Don’t be the Realtor that supports McMansions

In the arguments against McMansions and mansionization, even real estate agents can get caught up in the issue:

Of course, Reni Rose was not the only Arcadia dwelling Realtor to sign a petition designed to promote predatory McMansionization in the Arcadia Highlands. Here are the others:

Song Liem    1141 Oakwood Dr.
Jeffrey Bowen  1919 Wilson Ave.
Darlene Bowen  1919 Wilson Ave.
Ash Rizk   1204 Oakwood Dr.
Nivine Rizk  1204 Oakwood Dr.
Mark Cheng  1741  Oakwood Ave.
Alan Black  238 Hillgreen Place
Ruth Black  238 Hillgreen Place

You might want to consider their support for the mansionization of the Arcadia Highlands when looking for your next Realtor. We have scans of their petition signatures as well. If you would like copies for your own files pop me an email and I’ll send them your way…

The bad news here is that the Henry A. Darling home (we will persist in calling it that despite the sanitized language used in the latest listing), is once agains in the hands of a real estate agent who obviously does not have a problem with McMansions.

I don’t know how often those in real estate are asked about their stances toward particular properties or planned developments. Would it be good for business to publicly support one side or another? It might if there is a large business base at play but I feel like I don’t often see such public statements. Instead, wouldn’t real estate agents want to be “neutral” toward clients as any business is good business? Getting too involved in local politics could end up being problematic if the tide turns or if it limits future business opportunities. So, perhaps these realtors shouldn’t have signed a public petition at all, even if they felt it was promoting the rights of property owners which could be perceived as good for business.

This is another example of how politicized McMansions can be. Discussions don’t just involve local policymakers who could place restrictions on teardowns or new developments but can also come to pit neighbors against each other as well as involve local businesspeople.

Don’t let your McMansion turn into a financial McPrison

A real estate firm argues buyers shouldn’t buy a home that could turn into a McPrison:

McMANSION OR McPRISON?
WHICH ONE WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE?

The sprawling McMansion that someone said you can afford may quickly turn into a McPrison when all of your money is locked up in it. There are lots of home affordability guidelines out there. Start with this one:

  • Don’t spend more than 300% of your gross household income.
  • Another is to pay no more than 150 to 200 times the monthly rent of a comparable property.
  • All of that said, don’t buy a home unless you plan to spend at least seven years in that area.

Some conservative guidelines for buying a home, particularly from those whose livelihoods depend on moving houses. Yet, the contrast between a McMansion and a McPrison is interesting. According to this advice, the main negative of a McMansion is that it can cost too much. The McMansion can appear to be a good thing that ends up trapping the homeowner. This has been a common argument after the economic crisis: too many people and lenders overextended themselves in purchasing and enabling McMansions. Part of the definition of McMansion from Investopedia reinforces this idea:

Many McMansion homeowners live beyond their means as mortgages on these monstrous properties may be 100% mortgages, interest-only mortgages and/or amortized over 40 or more years. The cost of utilities and maintenance in a larger home are also more significant, as is the cost of commuting from the distant suburban settings in which these homes are often located.

Two quick responses:

1. Of course, non-McMansions can be pricey as well depending on their size, location, and design.

2. Ultimately, this ignores the numerous other critiques leveled against McMansions (i.e., you could be trapped by a lack of community in McMansion neighborhoods) and focuses on the financial implications. If the homebuyer wanted a McMansion and could financially make it happen, there is nothing on this page to suggest the realtors would disapprove.

Terrible real estate photos or providing helpful (and ugly) information about the home?

I’ve highlighted some cases of bad photos of a home for sale (like here) but here is a Tumblr with a collection of bad photos: terriblerealestateagentphotos.com.

Some of these photos are clearly poorly done. Whether taken from a bad angle or including bad staging of furniture (does photoshopped furniture count?) or way too much clutter or weird clutter, this can detract from showing the home at its best. The photos also suggest plenty of people are unwilling to change their home much to appeal to potential buyers. The seller and their real estate agent should want to put the best image forward so the new buyer can imagine themselves in that space.

However, there are other photos here that don’t seem to be as egregious. The March 4, 2014 picture of a green pool. It is not inviting but wouldn’t it be better the potential buyer know that the home has a pool? While the pool should be clean, the other option is to list the home with an in-ground pool and then never show a picture. Or the February 27, 2014 picture of an unfinished hallway. Again, isn’t it better for the buyer to see the space at all rather than have it hidden? I find myself frustrated when I can’t find a picture of one of the home’s features (this seems to happen a lot with basements). Without a picture, what are they hiding? If the person isn’t going to do much to make the home look more presentable, I would still rather see that and have more information.

I’d love to see some data on how hiding some of a home’s worse spots from online photos might help boost in-home visits or eventual home sales.