Ive posted this information before, but felt that it needed revisited...
One of the more routine activities of a Realtors(c) job is to write copy for the ads that are used to support your listings. Whether those be online, print, brochures, or flyers, the goal of these ads is create a positive explanation of the property that will increase the flow of traffic to that ad from interested buyers. And, lets face it....that is the ultimate goal in this form of advertising.
However, it is fairly easy to fall into the grey area and start to make statements that arent necessarily true...perhaps even blatently false...and even worse, bordering on discriminatory.
Now, I know that no one actually intends to write copy that is discriminatory. But, the fact of the matter is that some of the text used can be just that depending upon who is reading the ad. I recently discovered an article written by Roselind Hejl in the November, 07, issue of BROKERAGENT NEWS written on just this subject.
** QUICK PLUG FOR ROSELIND!! I have worked with Roselind before on some of my blogs and again contacted her for permission to use some of the information that she had posted in the article for the purpose of this blog. Please check out her and her company by going to www.weloveaustin.com. Roselind is a fantastic and very dynamic agent with an incredible knowledge about her market and a very passionate love for her profession.
Here are some of the reminders that I have compiled both from some of the listings I have seen and the list that Roselind had supplied for this blog:
1. Describe The Features Of The Property Remember to stick to the facts about the property. Obviouisly, you can embelish a bit to make the langue more fun, but dont blow it out of proportion. Also, dont profile your potential buyer by focussing the ad on one specific style of buyer. We all have some idea of what type of buyer will suit the need for the property, but isnt every financially qualified person a potential buyer? Here are some examples of what you should say:
- Condo with exercise center and pool
- Historic home with wrap-around porch
- Qualified Senior Housing
- Located On cul-De-Sac
- Bring your Hammer and lots of ideas!
- Extensive Remodeling including windows, new floors
- Bright and Sunny living room
- Comfortable and Spacious
- Designer colors!
Avoid phrases that focus on the buyer. Also, consider subtle little things that might be interpreted wrong by a potential buyer:
- Empty Nesters Paradise (Are kids welcome??)
- Great family neighborhood (Will singles be allowed??)
- Hispanic Community (Uhhhh...Do I need to elaborate??)
- Near Indian grocery (Is this the Indian part of town??)
- Pefect for a single guy (Is it not safe for a single female????)
- Bring your kids! (Uhhh....Sorry, but I dont have any....)
- Totall remodelled (Really??? EVERYTHING was redone????)
- New heat and AC (The entire system or just the unit itself???)
- New carpet! (Well, it was new last year...)
- Wonderful neighbors (Rock bands are fun neighbors!)
- Kept in perfect condition (Oh yeah?? Is that what the inspection report will tell me???)
- All new appliances (Does that include the water heater and the furnace?)
2. One thing that agents like to do in the ad copy is make descriptions of the neighborhood that the listing is located. This is all well and good and adds a sense of the community, as well as the home itself. Some good examples are:
- Gated neighborhood
- On golf course
- Horses allowed
- Tree-lined street
- Secluded off-street location
- Close to Shopping
Now, remember...its perfectly OK to talk about the neighborhood. But, it is NOT OK to talk about the neighbors! Dont use language that establishes a preference to the type of person that will fit with the local flavor. Phrases to avoid:
- Exclusive area (Really....excluding whom???)
- Elite neighborhood (Who qualifies for this???)
- Country Club location (Are non-members allowed to buy there??)
- Surrounded by young families (So...elderly need not apply.)
- Mature area (So, you young people...you go somewhere else.)
3. Whatever you do, do not offer up assurances about what CAN be done with the property. Not only can adding onto the existing home be more difficult that you anticipate, but the buyer could take your statement at face value and then be very disgruntled later on. Between permits, easements, building codes, and neighborhood opposition...who knows. Anything could stop them from being able to do what YOU said could be done. So, avoid things like:
- Un-obstructed view of the lake (From now til when???)
- Perfect for a bed and breakfast
- Add a second story and see all of downtown
- Ready for a new master bathroom
- Plenty of room for a pool (Of course, we ahve to move your sewer line and the underground gas line and the......)
4. Lastly, in the attempt to remain perfectly accurate, dont use brand names in generic ways...
- Jacuzzi tub (Umm, its says Whirlyride on the drain...)
- Jennire grill (Umm, the lid says Coleman...)
When it comes to marketing a home, the goal of the ad copy is to describe the features of the home and to attract quality buyers. It is increasingly important to use accurate language. But, more than that, it is vitally important that you do not violate anything within the COE or the Fair Housing laws. NEVER refer to the sex, racial origin, family status, or age of ANY potential buyers or current residents of a particular area. And remember, if you direct your advertising to target a specific type of buyer, you are discriminating against other buyers that may be just as capable perhaps even more capable of buying the same property. And even more importantly, if you submit an offer from a potential buyer, and the offer is rejected, the buyer could feel that the rejection is a result of some form of bias against them based on the descriptions put in the ad.
Roselind had one of the best lines when it came to writing ad copy. Ignore the ambiguous meanings...Remember that YOUR REPUTATION IS AT STAKE!