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Stop! Read what you wrote before you publish it.

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

We all know that proofreading is important. We simply MUST read what we write before we send it out into the world. 

That goes for subject lines and headlines as well as body copy. It's SO easy to overlook those few words! 

Anyway... I came across some funny bloopers from writers who got themselves just a little mixed up...

First, from a novel, "The Murder Book" by Thomas Perry:confused writers make confused readers

"He had parked his car on one of the residential streets a block from the river that he had never been on before because the people he didn't want to become too good at spotting it probably didn't frequent that street."

I think our High School grammar teachers would have referred to that as a run-on sentence. And the poor thing didn't know where it was supposed to be running to! 

And then from a post about a woman's history...

"My mom was a schoolteacher growing up."

Here's an example of one of the most common grammar mistakes I see in real estate blogs.

It's a line from an article offering advice on getting a home ready for market...

"As a real estate professional, you should stage your home before offering it for sale."

I agree that if a person is a real estate professional they should stage their house before offering it for sale. But I don't think that's what the real estate agent who wrote this had in mind. 

These mistakes could have easily been avoided by just adding a couple of words. Why were the writers so stingy?

"My mom was a schoolteacher when I was growing up."

"As a real estate professional, I believe you should stage your home before offering it for sale."

Or, even better:

"As a real estate professional, I advise you to stage your home before offering it for sale."

Happy writing, and do remember to read what you wrote before you publish!


Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

My business partner was guilty of this just yesterday and I know that I have been guilty of it in the past, even though most of the time I will double or triple-read something before hitting send, haha.

May 05, 2024 05:21 AM
Marte Cliff

Brian England The one time you don't triple-check is the one time when there will be an error. I think that's some kind of rule. 

May 06, 2024 02:05 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Marte... I read, re-read, re-read everything I write... whether it's on my blog, my emails, my reports, etc.

May 05, 2024 06:01 AM
Marte Cliff

I do too, Nina Hollander, Broker, and it makes me tired of my own writing. 

May 06, 2024 02:05 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Marte,

No one is perfect and we all make mistakes but proofing things we write can certainly help catch many poor choices of writing! I really like the corrections you made but have to admit like Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 where do you begin the correction process on #1??

May 05, 2024 08:19 AM
Marte Cliff

Dorie Dillard Austin TX - I think that one needs a total re-write. It would be better as 2 or 3 sentences. 

May 06, 2024 02:06 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Marte, this hit home with me. I have a Monday morning post that goes to my base.  This includes a bunch of Washington Post reporters who have made my past and present client list. And at least one of them finds a typo someplace in every post I've sent.Ugh! How embarrassing!

May 05, 2024 08:48 AM
Marte Cliff

I agree, Patricia Kennedy, that is embarrassing. Since they're having fun with it, perhaps you should start reading their articles and pointing out their typos!  

May 06, 2024 02:08 PM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

You hit the nail in the head. I do find often journalists have a typo and sent them a suggested correction. Only once one famous jouralist sent back claimed she fixed it. 99% of others do not give a hoot or thank those caught it.

May 05, 2024 09:12 AM
Marte Cliff

I agree that most do not give a darn, Sam Shueh. I tried to tell the editor of our local weekly paper that it is "should have," not "should of." She didn't care and she continues to write should of, could of, and would of. 

May 06, 2024 02:11 PM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

My famous example is a female realtor put an newspaper advertised a home for sale with a big DICK in the backyard.

May 05, 2024 09:14 AM
Marte Cliff

Sam Shueh - when you make people laugh, you do get attention! Did the realtor make the mistake, or did the newspaper make the mistake? When I owned Cliff Realty I often got free ads because they had garbled whatever we sent them. Several times they omitted our phone number. (Good thing this is a small town.)

I miss Gwen Banta's weekly MLS bloopers posts - with the errors and her funny comments. 

May 06, 2024 02:14 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hello, Marte.

This post made it onto today’s list of Last Week’s Favorites on ActiveRain.So, thank you for writing it!

May 05, 2024 09:15 AM
Marte Cliff

Thank YOU, Patricia Kennedy!

May 06, 2024 02:14 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Marte Cliff  I check mine over several times and in the process sometimes accidentally delete some of what I wrote --- darn- You did well this week So glad  Patricia Kennedy  and Kathy Streib  Featured  you 

May 05, 2024 10:31 AM
Marte Cliff

Hannah Williams - I've done that while trying to move things around. I'm glad I finally learned where the "undo" button is! 

May 06, 2024 02:16 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Marte Cliff - I read what I write several times before submitting. Unfortunately, I still find a few mistakes or thought of a better way I could have written a line or two after it was sent.

Congratulations on your FEATURE. Good advice is always welcoming. 

May 05, 2024 01:00 PM
Marte Cliff

Thank you Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP. I know that one - I often think of a better way to write something after it has been sent.  

May 06, 2024 02:17 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Marte Cliff - it makes me wonder if authors and writers ever sleep at least 8 hours a night.  I doubt it. : )

May 06, 2024 03:30 PM
Mike McCann Nebraska Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farm & Commercial Land Broker-Auctioneer Serving Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm & Commercial Property For Sale 308-627-3700

High Marte Cliff  Eye ugree wyth yur wurds uf wizdum!!  Yu jusd kan knot truhst spel czech.  

May 05, 2024 07:24 PM
Marte Cliff

I am so jealous of your talent Mike McCann Nebraska Land Broker. Thanks for the giggle. 

May 06, 2024 02:18 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

So appreciate  your wisdom!  Re-reading some of my old posts, I've definitely made changes.  It's so easy to form a run on sentence when it's really 2 sentences in one.  Your guidance no doubt has helped many of us in the rain! 

May 06, 2024 11:26 AM
Marte Cliff

Thank you Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ - I appreciate your kind words. 

May 06, 2024 02:18 PM
Matt Brady
Watermark Capital - Del Mar, CA
One of San Diego's Best Equity Advisors

I love this Marte! I am amazed at the number of solicitations I get asking to help me with building a website, or marketing my business that contain grammatical errors. I suggest people read their posts out loud as reading them silently often results in the same unconscious errors. 

May 06, 2024 02:28 PM
Marte Cliff

Matt Brady - Reading aloud is one of the tricks you can use to catch errors. Another is reading it backward. Proofreading your own work is difficult because you already "know" what it says - so sometimes fail to see that "no, it doesn't." Our brains love to play tricks! 

May 06, 2024 09:30 PM
Kukun--240-483-3649 Franklin Carroll
Kukun, Inc. - Menlo Park, CA
Elite client engagement tools and proptech

That sentence is poorly written, but it is not a run-on sentence. A run-on sentence has multiple independent clauses without a proper conjunction, and that sentence has only one. Notice that all other clauses are introduced either with a relative pronoun or a subordinating conjunction: "That" and "because." 

Writing can be bad and still be grammatically correct. 

May 07, 2024 01:38 AM
Marte Cliff

Ok - thanks for the correction.

May 09, 2024 08:54 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I’m just glad that that detective had never been on that river

May 07, 2024 04:39 AM
Marte Cliff

Me too, Lise Howe. But I still don't know why he had never been on it before. That was a bit unclear. 😀

May 09, 2024 08:56 AM
Randy Mitchelson,APR
Marketing Advisor & Squeeze Mortgage - Bonita Springs, FL
First Impressions are made at First Click

Being detail oriented separates the average from the extraordinary.

May 08, 2024 06:20 AM
Marte Cliff

Yep, Randy Mitchelson,APR, that's one of the factors.

May 09, 2024 08:57 AM
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

This is interesting. I see quite a few posts that seem to leave grammar at the door  :)

May 08, 2024 01:49 PM
Marte Cliff

So do I, Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty.  That's why I nag a lot - because it does matter. Garbled grammar makes for poor communication - and even misunderstandings. 

May 09, 2024 08:59 AM
Cara Marcelle Mancuso
Golden Girls with SW Desert Homes - Tucson, AZ
Call a Marana neighbor, I'm THERE!

Great advice, Marte Cliff.  That happens often in our texting as well!  Your headline hooked me in  :)

May 09, 2024 03:15 PM
Marte Cliff

Cara Marcelle Mancuso - From what I've seen, you can get away with more errors in texting. It's as if everyone just "understands." 

May 11, 2024 06:26 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

If I don't proofread what I write, I open myself up to embarrassment and I can look foolish.

May 10, 2024 06:12 PM
Marte Cliff

You and all of us, John Juarez. And I have found mistakes in my copy even when I DID proofread. 

I read a new one yesterday. This was in a novel in which the narrator was describing a kitchen she had just entered:

"...to my left was a kitchen sink beneath a window that was piled high with dirty dishes."

While the meaning was obvious, I still stopped to wonder how you could pile dirty dishes on a window. 


May 11, 2024 06:31 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

There's always room to improve when writing, Marte. I almost made a huge mistake when ordering t-shirts for a special event. Good thing I took one last look before hitting send on the order form or it would have been disastrous!

May 12, 2024 06:44 PM
John Petrone
Realty One Group Sunrise - Paramus, NJ

Great purposeful post. So many are trying to type as fast as they're thinking. A person's fingers aren't always keeping up with what the brain is dictating! Best to read everything you write before hitting send. - You want humans to read what you write so why not read what you wrote yourself first? 

May 13, 2024 03:22 PM