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Top Mistakes Even Smart Agents Make

The real estate industry is constantly being reinvented by new technologies and consumer preferences. While some things like good follow up and strong negotiation skills never go out of style, times have certainly changed. Here are a few of the most common mistakes smart agents make and how you can easily fix them to see a positive impact in your business and your bottom line.

Using the Wrong Address Format
When listing a piece of real estate for sale, one of the most basic pieces of information is the address of the property. Typically, this is something simple that the sellers tell agent and the agent never questions. After all, the seller should know the property best, right? While it may seem obvious how the property address should be entered into the multiple listing service (MLS) and other property portals, it’s wise to double check how common GPS services, like Google Maps, display the address. If you list the property as located at “12345 Cty Rd T N”, but Google doesn’t use the same type of naming style, your success is likely to be minimized simply because potential buyers can’t easily figure out where a property is.
Take Away: Double check to make sure you can easily find the property with your GPS. If your GPS seems to know the area, but just has trouble differentiating between “N” and “North” or “Cty” and “County” or some other small change, choose the version that GPS prefers to be found more easily.

Writing Listing Descriptions for Agents
It used to be that real estate agents would almost exclusively list their properties on the MLS. Many MLS’ have character limits and only other agents could access these listings meaning that soon the industry was taken over by jargon and in-the-know abbreviations. Have a w/o LL in your 4bd/2.5ba sfr? No problem! Nowadays, the process is very different. According to a survey by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, 44% of recent buyers started their home search process by looking online, while only 17% decided to first contact a real estate agent.
Take Away: Write your listing descriptions with the buyer in mind. Avoid jargon or abbreviations that aren’t known by the general public, even if you think they are obvious. Buyers are more likely to find your listing before they find an agent to translate so keeping your audience in mind will help to successfully connect with them.

Not Having Enough Photos
As an agent, sometimes you list a property that is in, to put it nicely, appalling condition. Maybe there were destructive tenants, an abandoned major construction project, or a tragic situation. In any event, traditional knowledge would say to simply show the exterior of the property with some sort of euphemism in the description such as “ready for your creative touch” or “tons of potential, just needs your TLC”. These phrases are overused and buyers feel like their time has been wasted when they go to view a property that “needs some TLC” and realize it actually needs to be condemned.
Take Away: Sometimes you can’t get interior photos because of tenant privacy, but it’s important to portray the property accurately. While you can sell properties sight-unseen (as happens with many foreclosure and short sale properties), in most cases it’s in your favor to actively show potential buyers what they’re up against.

Giving Too Much Detail
More isn’t always better when it comes to listing descriptions. The goal is to give enough information that a potential buyer will have their interest piqued, but not so much that they’ll get lost in a sea of features and adjectives. It is important to list the features that may show up in a buyer’s search (open concept, in-ground pool, or split bedroom design), but not so much that you need to detail that there is a “Swarovski crystal encrusted fireplace accented by a hand-polished travertine mantle”.
Take Away: While being detailed and thorough is a good thing, you want to make sure to leave a reason for the buyer to call or schedule a showing. Also, don’t lose people in a sea of text — when possible, use bullet points or paragraph breaks to keep your message clear.

Avoiding Auctions
In Europe and Australia, auctions are seen as a great way to expose a property to a large number of buyers and the competition among buyers leads to a fair sales price, however real estate agents in the U.S. tend to hesitate to even mention the word “auction” to their clients.  This negative connotation is likely because in the US auctions are most commonly seen in foreclosure proceedings. The stigma is then perpetuated by a  lack of knowledge about the benefits of auctions.
Take Away: Auctions are a great way to increase the buyer pool by having a range price that is attractive to a wider audience. This wide audience then creates the competition necessary to increase the final sales price. In a soft auction, like those run by RealtyHive, home sellers are then able to choose whether to accept the winning bid and continue on to a sale or hold off for a higher offer. Learn more about RealtyHive Time-Limited Events here.

Have you noticed any other common missteps? Have any tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!

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