MLS Musings

More MLS Musings!

MLS Musings!

3 minute read

August 3, 2018

Why don’t we start off with one of my all-time favourite categories in MLS Musings: bad staging photos.

Bad staging photos come in many, many forms.

There’s the staging itself – too much, too little, ugly furniture, not to scale, there’s the lack of experience on the part of the stager, and then there’s the “I have no idea what’s going on here” form, which is the most fun.

Case in point:

That’s a vase of flowers on a couch.

And if I were to sit down and think about it for a while, this is perhaps the last place in the world that I would put a glass jar filled with water, except, perhaps, inside a baby’s crib?

But in addition to placing a water-filled container with no lid on an uneven surface that becomes more uneven if and when somebody sits on it, I don’t understand what the “stager” was trying to accomplish here.

How about this one – maybe the stager was thinking, “less is more.”

Or maybe the stager wasn’t a stager.

Maybe it was one of many real estate agents who are too cheap to pay for staging, and tell their clients, “I do my own staging, don’t worry.”

A lamp, a horse statue, and a jug of fluorescent orange sticks.  Got it.

You know those crime scene photos where they’ll place a ruler next to a footprint to show the size of the footprint?  And you know how, in lieu of a ruler, you can place something that has a fixed size, like a dollar bill? (I think Angelina Jolie did that in “Bone Collector”)

Well maybe this bear was put against the wall in this otherwise empty basement, just to show the size and scale of the room:

Great condo, but why take the wedding photo off the wall and place it on the floor?

Did the golf clubs not fit in the storage locker?

Or is this listing only targeting the young male demographic?

Outdoor patio furniture, indoor rug, fake flowers.

Check, check, check.

How about another favourite theme of mine, that I call, “Which house is actually for sale?”

Classic example here:

I’m assuming it’s one of the two in the middle, although assumptions, in cases like these, are never automatic.

But which of the two?

Your guess is as good as mine.

The quality of the decision to take a photo of four houses, when only one is for sale, is as good as the quality of the camera used to take this photo that has the uncanny ability to make the photographed objects look like they’re in the 1980’s…

How about this one – which house is for sale?

Again, it’s probably one of the two in the middle.

But should we also make note of the fact that the listing agent didn’t actually go to the property to take photos, and instead, just used a screen-shot from Google Earth?

Let’s continue that theme with MLS photos that did not originate on an actual camera.

The following photo came from a good place; the listing agent was trying to draw a treasure map to the lockbox location:

But to have that on MLS is ridiculous.

First of all, this is part of the “marketing” of the property, since this is one of the photos associated with the listing.

Second of all, this appears on, Zolo, Zoocasa, and every other listing site.  Do you really want the public knowing how to access the lockbox?

And last but not least, what’s with the green spraypaint-font?  That is supposed to say “1 Scott” above, and “Lock box” below.

Really, really bad stuff.

I love this one!

Here are three MLS photos from a current listing:

What I love is that photos #2 and #3 are of the same room, but one with the light off, and with one the light on, and, it’s a screen-shot of the user’s phone, in two different applications.

I always imagine the interview process with this listing agent:

Seller: “So, tell me about the cutting-edge marketing initiatives that you take.”

Agent: “I can assure you sir, I use mediums that no other agent uses.”


You know I love photos of condos with giant concrete pillars in the rooms, right?

Well just when you think it can’t get any worse, check this out:

What the hell is this?

And last, but certainly not least, the worst MLS blurb I’ve seen in a while:

Now before the more sensitive readers pick the low-hanging fruit here and come back at me, I understand that not everybody’s first language in Canada is English.

But that doesn’t excuse what I read above.

“With Sunset Belong Breathtaking!!!” – this is not only grammatically incorrect, but what does it actually mean?

“$40,000/Fall” – this means, what, that the upgrades were put in last September?  And it flows from the previous sentence: “Upgrades of Nearly $40,000/Fall Ceiling With Pot Lights” – is this just missing a period, or is this one sentence?

“Fittings” – I don’t know what that means.

“U/G” – same deal here, this could be an acronym for anything.

I’m sure the listing agent really tried his or her hardest here, but it’s still a fail.

Phew!  Long, tiring week here.

Perfect time for a long weekend!

Just a question for you cottagers – is there any time, during daylight hours, when you can drive north on Highway 400 and not be in traffic?

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

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  1. Appraiser

    at 7:19 am

    TREB sales data for July is out.

    Sales up 18.6% !
    Prices up 4.8%
    Days on Market down 19%
    New Listings down 1.8%

    Hey Ralphy – what do you see in the rear view mirror – a correction?

    1. Ralph Cramdown

      at 7:48 am

      David says “you really can’t tell anything about the overall market by looking at one slow month in the summer.”

      1. Appraiser

        at 9:42 am

        Belief perseverance can be hard to shake. And it’s two month in a row ahead of last year.

        Old news.

        1. Ralph Cramdown

          at 11:44 am

          I get this feeling that, even though you’re addressing me with your arguments, I’m not the one you’re trying to convince. You spent the first five months of 2018 explaining that year-over-year comparisons were unfair because 2017 was unseasonably hot… But now, with summer 2017 comps the worst in a decade (or more?), you’re happily touting the YoY numbers.

          I know this, you know this, and you know that I know it. So you’re not trying to fool me, and presumably you’re not trying to fool yourself. Who are you trying to fool?

          Anyway, another long weekend is here. Tip to Appraiser: Don’t forget the hot dog buns to go with your “seasonally adjusted” steaks. And to David: Do what the OTHER rich people do, and don’t spend the best of your life stuck in traffic on the 400.

          1. Derek

            at 3:10 pm

            Anyone know the story on those “Better Dwelling” guys or their agenda, if any? Their take on the numbers is,
            “The policy changes made last July one of the worst in recent history. Beating it might not be the recovery sign it appears to be. Reporting the second worst July in a long time isn’t exactly a reason to celebrate, is it?”

            What stock do any of you place in their conclusions?

          2. Kyle

            at 12:22 pm

            I would put zero stick into anything Bitter Dwelling has to say. They’re business model is taking a stat and manufacturing some BS story around it to get clicks from the bitter bear crowd.

          3. Kyle

            at 12:22 pm

            Stock…not stick

  2. Pete

    at 7:51 am

    You made the comment slightly more sensible by quoting it as “With Sunset Belong Breathtaking!!! But it actually says “With Sunset Belong Breathing” …. which is just amazing.

    1. David Fleming

      at 11:19 am

      @ Pete

      I’m having a really, really off week.

      Portugal, Spain.

      1. BJA

        at 2:36 pm

        I understand your getting them confused. After all, both countries crashed out at the World Cup much earlier than might have been expected (particularly Spain). Not that they were the only underachievers (e.g. Germany, Argentina, Brazil…)

  3. Libertarian

    at 10:38 am

    “Just a question for you cottagers – is there any time, during daylight hours, when you can drive north on Highway 400 and not be in traffic?”

    I sense some sarcasm there David! I’m glad that I’m not the only person who doesn’t get the whole cottage thing. Drive two hours each way in bumper to bumper traffic to do stuff that you can do at home.

    I realize that some cottages are better than others, but I hear people talk about how there is no a/c, indoor plumbing, comfortable beds, etc., and wonder why anybody finds that appealing. But to each their own. If everybody wants to leave the city this weekend, that’s fine by me because it means there’ll be less congestion here.

    1. Professional Shanker

      at 10:52 am

      Being on the water and surrounded by people is not something you can do in the city, the drive is a consequence of that lifestyle.

      The entire 2-3 hours is not bumper to bumper – just to Barrie is it slow.

      The cottage experience is next is none for most but is not understood until experienced and it changes when it is your place not someone else’s. That said the upkeep and work is time consuming.

    2. Jennifer

      at 1:55 pm

      no a/c or indoor plumbing? Clearly you haven’t been to hoards of cottages up north (or anywhere for that matter) or maybe you havent been since 1985.
      Peace and quiet, lakes, toys for lakes, swimming, stars in the sky, BBQs, friends and family…….sounds terrible.

      1. Batalha

        at 2:31 pm

        Ah, if only the 99% (okay, maybe the 97%) could enjoy such an idyllic lifestyle.

      2. Libertarian

        at 5:18 pm

        I’ve been to cottages with a/c and indoor plumbing. People have told me theirs don’t have those things. As for your… “peace and quiet, lakes, toys….”, as I wrote in my original comment, the vast majority of that stuff you can do at home, so why spend 4 hours or more in a car driving?

        To each their own.

  4. Izzy Bedibida

    at 11:31 am

    On the MLS blurb….Listing agent doesn’t speak English, and most likely cut and pasted a Google translate version of what he originally wrote in his native language. I saw a lot of this during my recent trip to China. Made for some very interesting translations.

  5. Ben

    at 12:09 pm

    It raises the question: how do those realtors ever get a listing?

  6. Geoff

    at 2:22 pm

    Am I crazy to think the pillars would make for cool bookcases? I’d try to draw attention them positively, as opposed to drawing negative attention (When is Wedding Crashers 2: The Crashening going to happen?)

  7. Dave

    at 5:04 pm

    My first time seeing your column. Thank you! I’m a realtor in Vancouver and I actually spend money on professional photography staging and 2 and 3d floorplans… minimally! But keep in mind, that apart from just being cheap or lazy, many of these agents have probably cut their commission to shreds in order to get the listing. Then they feel they don’t have to do any work or spend any money… all because they’re desperate for a paycheque. It’s a @#%&%$ show!

  8. Al

    at 2:27 pm

    Hope the 905 market is going to come up

  9. Peggy

    at 2:11 pm

    Regarding the 4 houses that you aren’t sure which one is listed. I guess the the photographer thought that they all look the same anyway What the heck.

Pick5 is a weekly series comparing and analyzing five residential properties based on price, style, location, and neighbourhood.

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