I'm Not an Agent Any More, So I Could Speak Up. Should I?

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Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

This week I received an email from a lady whose inherited house has been on the market for 6 months. She lives more than 100 miles from the community, and is busy with her own job, so she hasn't done much more than list the house and trust the agent. But she said a friend had called this week to tell her the MLS ad was “lame.”  She'd also seen a newspaper ad she thought was lacking, so she wanted my advice on how she could re-write the ad.

I sent her my handout on “Ad writing 101.” Then my curiosity got the best of me. I asked her to send me the link to her listing.

It took a couple of days, because she didn't have it and her agent didn’t respond when she asked for it, so she Googled it and found it on Trulia.

Here’s what it says: “Nicely turnkey furnished home with family room off kitchen. Drywall, vaulted ceiling. Wood cabinets. Tile floors. Bay windows in living room. Shutters. Private patio with with some mountain views. Walk to pool. Carport converted to tandem grage.” (Yes, garage is misspelled, and the word “with” is doubled. After 6 months, you’d think the agent might have corrected those errors.)

This description alone would definitely not have prompted me to scroll through the photos – which show a beautifully furnished, well-maintained, inviting home.

And did you notice what the ad said? It comes completely furnished! This would be a perfect home for anyone just starting out with no furniture.

She has a features list, not an ad...

My first broker gave me some advice which is just as true today as it was then: “Put the reader in the home.” This list of dry facts sure didn’t do it!

I gave the lady some suggestions, but don’t know if she’ll have any success in getting her agent to upgrade the text. Some agents are pretty touchy about anyone criticizing their ads – even if they’re pointing out errors such as the ones above.

But this gets worse.

I went to the agency website, because I wanted to see the agent's name - just to check to see if she happened to be here on Active Rain - and this listing isn’t even on their site.

Did it expire and the agent didn't ask for a re-list? The Trulia listing shows a price reduction about 6 weeks ago, so that doesn't seem likely.

I did find the agent's name on Trulia, and no, she isn't here. Then I filled out the "contact agent" form to ask for more information. Supposedly, the agent will contact me. I'm betting she won't.

I decided it wasn't my place, so I knotted my fingers together and didn’t tell that lady that she might need a new and better agent. But - it really looks as if she does.

What do you think? Should I tell her?

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Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Juan - No, I haven't been licensed for several years now, so I wouldn't be breaking any rules. She wrote me because I'm a real estate copywriter.

Colleen - I'm hoping she will. But if she doesn't know what an agent should be doing for her, maybe she doesn't know that she's not getting real service.

Kristin - It appears that she wrote that ad 6 months ago and hasn't looked at it since. It apparently IS in MLS - at least that's where this lady's friend said she saw it. But it isn't on their company website.

Donne - I doubt that I'd be shocked. I was an agent for 19 years, and had the misfortune to be on the other side of transactions with a lot of lazy or clueless agents. The funny thing is, this lady hasn't actually complained about her agent - she just decided that she should write the ad and then realized she didn't know how.

Jun 30, 2011 08:54 AM #6
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Deborah - I think I'll wait to see if the agent contacts me through that Trulia form. If she doesn't... then this lady really isn't getting any value from her listing agent and I'll tell her so.

Jun 30, 2011 08:59 AM #7
Rainmaker
570,170
Christine Smith
Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com - Canton, MA
Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA

I think that is a good conclusion.  It sounds like she might be starting to figure it out.

Jun 30, 2011 11:04 AM #8
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Christine - This brings up another question. How long after getting an inquiry through Trulia should it take before an agent answers - if they intend to answer?

I filled out the form last night. Now it's nearly 5 p.m. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt - and assume she's been out with clients all day and hasn't had time to respond to email. But ...?

Jun 30, 2011 12:57 PM #9
Rainmaker
2,666,604
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Wow, this is quite sad. I would definitely tell her and advise her.  Sounds like she may need to change agents and quickly.

Jun 30, 2011 11:43 PM #10
Rainmaker
806,664
Lanre-"THE REAL ESTATE FARMER" Folayan
Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC - Bowie, MD
I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES

Marte I understand that real estate agents are not English majors. But typos are not acceptable. Did know you do ad writing also. I might have to talk to you soon. And of course need your help with the Postcards. Have a great and safe 4th of July Weekend. Great post.

Jul 01, 2011 02:53 PM #11
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Hi Lanre, We all make typos, but I think after 6 months she might have noticed and corrected them!

Holler at me any time about the postcards - I'll be home all week-end. In and out because if the sun shines, I have weeds to pull! (I'll have weeds to pull anyway, but if it stays cold, I'm staying in.)

 

Jul 01, 2011 03:53 PM #12
Rainmaker
4,064,219
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Marte, that ad was pretty bad.    I admit, I enter the listing, and make sure the photos represent the season, and change them when appropriate.   HOWEVER, when entering my listing, I review my verbiage, and also send the listing to my sellers, and ASK for any corrections they may want to make.    DRYWALL, that one is too sad!    I have sellers call me when they are listed with other agents, and just try to stay out of it, I do believe that is the seller's decision.

Jul 01, 2011 04:05 PM #13
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Joan - The lady who owns the house wrote me last night to say she had emailed her agent to ask why her listing wasn't on their website. I haven't heard from her since then, and I've gotten no response from filling out the "Contact the agent" form on Trulia night before last.

This is the kind of "service" that gives real estate agents a bad name, and it makes me cranky.

Those of you who are working hard for your buyers and sellers don't need to have your "overall reputations" tarnished by agents who just don't care. Grrrr...

Jul 01, 2011 04:17 PM #14
Rainmaker
382,694
Gwen Banta
Sotheby's International Realty - Los Angeles, CA

Marte, your frustrations echo mine. Please visit my blog if you want to see some of the most egregious listing remark bloopers you can imagine. I wish I had the time to call the hundreds of agents I see whose representation of their client's home is criminal. Maybe brokers should have someone review all listings in the office....or maybe sellers should have to sign off on the remarks. That might finally raise the bar!

Jul 03, 2011 06:42 AM #15
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Gwen - I think both of those ideas are good. Brokers or a "designated reader" should check all the listings, AND agents should send sellers a link to check and approve their ad copy.

Jul 03, 2011 07:13 AM #16
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Gwen - I forgot to mention: I do read your blog. And while you leave me laughing out loud, it is sad that so many agents are so sloppy.

Jul 03, 2011 07:15 AM #17
Ambassador
2,007,827
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Marte - Drywall is a feature?  I guess the benefit is you have a finished house?! LOL

Seriously, if you're not an agent, you aren't ethically bound, and she did come to you. . .

Jul 03, 2011 06:41 PM #18
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Christine - That's what I'm thinking. Especially since I sent the "contact the agent" form 3 days ago and have had no response. But boy did I hear from Trulia with "similar listings." I finally went in and clicked to "send no more."

Jul 03, 2011 08:06 PM #19
Ambassador
758,937
Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)
The lack of response to the contact form is a big deal. If nothing else, a suggestion to your friend to have a talk with the agent is in order. If the agent gets offended, it is probably time for a new agent anyway (as if she did not have enough reasons already).
Jul 04, 2011 02:39 AM #20
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Charita - Yes, I think that's a big deal too. There's no excuse for it after this many days. Even if she's on vacation, she should have someone covering for her.

Jul 04, 2011 05:06 AM #21
Rainmaker
716,233
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Its a tough market out there.  You have to market properties to the hilt.  The only excuese I can see see here is that perhaps the agent is "running out of steam" on promotion for something that might be overpriced or difficult to show.  The expense can start to wear us down.  I have one listing that' I've held for a year now.  The owners don't live there anymore and I've supervised painting, floor refinishing and a gut renovation of a bathroom.  The market for this type of property is dead. Its a honey of a property, but no bites.  At this point, if it sold, I might make about $800 after all that work.  I'm certainly out of money for any further promotion beyond what is very cheap and free.  However, not responding to a contact form is a HUGE DEAL.  If she doesn't respond that's a big red flag.  I do respond to inquiries whatever their source.

 

 

Jul 04, 2011 05:24 AM #22
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Ruthmarie - Not knowing the market, I have no idea if it's overpriced. But it has to be easy to show, since it's vacant. And from the photos, the furniture and other appointments are both new and tasteful.

Of course, by now I expect that it's pretty dusty - maybe even full of dead bugs. The owner lives too far away to keep tabs on things like that.

I agree that trying, and trying, and trying can wear you down. And you certainly went above and beyond for your clients!

Jul 04, 2011 05:38 AM #23
Ambassador
853,869
Brenda Mullen
RE/MAX Access - Schertz, TX
Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!!

Came over from Donne's blog.  Be as honest as you can with your friend.  There are obviously some issues and she needs to get in touch with her agent to find out what the heck is going on.  Lots of luck!

Jul 05, 2011 03:39 PM #24
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Brenda - Yes, I did write and tell her that I had not heard from her agent after filling out the "contact agent" form. Such a shame that an agent is holding a listing and doing nothing to get it sold.

Jul 05, 2011 04:06 PM #25
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