Don’t show pictures of things the guests are not welcome to use. I have garage doors on the front and I don’t want them to ask to park in my garage.

I do have a picture of the large driveway but it doesn’t show the front of the home. I have a picture of the front porch that shows my Ring doorbell mounted outside the entrance gate. These are things that are relevant to booking their stay. The overall outside appearance is not. Still, if someone were determined they could figure out which house was mine with the pics and google maps.

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I have a picture of the outside of our house, because it has decent curb appeal. Many guests mention that they looked at our listing based on that photo and subsequently decided to book after looking over the rest of the listing. For us, it seems to be a plus.

I’m not overly worried about anyone trying to check the house out beforehand. Even though the listing shows a general location, someone would have to spend a lot of time driving around before they were able to pinpoint the house. If someone really wants to drive by, they will probably notice that we live directly across the street from a State Trooper. There is almost always a squad car parked in the drive, so hopefully that would act as a bit of deterrent for anyone with nefarious intent. And if they book, they get our address anyway.

Thanks for the comments everyone. I currently have a photo of the front because it also has decent curb appeal and a fun bright blue door that makes it easy to recognize.
As for “tax purposes” I’ve had a conversation with another local host who seemed worried that the county could find her. They already take taxes out in our area, so I’m not sure what’s the problem here, but I thought I would mention it anyway.

I don’t use a picture of the front of the house, mostly for security reasons. Our house is unique looking and would be easy to identify just from the general location shown on the map and Google / a drive through our neighborhood.

Also, I don’t want my neighbors finding our listing. Even though we are not doing anything wrong, there is always some busybody who will run around shouting “there’s a hotel on our street and all kinds of strangers are coming and going! We have to shut them down!” This is almost a direct quote out of a post on nextdoor.com, which is a handy neighborhood tool if you want to buy furniture or have lost your dog, but also brings out the nosy and invasive neighbors who want to police your every action. Our neighborhood has some very large houses - 8,000 sq ft with 7 bedrooms - that no one wants as single family homes any more and so there has been an influx of private nursing homes, halfway houses and multifamily living situations. While maybe not the most ideal, those things are usually better than a vacant house that attracts other problems and at least when occupied the landscaping is nice.


Given that you’re in an area that’s not too populated, a review says you’re on a cul-de-sac and looking on Google Maps I’d start driving on Country Ln or Stanley Dr. But you’re right, once I saw the trooper’s car that would be the end of that. As you may have seen I board dogs in my home so I feel very safe. But I don’t want nosy neighbors or anyone else knocking on my door unsolicited.

We do have a picture of the front of our house. It got us one of our best guests. She was visiting her son who lives across the street. He searched Airbnb, found our house and told her that we are across the street

I also think that if you have a picture of the front of your place it helps guests go to the correct place.

I had that happen. They were able to find the house with photos of the front and with the map, which Air made wider for me.

You’re right K9, it’s easier than I was thinking. Thanks for doing the sleuthing.

I cocked my head when I read that review. We actually are NOT on the cul-de-sac. There are 3 house lots between us and what is officially the cul-du-sac, so I’m not sure why that guest thought we were.

Another thing which I have no idea how to get fixed is Google Maps is wrong in terms of the names of these streets! I live on Country Drive, not Lane, and the other one is Stanley Street, not Stanley Drive. That has been a thankfully small issue with guests finding the place, but I wish Google Maps had it right. I can’t change the address of my property in Air because they appear to be pulling the information from Google Maps.

Chloe, try this for updating Google maps: https://support.google.com/mymaps/answer/3024974?hl=en

Most folks do in the Catskills where the norm is to rent your whole house. It is my lead photo, too. https://www.airbnb.com/manage-listing/816925

If I am booking a property - I would to at least see part of the outside. I find it strange when there are no exterior photos. I understand people wanting to be discreet about listing their property - but maybe show a picture of the back of the house - or some close up photos of the front door and porch, and or architectural elements.


I’m not a very paranoid person. I was a school teacher from 1988-2015 and my number and address was in the phone book all those years. No prank calls, no toilet papered house. LOL. But it’s worth thinking about. The front of your house is beautiful and if my house looked like that it would probably be my lead picture as well.

The overwhelming majority of listings in my city do not feature exterior photos at all. With airbnb/vacation rentals being a controversial topic here, many hosts prefer to be discreet


Arigato, I agree "…

I have as the main picture, the front of my listing, when the garden was in full summer bloom and looked amazing. I have just had a guest leave feedback that the garden didn’t look like that when they stayed (its the middle of winter). Basically they accused me of false advertising! Should I take the picture down?

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I wouldn’t worry about one guest who doesn’t understand that gardens look different in different seasons. Our back yard was nice and green when we took the photos. Now thanks to the drought in California it’s pretty brown. We explain to the guests and nobody has complained.


I have a picture of the front. Helps guests find it. My address is really messed up on google, because my front door and driveway are really on another street.
I give detailed instructions just before they arrive.

I had a guest that was visiting his sister nearby. He had his sister drive and look at each place and the neighborhood. He chose mine. Great guest.

Of course I am in a small town, and don’t have the looney’s that visit some of you.

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