2014 Mar 6th

Is Honesty the Best Policy when Selling Hoboken Condos?

I saw in interesting listing pop up on the MLS the other day. It was for a property at the SkyClub. For those of you not familiar, the complex is comprised of two tower buildings with a lobby that connects the towers. This particular listing was in the western building and the windows faced due west. The photos showed a bright sunny apartment, looking out on open blue sky. But if you look really carefully at the picture of the sunny terrace, you can see a yellow tractor down below.

tractor

Now, the tractor is there (or was there) because a 12-story rental building was constructed on that spot – right across the street from this terrace.  The new building is close that you can ‘reach out and touch someone’.   That open, sunny view you see in the photos is gone. Nothing in the remarks mentions that the view is gone or that the light is blocked or that the photos are from before the building was constructed.

Personally, if I were a buyer and walked into a property based on having seen photos of it portrayed a certain way and the property was in reality nothing like the photos I would be very disappointed. I’d also have some issues with the credibility of that listing agent. If they “forgot” to mention that the property is now directly across from a 12 story tower, what else might they have forgotten?

I’ve seen this sort of think happen quite a bit in Hoboken. Sometimes, there is a tenant living in the property so the agent uses photos from when it was previously owner occupied. Sometimes the owners have moved out so the agent uses photos from when it was furnished. I’ve even seen “virtual staging” where the furniture and decor are computer generated into an empty unit. I can’t help but feel that when these changes from reality are portrayed, it ought to be disclosed. After all, isn’t that truth in advertising? Don’t consumers want to know what they are looking at is not the real deal? I certainly do! What do you all think?

 

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  1. Craig

    My property was listed with pics of it as it existed fully furnished when it was owner occupied. Naturally during my showing, it was completely vacant because the owners had moved away months before. I wasn’t disappointed – I looked at is as an opportunity.

    Keep in mind this was in January 2010 in a very different market. But the situation told me two things: one, the listing wasn’t a priority for the agent who didn’t bother to stage it; two, vacant properties don’t show well and the unit had been on the market 5 months, so I had no competition. As a result, I knew I had the owner and the agent right where I wanted them. I played hardball with a take it or leave it offer and got a below market price $70k under the original listing.

    So as a buyer I actually like it when listing agents pull that nonsense and yet I still like the place despite its faults. It puts the seller at a disadvantage because it reduces interest in their property.

  2. Jc

    It will just ultimately hurt the seller. Buyers come looking for that blue sky and if it doesn’t exist not only will buyers be disappointed but now they will wonder what else buyer is hiding. That or a lower offer will be in the cards.

  3. lori

    I agree. It’s all about managing expectation!

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