Real Actual Listing Photos: Seattle Condo Edition

It’s time for another installment of Real Actual Listing Photos. Once a month (or so) I round up some of the most bizarre listing photos from around the Seattle area and post them here, with brief excerpts from the real actual listing description, and probably a bit of snarky commentary.

This month’s theme: Seattle condos!

The idea for this series stems from the ongoing forum thread Detrimental Listing Photos, which is where you should post your nominations for next month’s Real Actual Listing Photos post.

Enough explanation. Let’s get to the photos! Click the photo to view the Real Actual Listing.

120 1st Ave W #401 Seattle, WA 98119120 1st Ave W #502 Seattle, WA 98119

At left: The primary listing photo for Unit 401 in 120 1st Ave. W. At right, the primary listing photo for Unit 502 in the same building. From the description of unit 502: “rooftop deck with grill and amazing views of the city.” Of course, none of the photos happen to show that view. Also be sure to check out the kitchen and bathroom shots on that one. Priceless.

615 Boren #27 Seattle, WA 98104“This unit boasts large scale living spaces, old growth oak floors, mohogany pocket doors…”

Listing agent boasts a camera-mounted flash that casts large distracting shadows and an inability to spell “mahogany.”

300 10th Ave Unit B-410 Seattle, WA 98122“Just blocks from Seattle U on First Hill.”

Nice… um… blocks?

159 Denny Way #308 Seattle, WA 98109“Amenities include roof top patio with a 360 view of Seattle and the Puget sound.”

…and a glowing yellow bathroom. Did we mention the glowing yellow bathroom?

819 Virginia St #2704 Seattle, WA 98101“Open kit w/ s. s. applian, granite cntrs, dbl sink, eat bar. Din rm off kit w/ balcony.”

The description isn’t the only thing that the agent abbreviated to save space. This photo of the “open kit” is shown actual size.

1504 Aurora Ave N #303 Seattle, WA 98109819 Virginia St #1710 Seattle, WA 981011616 Summit Ave #101 Seattle, WA 98122323 Queen Anne Ave N #512 Seattle, WA 981091125 E Olive St #203 Seattle, WA 98122

As I was browsing photos of Seattle condos, I noticed something of a running theme… Apparently buyers won’t believe that you have a keen vertical washer/dryer combo unless you include it in your listing photos. Or something.

Let me know if you have an idea for another “Real Actual Listing Photos” theme.

  

About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

34 comments:

  1. 1
    WestSideBilly says:

    “Dont miss this gr8 oppor to live in the prestigious cosmopolitan!This gorgeous unit features warm hdwd flrs, central a/c. Liv rm with gas fp, magnificant flr-ceiling windows that allow illumination and spectacular views. Open kit w/ s. s. applian, granite cntrs, dbl sink, eat bar. Din rm off kit w/ balcony. Mstr w/ full bath, balcony, hg walk-in w/ built-in wall safe! Secure gar. with own spot. 24-hr concierge & too many luxurious amenities to list!Steps away from dntn shop, dining, theatre, lite rail, Pacific place.”

    That’s the full listing for the “open kit” condo. I would fire my agent as fast as I could dial a phone if that was how they represented my property. Absolute disgrace. The pictures certainly don’t help matters.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  2. 2

    RE: WestSideBilly @ 1 – I was disappointed that with the upgrade to Matrix the NWMLS didn’t increase the data space for the marketing remarks so that so many abbreviations wouldn’t be necessary.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  3. 3
    chico says:

    A couple of threads back I asked about listings for foreclosures. Didn’t get much of a response. As far as I have been able to tell, not all foreclosures end up being listed for sale on the MLS.

    Here is a web site listed on a notice of default that was tacked to my neighbors door a few days ago:

    http://www.usa-foreclosure.com/

    Does anyone have any experience with this site? Does anyone have any idea about how many foreclosures don’t end up on the MLS site and are only listed on sites like this? Does anyone have any experience or ideas why banks would bypass the MLS and only list on the above referenced site?

    Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated! Certainly the brain trust that visits Seattle Bubble has some kind of experience with this site.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  4. 4
    chico says:

    I would like to thank Kary though for being the only one to respond.

    You’re a cut above most people out there Kary, very level headed and reasonable, Thanks!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  5. 5

    RE: chico @ 3 – First, you’re welcome.

    Second, that site (assuming it’s the one I remember) lists the foreclosure sales–sales where the bank is actually foreclosing to either obtain or transfer ownership from the defaulting borrower. As far as I know, it doesn’t list properties that the bank already owns. Thus, these are pre-foreclosure sale, while the bank owned listed properties (REOs) are post-foreclosure sale. I’m not sure there are any sites that list properties for sale that the bank already owns (post-foreclosure) that are not listed. For that I think you may need to know somebody.

    There are a few of those sites, and where those properties appear depends on which deed of trust trustee is foreclosing the property.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  6. 6
    The Tim says:

    RE: chico @ 3 – Sorry, I must have missed your question. Another place that you could do some foreclosure searching is actually right on Google Maps. Check out this post from a year ago for a little tour.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  7. 7

    RE: The Tim @ 6 – If it’s the post I’m thinking of, you responded to my post, pointing out that Redfin could filter by REO.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  8. 8

    Tim, I don’t get what you’re getting at on the Seattle U picture. Seemingly it is fairly close to Seattle U.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  9. 9
    sleepwalker says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 8

    It’s just a stupid picture of the road. They’d be better off leaving it out, or just showing a nice picture of the U and other close amenities.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  10. 10
    Updog says:

    Second picture, on the staircase…

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/1014-E-Denny-Way-98122/home/143618

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  11. 11
    Chris says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 8 – I suspect it’s questioning the wisdom of using a listing photo to show a street with cars parked on it.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  12. 12

    RE: Chris @ 11 – I was thinking it was a spelling, grammar or distance thing. If it’s just the picture, it looks like a typical First Hill block to me. Of all the hundreds of photos in listings, I don’t think that is one that stands out.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  13. 13
    Daniel says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 12 – wow a picture of a road with no view of anything worth noticing and – more important – no view of anything having to do with the listing does not stand out? My 4 year old relative takes better pictures. At least the object he aims for is actually…. in the picture.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  14. 14

    RE: Daniel @ 13 – I’m a bit uncomfortable continuing to talk about a specific listing, but since I’m supporting the agent’s decision to use the picture . . .

    Sometimes agents have particular reasons for putting a picture in the listing that non-agents don’t understand. So for me these types of threads should be limited to thinks like where the focus or exposure is off, or perhaps having people in the photos.

    BTW, on that last topic, I did see an appraisal once where the owner’s dog managed to make it into just about every one of the appraiser’s photos. I thought that was sort of cute, but for listing photos it would be inappropriate.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  15. 15
    The Tim says:

    RE: Chris @ 11 – That’s what I was going for. The quote was the only part of the description that seemed even remotely related to the random photo of the street that was thrown in there.

    What purpose could there possibly be to including that photo? “Come buy this condo! It’s on a street!”

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  16. 16
    deejayoh says:

    By Daniel @ 13:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 12 – wow a picture of a road with no view of anything worth noticing and – more important – no view of anything having to do with the listing does not stand out? My 4 year old relative takes better pictures. At least the object he aims for is actually…. in the picture.

    Is that the water on the horizon? I thought that was kind of the point

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  17. 17
    The Tim says:

    By deejayoh @ 16:

    Is that the water on the horizon? I thought that was kind of the point

    Ooooh, I get it. So the message is “Come buy this condo! You can stand in the middle of the street and see the water!”

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  18. 18

    By The Tim @ 15:

    What purpose could there possibly be to including that photo? “Come buy this condo! It’s on a street!”

    Well not everyone uses Redfin where they can click a link to get directly to Google Streetview! ;-)

    Seriously, the street is often a major factor in the purchase of a property, and in some areas the particular neighborhood can vary a lot. More information is good, not bad.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  19. 19

    On the topic of detrimental listing photos, Ken Harney had a piece this weekend about virtual staging.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/realestate/2012589283_harney15.html

    Talk about stupid. The last think you want to do is make your photos such that prospective buyers are disappointed when they walk in. That’s like listing a 3 bedroom w/ bonus room as a 4 bedroom.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  20. 20
    Jillayne says:

    Hey Chico,

    I’m not a licensed real estate broker, instead I teach a variety of subjects and my students are Realtors and loan originators. While doing some research for a new class I was asking myself the same question, stumbled upon a website with a lot of outdated links and updated them for my students. Here you go: How to find bank-owned REOs for sale that might not be listed in the MLS:

    http://ceforward.com/?p=376

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  21. 21

    RE: Jillayne @ 20 – Are any of those actually unlisted?

    For example, there’s a website for Homepath listings, but all of those are listed properties as far as I’ve noticed. That can be useful, however, if you’re looking specifically just for Homepath.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  22. 22
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    That forum thread is by far my biggest contribution to the Seattle Bubble universe.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  23. 23
    David Losh says:

    RE: The Tim @ 15

    First, that is 1st Avenue West on lower Queen Anne, and nowhere near Seattle University, or any University, they meant Seattle Center.

    Second is that the picture from the first listing, that great picture by the way, was used with my permission, that sale in 2002 was my listing, I guess, it seems like just yesterday.

    The Carera II is pretty much a dead property. It has tons of building defects that the home owners association failed to have addressed in it’s lawsuit with the builder.

    The agent who bought unit 401 combined it with a second unit before the whole mess went back to the bank. She bought it on a lease purchase from my seller then refinanced. She also happened to be a licensed loan originator.

    The Carera II is a problem that I don’t know has been addressed to this day. The penthouse 501 was I think the last sale.

    Those maybe some of the reasons the listing photos are lacking for that property.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  24. 24
    deejayoh says:

    By The Tim @ 17:

    By deejayoh @ 16:
    Is that the water on the horizon? I thought that was kind of the point

    Ooooh, I get it. So the message is “Come buy this condo! You can stand in the middle of the street and see the water!”

    “peek-a-boo” view. the one you get to see as you leave for work every day!

    I was surprised that a 3/2 unit was asking $399k vs. a 1/1 for $204k. More suggesting the smaller unit is overpriced than the bigger one is underpriced

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  25. 25
    David Losh says:

    RE: Jillayne @ 20

    You know, you are really moving up in my appreciation for your talent. Yes, you have to contact the banks. Really that is the only way to get direct information. I would have also included Dean Street, at John L Scott, back a couple of years for his insights, but today, as in most times, yes, the bank holding the paper is the best resource.

    I also submitted an article to Dustin about how to buy a foreclosed property.

    To bottom line my article is, that you need to be ready to close your transaction. When you see a property you like, structure your offer so it can close right now. Ask to do an inspection, if you need to, but assume there is a problem if it’s on the banks foreclosure list.

    Most importantly, be ready to close. Have your loan in place, get an appraisal, assume you will lose that money, but be ready to close. Get hard money if you have to, but you will be in the shark tank, so be ready, willing, and able to swim.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  26. 26
    tomtom says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 19

    Local realtors remove the neighboring houses in exterior photos.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  27. 27

    RE: chico @ 3
    usa-foreclosure is somehow connected to Northwest Trustee Services, who are the trustees for the foreclosure auction. When a home gets foreclosed on, it temporarily reverts to the trustee before it gets sold at the auction or reverts back to the lender. When you go to Northwest Trustee services website, there is a link to usa-foreclsure.
    There are other websites that also list the foreclosure auctions such as realtytrac and propertyshark.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  28. 28
    Gary says:

    RE: David Losh @ 23

    I lived at the Carrara II during the defect litigation ’02 – ’06. They settled with the builder for deficiencies and the entire exterior and all windows/doors were replaced. Were the deficiencies not properly repaired? If so, I’m sorry to hear that.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  29. 29
    Jason says:

    That condo at 159 Denny Way is listed as being “located in the heart of Belltown.” Do Realtors measure their heart rate by putting their hand on their shoulder?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  30. 30
    The Kid says:

    Speaking of stacking washer and dryer, fourth picture. ROFLMAO

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Renton/3507-NE-7th-Pl-98056/home/241438

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  31. 31
    Anonymous Coward says:

    Why is the last picture in the B-410 listing not on the front page? If they couldn’t be bothered to put the toilet seat down, could they have at least *flushed* before taking the listing photo?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  32. 32
    David Losh says:

    RE: Gary @ 28

    The defects were extensive. The main focus ended up being on the roof, but the second floor decks also were raised to the top of the slider tracks. Then there was the stucco, and windows, stair wells, and parking garage.
    I did not sell the unit to my client, I got him out of it when no one else could. Dealing with problem properties is something I do.
    401 was bought by my client who got embroiled in the defect dispute. He bought the unit after the defects were discovered, but they were not disclosed do to the unsubstantiated allegations. I said he should sue, he pointed out I’m not an attorney, and he is.
    Anyway we got him out of the unit with the lease purchase and refi.

    This story is one of the reasons you should hire a professional Real Estate agent rather than trying to figure out a purchase worth hundreds of thousands of dollars on your own.
    I know it’s hard to know who’s good, but that’s why you interview to find some one who knows the business.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  33. 33
    MacroInvestor says:

    Has anyone else noticed a trend toward listings which grossly exaggerate having a view? Looking at online listings recently, most filled in the “view” description as “territorial” when “none” was the correct term. In these listings, there was no photo of a view and the map showed it was no where in proximity to one.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  34. 34
    Paul says:

    By Gary @ 28:

    RE: David Losh @ 23

    I lived at the Carrara II during the defect litigation ’02 – ’06. They settled with the builder for deficiencies and the entire exterior and all windows/doors were replaced. Were the deficiencies not properly repaired? If so, I’m sorry to hear that.

    RE: Gary @ 28 – Gary, I’d love to hear about your time at Carrara II as I’m considering purchasing there at this time. Any way to connect with you?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

Leave a Reply

Use your email address to sign up with Gravatar for a custom avatar.
Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Please read the rules before posting a comment.