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14 JAN

Bad First Impressions

Bad First Impressions – The Money Shot.

The only time I ever tried to make a bad first impression was when we had to sell short sales in the Big Short Era of 2007-2014. And my Dad, Cary Lichtenstein would be the ideal photographer for it.

The problem with short sales was the seller couldn’t care less what the home sold for so they put these confusing low numbers out there.  Buyers would salivate at the low number. However, the bank was so backed up they wouldn’t preapprove the number or even look at the file until it was under contract.  Once under contract, the bank would want it appraised (even if cash), to make sure they were not “giving it away”.

So, once under contract, I developed a strategy to make a bad first impression to the bank appraiser so I could “puff out” some low numbers with bad presentation.

And that was where my Dad would come in. See, my Dad is this super talented guy. Attorney, entrepreneur, 2 handicap, painter.  Not only is he still an active Realtor with Echo, but when I was a teenager, he became an amateur photographer.  We were dragged around to all sorts of places in the winter in Chicago.  It was cold and awful, but Dad was excited to take pictures and I was one of the subjects.  Being a good son, I obliged. Then he decided that he would be the photographer at my Bar Mitzvah party.  He took 7 rolls of film, and everyone asked me who the photographer was, and I sleeplessly mumbled.  However, there was bad news and good news. The bad news is that he put all the rolls of film in wrong and I have no proof of the party. The good news is that he gave up photography and my weekends playing pickup football were back! I had no memories to fondly look back upon but WOO HOO, I was out!  This is seriously who you would want to take the photo for that short sale approval.

Once under contract I replaced the fabulous first photo showing with a 3rd bedroom messy teenager shot, or a dark raincloud getting ready to pour on the house like a bad omen.

Same with the write ups. Gorgeous lake views from this beautiful floor plan became….. Bring your best saw and hammer for this opportunity to remodel this fixer upper. Choppy floor plan and low ceilings keep out natural light for of an intimate feel.  Lush landscaping can be grown to block the shallow pond. Beware of aggressive alligator!!!  Has some potential!!!

Puffing is goosing up the write up. I don’t know what the opposite of puffing was but it was one of the few enjoyable & fun parts of getting short sale homes approved and was actually an effective part of my strategic marketing plan.  I also made sure the lights were not on.  Food could be in the sink.  Clutter Clutter Clutter!

Those days have past and we are back to good first impressions. First impressions are also more important now because the attention span to catch a Buyer and Buyers Realtor are limited.

So here are the 2 most important ways on how to make good first impressions and listing and marketing your home.

There are 2 keys to digital marketing online and in social media.  The first is the opening photo and the second is the first line of the first sentence.


  1. The Money Shot

We take aerials, night shots, front shots, back shots and inside shots.  You name it!

Each gives a different perspective and has a different purpose. 90% of the time though we lead with an aerial.

The reason to use an aerial is because like most good pictures, it tells a thousand words.  Take a look at the aerial here compared to the front of the house shot. Both nice. The front of the house has blue sky behind it and afternoon sun.  But it has way less words than the aerial. Maybe this picture says 100 words. The aerial however talks about the golf course and water views. It paints a photo of birds and dreams of playing golf in the sun.  It says so much more than the front shot.

Photoshopping, editing and attention to detail are critical here. You can’t remove power lines and stationary things. However, see how the pond scum and brown grass was prettied up.  That makes all the difference in the world between a showing and a skip to the next listings miss.


2. The First Line

An immaculate 3 bedroom home might be one way to start out but Unmatched spectacular golf course views w/ unforgettable sunrises and sunsets from this 3 BR immaculate home is better.

People dream of views, golf, palm trees, warm weather.  They don’t move to Florida for an immaculate home. They want the immaculate home, but that is not the reason they move here.  If they only wanted an immaculate home, they would move to Buffalo.

Internally we have our own photographers, photojournalist, and IT Department.  This enables us to do more than most firms (where the agent has to outsource all when marketing a property).  Just a few of the 57 Items we do with our Home ECHOnomics Guarantee. And I promise you, my Dad won’t be taking a photo of your home when you list with us!


Jeff Lichtenstein is owner and broker of Echo Fine Properties, a luxury real estate brokerage selling real estate in Jupiter  and homes in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He has 20 years of real estate experience, has closed over 2,000 transactions, and manages over 70 agents in a non-traditional model of real estate that mimics a traditional business model.  Some publications he has been quoted in.

Feel free to ask him a question directly at including a complimentary real valuation of your home.

Posted in Open House Blog, Real Estate Tips on January 14, 2023 at 6:48 am.


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