The Zebra Blog

Five Things to Avoid in Your Listings

As an agent, managing broker, trainer, and for nearly two decades of coaching, I’ve been witness to just about every listing faux pas, misstep, and bad decision. Long time agents may say, “Oh, these are junior mistakes,” but it is not just new agents who get caught in these practices and it’s always good to review why they are a bad idea – they can really harm your listing’s value. Here are five of my top things that agents should avoid when listing.

1. “By Appointment Only”
By far, one of the most common reasons a listing does not get shown is because there is a “by appointment only” requirement for the listing. While I understand that many sellers have good reasons why they want it, a seller needs to put these wants aside and do everything they can to make the property as easy to be seen as possible.

I’ve had sellers tell me that they have expensive collectables or art or possessions that make it impossible for them to allow anything other than a “by appointment only” showing. I always tell sellers, if it’s that valuable and that expensive, either lock it up in a safe or put it in a secured and insured storage facility.

Making a home easy and convenient to view is one of the most important things you can do to help your sellers’ home get sold. Don’t let the seller dictate this. The market needs to dictate this. Getting buyers into your seller’s home is the number 1 thing you can do to increase your chances of getting the home sold for top dollar.

2. “Furniture and/or Appliances Negotiated”
It’s very important to make what’s included in the home very clear. We do not sell furniture and we are not appliance sales-people. Real estate agents sell houses. Often, sellers want us to negotiate high end appliances or special possessions. This can include a grand piano the seller doesn’t want to move, or perhaps a large piece of furniture.

Many lenders will have you remove any addendums that include bill-of-sale items that are not included in the home. Lenders don’t want this as part of the agreement. This is something that needs to be done outside of the real estate transaction. Remember, either it comes with the house and is included, or it’s an excluded item.

3. Out-of-Order Photos
This is without a doubt one of the most frustrating things I see when looking at listings. If you’re showing the main level of a home, show the rooms of the main level before moving to the upper level. Recently I viewed a listing that showed me bathrooms from the second floor before I even saw photos from the main floor.

Keep photos that pertain to one rooms together. Don’t jump from one room to the next. Try to imagine you’re walking through that home and arrange the photos in a manner that makes sense to best represent that property.

4. “Motivated Seller”
I understand that many sellers who are motivated to sell ask the agent to put this comment in their listing, and I see it on many listings I review. The problem is that if the comments say “motivated seller” but the pricing says “unrealistic seller,” it creates confusion.

The best way for a seller to show motivation is to work with their agent to get their price brought to where it needs to be to get the property sold. Whenever a seller used to ask me to put this kind of comment in the listing, I would say “we need to show we are motivated with price, not say we’re motivated with words.”

5. Too Few Photos
Pictures do say a thousand words, and photos are critical to communicating a home’s value. Agents that do not prepare a good representative collection of the property’s photos are doing the property, the sellers, the buyers, and the agents a huge disservice.

Take a good look at every one of your listings and ask yourself if you are presenting your listings in the best possible light.

Ask Denise: That 70’s Paneling

How to advize clients to make modifications

Q: “Denise, I have a listing with terrible 70’s paneling in the living room. I have asked the sellers to remove it, but they have been hesitant to do so. I know that if they do this the house will sell. How do I convince them to remove it so the house will sell?”

A: Are you sure the house will sell if the paneling is removed? Of course not. Therefore, be very careful about how you suggest certain improvements. Read more »

September Client Mailer Content has Arrived

Yes, Club Zebra Pro members, September’s content is here. As summer winds up we bring you new content for you to use in your client mailers that is fully written and ready for you to send out, without any attribution to The Lones Group! As always, both long and short form versions are available in case you are using a letter or postcard format. This September we have content for prospective sellers on timing their entry into the market. For your buyers we have an article on how buyers choose their homes. To round things out we have a third article that takes the mystery out of creating a home buying budget. Get your content here.

The Top 3 Self-Imposed Business Pressures

And how they can keep you from taking the action you need!

I work with different clients with different personalities every day. Although there are sometimes personal challenges that cause them to lose their mojo, what I find more often is that agents get paralyzed by themselves. They get in their own heads and so overwhelmed that they find themselves unable to take any action that propels them forward. Read more »

Branding Spotlight: Julie Clarke

This week’s branding spotlight features the design of Mastery client Julie Clarke from Germantown, Wisconsin. Julie needed a brand that would match her flair for fun and her dedication to her clients. She embraced her favorite color–pink!–and paired it with navy and a pearly bokeh texture to keep it mature and sophisticated. The monogram seal-style logo has the smallest twinkle to help an otherwise serious design light and friendly. Her name stands out in a classic script font, supported by a minimal serif font. Read more »

Ask Denise: Building Connections

Building Connections in a New Market with New Construction

Q: “Denise, I am new to my area. I am trying to get up and running quickly in my business and I have been approached by a listing agent for a new housing development who is wondering if I can work with buyers who come in. On the one hand, it would be great to get connected with buyers in the community so I can get on my feet. On the other hand, I am concerned about putting so many eggs in one basket. What do you think I should do?” Read more »

Bad Photos Don’t Cut It!

Recently I was asked by a client of mine to help her figure out why her listing wasn’t selling.  Of course, the first thing I did was go onto the MLS and look at her listing and then compare her listing with all of the competition.

It is not usual to see so many terrible photos in one place but this cross section of listings was exceptionally awful – including my client’s I am sorry to say. Actually, for some listings, I was truly horrified and angry on behalf of those poor sellers for whom their agent was harming. Yes – harming. I could not believe that agents could not see that their photos were hurting their chances of getting agents to their listings. Read more »

Branding Spotlight: Kellie Springfield

Kellie Springfield's branding

This week’s branding spotlight features the design of Mastery client Kellie Springfield from Bellevue, Washington. Kellie has big plans for her business and needed a brand that would get the Springfield Signature Group to a great start. Her new logo conveys her location and modern business style. Stately serif fonts and italicized swashes add to the sumptuousness of the design. Rich reds and luxurious creams accent her broker’s colors while still making a personal statement. Kellie’s brand is a perfect reflection of the confidence and professionalism she brings to each transaction.  Read more »

Ask Denise: The Market’s Time

Q: “Denise, I read your article on the Power of Timing. I have a listing that has been on for about a month now and my sellers are thinking of trying a price reduction this weekend and if it doesn’t work, throwing in the towel and renting it. I am also holding an open house this weekend. Is there anything else I should be doing?”

A: This weekend is the first weekend in which people are getting back to their schedules. I would have an open house this weekend at the new price and see how the market responds. Read more »

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