Agent

Slow market breeds inaccurate real estate ads

Methods to boost buyer traffic can backfire, hurt image

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Do you steam when you follow up on a newspaper advertisement for "cozy cottage" and find a falling-down fixer? Can the term "waterfront access" accurately describe a public boat launch three miles away? Advertisements sometimes are too complimentary and do not accurately describe the property for which they were written. Some homeowners and creative real estate agents, like many people in the sales game, dress up a product prettier than it actually is to lure the largest number of potential buyers -- especially when the market has slowed in many neighborhoods. Does the medium in which the ad appears have the obligation to check these ads for accuracy? In a capsule, you don't shoot the messenger. Most of the time, when an ad is out of line, so is its author. Ordinarily, the medium would not have the obligation to check the accuracy of the ad. The magazine or newspaper would be held to the ordinary standard of care. This basically means that unless the publication knew, or should have...