It’s a no brainer that pictures sell real estate, especially in the digital age. What is surprising is that there are still so many homes skating by or even floundering in the real estate market without proper or, at the very least, a weak representation of its unique characteristics, whether they’re good or bad … and there are still some of them out there with “issues.”
There’s always been a question of whether using photos where major items are Photoshopped into or out of existence regarding a home’s features is the right thing to do. The possibilities are endless with the photo editing technology available to anyone who cares to invest in the software.
I’ve seen several homes advertised with recycled old photos of homes before it was gutted or Craigslisted by the former foreclosed home owner. “These photos are representative of how the home could look” is sometimes tucked away in the private remarks section of the report.
There isn’t a picture of the present condition but pictures of the possibilities one might enjoy if a fat wad of cash was dumped on top of the listed price. There are probably a few homes in the multiple listing service right now showing the potential of the home but not the fact that there is little left in it; no cabinets, no doors, no appliances.
It’s not fair to consumers who might want to know that sort of thing before they load up and waste their time seeing it if they’re not in the financial position or mindset to massively overhaul what remains of the structure.
I previewed a villa not long ago that had been completely looted. The front door was even gone, plywood on hinges in place and bare wires where coach lamps used to be. The only remaining item in the interior was a strip of tile on the kitchen wall where the back splash was. It was being marketed with “possibility pictures.” A more truthful solution could be to show the actual condition of the interior and either shuffle the other images into the photo lineup or include them in the visual tour, along with the current photos of the home and the amenities and features of the community.
There are people who are actually looking for these sorts of warts and all projects so it would seem that it might be a good idea to market to them and not the people who don’t understand that mentioning “needs TLC” yet presenting a picture of granite tops and stainless appliances is, uh, not what they’re going to be getting. The possibilities are endless for any property. There’s hope for my own home which could look just like Diane Keaton’s home as laid out in all its 1920’s, Hollywood splendor in Architectural Digest. I suppose it would be wrong for me to scan Diane’s pictures and add them to my marketing plan because my home technically “could” look like that, right? Everyone is allowed to dream.
It’s great to dream and also help consumers imagine the possibilities when looking at real estate. It’s just that when the dream version of a home is so far off from the reality of its current condition, maybe part of the dream marketing plan should also be complete set of blueprints and detailed estimates for the services, labor and supplies it will take to make it look like the pictures.
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Chris Griffith is a real estate agent at Downing-Frye Realty Inc. in Bonita Springs. If you have a question about local real estate or Bonita Springs, e-mail her at chris@LifeInBonitaSprings.com.