3 Tips For Spot Checking Your Agent When Selling A Home

Most people want to get top dollar when selling a home, yet every single day I see listing entry errors that are highly likely to cost the homeowners money.

Since most real estate agents have never received formal training on marketing, they do not realize how their sloppy work will harm their sellers. For this reason, it is critical for home sellers to be spot-checking all marketing materials to ensure that their home has been portrayed thoroughly and accurately.

Here are 3 great tips for checking your listing information when your real estate agent starts to market your home for sale.

Listing Entry Errors Cost You Money

Today's tips are likely to surprise you, as at face value they will seem to be harmless and "not a big deal." Certainly, that's what the real estate listing agents believe as these errors occur frequently from most real estate companies.

But once you see the implications of a typo here or a misstatement there, you'll realize that your ability to gain top dollar for your home has been compromised by the very organization and people whom you chose to hire to sell your home.

3 Tips for spot-checking your MLS Listing Information

Before we specify the tips, I want to point out that it is my experience (and thus my belief) that home sellers get top dollar when the marketing and listing efforts have drawn MULTIPLE BUYERS to compete for the home. There is an erroneous belief that "it only takes one buyer" when you are selling, but this is not true if you want "top dollar."

Sellers are able to achieve top market value when multiple buyers are bidding on the home, thus it should be the goal and game plan for every real estate listing agent to draw multiple bidding buyers to your home as soon as it enters the market.

3 Tips For Spot Checking Your Listing Agent

1. Check to ensure that the common name of your subdivision (neighborhood) is properly used in the MLS listing - This is a big tip. I see this error more often than the others, and it costs you dearly.

  • The common name of your neighborhood is the one that prospective buyers are likely to "google," so make sure your MLS entry serves to answer this response.
  • More importantly, the tens of thousands of real estate websites that will pick up your listing via a "feed" from the local MLS are not prepared to handle typos. Here are two examples that we see often from the Tallahassee MLS:
    • Arbor Hill Subdivision - This neighborhood in Tallahassee is comprised of two subdivisions, "Arbor Hill" and "Arbor Hill Patio Homes." While every property in Arbor Hill is in either one or the other, it is critical to understand that the MLS is a marketing platform, so accuracy is less important than is the mission of getting the right buyers to storm to the home. Most real estate websites feature a neighborhood section and Arbor Hill will often be included. But Arbor Hill Patio Homes rarely is included, so it is a mistake of the listing agent to use "Arbor Hill Patio Homes" as this will mean the listing will fail to appear on hundreds or even thousands of websites that does not understand they are within the same area. Additionally, the top typo in the Tallahassee MLS is agents who list these homes in the "Arbor Hills" neighborhood ... a place that does not exist and thus excludes the listing from thousands of websites. {If your listing agent does not understand these finer points on marketing your home, what else are you losing with this agent?}
    • Golden Eagle Plantation - This gated golf course community in Tallahassee also sees many homes missing out with poor marketing. Technically, there are three subdivisions in this neighborhood: Golden Eagle Plantation, Golden Eagle Unit 6, and Golden Eagle Unit 8. But what do you think the thousands of websites across the internet call this neighborhood? (Hint, it will not contain the word "unit"). So if you have a home for sale in Golden Eagle Plantation, and the subdivision field is being marketed as "Golden Eagle Unit 8," you need to know that you are not appearing on as many real estate websites as you would have been had the entry been "Golden Eagle Plantation." Now your listing agent might tell you "but Leon County identifies your home as being located in "Golden Eagle Unit 8!" You just tell your agent that unless Leon County is buying the home, you would prefer to market your home to ALL potential buyers. Remember, the MLS is a marketing platform, not a Leon County resource database.
  • The key to this first tip is that the MLS entry (which feeds thousands of websites across the internet) needs to be correct for marketing purposes, not necessarily perfect.

2. Check to ensure that only the common zip code is used (5 digits) - This is very similar to the prior tip, though it does not occur as often.

  • The five digit zip code of your home is the one that prospective buyers are likely to "google," so make sure your MLS entry does not include the "plus four" after the five digit zip code.
  • More importantly, the tens of thousands of real estate websites that will pick up your listing via a "feed" from the local MLS are not prepared to handle longer zip codes.
    • There is a link on my site to see all the homes for sale in the 32312 zip code. Other sites have this feature, but most of them do not have the algorithm that is capable of merely looking at the first five digits only, thus a home listed in the 32312-3825 zip code is not likely to appear in as many searches as one merely listed in the 32312 zip code.
    • Of course, typos are terrible here too. Homes in the 32312 zip code that mistakenly have the 31312 zip code do not appear either.
  • The key to this tip is to remember that the MLS entry (which feeds thousands of websites across the internet) needs to be correct for marketing purposes, not to make it easier for the US postal carrier to bring mail to the home.

3. Check to ensure that the marketing grammar is spotless - Unlike the prior tips which impact the number of online visitors your home receives, this tip becomes critical once the visitor arrives.

  • Poor grammar diminishes the value of your home. Proper grammar is rarely penalized in marketing, whereas entry errors here can send the wrong message about the quality of your home.
  • Marketing messages that contain multiple typographical errors send an implied message of sloppiness. There might be times when you want to use a slang term (and that might be an excellent thing to do), but sloppy unintended errors do not help the marketing effort. Find these errors and correct them immediately.
  • The key to this tip is to remember that the MLS entry (which feeds thousands of websites across the internet) should send the best message possible about the features and benefits of buying your home, and you never want the written message to take away from that goal.

Wanna Know Why Most Real Estate Marketing Plans Don't Work?

Realtor at work in TallahasseeBecause most real estate agents don't work a plan!

With roughly half the listings in the Tallahassee MLS failing to sell during their initial listing period, you have to wonder if real estate agents are lazy or if they are ignorant.

Who would you rather hire, somebody too lazy to market your home EVERY DAY, or somebody who does not realize that daily marketing is essential?

If neither of those options appeals to you, let us know by making contact with us below. We'll take it from there!

Spot Checking Conclusion

The best way to get top dollar for your home is to drive as many "ready" buyers to it as possible when it hits the market.

The errors identified in the examples above were all found in the Tallahassee MLS today, so this is not just about "past problems," rather they exist today for homes in EVERY price range.

There are so many elements of an excellent online home marketing plan not addressed here, but a homeowner's ability to spot-check the 3 tips listed above will aid in their ability to sell their home (and for top dollar).

If you would like to know more about what Joe Manausa Real Estate does to sell a home, simply CLICK RIGHT HERE and tell us who you are and how you would like us to make contact.

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