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TV Staging

Watch your TV placement when staging a home. Real estate professionals faced with the issue are divided over where in the living room a TV should go—or even whether it belongs there at all.

Hayley Westoff, a Compass real estate professional, told Apartment Therapy that if the TV setup feels wrong, buyers could be turned off by the space. After all, buyers want to visualize themselves living inside a home, and watching TV is a big part of many people’s lives.

On the other hand, Allison Chiaramonte, a Warburg Realty agent in New York, doesn’t see the presence of a TV as a critical matter when staging a space. A TV shouldn’t be the focus, she says.

“While some think keeping a television in the living room at an open house is crucial, others say it takes away from the taste of the home,” Antonia DeBianchi writes on Apartment Therapy. “It’s a problem that sellers don’t seem to talk about, and its solution isn’t the clearest, either.”

When a room is awkwardly laid out, it could add to the challenges. For example, above a fireplace is a common spot for TVs, but if a mantle is too high or the fireplace is on the diagonal, its placement could feel unrealistic or awkward.

“Rearranging the furniture, and putting either a TV or mirror where the TV would go … really helps the buyer visualize what that setup would look like,” Westoff told Apartment Therapy.

Also, if the TV is outdated, many real estate pros suggest removing it. “If you have a really old, thick, crazy TV, it definitely makes people wonder why it’s not upgraded and wonder what else in the house might not be upgraded,” Chiaramonte told Apartment Therapy.

The best compromise: Have the TV blend in. If it’s mounted in a cabinet, close the cabinet if you can. If sellers have a giant TV, try to tone it down by tuning it to soundless images showing nature or peaceful scenery so it shows more as art.

Link to Realtor Magazine

Love the short shelving unit under the tv!

La Mesa

Instant Vision

Let’s keep improving a listing as we go along!

It became obvious at the open houses that people didn’t feel the need to explore the backyard – they just looked out from the house to get their feel.  But the hedge in the middle blocked some of the view, and to fully appreciate the size of the backyard, you need to see past it.

It’s common that buyers are in a hurry and may not fully explore the potential, so let’s help them with the vision of what’s possible:

One of the main positives about this property is how suitable it is for adding a granny flat, and still have big yards for both.  Originally, we thought the hedge might help to differentiate the two possible locations, but if buyers aren’t going to walk out for a look, let’s make sure the extra-large yard is visible from the house!

The other concern is that buyers aren’t used to seeing homes built in the 1970s.

These are literally the oldest houses in South Carlsbad, and $800,000 is the entry-level.  The 2019 median sales price within a half-mile of my listing is $1,072,500, so for those who want a larger, newer home with more upgrades (but smaller yard + HOA), they are certainly available – you just have to pay more.

Here’s another example of the 1978 variety – and this is probably our main competition.  It has upgrades, but the fancy stuff doesn’t change the floor plan and the yard is almost 5,000sf smaller:

Entry level means sacrifices, and the temporary inconveniences at my listing can all be fixed with money!

Virtual Staging

This is why it’s important to see properties in person – we are less confident than ever that the online photos can be trusted. From the WSJ:

Real-estate listing photos have always accentuated the positive, but computer-generated imagery of the sort Hollywood uses has now become so cheap and prolific that home sellers are taking out walls, removing ugly paneling and even adding digital swimming pools.

At the same time, photos are more important than ever: Nearly every home search begins online and deals are often struck without in-person showings, particularly among investors who are putting photos through their own algorithms to price homes as they make an unprecedented move into the U.S. housing market.

The technology allows sellers to green browned lawns, stage rooms with virtual furniture like digital dollhouses and even perform full-blown HGTV-style makeovers with clicks of a mouse.

The hazards to buyers range from disappointment when they arrive for in-person showings to blown renovation budgets. That could prove an especially thorny issue for investors, who may need to retrain computer models they use to comb through listings for houses that are good candidates to turn into rentals or flips.

Risks associated with doctored listing photos could spread beyond sight-unseen buyers. Federal rule makers are considering a proposal to open up more of the home-appraisal business to computers that generate property values partly by scraping online listing photos to gauge condition and finishes.

The computer-generated images are so good these days that humans have trouble spotting them. That’s causing problems for regional broker cooperatives, known as multiple listing services, that serve as repositories for property listings and sales data.

At a recent conference for brokers in New York, an executive from property photo-editing firm BoxBrownie.com Pty Ltd. urged agents to post altered photos side-by-side with the originals. However, Peter Schravemade, the Australian firm’s strategic relationship manager, said that labeling augmented images has occasionally gotten agents in trouble while altered images without disclosures have slipped past listing-site overseers.

For $1.60 per image, BoxBrownie will punch up pictures of a house for sale, making dull skies blue, patching lawns and maybe popping photorealistic flames into fireplaces. It charges $2.40 to change wall colors and $24 to swap out flooring. Starting at $64, it will virtually renovate a room to produce a marketing image that looks realistic but nothing like the real thing.

“We’re like Photoshop on steroids,” BoxBrownie co-founder Brad Filliponi said of the popular photo-editing program.

The ease and extent to which images can be altered has brokers and the organizations that police listings wondering where to draw the line on augmented images.

The National Association of Realtors code of ethics requires agents to present a “true picture in their advertising, marketing and other representations,” which extends to listing photos, a spokeswoman said. Donald Epley, a retired University of South Alabama real-estate professor who helped write national appraisal standards, said misleading photos are no different than fudging the square-footage or misstating the number of bedrooms in listings.

“This is a really new technology,” said Denee Evans, chief executive of the Council of Multiple Listing Services, a trade organization. “It’s just starting to bubble up questions as to where is that line.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/home-sellers-doctored-photos-challenge-buyers-bots-11551708001

HGTV Influence on Buyers

Home sellers have a lot to worry about: Will anyone want to buy their property for its full asking price? How long will it take to find a buyer? Is it really worth the expense and trouble of staging a home to boost its desirability with buyers?

“Heck yes” is the answer to that last question, according to an overwhelming number of buyer’s agents polled for a recent National Association of Realtors® report. About 40% of the agents surveyed said that staging had an impact on most buyers, while 52% said it affected at least some of the folks interested in the abode.

“Buyers’ expectations have changed and risen. They want to see the types of homes they see on TV in person,” says Jessica Lautz, NAR’s vice president of research.

Styling a dwelling with some well-placed furniture makes it easier for buyers to imagine the home as their own, according to 83% of the buyer’s agents surveyed. And home shoppers are more likely to visit a property in person if they liked what they saw in photos online.

Link to Full Article

Shake and Bake

A week ago these sellers had no expectation of moving any time soon, and certainly hadn’t done anything to prepare for sale.  But we found the right house to buy, if we can only sell this one.

Let’s get on it!

Tuesday and Wednesday the ceilings were scraped, re-textured, and painted. Thursday and Friday the walls and kitchen were painted (two coats) and the bathrooms were tuned up. The painters stayed until 11pm last night, and came back early today to finsih it off.

Buyers started arriving at 11:45!

Here’s the play by play:

We already received one full-price offer, and others are interested. Richard will be there 12-3pm on Sunday!

https://www.zillow.com/homes/4479-Gladstone-Ct,-Carlsbad,-CA-92010_rb/

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