The Truth About Lying in a Real Estate Listing: A House Hunter's View

By
Home Stager with Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc.

misleading-real-estate-adWe all know what "quaint", "cosy", "gem", "first time on the market in 25 years" mean in real estate ads.

But how far do you go to try and make your latest listing sound attractive to potential buyers?

I'm writing this not as a home stager or home staging trainer. I'm writing as someone who personally bought 7 homes in various cities. I lived in and staged all of them which is how I got into home staging.

I'm always on the look out for my next house so I'm an active reader of real estate ads, visitor to real estate agents' websites and open houses, etc. Besides my own desire to find my next home, I keep up on what sells and for how much so that I can better serve my staging clients.

This house was promoted as being "steps to the lake... sit back and listen to the waves... lake views... walk out to balconies/veranda from almost every room..."

By now you're probably imagining (as I was) a house on the water (or pretty darn close to it), listening to waves from all those balconies! 

This house in fact several blocks from the lake making it completely impossible to hear any waves without walking for 5 - 10 minutes down a hill on a busy street, and then making your way around a large water filtration plant.

Yes, technically there was a lake view if you define that as the ability to see a thin band of blue in the distance beyond what appears to be government subsidized low cost apartment buildings.

I am not naive enough to think that this wouldn't qualify for "lake view" in an ad. BUT, when "lake view" is combined with a description of hearing waves, an entirely different expectation is created in the buyer's mind.

All that said, it IS a lovely house both inside and out (and it did sell quickly - in no small part because it was priced way below market value in an already hot market). So my question to agents is:

What is the point of creating a completely false impression in an ad to promote a listing? If the potential buyer ends up annoyed at being lied to, are they likely to respect your professionalism or trust your claims in the future?

It's my view that when you become a trusted real estate advisor, you have a client for life.

What do you think about short term tactics to get the phone to ring like overblown claims in ads, versus the longer term view of building client relationships?

 

 

 

 

Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Voice of Possibility Group Inc.

Debra Gould's mission is helping people realize the many possibilities that lie around the next corner when they build a business around their passions. Frequently profiled in the media and a contributor to Century 21's blog, Debra has trained 7,000 home stagers around the world and is the author of several guides.



close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the lamp to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Topic:
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Groups:
The Art Of Marketing You
How To Grow Your Real Estate Business
Canada, eh
Realtors®
Active Rain Newbies
Tags:
advice for real estate agents
real estate agent
misleading real estate listings
real estate ad
real estate listing

Comments 17 New Comment

Anonymous
Post a Comment
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the flag to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Rainmaker
568,777
Phil Leng
Phil Leng Team - Residential Real Estate Experts &
Keller Williams Eastside Market Center

Hi Debra,

I took a class the other day.

In it, the instructor said it is acceptable for real estate agents to "puff" their listings.

But certainly not LIE!

Phil

May 23, 2012 01:08 AM
Rainer
130,488
Mike Warren
Real Estate

That is quite rude. You know, just like subtitles that say almost nothing about the real content for a product or property. Most of the time, advertisements are used to just get prospects and suddenly disappoint them when they're there. My my my. Great post!

May 23, 2012 01:09 AM
Rainmaker
486,122
Kathy Nielsen
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager
http://atlantahomestaging.net

Awesome post, Debra. 

Nothing like disappointing the potential buyer when, upon arrival, they find nothing that was desribed in the listing. 

Congrats on the feature.

Kathy

May 23, 2012 05:45 AM
Rainer
276,566
Steven Cook
- Pierce, King, Kitsap, Thurston, Mason Counties

Debra -- great post - excellent example of what not to do.  You mentioned it sold for well under market -- shows that the listing agent really didn't know what they were doing in helping buyer set price, or in properly marketing.  Yes, you can get people to come look at it, but they won't really want you as their agent if you pass the line between "puff" and "lie".

May 23, 2012 11:12 AM
Rainmaker
327,745
Debra Gould
The Staging Diva
Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc.

I was out of town and didn't realize this post had been featured. Thanks everyone for your comments and apologies for not responding sooner!

Enjoyed the distinction so many of you made between "puffing" a listing and actually telling lies which don't serve you in the long run since they only disappoint potential buyers (at minimum) or worse, really piss them off and destroy your credibility.

Reminds me of the line home stager have to always walk between showcasing a home's best features (which does distract people from the property's flaws) versus actually covering up defects (which a stager with integrity will not do).

Thanks again for joining this discussion!

May 26, 2012 08:59 PM
Anonymous
Post a Comment
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the music-note to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Rainmaker
327,745

Debra Gould

The Staging Diva
Ask me a question
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the umbrella to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Additional Information

Articles of interest to home stagers and real estate agents to improve understanding of the business of home staging (real estate staging, house fluffing).

Staging Diva is Featured In . . .