September 30, 2009
If Only They Would Be Willing To Accept Virtual Mini-Dollars As Well
And while we applaud the "photo virtually staged" watermarks, we’re amazed at how much virtual furniture can fit in that real space: a couch with four armchairs and coffee table, a dinning room table for eight, and even a baby grand!
All in a twenty-five by thirty foot living room and kitchen with island? That’s incredible! Just ignore the original architects’ scaled drawing, perspective and floor plan.
∙ Listing: 301 Mission #40D (3/3) 1,952 sqft - $2,750,000 [ninahatvany.com] [MLS]
∙ The First Attempted Millennium
Flip Resale: 301 Mission #40D [SocketSite]
∙ Inside A Recently Staged 2006 Washington Number Four [SocketSite]
First Published: September 30, 2009 11:15 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
cue the unethical realtor talk...wait for it...wait for it...GO
Posted by: anon$random at September 30, 2009 11:20 AM
Ah . . . The classic "d'oh!" buyer remorse. 2.75M for a whole 1925 sq. ft.? Double d'oh!!! *beats head against wall repeatedly*
Posted by: OMG at September 30, 2009 11:43 AM
Posted by: deshard at September 30, 2009 12:24 PM
Niche marketing for the Little People market?
Posted by: BobN at September 30, 2009 12:30 PM
Maybe they can find a self-made billionaire on Second Life who wants to virtually purchase it and then virtually move in and make of it a live-in piano lounge?
Posted by: Debtpocalypse at September 30, 2009 1:00 PM
Is the furniture not to scale? They have crammed a lot of (virtual) crap in there, but it just looks cramped to me. There is hardly any floor space. This looks more like bad staging than dishonest staging. Maybe it's both . . .
Posted by: Trip at September 30, 2009 1:02 PM
Virtual staging isn't unethical at all, note that the photos are clearly marked "photo virtually staged". With that labeling, I don't care if the virtual stager puts a virtual waterfall in the living room.
This virtual staging however seems rather awkward to me. The angles and lighting don't seem natural, especially in the living/dining/kitchen area.
I'm all for the virtual staging technique - could save sellers some dough.
VS still allows the same unethical tricks that normal staging enables : dwarf beds making a bedroom looking larger, throwing a rug over an essential floor air duct, etc. So there is plenty of latitude to use this technology for good or evil.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at September 30, 2009 1:11 PM
This tactic is similar to the issue with the furniture arrangements depicted in the Infinity florplans on their website. Their sample furniture arrangements suggesting one could seat 8 comfortably combined with a dining table for 4 in their curved 2/2s. Those that have seen these units in person can appreciate the humor. Interesting how they have changed those website arrangements after the issue got some attention on this site.
This type of misrepresentation may get people to come and take a look, but most are likely to be pissed by the deception upon seeing it in person.
Posted by: huh? at September 30, 2009 2:02 PM
"This type of misrepresentation may get people to come and take a look, but most are likely to be pissed by the deception upon seeing it in person."
At some point, the buyers will just start to ignore the photos altogether.
Posted by: tipster at September 30, 2009 2:07 PM
This one really belongs on lovelylisting.com
Posted by: kthnxybe at September 30, 2009 3:13 PM
"At some point, the buyers will just start to ignore the photos altogether."
For a change I fully concur with you Tipster. By the way, did I say that the Infinity website had changed its deceptive practice? Never mind. Their depiction still suggests seating for 8 people in the living room and an unobstructed table for 4 close to the kitchen in the curved 2/2 units. Laughable! Look for the following configuration on their website -
SQ FEET 1317*
FLOORS Main Street Tower
Floors 4 to 27
At least this is a resale and the deception isn't directly from the developer.
Posted by: huh? at September 30, 2009 3:23 PM
"we’re amazed at how much virtual furniture can fit in that real space: a couch with four armchairs and coffee table, a dinning room table for eight, and even a baby grand!"
If you add up the couch and four chairs (7 people) the dining/"dinning" table (8 people) add 2 more on the chairs by the kitchen island and one maestro on the piano and we have a home that seems to comfortably hold 18 people in the living area. That's astounding ... the place must be huge!
When SS said a "baby grand" (piano) I think they may have meant a grand piano for a baby .. if you want to be realistic about the scale ... if that's your thing.
Posted by: Seymour Butts at September 30, 2009 3:53 PM
Actually, I think the Infinity website is being upfront now. They show virtual people sitting on each other's virtual laps and sharing virtual chairs in the living room that is beautifully but dysfunctionally shaped.
Posted by: weatherman at September 30, 2009 3:57 PM
Virtual staging ha! I never even thought of that. But after seeing these results and comments, overall it looks muy queso to me. Probably better to just have an empty unit rather than go virtual.
Posted by: 45yo hipster at September 30, 2009 4:01 PM
Weatherman - the photo is a little more realistic, but the floorplan isn't:
Posted by: huh? at September 30, 2009 4:05 PM
I'm not a fan of virtual staging. It seems deceptive. I don't want to be hosting my open house and have to look at people's expressions when they walk into a vacant property expecting to see furniture. It'll be too distracting.
Posted by: insidesfre at September 30, 2009 4:46 PM
This will not really catch on until better technology is developed for virtually chopping pillows.
Posted by: OneEyedMan at September 30, 2009 5:09 PM
Is the seller really that cheap that he/she can't fork out some green for legit staging? I think if you want my $2.75m dollars you can couch up two grand (or whatever it costs).
Posted by: lolcat_94123 at September 30, 2009 5:19 PM
Posted by: Tall Guy at September 30, 2009 6:22 PM
Even if the seller can afford real staging, I'd like to see more virtual staging (perhaps done better with virtual chopping as OneEyedMan suggests :-)
If done well and honestly it could provide the best of both worlds : VS used to demonstrate possible usage of the property. Then when you tour in person it is empty and free of the clutter that gets in the way of evaluating the home.
VS is cheaper, saving the seller some cash which might allow them to reduce their sales price.
The downside of VS is that it is much easier to do sneaky stuff like shrink a table for 8 down to a table for 6 size to get it to fit into the dining room. But thankfully we have a strongly enforced ironclad NAR code of ethics so that deception cannot happen otherwise the con artists will be stripped of their licenses.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at October 1, 2009 8:52 AM
How many resales are in the Millennium now? Are the prices comparable to what the sales office is doing? I seem to recall they only dropped prices by 15% with no further negotiation. Is that outdated knowledge? Have they dropped prices more now across the board? Or, are they doing upgrade type incentives to keep up the falsehood of not having to negotiate? Any insight is much appreciated. Thank you.
Posted by: soma resident at October 1, 2009 9:36 AM
As tipster wrote "At some point, the buyers will just start to ignore the photos altogether."
At that point the buyers also start ignoring the development altogether.
I showed the model to a buyer last year that was staged in the old sales office. The greeting we got was less than ice cold. At that point they were sold out in Tower one except for just a handful. We didn't let that deter us. We had both perused their web site and were excited to "see" it ourselves. The finishes were poor in my opinion. The space and layout are not conducive to real people furniture. It was a big disappointment that they spent all of their budget on location and advertising and then had to skimp on the architecture and finishes.
Posted by: RSVP at October 1, 2009 9:52 AM
In my first comment I was remarking about showing the Infinity, not the Millenium.
Posted by: RSVP at October 1, 2009 9:56 AM
I'll disagree a little bit here.
The First floor of my house is 4 rooms- LR (12 x 15), DR (12 x 15), Kitchen (12 x 18), Entry hallway (12 x 15). (all sizes approximate).
or in other words, my first floor is just a bit bigger than 24 ft x 30 ft, similar to the space above.
-My kitchen is much more spacious than the pics above.
-My dining room has a table for 6 that expands to 8 (and I've had 12 in there although that does pudge into the LR with 12)
-My LR has a sofa and 2 chairs and also 2 small ottomans that I can use for seating.
-My entry way is open, but I could in theory put a baby Grand in there but it would seem cramped.
it's not egregious to think you can fit all that stuff in there, so long as it's smaller scale. I don't have an oversized couch as example, it's smaller scale but seats 3 easily. and my chairs are smaller scale italian leather chairs. comfy but smaller.
Posted by: ex SF-er at October 1, 2009 10:09 AM
In my 17 year real estate career I've only had a few sellers and buyers that have had a clue about optimal furniture placement and have new model home furnishings and accessories too. That is why staging is a necessary tool to compete with new developments, especially when the inventory is high and the market is so competitive.
With that said, I would only offer virtual staging if the program itself was realistic. I'd like to see a program that offered the floor plan and furniture with dimensions besides the placement of furniture and accessories. It would make it easier for the clueless to decide if the layout really works for them or not. If so, they would get the most out of their furniture arrangement without hiring a stager or designer to place their things. They'd also find out if their current furniture fits or not before they moved.
Posted by: RSVP at October 1, 2009 10:22 AM
ex SF-er wrote "I don't have an oversized couch as example, it's smaller scale but seats 3 easily."...
The last time I saw a sofa with three people sitting on it was when I nine years old at my great Aunt Leta's house for a family reunion.
It doesn't matter if you have a love seat or a monster sectional, rarely do more than two people ever sit on a sofa to conversate. Odd numbers are only good in accessory arrangements. On sofas, three is awkward, not easy.
Posted by: RSVP at October 1, 2009 10:34 AM
it is sad that yet another post about the millennium has been hijacked to discuss faux furniture. if someone interested in the millennium has information and cares to keep this to the relevant topic, i'd love to hear more. see my post above.
[Editor’s Note: Actually, the topic of this post has more to do with "faux furniture" than the Millennium per se (i.e., no hijack has occurred).]
Posted by: soma resident at October 1, 2009 10:59 AM
If I wanted to know how many units have actually closed at the Millennium, I'd call them to find out which title company they are using. The title company will probably tell you how many condos have really closed escrow and how many escrows are currently open but still pending. That info usually doesn't jive with what the sales office touts. It's usually much less.
As far as the Millennium goes, I don't know how much they are negotiating these days but I do know that you never get anything from anyone without asking. Everything is negotiable. Since the Millennium has offered some units for the lease, it appears that they are motivated to discuss most anything creative.
It appears that there are two resales currently active in the multiple listing service.
That's all I can add about the Millennium for now.
Posted by: RSVP at October 1, 2009 11:28 AM
Thank you RSVP.
Posted by: soma resident at October 1, 2009 11:56 AM
"The title company will probably tell you how many condos have really closed escrow and how many escrows are currently open but still pending."
Most companies would consider this type of information to be confidential. Why would a title company disclose it to you? And would you feel comfortable using that title company in the future for your own transaction?
Posted by: Sunny in Mission Bay at October 1, 2009 3:13 PM
Closed escrows are public info. If the seller didn't have the prices turned over when they had the deed recorded you can go to the assessor's office and find out which units sold, for how much and when they closed escrow.
The title company will only disclose how many condos they have closed period. They won't disclose which units sold and for how much.
The number of pending sales are nothing more than the number they have on a particular date. Nothing more, nothing less. Yesterday may have been a different number than today, and tomorrow may be different from today and the day before. Again, they will not disclose the particulars.
This info is a key gage as to how well a development is actually doing since there is a lot of hype in marketing.
Why wouldn't I use a title company that disclosed the actual number of units sold and pending? My buyers and I want to know as much info as possible before making an offer or negotiating.
Posted by: RSVP at October 1, 2009 9:24 PM
While the virtual furniture looks odd, I'm also going to disagree with that it's misleadingly exaggerated. I too have a 24' x 30' main living area, open plan like this except in my case an 8' bank of tall kitchen cabinets bisects the space in two 24' x 14' halves. In one half is the kitchen including a 4' x 8 island, four barstools, and a large dining table that seats 8. The other half is the living room with a two-piece sectional, armchair, full-length chaise, full-length bench, coffee table, and a few sideboards. There is plenty of room to maneuver and a whole 5' x 30' edge is just passageway (call it space for the baby grand). 720 sq ft is a lot of space, folks!
Posted by: www at October 1, 2009 11:24 PM
There's another virtually staged condo at 2106 Jackson #8. Pretty ridiculous if you ask me.
Posted by: eddy at October 22, 2009 3:03 PM