2010 Sep 28th

Is That a Real Hoboken Condo?

It’s no secret  that photos in real estate listings are often photo-shopped to make the property look sunnier, cleaner and generally more appealing.  furniture I’m all in favor of technology – don’t get me wrong, and anything that helps a buyer is a good thing.  There are a plethora of software programs available that will create floor plans, furnish an empty room, and more. I couldn’t help but do a double take, though, when I saw a particular listing hit the mls yesterday, perhaps because it was the first time I saw this on the MLS.

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The property is a vacant unit but the photos show some of the rooms with a full set of digital furniture – right down to a ceiling fan and artwork on the wall.  It was obvious to me that I was looking at a digital rendering and I confirmed it with the listing agent.  Is there a limit fo how far changing reality could or should go?  What do you all think?  Are you OK with alternate reality real estate photos?  As a consumer, do you find it helpful or misleading?  Should the fact that it’s a digital rendering be disclosed to the viewer?  I’m very curious to hear your opinions.

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  1. homeboken

    I don’t think this is much different than staging an apartment for a buyer. The goal is to show the buyer that this is a home and to get them to envision themselves living there. If this digital images get someone in the door, then mission accomplished by the realtor.

    The only caveat I would put on this, would be if the images shown aren’t scaled properly and thus deceive the size of the unit. In your example, I think the dining room set might be scaled down, but if a table for 6 can really fit in that space, then I think it is fine.

    I think this is a good example of realtors trying to use technology to help the sales process along. Given the level of inventory available, I say kudos to this realtor for at least putting in the work to try and make his/her listing stand out.

    Bottom line, buyers won’t be duped, nobody is buying condos site-unseen anymore. Caveat emptor.

  2. bill

    The only thing I would really object to is the ceiling fan….they shouldn’t add any permanent features…

    Otherwise its fair game.

  3. Kimberly

    I think this is a great tool so long as it is accurate with regard to size. So many people cannot visualize a space when empty, so it it helps show the unit in any way I think the realtor is right on…

  4. Chuck

    These photos look fake enough so you can tell it’s not really furnished but I would like to see some sort of disclosure so I know whether what I’m seeing is real or not real. It is helpful to see how a property COULD look but I also want to see how it DOES look.

  5. Mark

    I don’t see an issue with this either.

  6. Tiger

    I see an issue; if the condo is airbrushed then yes, it will have more visits, but then again most of those people will shrug or shake their head and leave. So basically, the agent is wasting everyone’s time by misrepresenting the condo.

    You are wasting my time, and if I took off from a billing assignment / weekend overtime to see the condo, you are wasting my money too.

  7. JD

    My first reaction will be to avoid the listing altogether. I expect to see real pictures of the unit (staged, no-staged, airbrush, etc) as if I were on location. Otherwise, I would be wondering if they were trying to hide something.

  8. homeboken

    On second thought, this is 866 square feet, 2 BR, 1 Ba, 1 Kitchen, 1LR/DR combo. The placing of this furniture would never fit in that place.

    A little more research and we see a seller that is asking basically the same price paid 2005. Does this building have an elevator? If not, I think $414psf for a 5th floor walk is a more than a bit of a reach.

  9. Lori

    No elevator. According to the listing no laundry in the building either. It’s a railroad 1BR with an extra room in the middle. As a comparison, there is an active unit nearby on Willow that is a true 2br 2 bath with bedrooms at opposite ends. It is recently renovated with stainless appliances and granite counters, has extremely high ceilings, and has a balcony/fire escape. There is a w/d in the unit and central air and it also has storage. It is listed for $40k more and it’s on the 4th (top) floor.

  10. homeboken

    The best comp is this unit itself. Mayber this seller has been out of the country but some pretty depressing stuff has happened to real estate in the last few eyars.

    If this sells within 15% of it’s 2005 price, in the next 6 months, I will eat my shirt.

  11. Tiger

    >> If this sells within 15% of it’s 2005 price, in the next 6 months, I will eat my shirt.

    LOL, well said. A fifth floor walkup is not attractive to most people. I lived on a 4th floor walkup on washington as a student, hated it.

    And no laundry, this means that every week you need to pack a suitcase, grab a laundry bag / hamper and run to the nearest laundromat, then carry it all five floors up. Not very luxurious.

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