Happy Friday, everyone!

Image from: http://www.insidercondos.com/Picasso-Condos
Image from: http://www.insidercondos.com/Picasso-Condos

So I’m thinking about house-hunting a lot lately.  Hako2112 & I are getting ready to sell our house and move to a condo, so we’ve been talking about it and searching the web a great deal, so naturally it’s on my mind.  I want to talk today a little about my pet peeves.

I peruse Realtor.ca, mostly, because there aren’t too many unrelated ads, and it doesn’t belong to any one real-estate brokerage (I posted about it yesterday).  My pet peeves are usually about the listings themselves, and not about the website, which I quite like, so here’s my list:

  1. The thing that bothers me the most is when a listing either has no photographs at all, or only has one photo of a condo building taken from a mile away which has clearly been pulled from some other website.  It’s off-putting not to be able to get at least a general idea of what a place looks like before going to the trouble of calling an agent to book a showing.
  2. This one’s about photographs, too.  I can’t stress how important visual first impressions are in house-hunting.  If a listing doesn’t show at least one bedroom, one bathroom, the kitchen and living room, then I probably won’t ever call the agent.  I understand it is too much to ask for a floor plan, but I’d love it if listings included that.  Basically the photos need to give me a sense of the whole place, and not just the living room and kitchen or the master bedroom and some obscure angle of the living room.
  3. Likewise, taking a dozen photographs of the living room more or less from the same angle isn’t going to make me like it any better if you haven’t included the kitchen at all.
  4. Oh, look another one about photographs…  (Have I mentioned that they’re important?!)  Don’t take them before your house is ready for sale, and definitely don’t take them on a gross overcast day or in the middle of the night if you can avoid it.  It’s best if they’re all taken on the same day, and at the same time to give the place a uniform feeling- ideally it’ll be in the afternoon when the sun is a lovely golden colour, which will make the whole place feel welcoming.
  5. So finally, this one is about the listings themselves, and specifically about condo-listings.  Hako & I have pets, so it is really important to us to know before we fall in love with a place that the building allows pets.  We went to see one place a few weeks ago, fell in love, and discovered just as we were about to tell the agent we were interested that they don’t allow pets at all.  Now, this peeve is two-fold:
  • the listing Hako & I were caught by actively said that pets were ‘restricted’, which usually means the building doesn’t allow dogs over a certain weight, which would have been fine.  In this case either a.) the agent was an idiot and didn’t check the actual rules before listing, or b.) they deliberately didn’t list it correctly in an attempt to get more people in the door.  Neither of these situations is fine.
  • The other issue comes when condo listings do not list the building’s pet policy at all, which is inconvenient and awkward because there isn’t any way to get the phone number of building management without actually going to the building.  In this case you only have one other option- call the selling agent, who may or may not know, and who may even lie to get you in the door. This is also not fine.

If you would like to see an example of a good set of listing photographs, you can find it here: http://www.realtor.ca/PropertyPhotos.aspx?propertyID=12792945&PhotoNum=10  Now, the lighting isn’t perfect in these, but it’s still uniform throughout the pictures.  There is one photograph of every room, two of the building and even a coveted floor plan. (Hopefully the listing will stay up long enough for you to see it- appologies if it gets taken down, someone let me know, okay, if you notice it’s not working, and I’ll find another one)

This listing is a great example of what not to do: http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=12766061&PidKey=-1585499820  Do you see the two photographs of the building’s exterior?  Don’t they tell you everything you want to know about the interior?  No, they don’t!!  Did you notice, also, how it is listed as a bungalow?  Are those photographs even of the same building?  There is no way to know without going to see it, and it’s defiantly not worth the effort when there are nicer, better-presented listings available.

What are your pet peeves when house-hunting?

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