I can’t tell you how many times my clients says things like “It looked so much nicer in the pictures.” or “This just doesn’t look as big as it did online.”
I guess since I’ve looked at so many houses online, I’ve kind of developed a sixth sense on this picture thing. I thought I’d share with you what I notice.
1) For starters, anytime you can see 3 walls of the room in the picture, they’re using a wide-angle lense. No sin in that. I do it too. In fact, I kind of think all agents should do it. It would prevent those pictures of a corner of the dining room where you can’t even see the floor or the ceiling. But FYI, they do make the room always look bigger. Look at the furniture and kind of use that to determine the size of the room. If the room has only a love seat and a chair, and they are reaaaaaally close, you know its gonna be small. The same thing with bedrooms. You know how big a twin, full, queen, and king sized beds are, so you can see how much of the floor space the bed takes up. Oh, and look out the windows that are in the picture too.
2) When I am looking at the kitchen pictures, I take a close look at the cabinets. If I see what looks like a nice, rich dark brown cabinet, then I look and notice the house was built in the 1970’s………They are most likely from the LAST time dark cabinets were in style. You know this is the case if the countertop is a butcherblock laminate. Sometimes I’ll notice that a cabinet door is crooked, the range hood doesn’t match, the vinyl flooring is pulled up at the toe space because there isn’t shoe mold or quarter round. Also, a house built in the 1990’s may have cabinets that look like a really light stained wood, but odds are they’re the nasty pinkish looking pickled cabinets. I have that kind in two of my bathrooms. I just don’t know what people were thinking back then.
3) Bathrooms can tell you a lot too. Take a good close look at the faucets, or how they cut the tile around the toilet…if there is tile. You know you have a tile job by somebody who just got their Lowe’s credit card if they didn’t cut the tiles to go under the toilet, but just filled the whole area with a lot of grout. Speaking of tile. Look at the grout lines across the whole picture. If it looks darker in some areas, it will be stained up once you get there.
4) This is one of my favorites. I have been trying to come up with a name for it, but I haven’t had any luck. I guess for now I’ll just have to call it “The backyard has some really bad feature and the agent just turns her back to it when she takes the picture” type of picture. Some signs you are dealing with this is when you see something maybe really nice, but the angle is weird, or it is a close up of only one section of the yard. Then when you go to see the house, you’re like, “Oh, I didn’t know it backed up to New Circle/a retention basin/Wal-Mart/a 4 story apartment building.” While you’re looking at the backyard pics, see if the wood fence matches all around, or if there are missing or loose looking planks. The same goes for the deck.
Of course, all of this only really applies if there are enough pictures to see. I always get a little freaked out when I see only a couple of pictures of the outside of the house………especially if I know the agent doesn’t usually do that!
Another place you can use this info is when you’re booking a house or condo for vacation. We just booked a house on Anna Maria Island and did all this. We got burned once with this dump that must have had pictures from 10 years ago online……but that was before things like satellite pictures and some tech stuff that can help. Any more, I look at every detail because it is just too easy to put lipstick on a pig with a camera.
Anybody remember in the back of Parade Magazine where there’d be two pictures of the same thing, but there were like 9 things that were a little different between the pictures? It’d be something like a candy store, and in one picture there would only be 3 candy bars on the counter, but 5 in the other….. Or one cookie jar was empty in one of the pictures. If you know what I mean, just look at the real estate pictures under the same scrutiny.