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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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Couple from Toronto buys dream home in Mushaboom

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MUSHABOOM – A couple who lived and raised a family in downtown Toronto developed a five-year plan in 2015 to purchase their dream home.

In September they moved into the home – located on Malagash Island in Mushaboom on Nova Scotia’s stunning Eastern Shore – that met and exceeded their best dreams for their retirement.

The Camerons, Bruce and Tanya, decided in 2019 they would explore the Maritimes to see what real estate was available to become their potential retirement home. In the spring of 2020, during a global pandemic, the real estate boom hit their city, and they were hearing the same for Nova Scotia. Our province was their first-choice for attaining their desire for an entirely different lifestyle – away from the busyness of the city.

“We had $300,000 to $350,000 as a home value in mind to buy. Our semi-detached located off Danforth in Toronto was priced at $850,000. We wanted to come out ahead, so we would be secure in retirement,” Tanya said.

Their century-old home had prime location near the subway and GO Transit Line for a great 13-minute commute downtown.

“We enjoyed our community,” explains Bruce “… we had great neighbours, young children around and street parties – lots of social activity.”

Bruce says, “Our agent suggested a starting quote of $899,000. We did not do any renovations and only some staging. Fifty couples went through and we received four significant offers. Six days later we sold – with zero conditions – and a price of over a million dollars. We just requested a closing of September 2020 to get the kids off to school – which we got.”

The couple got more than they had anticipated.

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Rabobank Announces Leadership Changes in U.S., Canadian Offices

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NEW YORK, Dec. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Rabobank, the leading global food and agribusiness bank, has appointed two of its top executives, Tamira Treffers-Herrera and Robert Sinescu, to become Co-Heads of North American Client Coverage, positioning the Bank for future growth in the region.

Treffers-Herrera has also assumed the role of Vice Chairperson and Head of the Atlanta office, where she additionally oversees Rabobank Mexico, which is led by Eduardo Palacios. Sinescu is the Head of the Chicago office, and also oversees Rabobank Canada, led by Marc Drouin, who was recently appointed as Canada’s General Manager.

Treffers-Herrera and Sinescu report to David Bassett, Head of Wholesale Banking North America, the Bank’s corporate and investment banking business for the region based in New York.

“Both Tamira and Robert have a demonstrated history of strong leadership, operational excellence and passion for our clients,” Bassett said. “Their broad experience and deep sector expertise will be invaluable in delivering dynamic results for clients while accelerating our growth trajectory in North America.”

Each office will have an even greater focus on key Food & Agribusiness sectors and clients: The Chicago office will drive growth in sectors including Dairy, Farm Inputs and Grains & Oilseeds, which are also key areas of focus for the Canada office. The Atlanta office will focus heavily on sectors such as Animal Protein, Beverages, Sugar, and Supply Chains, which are important sectors in Mexico as well.

“Rabobank is fully committed to our clients throughout North America, and we believe our new sector-focused coverage will improve our ability to provide knowledge-based, value-added solutions that benefit our clients,” Bassett said.

Treffers-Herrera was most recently based in London as CEO of Rabobank’s European Region from 2016-2020, where she took the organization through Brexit. Prior to that, she worked in the Atlanta office from 2002-2016. During her tenure in Atlanta, Treffers-Herrera served as Global Sector Head – Consumer Food & Beverages, and prior to that she was a senior banker for a portfolio of large beverage and consumer foods clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky, a Master of Arts from the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and has studied at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Harvard Business School.

Sinescu has been with Rabobank for over 21 years and was previously General Manager of Rabobank Canada, where he oversaw all operations, business development, commercial strategy and relationships with regulators. In addition, he continues to serve as CEO of Rabo Securities Canada Inc. Prior to Canada, he was a senior banker, Head of Corporate Banking, European Sector Head for Sugar, and a member of the Management Team for Rabobank France. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from the Bucharest School of Business, a Master of Business Administration & Management and a Master of Science in Banking and Corporate Finance from Sorbonne University in Paris, and has studied at Brown University.

Drouin has worked with Rabobank’s Canadian team for more than nine years and most recently served as a senior banker, Head of Rabobank Canada’s AgVendor Program and a member of Rabobank Canada’s Management Team. He brings extensive wholesale banking experience within the Dairy, G&O, CPG and Supply Chain sectors. Drouin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University and a Master of Business Administration in International Finance, Marketing and Management from the Schulich School of Business at York University.

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Greybrook Realty Partners & Marlin Spring Brand Jointly Owned Asset Manager – Greyspring Apartments

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TORONTO, Dec. 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Greybrook Realty Partners and Marlin Spring are pleased to announce the new branding of their jointly owned investment and asset management firm, Greyspring Apartments. With a portfolio of more than 2,000 units and CAD$375 million in assets under management, Greyspring Apartments is focused on the acquisition and repositioning of multi-family assets throughout Canada.

The new name and branding is an important step in Greyspring’s evolution as an independent operating business. Formed in 2018 by long standing-partners Marlin Spring and Greybrook Realty Partners, Greyspring Apartments was established with the goal of building a leading asset management firm with a robust portfolio of residential rental real estate assets in primary and secondary markets across Canada.

Greyspring’s talented team of real estate, asset management and finance professionals is overseen and guided by the Management Board, whose members include Benjamin Bakst, CEO, Marlin Spring; Elliot Kazarnovksy, CFO, Marlin Spring; Sasha Cucuz, CEO, Greybrook Securities Inc.; Peter Politis, CEO, Greybrook Realty Partners; Chris Salapoutis, President & COO, Greybrook Realty Partners; Ashi Mathur, President, Marlin Spring; and Karl Brady. In addition to his role on the Management Board, Karl Brady leads Greyspring Apartments as its President. 

“We are pleased to announce the official name and branding of a business we formed with our partners at Marlin Spring a few years ago,” said Peter Politis, CEO, Greybrook Realty Partners. “Greyspring has been diligently focused on the execution of strategic value-add programs across its portfolio that are improving the quality of housing for tenants and overall asset values. For Greybrook investors, expanding from our core business in real estate development to the value-add space through Greyspring, has allowed us to provide our clients with investment opportunities that diversify their real estate investment portfolios.”

“Marlin Spring and Greybrook have partnered on many residential real estate projects in recent years,” said Benjamin Bakst, CEO and Cofounder, Marlin Spring. “To a great extent, Greyspring illustrates our approach to partnerships. We believe in, and strive for, responsible growth through deepening our relationships with our trusted partners. With Greyspring, we’ve formalized our focus on providing better and more affordable living experiences for Canadians. This vision aligns with our mission to deliver exceptional real estate value to all our stakeholders with an uncompromising adherence to our core values.”

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