Monday, April 29, 2013

Why Home Sellers Should Monitor The Advertising

A truly motivated home seller should not simply "leave it to the agent" to properly promote and advertise their property. Maybe it's my personal 20+ years of examining and creating property ads from coast to coast. But although there are some severe challenges to the real estate market at the moment, a lot of the problem continues because of how poorly many properties are advertised and marketed.

Frankly, a seller should be monitoring all of the advertising and promotion the agent is doing. Too many advertisements for properties are either poorly created to start with, and/or not updated or improved when the situation calls for it.

For example, this afternoon, I decided to do an online search for a 3 bedroom home in the Denver CO area priced between $200,000 and $240,000, using two separate "national" web sites. First, I went onto and entered in the search criteria. What came up were results showing that 13 of the first 17 listings I found are "foreclosure" listings. Since I do not live in the Denver area, the "message" conveyed to me is that "This must be a distressed area. I don't want to live where so many homes could be empty or abandoned."

Of course, the number of foreclosures could have some appeal to the large cash-buying investors looking to purchase and flip homes over the next few years. For a potential home buyer looking for a home for him/herself or family, seeing this search did not look promising. Granted, this is not the fault of the agents who create ads for their "legitimate" sellers. My point is that, if I really were looking for a home for my family, I would have been scared off before seriously looking at any of those listings. The agents representing those non-distressed homes should keep that in mind before paying to advertise with a service that allows foreclosed and distressed properties to dominate an area.

However, I then went to, which is the national home (and property) search site updated and maintained through the National Association of Realtors. While it is true I found a large list of properties to fit my criteria, including some short sale listings, I found a few which do nothing except verify my contention that agents and sellers need to monitor their advertisements.

If you want proof, do a search for 20793 E 38Th Pl Denver,CO 80249. You'll see what I mean. (By the way, this listing ad was chosen randomly and I do not know the agent, nor has she ever been a client of mine.)

As of the day of this writing, the home has been listed for more than a month. Yet, there is only one photo, total, available to a potential buyer, whereas the majority of the other homes within the same area and price range offer multiple photos. The one photo in use is an exterior shot, which clearly shows a raw lawn, grass spots growing out from under the paved driveway, and each of the windows open to what look to be empty rooms. To put it another way, the only photo used shows the exterior as being poorly maintained.

Since has a uniform template for the descriptions of the properties, this agent was on equal footing regarding the creation of this listing advertisement. Keep in mind the purpose of this advertisement is to make this listing stand out among the others listed.

Yet, the "Interior Features" portion of the description includes the following:

Garage Door Opener
Smoke Alarm
Fireplace Insert
Cable Available

Isn't it amazing what $200,000 gets you in Denver these days?

Yes, this agent needs to point out that if you buy this home, you will have a refrigerator and a smoke alarm! It doesn't say if that smoke alarm covers all three bedrooms, however.

And then, if you look at the "Exterior Features" portion of this advertisement, you'll see that the property has a "Fence" and a "Spinkler". Then again, if you look at the lone photo available, you can see the fence for yourself. However, you will also be surprised, based on how that lawn looks, that there really is a sprinkler.

Although I don't know for sure, my hunch is that this advertisement has been the same for more than the one month it has been listed. What I do know for sure is that this home, unless the advertising is improved upon, will become another statistic about a home which hasn't sold (or didn't sell).

In this instance, and the many others like them, advertisements such as this one won't help to sell a home in any real estate market. We can't simply blame the agents. I'd like to know how a truly motivated seller would accept an advertisement like this to "best" represent their property.

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