We all know what "quaint", "cosy", "gem", "first time on the market in 25 years" mean in real estate ads.
But how far do you go to try and make your latest listing sound attractive to potential buyers?
I'm writing this not as a home stager or home staging trainer. I'm writing as someone who personally bought 7 homes in various cities. I lived in and staged all of them which is how I got into home staging.
I'm always on the look out for my next house so I'm an active reader of real estate ads, visitor to real estate agents' websites and open houses, etc. Besides my own desire to find my next home, I keep up on what sells and for how much so that I can better serve my staging clients.
This house was promoted as being "steps to the lake... sit back and listen to the waves... lake views... walk out to balconies/veranda from almost every room..."
By now you're probably imagining (as I was) a house on the water (or pretty darn close to it), listening to waves from all those balconies!
This house in fact several blocks from the lake making it completely impossible to hear any waves without walking for 5 - 10 minutes down a hill on a busy street, and then making your way around a large water filtration plant.
Yes, technically there was a lake view if you define that as the ability to see a thin band of blue in the distance beyond what appears to be government subsidized low cost apartment buildings.
I am not naive enough to think that this wouldn't qualify for "lake view" in an ad. BUT, when "lake view" is combined with a description of hearing waves, an entirely different expectation is created in the buyer's mind.
All that said, it IS a lovely house both inside and out (and it did sell quickly - in no small part because it was priced way below market value in an already hot market). So my question to agents is:
What is the point of creating a completely false impression in an ad to promote a listing? If the potential buyer ends up annoyed at being lied to, are they likely to respect your professionalism or trust your claims in the future?
It's my view that when you become a trusted real estate advisor, you have a client for life.
What do you think about short term tactics to get the phone to ring like overblown claims in ads, versus the longer term view of building client relationships?
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Voice of Possibility Group Inc.
Debra Gould's mission is helping people realize the many possibilities that lie around the next corner when they build a business around their passions. Frequently profiled in the media and a contributor to Century 21's blog, Debra has trained 7,000 home stagers around the world and is the author of several guides.