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Photos that don’t help you sell houses | REM

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Whether you’re a new sales rep or a seasoned agent who’s been around the block and then some, you need to know something: DIYing your property photos is killing your listing.

I know it can be tempting to save a few dollars where we can…so it can be really tempting to just DIY the photography. I mean, how hard can it be, right?

First, I have one word for you: terriblerealestateagentphotos.com.  Okay, it’s a long word made up of several smaller words, but still. This site is filled with actual photos taken by actual real estate agents who were actually using them in an effort to sell a house. For real. Terrible is exactly the right word for these pictures. Perplexing, hilarious and disturbing are also right words for them.

But it’s not just about avoiding public mockery for a job poorly done. The point is, you want the property to sell, but bad photos can actually be worse than no photo at all.

Even if your photography doesn’t make it into Terrible Real Estate Photo’s Hall of Infamy, there are some definite runners-up to avoid.

Sunset scenes:

These artistic shots taken of the property at dusk, with the sunset blazing across the sky, silhouetting the yard… they make for a great wall hanging, but don’t do anything for the house hunter looking to photos for clues about whether the property fits their needs. Besides that, the buyers will never see the property that way. Not until they own it, at least. Buyers look during the day.

Night photos, while artistic, will only make the shopper keep scrolling or, worse, wonder what you’re hiding by taking night pictures. Perhaps, if the house is a character property, this kind of image may complement it within a photo array but it should not be the initial one.

Odd angles and aerial shots:

I’ve seen shots taken from ceiling corners and odd, high-up places. Those photographers must have climbed and crouched and contorted in ways that would send me to the chiropractor or lay me out on a hospital bed. Other photographers have used poles or drones to take high-flying bird’s-eye photos of the property. Here’s why they don’t help. Buyers want to arrive at the house and be able to see what they saw in photos. If the impression the photos make doesn’t match their impression of the house when they arrive, they’ll feel disappointed at best, deceived at worst. Complementing images with these on the right property can be an asset (such as an acreage) but for a standard city lot, unless perhaps riverfront, they are nothing more than fluff.

Wide angles (especially nearing fish eye):

When we use lenses to stretch and exaggerate the size of a home, it’s not helpful. For one thing, the buyer looking at the photo is confused. The single door fridge looks like you can put a whole cow in there and it looks like an SUV might fit in the dishwasher, and they can’t tell what’s real. If they decide to look at the place, they’ll feel disappointed at best with the mismatched impression, and deceived at worst. Wide-angle lenses have their place to capture the essence of a room, but you must know how to use one properly to avoid the distortions.

Lazy photos:

Setting up for a decent photo takes a little preparation and work. Preparing clients for the shoot day and advising them of what to hide beforehand, for one. The planning element of the shoot is critical. Pictures should create a story in the viewer’s mind. Getting off your duff is advisable too. I saw one property photo of the Google Street View of the house. In another, you could see some of the car mirror. The agent hadn’t even bothered getting out of the car to take it! Forget that – the agent wasn’t even spry enough to raise their arm for the photo! (Seriously!)

Most of these mistakes happen when trying to DIY photography, but I’ve seen these mistakes made by professionals too (especially the fancy angles and artistic scene shots) that put their artistic spin on it. Leave the art for the galleries and shoot with the sole purpose of aiding the viewer. My motto: click once, check twice. No one needs to see the photographer’s reflection or the flash flare in the mirror, nor one of the occupants in the distant background… and as much as I adore all furry friends, Rufus the family furkid should not be visible either.

Oh, and while on this subject, no remnants from the homeowner’s hunting trips. Mounted taxidermy or antlers should not be on display for buyers to see.


The most effective photos

Property photos have two functions, both of which are more functional than artistic. First, they need to capture the attention of the scrolling house hunter. Second, they need to give the potential buyer a realistic impression of the house. Here’s why.

Different photography techniques can build up the buyer’s expectations (about a giant fridge, uber high ceilings, or a grand expanse of lawn, for example). The first impression was impressive. Well done. When they arrive at the home in person and walk in to discover normal-height ceilings, an apartment-size fridge and a postage-stamp lawn, they’re going to be steamed. The second impression is decidedly bad.

And we’re not even just talking about their impression of the property here. We’re also talking about their impression of the agent who raised their expectations far beyond reality, promising them through photography what you could not deliver.

Once the buyer arrives at the house, we get three chances to WOW them.

  1. First, the moment they see the house from the street.
  2. Second, the at-the-door experience. This is where they begin to see, hear and feel the house’s welcome. While the agent is fumbling with the key, are they staring at the spider webs, a rusted mail box and a broken coach light? (Not if the listing agent told them how to prepare for showings.) If the experience is positive and welcoming, that’s the second WOW.
  3. Third, that initial feel when they walk into the house.

At each point, if their experience matches their expectations based on the photos that attracted them in the first place, you’ve nailed it.

If you are well versed on the operation of a digital camera and lighting, by all means take the pictures. But only if you know how to utilize the settings of your camera and I mean camera: DSLR, not smartphone, not iPad but a digital camera with interchangeable lenses. If you want to do so but don’t know this, take a class. They are widely available and not expensive. Once you hold the knowledge you may be able to tell the photo story yourself. If not, and if you are hiring this element out, be sure whoever you use is experienced at real estate photography and not just sport or glamour photography.

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Real Estate

The cost of renovating your bathroom in Toronto in 2021

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Home renovations can be a big task, especially bathroom renovations where you have to work with either an awkwardly shaped space, or one with lots of pipework and very little natural light.

Nonetheless, getting a bathroom renovation by Easy Renovation to change your existing bathroom layout, improve the ambience or add more natural skylights can be worth all the trouble. But determining how much a bathroom renovation would cost is important while setting a budget.

The pandemic has changed a lot of things with social distancing rules, working from home, and for some, being made redundant. Therefore, having a complete grasp of the financial implication of a bathroom innovation is very important.

Owning your dream bathroom can be made a reality and the good thing is, regardless of your financial situation, there are always available options. If you also decide to put up your property for sale in the future, a bathroom upgrade would be a great investment—as it would add significant value to the property. Your bathroom renovation project, like every home renovation, can either be very affordable or extravagant, but one thing is certain, you’re bound to have a more refreshed, stylish and modernistic space.  

Looking through detailed sketches of luxurious and expensive bathrooms can be quite tempting, especially when you’re on a budget. However, your bathroom can be equally transformed into something that looks just as modern, stylish and refreshing but without the heavy price tag.

Conducting a partial bathroom renovation means you only have to change a little part of your existing bathroom rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch. If you intend to carry out this type of bathroom renovation in Toronto, depending on the size of your bathroom, you can spend between $1,000 – $5,000. With a partial bathroom renovation, you can save money by tackling smaller problems that exist in your present bathroom—or you can just upgrade a few of its features.

Partial bathroom renovations are quite affordable and would leave your bathroom feeling new and stylish without being time-consuming or a financial burden—which is important considering the economic impact of the pandemic. Repainting the bathroom walls, replacing the tiles on the floor and in the shower area are examples of partial bathroom renovations which is the cheapest to accomplish.

A more expensive and popular bathroom renovation is the standard 3- or 4-piece renovation. This renovation type involves a lot more services that are not covered by a partial renovation budget. To execute a standard bathroom renovation in Toronto you need a budget of about $10,000 – $15,000.

Unlike with a partial renovation, you would have to make a lot more changes to various elements of your bathroom without the hassle of changing the overall design. You can easily restore your current bathroom into a modernistic and classy space that fits your existing style. Making changes to more aspects of your bathroom is quite easy since there is more room in your budget to accommodate it.

A standard 3- or 4-piece renovation includes everything in a partial renovation plus extras such as revamped baseboards, installing a new bathroom mirror, buying new lights, installing a new vanity, changing the toilet, and buying new shower fixtures.

If you’re one of those looking to make a complete overhaul of your existing bathroom, then the option of a complete bathroom remodel is for you.

Unlike a bathroom renovation, remodelling means a complete change of your current bathroom design and layout for one that is newer and completely unrecognizable. The possibilities when remodelling a bathroom are endless especially when you have a large budget of over $15,000. That way, you can get the opportunity to create the perfect bathroom for yourself.

In addition to all that’s available with a standard bathroom renovation, bathroom remodelling allows you to make bathtub to shower conversion, relocation of plumbing, relocation of the toilet, reframing the bathroom and even relocating the shower.

In conclusion, a bathroom renovation can be a very important upgrade to your home and depending on the features that you decide to include, in addition to the size of your bathroom, this would influence the total cost of the project.

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7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary

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Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market

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The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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