What to ignore

Real Estate Agent with YourStories Realty Group MA# 9517963

Yesterday one of my listings was given a critical review by friends of the seller.  Not surprisingly these friends were able to find something they didn’t like.  That is the thing when you ask smart people a question, they will strain to give you an answer.  Well, maybe strain is too strong a word, a smart person can make decisions quickly and without effort, but they will give you an answer.  Sometimes the answer will be right on and sometimes not.

I am not sure about this one so I made the change requested.  The comment was about the fact that my seller loves her home and has spent time, energy and money landscaping and gardening while she was the steward of this wonderful home.  She planted a number of beautiful trees in the yard which create shade and beauty.  A neighbor, as a compliment, mentioned she could be called the tree lady because of her love of trees, her garden and the shade.  Well “tree lady” is a bit too close to “cat lady”  you know that crazy woman who lives down the street with the 40 cats!  Turns out there actually is a cat lady and she did live in the community and was known to all. My seller is anything but crazy and her love of gardening is far from an obsession with cats, but the well meaning friends felt there was enough of a connection to warrant a comment.

In this case, what I did was change the language immediately in my description because perception can be reality and there is no room for that perception here.  Sometimes the critics can get it right when they are off base trying to make a connection.  I like asking my friends for their opinions and I think most people like to get some consensus on their work.  I think it is important to know what to ignore and what to take action on.  It is not about right or wrong, it is about your ultimate goals and how is that being best served.  We are best served by people better understanding that this homeowner has cared for this land and this home and there is nothing crazy about that.

Posted by

Larry Lawfer, Realtor®YourStories Realty, It's all about you,

Larry Lawfer

Realtor®, Director of Marketing

YourStories Realty Group with Keller Williams

1340 Centre Street

Newton, MA 02459

larry@lawfer.com, 617-774-8292


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Larry Johnston
Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC - Elkhart, IN
Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN

I don't think I would want to like down the street from the Cat Lady, since cats are alway roaming about. Don't know about the tree lady though, she could have a roaming streak in her.  Great Luck in selling the home.  Maybe to Bat man!

Jul 08, 2010 09:40 AM #20
Cameron Wilson
Labrum Real Estate - Murrieta, CA
The Short Guy - Murrieta,Temecula,Menifee Californ

Larry, I like the view you take with your seller clients and I'm sure you made the right decision in this instance.

Jul 08, 2010 09:43 AM #21
Morris Massre
Pembroke Pines, FL
Real Estate Instructor Broward County Florida

It's not what you say, but how you say it my friend.

Jul 08, 2010 09:50 AM #22
Vince McEveety
Gilleran Griffin Realty - Sherman Oaks, CA

that's thought provoking... perceptions are tricky when they ain't ours

Jul 08, 2010 10:07 AM #23
Brent & Deb Wells
LivingWell Properties - Prosper, TX
Prosper TX

Most of the time we as listing agent need to focus on depersonalizing the home so it will show well, sounds like you found another area that needs to be depersonalized.

Jul 08, 2010 10:10 AM #24
Debbie Alton
Affinity Real Estate - Alamogordo, NM

You hit the nail on the head- peoples perception IS their reality! You did the right thing, and thanks for reminding us.

Jul 08, 2010 10:20 AM #25
Larry Lawfer
YourStories Realty Group - Newton, MA
"I listen for a living." It's all about you.

I so disagree with all those agents who feel as though it is important to take the home out of the house.  We don't sell to hermit crabs, we sell to people.  We visit and sometimes pay money to visit historical houses where noted people lived.  In some neighborhoods a home is described by the name of some owner many years ago as in The Baxter Place.  I think it would be interesting if there was some study of marketing techniques as they related to sales.  We know we have to market, we are on opposite ends of the personal/depersonal approach.  I wonder which works better, sells faster and for more.  I would put my money on the home that is marketed in a human way and not a commodity way.  There is no violation of any laws here, but the reference was removed and the blog written.

Jul 08, 2010 10:56 AM #26
Sandy Nelson
Riley Jackson Real Estate Inc. - Olympia, WA
your Olympia area Realtor

Our MLS is very vigilant for any kind of violation of the equal opportunity law. Words that refer to gender, family status, race etc. are not permitted and result in a fine. Your clients' friends did you a favor by prompting you to remove the reference.

Jul 08, 2010 11:00 AM #27
Mike Mayer
Mike Mayer, Broker/Owner - i List For Less Realty, LLC - Lafayette, LA

A method I have used successfully (where it was obvious the seller wanted to be involved) is to write the remarks and then forward them to my client for review and consideration. Sometimes allowing their 'participation' makes for a stronger bond in our relationship in marketing the home. Like yourself, I prefer win-win situations.

Jul 08, 2010 11:01 AM #28

Well whatever works for you. There are lots of different kinds of buyers. Personally, I got a little more than half way through the verbose ad and clicked off of it. I want short sweet phrases that tell me the details I am looking for (room sizes, bathrooms, garage space etc). I am  not interested in the current owner, what he used the rooms for, or the flowery language that to me is just extra words filling up space. I can look at pictures and see if a property is cared for or has nice landscaping. I don't need to read about it. The statement that the owner put lots of time and money into the landscape was actually helpful because it tells me that the yard is too labor intensive for my taste. Someone who likes to garden would see the care put into the landscaping from the pictures and would not need you to point it out. That buyer may also be the kind of person who makes a connection to the home because of your story. So this may be the right marketing approach for this property. Just my opinion. I hope you find it helpful.

Jul 08, 2010 12:01 PM #29
Jody Keating
Jody Keating Connective Realty,LLC, Bryan/College Station,TX - Bryan, TX
Broker/MM/Realtor, Bryan / College Station, TX

Larry, I read your listing and it is well written. Obvious mentions of a homeowner that loved their home but not a tree lady to be found. Well done!


Jul 08, 2010 12:29 PM #30
Matthew Bartlett
Century 21 Masters/Lic. #01353034 - Glendora, CA

Feed back is key. Without it something can be overlooked which could cause the client to leave money on the table and in turn cause the Agent to lose the sale. I personally look forward to the feedback from not only the prospective buyers, but their Agent as well. You certainly will find that some prospective buyers can be a little to critical, but in most cases you look for that consensus or trend in the various comments. My clients enjoy receiving that feedback whenever they can get it. With your client it appears you were able to add a little spice to the story of the home. I find that many prospective buyers enjoy hearing about the history of a home. It creates an opportunity for them to become more attached to the home and connect with the seller in a more personal way. Thanks for the post.


Jul 08, 2010 12:43 PM #31
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

You do what the seller wants, but sometimes yes the seller and their friends are nuts. Just because they love trees or cats does not mean the buyers will

Jul 08, 2010 01:32 PM #32
Lori Cain
eXp Realty - Tulsa, OK
Midtown Tulsa Real Estate Top Producer

Interesting profession we're in - that's all I have to add!  :=)

Jul 08, 2010 01:40 PM #33
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA


There are different buyers, different sellers and different agents. You are going to do what you believe works best for who you are and how you serve your clients. I think buyers are interested in "their" new home and not the sellers home. Sure, it is the same house, but certainly not the same people. Having said that, many features of homes are appealing to many buyers and dwelling on appealing features is a time-honored sales approach. The seller may be the "tree-lady" but she will be gone after escrow closes. The trees will still be there. If the trees are an attractive feature, emphasize them, not the seller.

By the way...is the fact that the "cat lady" lives nearby a disclosure item? LOL

Jul 08, 2010 04:02 PM #34
Mary Macy
Top Agents Atlanta Metro - Roswell, GA
Top Agents Atlanta Metro

I guess sometimes we just need to shrug it off and recognize that we live in a free country and everyone has a right to their opinion and that does not make them right, just Free!!!  I often laugh at the homefeedback that my sellers get and they laugh with me!!!  Life is bigger than that!!!

Jul 08, 2010 04:21 PM #35
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

I agree with Lenn.  You're out to sell the property and should do whatever it takes to do that.

Jul 08, 2010 04:48 PM #36
Lina Robertson
RE/MAX Solutions and RE/MAX House of Brokers - Springfield, MO
REALTOR® Serving Springfield, Nixa and Ozark, MO

I agree with not mentioning the owner.  Buyers want to be able to envision themselves making that THEIR home...not moving into someone else's.  Nice job!

Jul 08, 2010 05:02 PM #37
Barbie Burke
Respect Realty - Tempe, AZ

It is great to get feedback from others just to confirm either way your work on a listing.  In most cases you need to weigh if it would be worth mentioning to the seller.  We do not want to create a problem with the seller wanting to change everything just from a few comments. That would make them crazy!

Jul 09, 2010 08:06 AM #38
Larry Lawfer
YourStories Realty Group - Newton, MA
"I listen for a living." It's all about you.

I am so thrilled and honored to have had this post listed as a feature.  My feeling is that honest story telling that engages people in dialogue is a win for all of us. Thanks Active Rain for allowing us to meet here and discuss the issues.

Jul 13, 2010 12:36 PM #39
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Larry Lawfer

"I listen for a living." It's all about you.
Storyteller Marketing changes the game, call here now.
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