Do you make these 5 mistakes in communicating with real estate prospects?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Communicating with real estate prospects is important, whether you do it via letters or cards in the mail, email messages, or even blogging and posting on social media. The words in your agent bio and on your personal real estate website are also part of your communication.

Your purpose in all of the above is to instantly capture your prospect’s attention. Then to persuade them to stick with it, absorb your message, believe what you’re telling them, and take whatever action you’ve asked for.

In order to achieve all that, it’s necessary to “make the words disappear,” so your readers are left thinking only of the message. Following are 5 mistakes that turn the readers attention to your words and away from your message.

The top 5 mistakes agents make in communicating with real estate prospects

  1. Beginning your correspondence with “I” or “We.”
  2. Writing a “Wall of words.”
  3. Rambling
  4. Using jargon they don’t understand
  5. Failing to proofread – so your sentences are filled with typos, misspellings, misused words, and misplaced modifiers.

Beginning your communication with “I” or “We” is an instant turn-off for some prospects.

Once they see that, your message is very likely headed straight for the trash. It’s even worse if you beginAvoid "I-itis" with “I want.” The truth is, they don’t care what you want or even who you are. They care about what you have to offer them.

Remember the old saying: People are tuned to “Station WIFM.” That’s What’s in it for me?

With that in mind, begin your message with a “you” statement, a statement they will automatically agree with, or a question. But please, don’t be arrogant – saying “You know you want to sell your house” will make more enemies than friends.

Writing a “Wall of words” will also kill your message before it gets started.

When you’re communicating with real estate prospects and clients, think “Make it easy.” That means writing a message that looks – and is – easy to read. Use short paragraphs (no more than 7 lines) and leave a white space between paragraphs.

Think about your own reactions. If you click on a blog post and see an entire page with no breaks, do you read it? I sure don’t. I came across one like that just this morning on Active Rain and didn’t even bother with the first sentence. For one thing, it’s too difficult for our eyes to “keep our places” when the text just goes on and on and on.

So break it up, and if it’s a blog post or a web page, add a graphic here and there. Make that message look interesting and appealing – and easy to read.

Rambling while communicating with real estate prospects will bore them into tuning out…

Don’t “Walk all the way around the block to go next door.” Say what you have to say in the most concise and interesting way possible. Then stop. When you ramble – in person or in print – people will get away as fast as they can.

The whole point of communicating with real estate prospects is to draw them to you – not to chase them away.

Ramble all you want on the first draft.

That will get your thoughts down where you can see them and sort them. Once that’s done, start don't ramble when writing or speaking to prospectscombining ideas, refining sentences, and removing the extraneous words. Even if you’ve come up with a catchy phrase, if it doesn’t fit well, get rid of it. Save it to use somewhere else.

Writing this reminded me of trimming a tomato plant yesterday. I had planted it and then had done nothing but add water. Yesterday I decided to trim back the excess greenery so more energy could go toward tomato production. Much to my delight, I found a tomato growing in the middle, where it was hidden behind the excess leaves.

Trim away your excess words so your message can be seen and absorbed.

Communicating with real estate prospects using jargon they don’t understand can turn them away from you.

When people don’t understand what you wrote, it not only throws a stop sign into your message, it creates feelings of resentment.

  • They might feel that you’re trying to show your superiority over them.
  • They might feel “ignorant” for not knowing.

Either way, they’ll feel resentment toward you for causing them to feel that way. So re-read your copy and make sure that all of the words you use can be readily understood by people who are not real estate professionals. Don’t ever leave them thinking “What the heck does that mean?”

Proofread. Proofread again. And if you aren’t sure of yourself, get help.

Typos, misspellings, misused words, and misplaced modifiers are like stop signs in your text.

Your prospect might be reading along, absorbing your meaning and agreeing with what you’ve written – and then there’s a stop sign. The word doesn’t make sense, so the reader stops and re-reads the sentence. By the time he or she has figured out what you meant, the momentum is gone. The spell is broken and your message is lost.

Everyone has a typo now and then, and some are so small that most readers won’t even notice. But do your best to eliminate all of them, so you don’t lose even one reader. It always helps to get a second pair of eyes on your writing, simply because we don’t always see our own mistakes. We know what we meant and intended to write, so that’s what we see when we read it. Some people recommend reading it aloud or reading backwards, because that forces us to really look at each word.

Just today, while reviewing competitor's websites for a client, I came across two errors that make the agents look sloppy - or something. The first was “They're looking on,…” The second made me think the writer needed a dictionary: "… the pain is often exasperated by…" I didn't know pain got exasperated, but... who knows?

I talk about misplaced modifiers every now and then, and one from a recent email jumped out at me. It said "President Trump is slated to hold the first Trump rally of his campaign since recovering from coronavirus on Monday night in Florida." I did not know that he had recovered on Monday night, nor did I know he was in Florida when that happened. But... that's what the email said.

It is SO easy to re-write a sentence like that one. But first you have to read it and realize that what you said isn't what you meant.

If you’re not good at grammar, spelling, etc. then enlist help from someone who is – and tell them not to be shy about making corrections.

When you need help with letters, flyers, and web pages, get in touch.

I can’t be at your side to help respond to an email, but I can help you with prospecting letters (both custom and pre-written) and with copy that will reside on your website for years to come.


Blah blah courtesy of stuart miles @

The original version of this post appeared at

Comments (29)

Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Marte Cliff - As always you provide us with informative posts that can help eliminate mistakes. I use Grammarly and it really makes writing better.

Oct 18, 2020 07:51 AM
Elyse Berman, PA
Best Connections Realty, Inc. - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824 CRS, ABR, GRI,ePR

Marte - I'm so glad you push good writing and grammar.  It makes me crazy when I see a wall of words or no punctuation.  I usually don't read it.  There is no reason for misspellings with spell check today, yet I continue to see it.

Oct 18, 2020 11:39 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thank you Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS - I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Laura Cerrano Mothers are good that way...

Endre Barath, Jr. Thanks for the chuckle. We all do have our own collection of mistakes to make.

Oct 18, 2020 12:48 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Richard Weeks Thanks - I wish you the same!

Nina Hollander I think you're right, and it shows up on some web pages. This week I came across a probate site that said the pain (of loss) was exasperated by the probate process.

I also agree about the realtor-eze. Are they trying to impress someone? I don't think it works.

Oct 18, 2020 12:51 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker

Marte Cliff it's both funny and sad at the same time!

Oct 18, 2020 01:30 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Joan Cox Yes, MLS comments can be a good source of humor, as Gwen Banta has shown us. I love her posts.

Sheri Sperry - MCNE® Grammarly is good, but you do have to watch it. Since it doesn't know what you mean, it can lead you astray, as can the grammar checker on Word.


Oct 18, 2020 12:53 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Elyse Berman, PA Do you ever wonder - do the people who write those walls of words actually read other people's walls of words? I won't do it, and I don't know anyone else who does.

Oct 18, 2020 12:55 PM
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Thisw is very common among real estate professionals!

Communicating with real estate prospects using jargon they don’t understand can turn them away from you.

Oct 19, 2020 04:05 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

This is great advice. Be succinct and on target, proofread, and don't make it about you (me). Excellent!

Oct 19, 2020 05:34 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Marte Cliff ,

Excellent post with such sage advice. Love's all about them and no wall of words..definitely a turn off!

Oct 19, 2020 06:16 AM
Joe Jackson
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Columbus, OH
Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert

Great post! Thanks for sharing! 

Oct 19, 2020 06:27 AM
Shannon Jones
The Shannon Jones Team - Long Beach, CA
Long Beach CA Real Estate

Great advice to start off the week! Thank you for sharing.

Oct 19, 2020 11:02 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Great tips to keep from embarrassing yourself ( and losing the Lead )  !!!

Oct 20, 2020 03:09 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Marte:

Thank you for some great education These mistakes are all pretty easy to make, and being reminded of them, and what to do to avoid them, is a big help.


Oct 20, 2020 08:16 AM
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

You always give us such great advice for writing. Not enough people re-read & correct as you suggest. 

Oct 21, 2020 07:14 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Sham Reddy CRS I agree. It makes people feel dumb, and no one wants to feel dumb.

Thanks Kat Palmiotti Darned if I know why so many agents - and others - think it should be about them instead of their customers.

Oct 21, 2020 08:59 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR Yes, that wall of words will almost guarantee that whatever you said doesn't matter. No one will read it.

Joe Jackson Thanks for reading!

Shannon Jones You're very welcome. Thanks for reading.

Oct 21, 2020 09:02 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Michael J. Perry Thanks. Helping agents avoid doing that is the reason why I nag about these things.

Jeff Dowler, CRS Yes, some mistakes are easy to make. That's why proofreading is so important.


Oct 21, 2020 09:04 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks Lyn Sims Something I would love to shout at a whole lot of people is "Read what you wrote!"

The problem with misplaced modifiers is something I'm seeing more and more often now. I read a sentence yesterday that had 3 or 4 modifying phrases such as the time, the place, etc. They were all tossed into the sentence at random so it all made no sense.

Oct 21, 2020 09:07 AM
Beth and Richard Witt
Long Island Cash Home Buyer - Center Moriches, NY
Long Island Cash Home Buyer 516-330-6940

Having couched real estate agents for over 40 years I can tell you that I am incredibly supportive of this post... Full of very valuable information...







Oct 22, 2020 12:54 PM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Marti I try to be conscious of using the I word as well--it's  easy to ramble on about what I will do for you!  Also agree about the long copy--I follow that rule when I blog, as you do!!

Oct 24, 2020 07:58 AM