Too-Flattering Photography?

Homes Getting Bigger . . . Online

I’ve been showing a client 1,500-2,000 FSF houses in several closer-in, city neighborhoods the last few days, and I’ve never seen so many 14 x 18 foot living rooms that look like football fields in the online photos!

If you don’t know square feet, that range usually corresponds to three average size Bedrooms (or two big ones), and comfortable-size public rooms, but certainly nothing extravagant. By contrast, “McMansion’s” usually start around 4,000 square feet.

So what’s going on?

Overly flattering photography. I leave it to the photography experts to explain the various techniques (panning, stretching, etc.), but clearly there’s a disconnect between how large rooms appear online, and how they appear once you’re standing in them.

The operative theory appears to be the real estate equivalent of, “if your parents don’t have kids, you won’t either.” Translation: if a home doesn’t get any showings, it won’t get any offers, either.

Unfortunately, attracting prospective Buyers under false pretenses isn’t the way to get offers, either.

Beating Expectations

As I’ve written in previous posts (and counsel my Sellers), the best way to get an offer is to underpromise and overdeliver (actually, that’s a pretty good principle in most walks of life). Doing the opposite simply makes Buyers feel disappointed (if not misled). In my experience, such Buyers don’t make offers, they simply move on — quickly.

Ironically, as too-flattering photography becomes more commonplace in real estate, the main consequence is to make the Internet less useful to prospective home buyers, even as its role in everyday life grows.

Increasingly, if you want to know what a home really looks like, you have to get inside.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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