Monday, October 26, 2009

Unreal Estate

On Friday the photographer came to take the pictures of the house that will run on the Internet and in the brochure. The photo at the top is what the living room looks like. The shot on the bottom is what the photographer took. Ignoring the lighting differences, since he got a beautiful sunny day and today is a dreadful overcast and dreary day, I think you can see what these folks do to pitch your property.

The top picture is all about C words: comfortable couches and cushions and chairs and curtains, with a background of even more chairs on the deck. The photographer's shot is about light and windows and wood floors and it all leads outdoors to the deck and garden and just a hint of the harbor beyond. And the bottom picture is also about removing armchairs and paintings and tables and half the cushions to make everything look more spacious.

It's obviously a good picture for what the real estate agent wants to do with her marketing. The people who may want to buy this house will want it for what they can do with it and how they would live here, not how we do.

I did wonder if people who came over to look based on the ad were often surprised when what was in the pictures is not what they see in the real house. "Oh no," Mary-Anne assured me. "No one has ever said anything. I doubt if they even realize it's different."

And she is probably right. In an ironic twist on the English language, it's obvious that to be successful in real estate, you have to be fairly cavalier about presenting what is real. Not one of the pictures for our real estate ads is real, as in, this is how they look every other day.

So much of the language they use is also quite oddly wrong. I've posted earlier that I first noticed this when they referred to 2 1/2 baths when what we have is 2 baths and 3 toilets - almost as if they're hoping to convince people that third toilet is really a half-sized bath.

And now that we have started seeing the words they are going to use in the ads, I should tell you that we don't have a deck, despite what looks like one just behind the living room. Nope, we've been calling it the wrong name all these years - it's really an undercover entertainment area.

And it forms a key component of our house's "emphasis on a relaxed indoor-outdoor alfresco lifestyle" as the brochure reads. A bit of redundancy there, perhaps, since "alfresco" means "outdoors", but being Italian it sounds so much more elegant. And perhaps disguises the fact that essentially pitching the house this way is a lot like saying it is a good place to sit outside of -- either on the deck that is no longer a deck or in the back yard, which by the way has now become a courtyard.

And according to our ad, when you're standing on what was once a deck, you capture "cameo water views". I have looked in four or five dictionaries, and cannot find a definition for "cameo" that makes any sense in this context. But it sounds good, doesn't it? Sounds kind of special. Probably even more so given that you're actually standing on the undercover entertainment area.

Oh well, LK and I have enormous confidence that Mary-Anne knows what she's doing so who am I to critique her work? First showing is this Saturday. It's all happening soon.

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