Look Closely: What the Indoor Plants In Property Listings Are Trying to Tell You


Searching for a new home can be challenging, what with location and size limitations and rising house prices in a competitive market.

There’s a lot to consider when browsing property listings online too — even before you make it out to home inspections — but if you know what to keep an eye out for, you could save yourself a bit of time.

A close inspection of a floorplan will help you decide if the space is right for you, a call to an agent will secure you a more accurate price guide, and a detailed look at the location on a map will all help you avoid disappointment. But there’s one other thing you should look out for in the images: indoor plants.

According to property experts, plants in listing photos will give away a lot about how the home was treated by the current owners.

“A drooping plant shows a sloppiness or lack of care in the home,” Kristi Ambrosetti, a US-based real estate agent with Sotheby’s International Realty, told Apartment Therapy. “If the seller can’t take time to remove a drooping plant, have they taken the time to care for the not-so-obvious spots in the home?”

Spider plant
Image: Getty Images

Secondly, the condition of plants could give away a lot more about the quality of natural light within the home itself. We’ve all fallen victim to the work of nifty editing — you head into an open house inspection expecting to see the bright, airy apartment as depicted in the photos, only to be met with a dimly lit scene.

But a keen look at listing images could save you the trip. “If you spot a suffering or dying plant in a property image, this could indicate the home does not receive as much natural light as you would hope,” says Sydney-based residential real estate agent and auctioneer, Thomas Skelly.

Plant enthusiasts will likely be able to recognise common house plant varieties, and thus may be able to tell when even the hardiest of rubber plants are struggling to thrive in the corner of a room.

It’s something to keep in mind for home buyers, but also for sellers, who would surely like to be showing their home in the best light possible.

“A vibrant, healthy and well-positioned plant could absolutely increase the value of your home,” Skelly says. “A flourishing collection of indoor plants will show buyers that your home is rich in natural light and has good airflow throughout.”

And if you’re not sure where to start, or find that you have a tendency to kill your plants, no matter how low-maintenance, then staging your home with furniture and decor that includes indoor plants may be a is a job best left to the experts.

“Home staging can add more than $50,000 in value to your home. An empty house does not photograph well compared to a professionally styled property, nor does it allow for buyers to envision themselves living in the space.”

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