- A wealth of properties are unrealistically priced.
- The quality of photos that are uploaded to the MLS is, in most cases, deplorable.
- Don’t list a home in the MLS that isn’t ready for prime time.
- Success in the real estate profession requires dependability.
This writing piece is based on my personal experience, not as the owner of a company that specializes in marketing real estate, but posing as a prospective renter.
It’s been almost four years since the last time I found myself looking for a home.
While I spend a lot of time evaluating real estate and marketing trends, there is nothing like going through the actual experience to get an accurate picture of what is out there.
1. Marketing with unrealistic pricing
A wealth of properties are unrealistically priced. The majority of homes I looked at were overpriced, with offers being rejected on some that had been sitting empty for several months.
It’s incredible that a homeowner would prefer to lose money for months on end than to offer a fair market price that would attract more buyers. In other cases, homes that were originally listed for $650,000 had been reduced all the way down to $450,000. What were those real estate agents thinking?
The obvious conclusion is that agents simply take the listings and get the contracts without providing any guidance to the owners. It’s no secret that it is hard sometimes for people to accept the advice of a professional, but it is the duty of an agent to provide the best service, and that includes adequately guiding the client.
2. Shooting and posting heinous photography
The quality of photos that are uploaded to the MLS is, in most cases, deplorable.
Some are tiny, others are blurry, and most are poorly lit and shot at horrible angles.
I can’t tell a lot about a home from the photos posted in the MLS, only that the agent didn’t care enough to do a good job for their client. Those photos that agents take with their iPhones to spread across the internet are a prospect’s very first impression of a home.
I can barely make out what some of the pictures were intended to be. Is that a room or a closet? If I can’t get a clear view of the property, I am not going to waste my time or my agent’s time to see it.
Agents must hire a professional to shoot the listings. I don’t care how many likes your Instagram selfies get; you aren’t a photographer.
3. Slapping together illegible listing descriptions
Do agents put effort into them? For the most part, they are terrible, not only due to the poor grammar or language skills, but because the majority are full of half-truths so stretched they borderline on fantasy.
A three-bedroom house with a den is not a four-bedroom home, nor is a room with a bathroom adjacent to it a second master bedroom.
I have often been disappointed to discover that the listing descriptions were ridiculously inaccurate. Showing up to a home that doesn’t meet the needs of the renter/buyer doesn’t help sellers achieve their goal.
While exaggerating or flat out lying might get more foot traffic, it won’t change the actual conditions of the property in question.
4. Failing at presentation
Don’t list a home in the MLS that isn’t ready for prime time.
If the house is infested with roaches or in need of serious repairs, simply don’t show it. Wait for the home to be fumigated, fixed and presentable before you show it to the public.
If current tenants/owners are hoarders and have smelly pets, wait for them to move before you show the home. Sometimes it is best to wait a little bit, particularly if you are at a hefty price point. A top-notch agent will help owners prepare the home to be shown.
5. Leaving clients hanging
We all know communication is key, but beyond that, this profession requires dependability.
If my agent can’t get ahold of yours, or if inaccurate information is provided, it is certain that your listings will linger longer on the market.
My agent was given wrong lockbox numbers and inaccurate information more than once.
And to my surprise, some agents ignored calls from my Realtor, but when I called them directly, they were eager to show me all the homes they had available.
6. Inputting inaccurate MLS information
Another thing: If your home is contingent or under contract, please make sure you update the MLS. No one likes a bait-and-switch.
Keeping a no-longer-active listing as active to use it as a marketing tool is bad practice. There are better ways to market yourself.
I could go on and on. Trust me.
But I think these are some of the most critical things I’ve witnessed in the past few weeks. As a real estate agent, I hope that you honor your profession by taking seriously the responsibilities that your job demands.
Not only should you try to provide proper guidance, but you owe it to your clients to market their properties with care.