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Short-Term Housing Options; Listing Photo Trickery

1) In this week's hunt, an older couple is looking for a place to settle down. They had to sell their 2BR apartment fifteen years ago because they accidentally had two kids of different genders, but they balked at the idea of paying twice what a 2BR would cost for a 3BR, when it would only net them 50% more bedrooms (they are very math-oriented.) Now that the kids have grown up and moved out, they are finally ready to buy a 3BR. Wait, what? Didn't they only want a 3BR in the first place because the kids needed to have separate rooms? Who knows. They have no real preferences except that the apartment needs to cost under $1,000-per-square-foot (again, very math oriented.) They end up in almost-Harlem and have no regrets. [The Hunt/'A Three-Bedroom; Anywhere Is Fine']

2) Have you ever wondered how they get the photos in apartment listings to look so nice? They do it WITH LIES. Okay, not really. However, there is a thing called "virtual staging" (alternately called "digital staging") where furniture is photoshopped into an empty home to let potential buyers know what the place would look like if they bought really expensive furniture. "The average seller ... isn't going to invest in moving a grand piano into the space," said a professional digital home stager. Those uncooperative sellers! Why even bother listing an apartment that doesn't have a grand piano? What are we, peasants? She goes on to say that virtual staging is like online dating, because "if you have a good picture, you’ll get a date. And if you have a date, you just might find a good match." In other words, if you can trick someone into meeting you because of your looks, you might just be able to convince them that looks aren't that important. ['Market Ready']

3) People looking for short-term (a month or three) housing in New York City have a number of options, but the less they have to spend, the more trouble it's going to be to find a place. This is not news, but it is moderately upsetting to think about. For the free-spenders, there are "extended-stay hotels," which can range from $5,000 to $10,000 a month, or the more standard (but not necessarily cheaper) sublet. Visitors with limited budgets are more a little more constrained—they can check out Airbnb or Craigslist, both of which have their pitfalls, or lesser known methods, such as The Listing Project. One broker says, "If I were coming to town and I needed a $2,000 short-term rental, I would try Facebook," which basically translates to, "You sound desperate." [Getting Started/'The Don’t-Need-It-for-Long Apartment']