BEHIND THE SALE: TRISTAN AHUMADA'S VIRTUAL RENOVATION SUCCESS
We had the opportunity to sit down with luxury realtor and co-founder of LabCoat Agents, Tristan Ahumada, to discuss the art of storytelling in real estate listings. He shared an interesting story about how one listing appointment became the catalyst for one of BoxBrownie.com’s most well-loved Virtual Renovations.
If you’ve known about BoxBrownie.com for a while, you might have seen one of the most iconic Virtual Renovations on our website, on our social media pages, or in our lookbooks at events. For those who haven’t, here’s a quick recap.
The ‘before’ picture can only be described as some sort of eccentric space-themed nightclub, complete with black-out windows, glow-in-the-dark paint, and LED strip lighting.
The 'after' picture reveals a beautiful living area, showcasing breathtaking ocean views through the floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors and stylish furniture – with no trace of glow-in-the-dark paint in sight.
You’d be forgiven for not seeing the resemblance between the two – the fact that the ‘after’ image is the same room minus the space-themed styling seems like a virtual impossibility.
For LabCoat Agents co-founder and luxury realtor Tristan Ahumada, it was very much a possibility.
In 2017, Tristan was tasked with creating a listing pitch for the Hollywood Hills property. The seller explained that he had “re-done” a room, and after seeing the extent of what the seller meant by that, Tristan decided he wanted to pull out the big guns.
“I messaged the guys at BoxBrownie.com, and said, ‘I have this situation, can you guys re-do this room?’,” he said.
Thus, one of our most well-loved and wow worthy Virtual Renovations was created.
Tristan credits the image as one of the reasons he won the listing, demonstrating the importance of Virtual Renovations for building trust with the client.
“To a client, it says, ‘damn, Tristan’s innovative - he has the right tools and the right mindset to make our home sell as quickly as possible for the most money,’” he said.
When it comes to the potential buyers’ reaction to seeing the real-life counterpart to the virtually renovated image, Tristan says the response was somewhat mixed, with a lot of buyers seeing the potential and starting to envision how they would personally renovate the space.
In the interest of total transparency, Tristan ensured that all potential buyers were completely aware that the image was virtually renovated to avoid any surprises come inspection time.
In the end, Tristan’s plan paid off and the property sold, proving that when it comes to listing a property, it’s not just about the home itself, it’s about how you present it to the buyer.
“The virtual renovation was one of the main reasons that we sold it,” Tristan said.
The Story-telling Power of Listing Photos
When it comes to Tristan’s philosophy for creating real estate listings, it’s simple: the pictures need to tell a story.
But for whatever reason nowadays, some listings on the market just don’t quite hit the mark in the storytelling department.
“A lot of the time agents forget that the angles matter and the lighting matters,” Tristan said.
“For the very first time that someone is looking at a home, the photos are either going to attract them... Or they’re just going to skip through it.”
Of course, every agent hopes their listing photos are going to be the attractive kind, rather than simply skippable. But Tristan says that certain things can be holding agents back from achieving the best photos possible.
“Sometimes it comes down to funds and it also comes down to not knowing about the tools that BoxBrownie.com has,” he said.
The Floor Plan Advantage
Since commissioning the Virtual Renovation of a space-nightclub into a modern living room, Tristan says his most loved BoxBrownie.com edits are Image Enhancement, Day to Dusk, Item Removal, and last, but definitely not least, Floor Plan Redraws.
Floor plans rank in the top five most useful features of a listing according to buyers according to NAR, but in the U.S., they are yet to be utilized as much as they should.
As Tristan puts it, “floor plans are a necessity for every listing”. And we agree.
Not only do they add a professional touch, but they are useful tools to help buyers vet properties before they commit to booking a showing.
"They give a good spatial understanding of the property - if I'm buying a home, I need to understand where things are," Tristan said.
"If I'm just seeing pictures, I can't understand what rooms are next to which and how far they are away from each other - that's why I love floor plans."
Adding Value in an Affordability Crisis
Over the last few years, the COVID-19 pandemic, record-high inflation, significant job losses, rising rent prices, and an inventory shortage have all shaped the housing landscape, making property prices too high for many would-be home buyers.
In times like these, Tristan says it’s all about depicting additional value for those potential home buyers.
“In the current real estate market, for the most part of the United States there’s an affordability issue,” Tristan said.
“What we’re seeing now is some people saying, ‘I don’t know if I can buy that unless there’s space for an additional dwelling unit as well’.
“With a nice render, you can actually show that it’s possible to fit an additional dwelling unit within the space and I think that adds more value,” he said.
Want to get started with a Virtual Renovation?
Learn more about our a la carte internal and external renovations menu here. Prices start from just US$16.
New to BoxBrownie.com? Sign up now to receive 3 Image Enhancement edits, 1 Day to Dusk edit, and 10 AI-written listing descriptions, all for free! No credit card is required.
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