Thursday 26 April 2018
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Ask the Expert: When a Picture Tells Less Than the Full Story

When you are buying a home, you want to make the right choice. After all, it’s a huge investment. Nowadays, the way people search for homes is mostly online. That means they often fall in love with a house based on pictures, videos, maps and research.  Emotionally, house hunters are often invested in a home before they even arrive. However, it’s very important to keep a level head and use logic when buying a home. Here’s a look at some ways the picture might not tell the full story.

How a wide angle lens can make rooms appear larger to prospective buyers.

How a wide angle lens can make rooms appear larger to prospective buyers.

  1. Room Sizes – Most professional photographers use wide-angle lenses to show off properties. It’s not uncommon for buyers to show up at homes and realize that the rooms looked larger in the photos. Brace yourself for this before going in. Also, sellers typically de-clutter so be aware of how different the space will look and feel when filled with your own furnishings. On the flip side, if the house has oversized furnishings or is too crowded, try to assess the true size of the rooms to determine if it would work well for you.
  2. DIY Improvements – In a glistening photo, a house can seem absolutely perfect. Seem is the key word. The flooring may look flawless; the tile work can look seamless… But then in person it can be an entirely different story. There could be gaps or scratches on those “perfect” floors and the tiles could be uneven or grout messy in your “dream” shower. Make sure to take a closer look and see if corners were cut or improvements were made incorrectly. You don’t want to overpay for something that wasn’t done well or that needs to be replaced.
  3. Neighborhood – The house may be everything you are searching for but the location might be another story.  Photos of a house and the surroundings can paint an entirely different picture than the one you see in person. Until you visit the home, you won’t truly know all of the neighborhood attributes. Even if you do virtual tours of the area and analyze Google Maps, it’s still not the same as being there in person. For instance, the home could be next to a school. While some people may love that, others may be put off by the constant parade of cars and kids. Or the home could be in a flight path, which you probably wouldn’t realize until you are standing in the yard. Spend some time at the home and even visit it at different times of day to truly know how the location stacks up.

Bottom line, photos and videos are often the first introduction you have to a home. They provide a wealth of information about the home and its features, which can have an emotional impact on buyers. As a buyer, you should keep an open mind and use the photographs as a tool to help you decide which homes to view. But guard your heart until you visit in person and perform your due diligence. That way you can protect yourself from an unnecessary heartbreak.



By Holly Schwartz

Holly Schwartz is a realtor with Villa Real Estate who lives in Newport Beach and has been featured on HGTV’s “House Hunters.” She can be reached at HSchwartz@VillaRealEstate.com.


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