Why the clutter, Al...
 
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Why the clutter, Alexandra?

 
charlotte
(@charlotte)
Advanced Member

I go on the multiple listing sites for STX at least twice a week. I was just wandering why the photos of these beautiful homes or condos, that are priced very high, have so much clutter in the pictures. You will see the master bedroom of a home priced over 650,000.00, with a ironing board, with an iron sitting on it, out in the middle of the picture. I feel like I'm looking at a trailer out in the trailer park somewhere! Sorry, but if I am looking to buy a house or condo on an island, or anywhere, I would expect the pictures of it to be clean, non-cluttered, and worthy of the price. Am I the only one who has issues with this? Why don't the Realtors do something to make these more photos more sellable? Just curious.

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Topic starter Posted : January 5, 2008 12:20 am
Dylan
(@Dylan)
Advanced Member

Sooooooooooo....................people that own half million dollar + condos don't have ironing boards?

I mean, I agree that the photos should make the property sellable, but explain to me why looking at an ironing board reminds you of looking at a trailer in a trailer park? Pretty discriminatory and very much a stereotype wouldn't you agree? As if people who live in trailers are any less of a people than someone who lives in a half million dollar + condo.

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Posted : January 5, 2008 10:36 am
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert

It's not discriminatory. She could just as easily have said "crackerbox." I've wondered the same thing about the messy photos since I occasionally check the MLS listings on STT. There was one here several months ago showing an overflowing waste can.

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Posted : January 5, 2008 12:31 pm
sherri
(@sherri)
Advanced Member

Have to agree with Charlotte.
Ever watch any of the shows on TV? If you want to sell your house, take out your clutter! They also like personal stuff removed such as pictures of family, etc.. The whole idea is to envision this home with your own things in them! Simple and clutter free!

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Posted : January 5, 2008 12:39 pm
Captain Jay
(@Captain_Jay)
Advanced Member

I have to say clutter is secondary to the basic lack of or poor quality of the pictures in general. I have been cruising the MLS for two years and it amazes me that in this day and age the REALTORS don't take any or take ver few pictures of the homes they are listing. You can buy a good digital for under $200. I can fully understand fluffing by not showing areas of bad homes, but to list a $200,000 condo with no decent photos or a $400,000 house is just bad business. I would assume a large number of the buyers for property on the islands come from the main land and first impresions count. In many cases that will be the photos on the web. Yes I know its the islands and not everything is like the states, but this is an easy fix.
Jay

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Posted : January 5, 2008 1:53 pm
Dylan
(@Dylan)
Advanced Member

Okay Okay.........................I AGREE that the pictures should make a property SELLABLE. What I DISAGREE with is the fact the when reading the post, the poster seems to look "DOWN" on people who live in trailers. RE: " I feel like I'm looking at a trailer out in the trailer park somewhere!"

Hey, I have family who live in trailers in Tennessee that ar far more IMMACULATE inside than some of the 4 and 5 million dollar estates I've been in on these islands.

If she would have said it reminded her of the Ghetto, the NAACP would be SCREAMING right about now! So why does a messy house have to be streretyped as "TRAILER PARK TRASH" for lack of a better term.

NO OFFENSE INTENDED, although the trailer park remark DID set uneasy with me. Oh and by the way, I live in a huge home these days and not a trailer. And I have an ironing board set up in my bedroom, HOWEVER, I'm not trying to sell.

Point taken................

HAPPY WEEKEND Y'ALL................

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Posted : January 5, 2008 1:58 pm
charlotte
(@charlotte)
Advanced Member

Sorry Dylan, you are right. I never should have said what I did about trailer parks. I certainly did not mean to offend anyone. I will think twice next time I post.

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Topic starter Posted : January 5, 2008 2:44 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

Or maybe the picture depicts the size of the room is big enough for an ironing board!

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Posted : January 5, 2008 2:45 pm
Juanita
(@Juanita)
Expert

I look at MLS everyday. My favorite pic is the million dollar house with the Raid can on the kitchen counter! I know we all have bug issues here, but I wouldn't leave a can of Raid out if I were expecting guests, much less taking pictures to sell my house. On the other hand, my husband wouldn't even notice the can.

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Posted : January 5, 2008 3:41 pm
terry
(@terry)
Expert

one can learn a great deal from those shows. However sometimes they are contradictory. Some shows will say to spice up the interior and paint the rooms something other than white. Then sometimes the show that the mother and daughter host that tells people why their house hasn't sold will say that the problem is the spices up colors.
Overall though, they will teach you a lot.

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Posted : January 5, 2008 4:39 pm
charlotte
(@charlotte)
Advanced Member

Juanita...can't wait for the condom on the bedpost pic...

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Topic starter Posted : January 5, 2008 4:45 pm
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member

It is shocking the state of most pic in the mls. Most realtors and owners are too lazy or have no skills in staging a house for sale so it simpling rarely gets done on low end come or middle class homes. But with the market as slow as it is maybe that will change. $600k is still just middle income housing here.

With all the shows on HGTV, A & E, etc you think people would know a little bit about staging by now. Clean, pack up all personal items, leave nothing on counters, paint, and minimal furniture.

devils advocate--I agree the pictures should be perfect but the flip side of selling real estate in the islands is houses and condos stay on the market for a long time, 8 months to a year is expected....2 years is not abnormal. Its hard to keep your house perfect on a daily basis for that long of a time, especially if you have kids or pets.

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Posted : January 5, 2008 6:53 pm
Dylan
(@Dylan)
Advanced Member

RE: "On the other hand, my husband wouldn't even notice the can."

"Juanita...can't wait for the condom on the bedpost pic..."

ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ya gotta love it kids, hehehehehehe.......................................

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Posted : January 5, 2008 7:28 pm
antiqueone
(@antiqueone)
Advanced Member

Of course, maybe, just maybe the reason the housing market is so slow here is because the pictures are so uninviting!

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Posted : January 5, 2008 7:41 pm
KLJ555
(@KLJ555)
Advanced Member

We are (hopefully!) closing on our home in NJ in another week. We received similar advice regarding our home--declutter (especially the closets and kitchen cabinets), ditch anything of a personal nature, remove all small appliances from the counter in the kitchen, and take out some of the furniture. We also were instructed to turn our offices back into bedrooms, as people would have difficulty envisioning the bedrooms. My husband and I were skeptical that this would make a difference, but once we were done it really did look and feel like a new, nicer place. Oddly, we got lots of positive comments from prospective buyers about our the neatness of our closets, of all things. The Realtor hired a professional photographer to take pictures for MLS, brochures and the house website. I don't know if I can say it was cause & effect, but we had an offer the first day it was on the market and another offer a week and a half later, both above what we were hoping to get for our home.

While it was a pretty unpleasant process--getting rid of the clutter, etc., I have to say now that we are packing up to move, it is a lot easier to do and we found that we really didn't need all that stuff we've been lugging around for many years! We are going to try and keep the minimum aesthetic going in our St. Croix condo, although I'm sure there will be some backsliding.

As for showing, we only showed our house for 4 weeks, and I thought it was going to kill me, keeping it super neat. I can't imagine doing that for a year, so I have a lot of sympathy for people whose homes are on the market for awhile.

As a prospective buyer, however, I agree with the comments about the pictures on MLS. I don't understand why condos/homes aren't tidied up a bit before the pictures. I also don't understand why so many condo sellers don't open up the hurricane shutters before having pictures taken. It really does nothing for the property and makes the rooms look so dingy. I can't believe the realtors don't make a fuss. Our Realtor went through our home initially and gave us a checklist of things to do and then went through it again to make sure everything was done to his satisfaction. Now, we've known him for years, so maybe he was more comfortable with us, but he didn't mince words when he wanted us to change something!

I'd be curious to know what island realtors think about this--do their clients not respond? Does it not make an appreciable difference to buyers?

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Posted : January 5, 2008 7:49 pm
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert

"Juanita...can't wait for the condom on the bedpost pic..."

The first apartment I had here on STT had a bunch of used condoms under the bed & between the mattress & box springs. 🙁

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Posted : January 5, 2008 10:15 pm
Neil
 Neil
(@Neil)
Trusted Member

I look forward to Alexandra's post on the subject. I'm sure she's thrilled to be mentioned 😉

No doubt she'll tell us what we already know...that not all sellors take their agent's advice! And that not all listing agents are professional. Unfortunately, the good agents end up with listings on their site created by other agents.

I've been browsing listing elsewhere too...and the problem is not confined to the VI, that's for sure. Part of the problem may be the website managers who don't know how to handle photos.

re: clutter
I've been trying to declutter my house for years. Keep throwing stuff out, giving it away, recycling, Problem is.. it only makes room for the next "stuff de jour" I just have to have. Slowly but surely getting there, however.

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Posted : January 6, 2008 3:41 pm
Alexandra
(@Alexandra)
Trusted Member

The cluttered photo phenomenon is definitely less than ideal when advertising a property for sale. Unfortunately I am sometimes guilty of posting such photos. The option many times is to not post any photos of the interior and I'd rather post cluttered photos than none at all.

It hasn't been long (less than two years) since listings were even required to have so many as ONE photo to be in the MLS. Some Realtors have started accepting the concept that showcasing a property with many photos does help to market it to off-island buyers (and even on-island buyers). Others still post only the one mandatory photo that may be just a stock photo they have on hand for a condo complex or vacant land, in general. That bothers me even more than cluttered photos.

The reasons for the cluttered photos are varied. Many of the properties on the market are inhabited by tenants, who often do not cooperate with cleaning up the place for photos and showings. In that case, the Realtor doesn't have the latitude to pick things up for them and take photos. It's difficult enough with some tenants even to get inside for five minutes to snap whatever we can in a hurry and get out. In those cases, we have to hope that prospective buyers will find a way to look beyond the clutter and imagine the rooms mostly empty and then refilled with their own belongings. It's tough, I know.

Some sellers don't understand that their properties will show better and sell sooner for a higher price if they invest a few weekends in cleaning, painting and de-cluttering the interior. Diplomatic suggestions often don't work in those cases and sometimes even more specific comments don't phase them, such asif I were the buyer I'd have a hard time looking past the garbage piled on the floor in the kitchen and seeing this property as my own new home. Other sellers get it from the start or quickly grasp the concept and work with their Realtor to prepare the property for showings.

Even fabulous houses, beautifully showcased and properly priced don't always sell in a hurry. That's even more frustrating for agent and seller as there aren't any suggestions to make for things that could be done to improve the chances of getting an offer. It's just a waiting game that sorely tests the patience of all involved.

Odd and embarrassing things do show up in MLS photos now and then. I once caught a pile of adult toys on the counter in a photo of a bathroom at a property. It didn't register at the time as I was intent on framing the room through the viewfinder of the camera and not examining the details of the room. I went home and uploaded the photos to the new listing... then when reviewing the listing I enlarged each photo as I scrolled through them to be sure I had then in the order I wanted and got quite an eye-full. The listing was missing a photo of the guest bathroom for a while until I could get back into the property to take a new pic.

Another time I caught a shot of a mouse running down the hall. Scratch another pic and call the exterminator before scheduling showings.

Another issue with MLS photos is when the owner or tenant or a child insists on standing in the middle of each room as you take your pictures. Ultimately you wind up with photos you just can't use and you have to try to find a time when the property will be vacant to take new pics. Sometimes in that situation, you can even move a few things aside temporarily to get your photos and then carefully replace them just as they were... cluttering up the shot.

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Posted : January 6, 2008 4:16 pm
marlene
(@marlene)
Advanced Member

The one that I liked is the house with a description of fabulous breezes, and the picture from the gallery to the door opening with an oscillating fan pointing inside.

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Posted : January 6, 2008 4:21 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

Mistakes happen every day, not only in real estate for sale photos. However when a Real Estate Agent takes on the responsibility of selling their clients property, it becomes the agents responsibility and costs on how the property is marketed to the public. If the agent can't find a mistake in a photo and correct it (do you really want to buy or sell with them). Real Estate is usually the largest investment that people make. Attention to detail belongs to the agent!

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Posted : January 6, 2008 6:09 pm
promoguy
(@promoguy)
Advanced Member

Lizard Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>Real Estate is usually the largest investment that people make.
> Attention to detail belongs to the agent!

And one of the largest dollar commissions a seller might pay.

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Posted : January 6, 2008 7:06 pm
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