KIM COOPER: Misleading or deceptive?

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At least one reader is disgusted with looking at homes that she believes are deliberately pictured differently than what is seen at a showing. We have told you month after month that there is a real shortage of inventory in our market. This leads to fierce competition among buyers, sellers and agents. Buyers are competing to be the first in line with an offer and are taking care to make their offers agreeable to sellers of well-priced properties.

Sellers are competing for buyers by hiring professional staging companies to decorate their homes to put their best foot forward in attracting qualified buyers. Many are hoping to maximize their sales price knowing that in their price range there may be few houses. Inflating the price could lead to an appraisal lower than the agreed selling price, but appraisers are adjusting to the rising values here so it is a calculated risk.

The competition for buyers leads some agents to glorify the amenities a particular property has to offer. We have written here before about deceptive photography practices including the use of fish eye lenses to make rooms look larger. More egregious though is overstating the number of legal bedrooms which seems common place. Have you actually looked closely at the way your agent has described and photographed your property? If it has been on the market longer than anticipated you might have problems other than price.

Several buyers have commented on the time they have wasted looking at houses that claim more bedrooms than exist. Others have found, after being told there is room for another bedroom over the garage by knocking out a wall is far more complex than just putting in a door. In several cases we have been told, the entire truss system would need to be changed to make a small space.

Buyers in our hottest selling price ranges are frustrated with competing for homes. Make sure you and your agent do not frustrate them further by getting them in the door with misleading photos or property descriptions. Your best buyer is one that discovers things exactly as described, not one who begins a tour of your property perturbed at the first discovery of inconsistency.

Misleading statements of living space, access, or a picture of a nice big family room with a curved granite counter top that, in reality is a room too small for a pool table with a small bar and straight, short granite counter top will likely alienate the buyer. That same buyer may have been satisfied seeing the home as it is. Once they see it has been distorted, they are likely getting to the next home quickly without taking time to see the true amenities of your home.

There is plenty of activity in the local real state market. The best way to get your share is to play fair in all regards.

Trust an expert…call a Realtor. Call your Realtor or visit www.cdarealtors.com to search properties on the Multiple Listing Service or to find a Realtor member who will represent your best interests.

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Kim Cooper is a real estate broker and the spokesman for the Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors. Kim and the association invite your feedback and input for this column. You may contact them by writing to the Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors, 409 W. Neider, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815 or by calling (208) 667-0664.

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