The Thin Line between Creativity and Professionalism

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Access


The Thin Line between Creativity and Professionalism have come across several agent comments in our mls (in both the public section as well as the agent section) recently that got me thinking.  The comments I am referring to are the ones where the agent tries to be creative and cute.

For example, I have seen some public comments that describe the home using a rap, I have seen directions given by sarcastically referring the reader to map quest, and I have seen some comments in the comment section so full of acronyms I needed a decoder (and google) to figure it out

I really do applaud creativity, it is certainly great thing but it can be taken too far.  I get where these types of comments are coming from, real estate descriptions can be very boring and dry but in my opinion, professionalism should never be compromised in the pursuit of creativity. 


What say you?


Comments (112)

Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

The goal should be communication, and for that you need clarity. In copywriting we learn to write so a 7th grader can understand it - because then everyone else will also understand.

Real estate descriptions should be written so a person with zero real estate (or texting) knowledge can understand - then everyone can understand.

Jun 20, 2012 04:24 AM
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Leanna,  The over use of acronyms is also a problem when th client is sitting in front of us and does not want to have to ask what some of the " alphabet soup " means !

Jun 20, 2012 04:53 AM
Dennis and Sunshine Smith - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Connections - Carlsbad, CA
Making a Difference 4U in San Diego Real Estate

We are supposed to be SALES professionals.  Jargon does not SELL anything.  It just confuses.

Jun 20, 2012 05:43 AM
Victoria CB Trees
Victoria CB Trees Real Estate Services - Chiloquin, OR
Principal Broker

I think one of the hardest things for some folks to remember is that now it isn't just the Realtors that see the MLS information... due to the IDX,, and ListHub (in our area, to name a few) much of what is in the listing info gets swept automatically out to the public.  This includes poor spelling and sentence structure, awful pictures and incomplete directions.

I have to admit that sometimes I can be a little vague in the directions, and there is a purpose to that.  For instance, a recent listing is WAY out in the boonies.  I put the basics in the directions because we have only so many characters, then said "please call for map."  The last picture is a screenshot of the map, which shows all the twists and turns.  These are unmaintained dirt roads that can be tricky to get over, even with a good 4WD vehicle.  I'd rather someone call me to make sure how to get there, than go on their own and tick the client off.

I had a similar listing one time that I wrote "turn off your GPS and read the map!" right on the public part of the listing.  That's because so many agents went 30 miles the wrong way, due to the GPS, before calling me, and then told me their client didn't like the listing because it "takes too long to get there."

Jun 20, 2012 06:18 AM
RealSupport, Inc.
RealSupport Inc. - Schaumburg, IL
- Virtual Real Estate Marketing

Hi Jeanna, we agree that professionalism shouldn't be so compromised by creativity! You can still be creative in your listing marketing, but you have to remain professional. Sarcasm doesn't read well online, so you might not want to use that in your marketing efforts, but posting a sarcastic cartoon on Facebook or status once in awhile is ok. The MLS is not the place for that. It's all about balance and figuring out the appropriate platform to use your creativity. If you can create the right balance, you'll have innovative, yet PROFESSIONAL, marketing.

Jun 20, 2012 06:40 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Well this was certainly an amusing post and comments!  Congrats on the feature!

Jun 20, 2012 08:28 AM
Eugene Adan
Adan Properties, Carlsbad, CA (760) 720-9710 - Carlsbad, CA
Carlsbad Real Estate

I understand "cute" but it should be used in moderation and deft timing.  I think your spot on and as professionals we should strive to be judicious with our desire for creativity. 

Jun 20, 2012 09:03 AM
Patricia Beck
RE/MAX Properties, Inc., ABR, GRI, SRES - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realty

I've been seeing more of those types of descriptions lately and some of them are a little unprofessional. As far as directions go, I usually use my own anyway but "refer to Mapquest" is irritating.

Jun 20, 2012 09:25 AM
Anne Edwards Johnson
All City Real Estate - Austin, TX
Austin Realtor | HookemhomesATX (512)917-5260

Directing agents to MapQuest is just plain lazy -- perhaps better than wrong directions though!  Regarding the comments -- I am going more conversational.  Nice post!

Jun 20, 2012 09:47 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I see people leaving so much blank it is sad.  They don't only save us time, but save themselves time by cutting down on calls and offers that will not work out.

Jun 20, 2012 09:49 AM
Beverly Femia
BlueCoast Realty Corporation - Hampstead, NC
Broker Realtor Stager - Greater Wilmington, NC Are

Some of the directions I attempt to follow are so bad that Map Quest would be more helpful.  I love the ones that start from the listing office.  ARGHHHHHH!!!!  As for the remarks, those remarks are used by agents, appraisers and lenders as well as the public.  Nowhere are they more important than in the appraisal process.  I tell my Sellers that the buyer isn't the only person we are selling.  Every person involved in the transaction is buying into the home and those remarks are the starting point for that process.    

Jun 20, 2012 11:39 AM
Jenny Durling
L.A. Property Solutions - Los Angeles, CA
For Los Angeles real estate help 213-215-4758

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one that finds 'see mapquest" annoying! Really - how hard is it to put in the sttreet directly, unles of course, you have never been to the house before. We see that all the time too!

Jun 20, 2012 02:59 PM
Debbe Perry
Real Living Carolina Property - Morganton, NC
828.439.3084 Morganton/Lake James NC

Great post - you certainly hit a nerve, Jeanna! Not much Mapquest here, but we're a small county. The MLS descriptions aren't nearly as funny as some I've read here in the comments - thanks for sharing! Seriously, I like Marte's comment: "Real estate descriptions should be written so a person with zero real estate (or texting) knowledge can understand - then everyone can understand."

Jun 20, 2012 10:24 PM
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Jeanna, sounds like some of it is laziness not creativeness.  Especially the MapQuest.

Jun 21, 2012 04:01 AM
Monique Ting
INET Realty Honolulu, HI - Honolulu, HI
Your agent under the sun

I wonder if those "creative agents" show the remarks to the sellers. I always make it a point to show the sellers the remarks, ask for their personal input and give them a copy of the MLS listing so that they can see how their property is presented to the public and fellow agents!

Jun 21, 2012 04:26 AM
Marnie Matarese
Showing you the best of Sarasota!

One man's ceiling is another man's floor is a comment that I try to always remember when I find myself becoming critical of someone else's efforts.  Professionalism is a very difficult word to define in real estate as often the kooky and the far-out are extremely successful tools for some personalities and those people have a following of clients who absolutely love them.  I cringe every time I see certain commercials but then realized that they must be working or they would not still be on the air.  Thank heavens we are not all exactly alike because then there would be no reason for someone to pick us!

Jun 21, 2012 11:18 AM
Wayne Jackson
Lakeshore Realty 208-714-4109 - Hayden, ID
North Idaho Realtor, Serving Coeur dnullAlene and Hayden Lake

Why would anyone use Mapquest? Just put the google Maps app on your Android phone and it will talk you there.

Jun 21, 2012 02:20 PM
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
850-476-4494 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

Professionalism is a lost art it seems, things are changing as you can see daily on youtube and facebook. We can't spell, hold a conversation and have the attention span of mice.

Jun 23, 2012 11:31 AM
Robert Sole
REM Inspections LLC - Winter Springs, FL

I feel it is best to act professiohnal at all times.  That also means to use language that your customers will understand.  Trying to use acronims and technical terms does not impress the customer.  In fact they begin to feel that you are deliberately talking over their heads.


I always try to explain things in "normal" language so my customers understand exactly what I am saying.  I feel that they appreciate that very much.

Jun 23, 2012 11:58 PM
PRG Real Estate - San Jose, CA
VA Home Loan Specialist - SF Bay Area

I have yet to see "Use Mapquest", but I have seen the endless abbreviations. One thing that irks me is when agents do not respond to emails. I know we are all busy, but you have an email for a reason!

Jun 28, 2012 02:57 PM