Monday, August 31, 2009

Listing of the Day - Kirkwood MO

For more than 20 years, I have worked with realty agents and mortgage lenders regarding a variety of marketing and advertising matters, including writing literally thousands of individual property descriptions. In an effort to improve the impact of the marketing of listings, I randomly choose current listings around the country in a variety of price ranges and comment on their effectiveness. No current clients of mine are used, nor do I know any sellers or buyers or have any additional information about the property.

(This is a 2 bed 2 bath condo in Kirkwood MO, near St. Louis, listed at $499,000)

The description as written for the realty office's web site and also used in the area's leading newspaper and its web site does not even come close to making this seem like a one-half million dollar property. That should be priority #1 for a condo of this magnitude.

Not every community allows a "walk to" comment, but my focus is more about the walk to "restaurants, the library, and fitness facilities". While I realize brand names are not practical, "restaurants" doesn't cut it. Someone in a half-million dollar condo doesn't care if they can walk to Burger King, but there is appeal in "close to fine dining" if that really applies. A library in proximity targets families with kids (with this unit being 2 bedrooms) or someone who likes to go to the library, which is no longer common in these days of in-home high speed internet.

Another sentence starts with "this third floor unit". The exterior photo shows this as a 3-story building. Yet, the description does not reinforce its top floor presence. Big difference from a marketing standpoint. Some potential buyers might prefer a top floor, especially in this price range. They might want to know there would be no noise from people walking above and/or that their unit would be difficult for someone off the street to get access to.

While pointing out about the "custom eat-in kitchen" as this description does is more fitting of a half-million dollar condo, I would question saying it is "custom" during this introduction. Some potential buyers might fear an unconventional design, challenges with kitchen furniture, and possibly wanting to replace or restore, before they finish reading the sentence. And there are no photos available of this "custom" kitchen to eliminate any such fears. Just saying "eat-in" kitchen would be a better incentive. Upon showing, THEN it becomes "custom".

We also read about the "large bedrooms and baths offering beautiful views of the area". I would either stop the sentence after "baths" or better explain the "beautiful views" if those views support a half-million dollar condo. If the bedrooms "overlook the pond and the sunset" (for example), you have a description befitting such a unit. If the views really overlook the parking lot and the garbage bins or the condos next door, then it doesn't need to pointed out at all.

Taking out those words and terms which do not reflect the magnitude of the property also would serve to allow more word space for pertinent information to the eventual buyer. We don't know if this is the "lowest priced top floor unit in the neighborhood", whether or not this could be an investment property (rentals?), or, frankly, what makes this property worth nearly one-half million dollars.

I would also be concerned about the "2 garage spaces" as worded. If it is merely a common garage space for all units this could be a negative. Two people or a family looking at a 2 bedroom condo in this price range would be much more likely to want a private garage where they can store much more than one or two cars and could leave them unlocked. If this really means a 2-car garage, that must be spelled out, especially if it is attached. Being able to get into the car and go without having to go outside is a big plus in the St. Louis market due to the humidity of summer and the cold of winter. This should be a difference between an $80,000 unit and a half-million dollar condo.

On a positive note, the use of the term "vibrant community" is very descriptive and would fit much better with more specific and helpful examples. The den being "for work, reading, or just relaxing" paints a nice picture. (However, it eliminates the need to walk to the library that uses up precious copy space.)

My grade: C+

Note: This commentary is uncompensated and for marketing purposes only and is no reflection on the featured property and is its accuracy is not guaranteed. Neither Dave Kohl nor First In Promotions shall be held responsible for any representations.

At this time, I have openings for more realty agent/office clients to critique current and brand new listings on an hourly basis. No current or past client listings are featured on this blog.Random listings are chosen around the country.

Your comments are most welcome!

Please check back often for more "Listing of the Day" critiques.

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