Spruce up those photos, pronto - Metro US

Spruce up those photos, pronto

carlyn yandle/for metro vancouver

Pictures speak volumes when you’re selling. This empty room at left screams “juvenile detention centre,” but by making an effort, at right, it could suggest “juvenile dream bedroom.”

One of my family members is house-hunting — condo-hunting, actually — and I’ve been going along for the ride. But the most entertaining part of the process has been scanning the online listings on MLS, mls.ca, or realtylink.org.

True, most of the photos reveal neat and tidy rooms. But suddenly, up pops an image of someone’s kitchen the morning after the night before.

“Could they have not at least removed all the pots from the stove?” We giggle, then scroll on.

Another listing in the same neighbourhood boasts a “fabulous city view” so we click onto the “additional pictures” option. Possibly the most dismal scene ever captured of gunmetal-grey clouds clinging onto a soaked concrete jungle unfurls on the screen, as if reluctant to expose our rainy reality.

“That’ll have folks thinking twice about moving to Vancouver.” We laugh again, but ruefully, because there’s nothing funny about this winter’s weather. Another condo ad features snowboards and backpacks hanging on pegs, and nothing else — no floor, no walls.

Still another condo is missing any spot where one might eat a meal.

These are not made-up stories; these are real images of West Side condos on the market asking $400,000 or more, at the time of this writing.

Which has me wondering: are the sellers planning to cash out of the real estate market altogether and move into a yurt in rural Mexico? Because even if you do have a half-mil condo on the privileged end of the GVRD, you need to get your money out of your condo for your next residence. You have to squeeze every penny in order to keep living in what’s rapidly becoming a resort city.

In light of this predicament, the seller of the West End condo with the “amazing view” might want to replace the current online pics of his/her livingroom windows with pictures taken in the daytime, so we get something else besides the camera flash piercing through the black void beyond the glass.

While I’m doling out unsolicited advice, the homeowner whose building exterior was photographed during what appears to be garbage pick-up day might want to take another shot so the focal point is no longer a foreground of dumpsters and recycling bins but the actual building.

And to the guy who has clearly missed the training on proper bathroom etiquette: first put toilet seat down, then take the photo.

Carlyn Yandle is a Vancouver journalist with her own room-planning business, Home Reworks (www.homereworks.com). She dwells on urban-home issues every Thursday in Metro.

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