Updated: Nov 8
For the vast majority of sellers, the best way to sell their home to achieve maximum value is going to be to list on 1 or more Multiple Listing Services with MLS data populating to many online websites with plenty of professional pictures of the interior & exterior, aerials, & a Matterport Virtual Tour of the interior & exterior. Even if there are negative elements of the vast majority of the interior of the home, it's typically best to put those online rather than buyers coming to the house only to be disappointed.
That said, some home sellers may be so embarrassed about the condition of their property that they do not want it to be viewable online despite the fact that those preferences will typically yield a significantly lower sales price. Selling to a "we buy houses" style purchaser isn't your only option, & you can typically achieve better results by expanding your buyer pool.
Options if Not Wanting to Put Bad Looking Pictures Online But Wanting to Have Your Listing on MLS to Achieve a Better Price than Those not Listed On MLS:
Limit Pictures of the Home (Even if an Aerial Showing Many Homes Including the 1 Being Sold)
Even if you really don't want to show a close-up of any exterior negatives of your home being sold, with you being embarrassed about the exterior condition of your home, you can still include pictures that don't show many if any of those defects. Below is an example picture of a home that was in great shape, but where the main photo was the below photo to showcase the fantastic waterfront community that the home was in that was a significant draw to the home.
Above: Former Listing of Adam's in Hampton - Image by Adam Garrett
Related: Adam's Aerials
In some cases, it's the interior of the home that's the embarrassing part of the home, so in those cases, you would typically (but not always, i.e. the above photo), want to put a picture that is closer up of the home that is a more traditional front photo shot. You could also include other photos of the exterior.
For instance, the below home, which looked fine on the outside for the most part, was in such bad shape on the interior & under the house that one buyer making a legitimate offer was considering tearing the home down. In addition to other exterior images like a professional shot from the front and a professional ground shot from the back, images like the below were used to showcase the quality of the roof shingles, a shot you typically wouldn't do but that in this case was warranted.
Include Heavy Usage of Area Photos
Most photographers and real estate agents wouldn't be able to execute this strategy very well, but since area photos are something that I believe I do better than greater than 99% of agents, if you're looking for a heavy use of area photos, I have fantastic options for you to do so. For more details, see:
Above: Busch Gardens in Williamsburg - Image by Adam Garrett
Internet Opt-Out Statement
While I typically don't recommend it because it will narrow your buyer pool further, if looking to not have your home listed on the internet on websites like Zillow, it's possible to sign off on a provision for an internet opt-out in many MLS, where the home will still remain on the MLS, but not be visible on websites like Zillow.
An alternative to a complete internet opt-out is to have your home listed on places like Zillow, but avoid disclosing the address of the home on public websites via an address opt-out, which is possible in some but not all MLS. This form of opt-out happens much less often than a full internet opt-out, but the home will get substantially better exposure this way. That said, buyers can still be suspicious about the area because they can't immediately check it out. Also, I've seen instances of undisclosed address listings not populating to certain home buyer search websites like a traditional listing would.
Excluding Sold Data from the Web
Excluding sold data, where pictures and public remarks are removed from places like Zillow after sale, is another option somewhat similar to avoiding disclosing the address of the home on public websites via an address opt-out. It is possible in some but not all MLS. This form of opt-out happens much less often than a full internet opt-out, but the home will get substantially better exposure this way.
Exterior Matterport Virtual Tours
Even if a seller is embarrassed about the interior condition of their home, if they don't mind as much the exterior condition, exterior Matterport virtual 3-D tours are an option that are too seldomly done in real estate. When these are done, it gives buyers a much better sense about the home. One option with Matterport exterior virtual tours is to include 360's and aerial images from area amenities embedded within the 3-D tour, such as near the outskirts of the property line/3-D Tour.
Options if Not Wanting Your Listing Even on MLS:
Pocket Listings Allowed in Some States, But Not Recommended
Some states allow pocket listings under certain circumstances. In these cases, an MLS opt-out form is signed. Typically, no dual agency occurs, whereas dual agency pocket listings can get in some murky territory on taking fiduciary duties. Also, agents should inform sellers that they typically won't be able to achieve the net price that their home would command if listed on MLS. Here's what the National Association of Realtors had to say on the subject:
Source for above images: NAR 2019 Legal Update
Even if technically allowed in a state, some firms ban pocket listings, such as my own, just like my firm prohibits dual agency without management approval for an exception, even though dual agency is legal in VA (while not legal in some other states).
For more details see:
Illegitimate Pocket Listings
A relatively high percentage of pocket listings break various laws or codes of ethics because pocket listings are inherently walking a very thin line. An illegitimate pocket listing doesn't abide by the rules and agents can face disciplinary action, fines, & in some cases licenses taken away for pocket listings that don't abide by the rules. An illegitimate pocket listing is where no MLS opt-out form is signed, or where a wide variety of other things aren't done, like a listing agent encouraging a pocket listing with no basis in discussion with the seller since pocket listings tend to net sellers less. If an agent fails to inform a seller that a pocket listing will most likely command significantly reduced cost, they are failing in their fiduciary duties to their seller clients.