Want to buy a lighthouse?

In preparation for next week’s tour through Galicia on our search for our new home I have been scouring the internet listings for anything that holds promise.  In order to stand out among all the competing homes on the market, some listings have descriptions containing flowery prose detailing all the reasons a person would be delighted to own this home.  Each room perfectly staged for its photo. Then each picture is post-processed to ensure sharp focus and color correction.  It can be expensive, but when you are selling one of your most valuable assets, it is worth it to spend a little up front to ensure you are putting your best foot forward and attracting the most potential buyers.  While not always true, I believe that the effort that has gone into the presentation of the listing is probably indicative of the level of care and upkeep of the house too.  A well-manicured yard shows that the owner takes pride in their home and they have most likely taken care of it too.

Sometimes though it seems that the seller either did not get the memo regarding what should be in a real estate listing or that they just got distracted along the way.  I am certainly no real estate pro but I do know a thing or two about selling stuff. So if you find yourself in need of selling a home let me pass along a few pointers to ensure your ad gets the attention it deserves.

#1:  Show the house. Including some extra pictures of the surrounding area and views is nice but don’t forget to also include a picture of your house too.

This listing for a 4 bedroom house only included a single picture of the Tower of Hercules. Pretty sure the Spanish authorities would frown on us moving in.

#2 Show the right house. Make sure the picture of the house is the house that is for sale.  I cannot stress this enough. 

For one of the listings I was initially interested in, it seems the neighbor’s house was more photogenic than the one being offered for sale so the seller used it instead.  I discovered this when I did a Google Streets drive by and saw the address didn’t match the pictures.

#3 Show the freaking house! Once you have taken a picture of your house, make sure you can see enough of it to let potential buyers know what it looks like. Don’t leave it up to the buyers imagination of what the house might look like. If your yard is overgrown with trees and bushes it might be a good time to do a little landscaping and hack it back a bit. (or maybe take the picture from a different spot)

#4 Interior pictures are essential so you might want to clean up or put stuff away.  Try to tell a visual story and allow the buyer to imagine themselves living in this space. Nobody likes housework but…

#5 Avoid weird camera angles.  Sure, a fisheye lens can give the impression of a larger room and sometimes it even makes sense to use one.  But avoid resorting to strange perspectives that don’t add to the visual storytelling.

#6 Stay on topic!  I know you are really proud of your stuff but unless it is staying with the house, please do not include them in the listing.

#7 The money shot. The most important tip I have is to make the first picture of your listing the most appealing and descriptive one.  This is your chance to make a great first impression, don’t blow it with a picture of a corner of a closet door. I can not tell you how many times I have scrolled past pictures of homes that looked like this.  This house turned out to be pretty nice but I had skipped over it several times before I decided to take a closer look.

With a little careful planning and prep work, you can take real estate pictures yourself and avoid the cost of a professional photographer.  A picture is supposed to be worth a 1000 words, make them count.

I have learned that when it comes to searching for real estate in Spain, there are no shortcuts.  You need to be prepared to spend a lot of time sifting through nonsense before finding a gem.  Even when you think you have identified the perfect house, you still have to verify it is actually the one that is for sale and not just some stand-in model. We have a full week planned with several realtors and I’m sure we will see lots of nice houses. I’m hoping that it will be time well spent and not just time spent. With all the turmoil in the world right now it is a buyer’s market. Next week is going to be very interesting indeed.

3 thoughts on “Want to buy a lighthouse?

  • Son true! We are always looking for a bodega to buy nearer to the vineyard somewhere around Chantada. The pics are strange. One would think that focusing on the wine making stuff would be important to a bodega but no, I see pics of kitchens and trees, Geeesh!!

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  • Good points all around. When there are 10 exterior pics and 0 interior, I’m just assuming the worst. Now I’m wondering how many listings I’ve looked at that aren’t the actual house! 😬

    Can’t wait to see your reports from Galicia!!! 💙

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  • I laughed at several of your excellent descriptions, all good points. One I might add is to approach/enter your house as a guest and look at it through their eyes. Eeekkkk. Things we overlook, thinking ‘some day I’ll get to it’, become red flags when guests are coming to the house.

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