The photo on the menu versus the actual dish

Malpractice in the advertising of real estate happens more often than we think, and it’s down to each and every buyer, seller and estate agent to put a stop to it when we witness such a situation.


12 April 2019 |

What happens when what we see is not all it seems? How many times have they tried to sell us something which was really something else? And most interestingly, why wasn’t it 100% genuine?

As with the famous photo on the menu which is “never as it seems”, in the real estate sector the “offer” is often shaped to suit the “demand” to the extent that, like the dish in the photo, it exaggerates or presents false information.

What are a seller’s wishes and what are a buyer’s wishes?

The seller

  • The higher the price, the better. Who’s going to complain if they’re told they can get €400,000 for their home instead of €390,000?
  • The best advertising: the most eye-catching and interesting advert for a potential buyer
  • Speed: a quick sale. The less tedious the negotiations and paperwork, the better.

The buyer

  • Has an idea of the property they’d like to acquire: its square meters, rooms, location, etc. and will invest a sum of money accordingly.
  • The most competitive price in the area.
  • Transparency, to able to fully trust the estate agents responsible for the property on offer.

And what is the role of the estate agent? Up to what point can the estate agent adapt the offer?

A study revealed that 80% of clients are unwilling to buy from establishments and businesses which have negative reviews. This makes us think that however important it might be to “sell more”, there is one fundamental premise: “a dishonest sale is a short-term gain but long-term pain”. We can’t play at selling something as something it isn’t; trust is as fragile as a wine glass and practically irreparable.

What happened to us at Withfor:

We saw something unusual in “the photo on the menu”.

After verifying adverts from different estate agents for the same property, we realised that the information varied from one listing to another: Different sqm, different prices, nº of rooms that didn’t match…

Sadly, there are many cases like this. In this particular case, we didn’t know the owner, just the middleman. At first, it wasn’t easy to convince the seller that the asking price was significantly higher than the average market price in that area and that the large number of adverts for the same property by various estate agents with different information would end up “burning their property”, stagnating the sale for months or even years.

Upon our advice, the owner sent a document with the correct information to all the estate agents.  Now the property is being advertised at a fair price, with accurate information and photos, none of the “false menu”.

We enjoy seeing the pictures of the dishes on the menu, thinking that they’re real and that soon we´ll have these dishes so succulent and appetising right before us. But first, there is one fundamental factor to ensure this happens: choose the restaurant wisely.

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