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Friday, November 8, 2013

Real Estate Photography for Dummies...

 This is a true story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

I get most of my business by representing buyers interested in purchasing homes in Key West. I do list properties on occasion, but I am predominantly a buyers' agent. A few days ago a buyer called me to ask about a new listing she had seen in our online mls. The Key West Association of Realtors mls website is open for all to see. You don't need to send an email to an agent to get details on anything.  But this buyer asked my opinion on this particular new listing and the neighborhood. I knew the neighborhood but knew nothing of the house. So I called the listing agent and set up a time so that I could take more photos for my buyer and to be able to answer more of my buyer's questions.

I arrived at the property the next day ten minutes early.  The listing agent, who I will call Betty Lou, was standing in the street talking to four or five people about the house.  I presumed they were other potential because one person had a camera taking photos of the area. I got out my camera and started snapping photos of the house from various angles. I moved to the front porch and took photos of the porch and the view from the porch looking across the street.  I framed the palm trees for best effect.

The other buyers were walking on the side of the house toward the back. I walked toward Betty Lou who said "Hi, Gary. Go on inside and take your photos. The house is open." "It's open?", I asked. "Yes, go on inside" Betty Lou responded. So I walked back to the front door and walked inside. Betty Lou walked down the side of the house toward the rear. The house was very nicely furnished, but it had a horrible odor from years of cigarette smoke. I immediately liked the house, despite the odor knowing that could be fixed with ease.

I walked over to turn on the lamp next to the sofa. Then I walked toward the dining room to turn on the overhead light fixture when a female voice said "I live here!"  Betty Lou had told me the owners were in town in our phone discussion the day before. She said the owners were supposed to leave by the time I arrived to take photos. I assumed Betty Lou got the timing incorrect and then wondered why she would send me inside when the owner was still there.

I touched the dining room light switch and turned on the light anyway. "I live here!" the female voice said again.  I responded "I'm sorry. Betty Lou is outside. She said to go inside to take photos."  The voice now had a body, the body of a smallish older woman who had emerged from the bedroom as she walked into the living area where she repeated "I live here!".  I repeated myself saying that Betty Lou had sent me inside to take photos. I said "She is showing other buyers the back of the house". The lady said "Betty Lou is selling the house next door!"  My complexion must have turned beet red because I felt like such a dummy. I reached over to turn off the dining room light and then the light by the sofa.  The lady stood her ground. She was not angry. "Miffed" would best describe her countenance.

I headed to the front door to make my exit. I said "Thank God you did not have a gun!" (You know in Florida we have that 'stand your ground' law that gives people the right to kill people in their homes if they feel threatened.)  The lady emphatically stated "My husband does!" whereupon I felt it best to get out of the house - quickly.

I exited and went to find Betty Lou who I told my little story. I was perplexed as to why she would tell me to go inside having seen me taking photos of the house, especially as I had initially walked toward her from the front porch of the wrong house. At first Betty Lou had a shocked expression on her face. She brought her right hand to cover her mouth and then she let out a chuckle. I thought it was funny too, but not that funny because I could have got my ass shot off.


Anonymous said...

You are not alone Gary. We did the same thing once at a Sunday open house. As we barged through the front door a couple sitting in the living room asked us who we were and what we wanted. Very embarassing. We were lucky that they were also selling their house and were more than happy to show us arount the outside of their property before showing us accross the street to their neighbor's open house. If one of your neighbor's are having an open house we highly recommend locking your front door to keep out people like Gary and us!

Anonymous said...

Here I was hoping you would explain how you take such good photos of the properties. That would be another lesson worth telling.

Gaurav Mishra said...
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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.