There is Nothing Attractive About a Hot Tub Cover

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

There is Nothing Attractive About a Hot Tub Cover

It has been a while since there's been an Active Rain contest that I've been this excited about.  Thank you Dick Greenberg for hosting your 2016 ActiveRain Photography Contest.  This is an entry for the Real Estate category, subcategory Exterior.

When I took this listing, it came to me having hit the market in the late fall/early winter market with a lot of days on the market, but no interested buyers or even traffic.  The price was high and the photos the previous agent had taken were awful.  I actually did a post comparing our outdoor photos of the hot tub at the time.

While the previous listing had ended during the spring, there had been no effort made to pretty up the photos taken during the winter.  So as the second agent in, I took the marketing very seriously.  Sellers wanted the same price, which was reaching, but I might be able to pull it off with some staging...and that included staging the outdoor photos.

My Best Hot Tub Photo Ever

Of particular importance to me was the hot tub/cabana bar.  I spent about fifteen bucks at the dollar store on decorative palm trees, plastic drink glasses and leis to stick in the glasses.  I also bought some colorful dishes and place mats.  The seller gave me some of the big towels they used when hot tubbing.

Putting all of that together was easy.  Getting the top off the hot tub was not easy.  And I'm sure the neighbors wondered what the hell I was doing.  During the whole thing, the dog was going nuts in the yard.  

As I do with all my property photos, I took several.  Some with the water still, some with the jets going.  Used the flash fill and tried without a flash.  The picture here was the winner that went online.  

Effort like this is what sells houses.  There is nothing attractive or imaginative about a hot tub cover.  As it turns out, my sellers got really close to their price and it happened within a week of being listed with me.  I am sure it is photos like this that invited people to come on by and stay a while.


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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Chris Ann

That was very clever and a good marketing strategy. It's rare to see hot tub covers off for photos in the MLS, even here where they are pretty darn popular, and it makes such sense to make it a focal point. Great staging!! Bet your clients were thrilled!


Nov 15, 2016 10:44 AM #1
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Good job, Chris Ann!  Marketing photography for homes is far more important now than it was a decade ago because so much of our marketing is done via the internet!

Nov 15, 2016 11:01 AM #2
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Chris Ann- you're so tub covers generally aren't as inviting as see the inviting water inside the tub.  You've shown why special photography and staging can help set the mood. 

Nov 15, 2016 11:16 AM #3
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

I couldn't agree more Chris Ann, I always wonder what that hot tub actually looks like under the cover! Buyers want to be able to imagine themselves in the space - with the bubbles going and a drink nearby they would actually be able to do so. 

Nov 15, 2016 12:01 PM #4
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Chris Ann, how inviting! Bring your suits! Boy oh boy, how many times I've had to get creative with my photo myself and I. A good team, just like yours!! 

Nov 15, 2016 12:28 PM #5
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Los Angeles CA

Chris Ann,

you are a creative stagger, a skillful photographer, an experienced marketer, a successful sales lady, a tough negotiator, and many more benefits. Your clients are very fortunate to have  you as their realtor. 

Nov 15, 2016 03:53 PM #6
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Chris Ann - Taking the time and care to think this one through made a huge difference - major kudos to you! Thanks for another contest entry!

Nov 16, 2016 02:49 AM #7
Michael Jacobs
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393

Hi Chris Ann --- I have never understood a "closed" hot tub in mls photos  or during an open house event ---  your idea of "romancing" the scene makes a lot of sense.   

Nov 16, 2016 06:46 AM #8
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I noticed that our MLS prohibits photos of people in the photos of our homes for sale, which is the only thing that has stopped me from putting a 20-year-old in a bikini and ordering her to sit by the pool.

Nov 17, 2016 03:36 AM #9
Sherry McNabb
RE/MAX Grand - Katy, TX
Local Roots | Global Reach

Chris Ann, that is a great photo for the contest.  It's amazing at what results you can achieve with just a little staging.  Nice job on getting the home sold so quickly!

Nov 17, 2016 04:07 AM #10
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Chris Ann, I've always looked at hot tub covers the same...more of a detraction to the house.

Nov 18, 2016 06:12 AM #11
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

                                  Thanks Chris Ann Cleland 

Nov 19, 2016 11:51 AM #12
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Chris Ann Cleland ,

I can't believe I missed this post..I caught it on  Kathy Streib 's "Ah-ha" moments for the week. You've shown why special photography and creative staging can help set the mood to be inviting to potential buyers. Good job!!

Nov 19, 2016 10:45 PM #13
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Chris Ann, I listed a house with a wonderful in-ground heated pool in the middle of January, and for the first Open House, we had six inches of snow on the ground.  For the first weekend, I had the seller open up the pool and fire up the heater.  By the time the first Open started, people could see steam rising into the frigid air and were ready to jump in!  By Sunday night, it was sold.  I think you were really smart to

I think you were really smart to make the hot tub look inviting, whatever the air temperature!

Nov 20, 2016 02:03 AM #14
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Chris Ann Cleland - brilliant!  Absolutely brilliant - inexpensive and inventive.

Nov 20, 2016 02:16 AM #15
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Super job.  Yes, you want to show them the swoops you away.

Nov 20, 2016 09:44 AM #16
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

I built and installed a gazebo like the above years ago.  People asked when I was going to build a hot tub.  It is empty all these years

Sam Shueh

Nov 20, 2016 10:29 AM #17
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Chris Ann Cleland - The photos and proper staging are the most important part of marketing. Once again, you have proved that to be the case.  The hot tub is inviting and that is what matters!

Nov 20, 2016 08:46 PM #18
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Chris Ann Cleland

Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
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