Geez...the remarks should at least be close to the condition of the property

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage 531132

In Maryland, we're allowed to put 400 characters in the remarks section of a listing. For most agents, it's no problem filling them all up, and looking for more. 

Today I showed a listing that had a consise remarks section, which included the words, "light cosmetic touch up needed." I should have known better when there was only outside pictures.

Does light cosmetic touch up include the eight doors that had holes punched in them?

Does light cosmetic touch up include the carpet in the basement that was pulled up and missing. Weirdly, only 3/4 of it though?

Does light cosmetic touch up inlcude the mold remediation?

Does light cosmetic touch up include half the basement ceiling tiles that have water stains? This place must be leaking like a sieve.

Does light cosmetic touch up include the stainless steel appliances that look like someone took a hammer to them?

My favorite was the hot water heater with a bucket strapped to it to contain the leak. It had to be emptied by the homeowner while we were previewing the house...and we weren't in it that long.

I could go on, but I'll end it here.

There is a certain amount of "editorial license" that is just fine in the remarks. Outright misrepresenting the property condition is not.

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 Richard Iarossi is a full time licensed REALTOR®, working in Crofton, MD. My coverage areas are: Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Howard, Calvert, Queen Anne, and Baltimore City and County. I specialize in residential real estate, working with both buyers and sellers. Use the registration free search on my website at If you’re not already working with a REALTOR®...I can help. Call me at 443-995-9595 (Cell) or 410-451-6255 (Office).

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AJ Heidmann ~ CRS
McEnearney Associates, Inc. - Alexandria, VA
YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert

Richard - It is a disservice for all, since the buyers & agent that look at it probably aren't searching for that level of needed repair and individuals that are able to do take on that amount of work are probably overlooking it too.  Extreme puffery is just a bad policy.

Nov 24, 2013 11:37 PM #9
Aaron Hofmann
Atlanta Communities - Smyrna, GA
aka Mr. Smyrna Vinings

My personal favorites are the ones that say recently renovated and the only sign of anything newer than 40 years is a new appliance. But yes, when the pictures are conspicuously absent, you know you're in for a treat.

Nov 25, 2013 05:56 AM #10
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

They could have said in need of TLC = aka Tons of Liquid cash!

Nov 25, 2013 05:57 AM #11
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

There is no truth in advertising, and real estate is no different.  Compare it to the juicy hamburger, with fresh crisp lettuce poking out between the layers of thickly sliced tomato, on that puffy bun.  In reality:  "light comestic fixer" 

Nov 25, 2013 06:22 AM #12
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS CRB, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Richard I've seen all kinds of homes that needed 'light cosmetic' fixes this past 7 years - ridiculous. Just say it like it is and save us all a wasted trip. Come on - just do it.

Nov 25, 2013 06:33 AM #13
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Richard:  It's almost laughable when you see and read these things.  I've seen appraisals much like it.  Makes you wonder if they've ever actually been in the property themselves physically ... congrats on the Feature!!


Nov 25, 2013 07:21 AM #14
Shanna Hall
Real Estate Solutions - Kirkwood, MO
I love selling houses!!!St. Louis, MO 314-703-1311

It really damages an agents reputation- clients actually told me not to show them houses by agents that do that- they felt it was dishonest and didn't want to do a transaction with them....

Nov 25, 2013 07:36 AM #15
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Deception just to get you in the door isn't going to bring a buyer. The type of buyer who agrees to 'light cosmetic touches' is not the investor type who will buy this home. The agent is targeting the wrong market and likely the listing will expire and they will wonder why...

Nov 25, 2013 08:14 AM #16
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

It almoste equates to misrepresentation doesn't it!  I recall a "Light Fixer" that had hardwood floors that had buckled, stained, and absolutely stunk, from years of dog urine soaking the floor.   To me, a light fixer means a little paint, perhaps carpeting, nothing structural.

Nov 25, 2013 08:53 AM #17
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F
I always figure it is better to let people know the condition and then be pleasantly surprised when it is better than they expected.
Nov 25, 2013 09:07 AM #18
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

and it doesn't help the neigbor's comps either...

Nov 25, 2013 09:09 AM #19
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

"I should have known better when there was only outside pictures. "  I think this is a real clue to  the condition inside.  However, It is ashame that the comments were so misleading.

Nov 25, 2013 09:28 AM #20
Nancy Conner
Olympia, WA
Olympia/Thurston County WA
That's really frustrating! And they sure are doing a disservice to everybody when the remarks attract buyers who will not like what's truly there to deal with. There are buyers for homes in poor condition as long as the price reflects that condition - so sure seems like a sale would happen faster if they were actually reaching out to buyers who WANT fixers.
Nov 25, 2013 09:33 AM #21
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Is it possible that perhaps the listing agent has no idea what a cosmetic fixer is? Maybe the agent is brand new and thinks if the walls aren't collapsing it means the home is structurally sound i.e. cosmetic fixer, LOL.


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Nov 25, 2013 09:42 AM #22
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Sounds like a mild fixer upper to me!! Or something like that...

Nov 25, 2013 09:59 AM #23
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

I agree with Margaret's TLC, Tons of Liquid Cash. We need to be honest...

Nov 25, 2013 10:00 AM #24
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

I think that it is misrepresenting and wasting both the buyer and the seller's time.  Better to be honest, show it like it is and attract the right buyer that can handle all that needs to be done.

Nov 25, 2013 10:11 AM #25
Richard Arnold
Keller Williams Realty East Valley - Tempe, AZ
Realtor - Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Phoenix

"Needs a creative touch" might be a light way to handle it.  Still - when the damage is that bad, may as well show it and not play games.  My team had a listing that had the life beat out of it inside and out recently.  The structure was great and it had a new AC unit on the roof.  We just showed the naked truth and said "remodel to suit".

Twice in the last month I've taken a client to see a home where the photos were weeks old - showing a furnished, clean home, yet the home is NOT furnished, and clean is not on the list of list of adjectives which apply.  Looked like the tenants did a real sabotage job on one house. 

The key was in the lockbox - the listing agent HAD TO KNOW.

Nov 25, 2013 01:35 PM #26
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

That much nerve is STRANGELY wishful lying! Wow!


Love and light,



Nov 25, 2013 03:14 PM #27
Andrea Peters
The Andrea Peters Group powered by United Home Group @ Keller Williams Realty - College Station, TX
SOLD with Andrea!

That's almost as bad as when the agents don't even write a description at all.

Nov 26, 2013 07:05 AM #28
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Richard Iarossi

Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate
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