Friday, January 24, 2014

No Wonder It's The "Home Alone" House

This is another one for those who still don't believe that advertising and marketing of properties must improve in order to help the real estate market.

As is my instinct, as soon as I saw a newspaper story (Chicago Tribune) online about the house used in the "Home Alone" movie being for sale, I wanted to read it. I'm always curious to see if there are quotes from a realty agent involved in the process and whether or not the quotes are effective ones.

The home, in the upscale Chicago suburb of Winnetka IL, is listed, according to the report, at $3.1 million dollars.

It turns out that no agent is quoted anywhere within the story, although the listing agent's name and affiliation is the last line of the story.

However, there is a big problem pointed out within the 4th paragraph of the Tribune story. It is the sentence which reads, "The bay windowed breakfast room is lovely but brrrr - there are no curtains in the listing photo".

Why is that a "problem"? Because during the week leading into this story, the temperature in Chicago did not get above the mid-20's. On the very day the story "broke", the temperature at the time was near 0 degrees.

Mother Nature does not distinguish between trailer park homes and multi-million dollar mansions when it comes to windows without curtains or blinds letting frigid air inside. Chances are the reporter had the same reaction as I did, and others will, upon seeing that photo, now thinking that it is probably cold in that house at "this very moment".

If I might, I'm going to speculate that a potential buyer for a $3 million property does not want to worry about being too cold. Especially if that same potential buyer has looked at other properties in that range with NO indication of cold temperatures.

The photo spread for the listing , based on the amount of snow shown on the exterior, taken very recently, and that is a plus for the listing agent and the seller.

In this instance, all the agent, photographer, or home stager needed to do was close the curtains or blinds! Doing so would have prevented the reporter from making the comment, which instead reflects as a negative.

As for the remainder of the photo spread, there are two unflattering photos of the exterior. One shows the swimming pool area covered with snow, while another shows a covered walkway area that has what appears to be some drifting snow on it.

Why show a snow covered swimming pool? A potential buyer would want to know there is a swimming pool there, but seeing it snow covered and not ready for us is still another less than positive "message".

A potential buyer of a multi-million dollar property, and there aren't that many, needs to see nothing but positives, and this photo spread fails to do that. As a result, the seller could lose thousands and thousands of dollars (perhaps even six figures) by eventually needing to accept a lower offer in order to get the sale. My point is that if and when that happens, it is really NOT a reflection of the local market. It would be reflection of the marketing.

This is why I suggest that home sellers monitor any and all advertising and promotion their realty agent does, and demand that updates and changes be made if and when something doesn't look right. For this listing's photo spread, either take out the unflattering photos and/or re-shoot the bay window with the curtains closed. Put "Stay warm in the spacious living room" or something to that effect in the copy.

Hopefully this will be changed so that the sellers of "Mr. Marley's house" will get their sale price. If not, they might be "Home Alone" for quite some time.,0,5003714.story

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