"BETTER Than New!"

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Dawn Brenengen - Trailwood Realty 202789

What does that even mean?!  I was perusing the MLS in search for a home for a buyer client, and I came across a home built in 2013 with this in the description.  I can't figure out why someone would say this?  How was it better than new?  I'm sure it was a lovely home, but unless you give me some stellar reasons that this home is better than a new one, I just don't believe you.

Sometimes a gently used home really can be a great buy assuming the prices are equal to a new home.  Usually a new home in NC won't come with a refrigerator, washer or dryer.  A new home may need blinds or a little color on the walls.  Maybe the owners added a deck or installed some landscaping that's finally taking shape.  A home that's a year old may have all things things included in the sale and still be the same price as a new home if they are still competing with new construction.

Unfortunately, this home had none of those things. It was just a mis-labeled, used home.

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Dawn Brenengen

Broker/Owner of Trailwood Realty, LLC

Buy. Sell. Invest.


Comments (24)

Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

Good post Dawn Brenengen . I think it also known as a 'legal exxageration'. I think we are sometimes allowed to 'exxagerate' without making a lie... New is new. Better than new...? How can it be? I know there's newer, meaning not entirely new, but almost new... Like the consumer products word "improved", you don't see this in our industry, "Here's a nice 'improved' resale".... just sounds funny. However, we do see, "remodeled" quite a lot. If you think of it, most of the homes we sell, unless it's never been lived in before, like a new build, are resales..., you know... used homes. Of course, we never use this word 'used'. So now, we have used homes better than new? Lets define "better"...

I love this business....

Dec 22, 2014 02:52 AM
Thomas McCombs
Century 21 HomeStar - Akron, OH

Fortunately, most buyers and all Realtors tend to discount this kind of promotional puffery. The idea is to get the listing noticed.

Did it work in this case?


Dec 22, 2014 03:03 AM
Dawn Brenengen
Dawn Brenengen - Trailwood Realty - Raleigh, NC
Sales and Management

I think a little flowery, descriptive writing can help build a mental image, but often agents use words that have been way overdone.  The message is lost in the words because people have stopped paying attention.  

Dec 22, 2014 03:38 AM
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"

You are correct about the overused descriptors in MLS. Better than new is only valid if the home (I think you mentioned) has had landscaping, upgrades and is still comparably priced to a bare bones new build.

Dec 22, 2014 04:01 AM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Dawn,

With new homes, you have a starting place. Most people paint, change flooring, landscape, etc. soon after buying, making the home nicer than the original Navajo White walls & linoleum flooring. However, some people just move in & never touch anything afterwards. Then they wonder, why the builder grade paint on the window frames turns to rotten frames a mere 5 years later.

Dec 22, 2014 04:15 AM
Dawn Brenengen
Dawn Brenengen - Trailwood Realty - Raleigh, NC
Sales and Management

I love the blank canvas of a new home in theory, but my home is exactly the same as when I bought it too!  It would be worse if it was a home with other people's paint choice, though.  At least I can live with my Killim Beige walls until I can pick better colors :)

Dec 22, 2014 04:45 AM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

I understand what you're saying, but I tend to think that a good resale is better than new. The yard is done, the home might be upgraded...new construction can also have issues which an older home has already had fixed. 

Dec 22, 2014 04:56 AM
Steve Loynd
Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., - Lincoln, NH
800-926-5653, White Mountains NH

Dawn...trying to be a wordsmith can bite you in the butt...at the same time it's hard to find new descriptions...to keep an ad from being same-old, same-old...I think I'm better than new at this real estate stuff and I struggle to come up with fresh ads.

Dec 22, 2014 05:16 AM
Dawn Brenengen
Dawn Brenengen - Trailwood Realty - Raleigh, NC
Sales and Management

Karen Fiddler, Broker/Realtor Things can definitely go wrong in a home of any age! I've been spoiled by new construction, though, so I have a hard time seeing used as better, unless they really have all the extras and are sparkling clean.

Steve Loynd I'm really trying to find better words than "fantastic" and "beautiful." Everything is in a "great location, etc..."  I suffer too! 

Dec 22, 2014 05:34 AM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Its right up there with those other useless descriptors like cozy, cute, charming and, my favorite, just bring your toothbrush!

Dec 22, 2014 06:41 AM
Dawn Brenengen
Dawn Brenengen - Trailwood Realty - Raleigh, NC
Sales and Management

Or how about "won't last!" ?  And then it's been on the market for 297 days...

Dec 22, 2014 07:03 AM
Kimo Jarrett
Cyber Properties - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

It depends on what you're comparing it to, isn't it? A new construction with a composite shingle roof, walls constructed with drywall, doors that are hollow, fixtures that are standard grade, no landscaping, without irrigation sprinkler front and back or block wall fencing and patio and I could go on and on.

The point is there are some homes better than new construction homes and let's not forget location. All those descriptions agents use should be demonstrable upon inspection, otherwise, they lose their credibility as a professional and perceived as being just a salesperson and IMO, not a very good one at that.

Dec 22, 2014 08:31 AM
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

In this instance, I'm hoping that the home has been upgraded with features beyond those offered by the builder.  Specifics are better than a catch-all phrase.

Dec 22, 2014 09:37 AM
Catherine Marcy
HomeSmart - Palm Springs, CA
CA Desert Home Specialist

If this home is in a market place that is competing directly with new construction, then it could make sense.  Obviously, then the home does need to have the correct amenities to offer to make it stand out as more finished or upgraded, either outside or inside.

Dec 22, 2014 09:42 AM
Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta
Guaranteed Offer for your Home - eXp realty - Atlanta, GA

Perhaps the listing agent wanted prospects to call and ask what was meant by "better than new".

Dec 22, 2014 09:44 AM
John DL Arendsen
CREST "BACKYARD' HOMES, ON THE LEVEL General & Manufactured Home Contractor, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments - Leucadia, CA
Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & RE Developer

While it's unfortunate it's mis labled I see nothing wrong with the way it was presented had it been for real. We see a lot of resales sell for far more than brand new homes for those exact reasons.

A lot of folks don't want to deal with landscaping, sprinkler systems, interior appointments, etc. They just want and need a home that's move in ready.

Dec 23, 2014 02:17 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Some home descriptions are so off the mark..it's laughable!  That phrase 'better than new' is a poor one, I agree. This home was probably in an area that competes with nearby new construction

Dec 23, 2014 09:13 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

"Better" could describe price.  Also I find a home that is a few years old sometimes has had a chance to be "Shaken down" to reveal all the punch issues and for all the settling and so forth to take place.  Of course this assumes all those issues have been monitored and taken care of.

Dec 30, 2014 02:30 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

"Better than new" is one of those idiotic phrases many agents use in advertising that means nothing or means something different to every prospective buyer. We need to get away from cliches like this.

Dec 30, 2014 10:28 PM
Winston Heverly
Coldwell Banker Access Realty - South Macon, GA

It is a bit of a treat going back and reading some of Active Rains best archives  like this one. Should be shared again.

Mar 27, 2015 12:15 PM