Real Estate Survival Guide

What experts say to lookout for when house hunting.
9:11 | 06/26/13

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Transcript for Real Estate Survival Guide
5 delicious choices under 575 calories. And now we're house hounting for an unreal deal. This pretty little house is on the market in mount vernon new york for $300,000. But wait, not this house exactly. That picture, we photo shopped it. In reality, this is that house. And the reason we're showing you this, if you're thinking of buying, selling, or renting, you need to know about this. And so, a guide to the latest in selling you a house. Photoshoping real estate ads got attention on this reality show, million dollar listing. It's been brought to my attention you've posted some misleading photos online. A realtor casually admitted to doing it, openly on the show. So this is the old one. Here's the new one. Boom, wow. A drab kitchen photo was doctored into this one with fake counters and new appliances. Hold floors, instantly upgraded. So you can do it in the entire apartment. He admitted it wasn't his best moment, but he's not the only one doing it. Check out this stunning snet from this house in los angeles. Too bad they moved the sun. It now sets in the south. The towering trees here give it curb appeal, but they're fake. And the living room of this new york town house looks lovely, except for the original photo shows a big brown water stain. Watch out for the leak. We brought in rob, he spends much of his time perusing ad for the website which features photoshop fakouts. You look at these all day? All day. When windows are overexposed like this, it means they're trying to hide something. In this case, they're trying to hide a car. The actually picture, it looks like it has bars out on the window and faces out on the street. He says sometimes the photo the broker doesn't show can tell you a lot. It's a bad sign bhu see a listing that has no photos of the kitchen or bathrooms. And it's not just photoshoping. They can do a lot of things to turn a dump into a dream house. Which brings us back to that old house. On the market for eight months. And the price had been lowered by $100,000. The kitchen, straight out of the '50s. The bedrooms have peeling paint and ugly pipes. And look at the living room's dated carpeting and furniture. Not to mention a serious lack of curb appeal. It needs a listing makeover of the extreme kind. Look at this. Meet dottie herman, a hot shot broker and ceo of the fourth largest real estate company in america. Normally she sells places like this penthouse in manhattan. You're not looking for your agents to photoshop the apartments. We don't. We don't do that. But she says even places like this require real work, so buyers can see the potential. A good agent would do what? Well, first of all, they're going to phase the house. Speak to the sellers and tell them, here's what we have to do before we photograph it. Dottie says the same rules she uses to move luxury properties apply to every house on the market. You really have to take your personal things out. Your kids' stuff and all your tchotchkes that you love. What if we could bring your expertise to a more regular house? Let's do it. Well, here we are. Right smack in front of what could be a charming house. ♪ this is all shot. Change the countertops. Everything needs to be cleaned. I would definitely put in a new dishwasher. This all should go. That needs a cover. There's an air conditioner right there. This all has to go. Empty coffee cups here. Throw this stuff out or give it away. Take these down. She tells the listing agent, a little work will go a long way to up the asking price. I would say, and with a painter just painting it, i think you could get about 15, $20,000 more, that's my guess. We decided to put dottie on the spot. Can she stage one room in 24 hours for $5,000? Absolutely. She immediately to rally her troops. Hi, it's dottie. They need this done in 24 hours. You can see it today. No it's not a loft. I'll text you the information. All right, dottie herman is like a heat-seeking missile. It would have to be done tomorrow. Would you be available? ♪ beautiful. Honestly, we weren't sure if they could pull it off. The hard wood flooring was polished. Walls and ceiling given a fresh coat of paint. It's a major overhaul. Next up, luxury designer lesley young. Lesley may have been in shock, but she didn't bat an eye lash. Second chair is not going to fit there. Meanwhile, dottie recommends a face-lift for the outside. It's a cute screen, isn't it? It's wonderful. This home, it looks like it needs a little help and no one's taken care of it. When people see that, they'll either keep on going by, or they say, what other problems could there be that this home has been neglected? With very little money, you can take some weeds out, there's dead flowers and plant some new nice flowers, colorful flowers. This is summer. Next, we called in a big-time photograph among dan's previous gigs, 50 cent's house. What the hell can I do with this? Because we were only staging the living room, we asked dan what he could do with the others? We want to avoid having anything that looks like a scene out of "the shining." There are a couple of things that concern me and I would advise an agent to kind of run screaming from it. He squeezes into the corner to get the widest shot possible. And he makes sure to include the hallway behind it. That will show the flow from the dining room back into the kitchen, which I think is going to help sell the house as something larger, something that has more than just tiny compartments in it. And he's not above some selective photoshoping. We've got a couple of buckets in the way. Full of water. I'll photoshop out later. It's temporary. They're not part of the house. Ethically, I have no problem getting rid of them. Most realtiors agree, a little photoshoping of temporary stuff is ethical. Meanwhile, just for kicks, we wanted to see what happened if we took the unethical approach. We'll do a few photoshop tricks and make them look so much better than the way it started. Fill it up with some fun stuff. Let's get rid of this building. Let's replace it with blue sky for now. We'll put the fence in the shot. I found this photo of a neighborhood. Now let's put our neighborhood back there. Who doesn't like a big fountain in their backyard. Look at that. That's classy. This looks like a place donald trump would want to leave. Obviously, this is a stretch, even for the sketchiest of realtiors out there. In some states, it's against the law. And something else to be on the look-out for, real estate ads can be full of words that can be almost as misleading as photoshop. Cozy. That means small, cramped and not necessarily comfortable. Functional. It means that the property is probably just that. Estate. It's probably old and in need of updating. Speaking of old and needing updating, back to our living room. It's time to unveil the transformation. Wow. There's no question in my mind that if the home were staged in this manner, the house would have been gone a long time ago. If a few of the rooms were done, I think that probably we're talking another 40, $50,000 easily in return. I didn't think that we'd transform it as well as we have. If you don't have 5,000 bucks, a little elbow grease would do it. On a smaller budget, just clean the house up, and having all the stuff out of it, to make a complete difference, paint. The old one says it needs some tlc, but has lots of potential. Spacious three-story single family home light-filled with hard wood floors, large eat-in kitchen, needs updating, but ideal for someone with vision and who wants to create their own unique space and sees the

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