Top Three Ways To Ensure Nobody Sees Your Listing

Do you know that old adage, “This property will sell itself,” that people desperately cling to in a red-hot market?

Well I’m here to tell you that isn’t always the case.

In fact, some listings are dead as soon as the brokerage administrator hits “SUBMIT” on MLS.

Here are three ways to absolutely, positively, ensure that no active buyer views your listing…

EyesCovered

I remember a few years back, I wrote a blog called, “Why Would You List Your Property On A Weekend,” where I surmised that most of the active market will “miss” your new listings, since they’re not actively searching new listings on weekends.

I suggested that most Realtors scour the MLS home page from Monday to Friday when the market is busy, and a guy like myself checks MLS every night at 11:50pm before the system resets at 12pm so I can ensure I see EVERY new listing.

When a new listing comes onto MLS on a Saturday or Sunday, when about 95% of the market participants aren’t paying attention, I think it’s a tragic mistake on behalf of the seller and the listing agent.

One of my very best friends commented on that blog, hammering me, saying that any active buyer, or active agent, would still see a property on Monday or Tuesday, if it happened to be listed on a Saturday or Sunday.

Was I wrong?

I don’t think so, but perhaps I overstated the importance.  It’s true that eventually, the active buyers will find that listing, and that the recent advances in technology and other real estate websites would make that listing easier to find.  But I still think that the best days to list are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, since most office meetings are on Monday, and many lazy and semi-active Realtors are having liquid lunches on Fridays.

Why play with fire at all?  Why not just stick to Tues/Wed/Thurs as has always been done?

Agree or disagree, I think you’ll find that the following three examples of how NOT to list your property for sale on MLS, will clearly demonstrate how to ensure that nobody sees your new listing; weekend, or not…

1) List Your “Lease” For “Sale”

1500SaleLease

Here we have a screen shot of new listings in the downtown core, for sale.

I may not know everything, but I do know that if you offered the owner of this property $1,500 to purchase it, he or she would probably say “no.”

Alas, this is a property for sale, that was intended to be listed for lease.

How stupid do you have to be to make this mistake?  Perhaps that’s a whole other issue…

But I can guarantee that anybody interested in leasing a condo for $1,500 per month in the city of Toronto isn’t going to think, “Why don’t I search properties for SALE as well, just in case somebody screwed up?”

Nobody, and I mean nobody, is going to see this listing for lease.

The property may as well not even be listed on MLS at all; it’s just a complete waste of time.

It won’t get a showing, and eventually the listing agent will realize the mistake, and get it listed for sale – as it was intended!

But how much time has to transpire until the mistake is realized?  Enough to cause a few weeks or even a month of vacancy?

In this market, that can blow an investor’s entire year’s return.

2) Spelling The Street Name Wrong

DalhousieMispell

This one is a big no-no.

If somebody were interested in a condo on Dalhousie Street, there’s a good bet that they’re going to type “D – A – L – H – O – U – S – I – E” into the search field for “Street Name” on MLS.

I wouldn’t go as far as to suggest that this listing need not exist, since it’ll still show up on the “New Listings” section of MLS for Realtors for one day, but after that, who is searching for a misspelled street?

It’s too bad that MLS doesn’t have a function that understands when people can’t spell, or mis-type, like Google:

RealEsate

Ah yes, Google is smarter than us all!

So even if we wanted to search for “real esate” for some reason, it automatically shows us the search results for “real estate.”

Don’t mess with Google, because it’s smarter than you…

As for MLS, it’s not.  And a listing where the street name has been spelled incorrectly will sink to the bottom of the ocean like the Titanic…

3) Completely Screw Up The Price

4149000

Ladies and gentlemen, I assure you – this property is NOT worth $4,149,000.

This is a 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom unit for sale.

And I am fairly certain that even in Dubai during the peak of the real estate market, or even in Manhattan for a super hot loft, there is no 1-bedroom condo on the planet that costs $4,149,000.

Okay, okay, maybe a 3,000 square foot 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom in Manhattan!  But how many 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom condos are 3,000 square feet?  Or how many 3,000 square foot condos have only ONE bedroom, and ONE bathroom?

Can we agree that this crappy condo was supposed to be listed at $414,900?

I’m no expert on the pharmaceutical industry, but I’m pretty sure that if you offered up Colgate or Crest at $39 per tube, there wouldn’t be a lot of buyers.

Again, this comes down to the same problem that we saw with the first item on this list: buyers won’t find this property in the search.

I’m sure that when you look at this condo listing, you’re smart enough to say, “Oh, well, that’s clearly a mistake.  It looks like the unit is actually asking $414,900.”

But buyers won’t ever get to that point when they’re searching!

Just as you don’t search properties for SALE when you’re looking for that $1,500 LEASE, you also won’t search above $4 Million when your price range is $400 – $450K.

This listing was dead in the water, as soon as it came out.

We talk about a lot of ways to ruin a listing, and/or ensure the property doesn’t sell.

Terrible photos, or no photos at all, is a good one.

Limited access to the property and severe restrictions on showings is common.

Holding back offers on a condo might push a few buyers away in this market, and of course, we always have the listing and relisting of properties, over and over, at higher prices.

At least with those mistakes, the listings actually get viewed, and buyers might be interested.

But with the “Top Three” that I outlined above, the sellers are just wasting their time on an agent, and the agent is wasting his or her own time and money.

Folks, I don’t know how you avoid this when looking to hire an agent!  Most sellers don’t ask, “Are you able to spell the name of the street correctly?” when they’re interviewing listing agents!

All I can say, is always ask your agent to send you a copy of the MLS listing as soon as it’s online.  Then go through it with a fine-tooth comb, and look for mistakes – both small and large.

Although if you’re one of the folks paying a discounted rate so the listing prominently features, “PHOTO NOT AVAILABLE” for your $400,000 asset, then you might as well be asking $39 for a tube of Colgate as well.  Perhaps spelling the street name wrong isn’t your biggest issue…

19 Comments

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  1. JP says:

    David, I happened across something you’ll get a kick out of.

    It’s the ol’ “it didn’t sell at the price we had it so lets re-list it at a higher price”.
    But this time with vacant land. (and a very lousy lot at that)
    In one of the W’s.
    Was listed at 399,000 and didn’t sell.
    It was reduced to 379,000 and still didn’t sell.
    Taken off the market and relisted…..
    For over $900,000. It’s still an empty lot.

    I’m really tempted to call and ask what the heck their rationale was behind that.

    1. Joe Q. says:

      Re-listing at ~ 2.5x the price sounds like a typo — you may find that there is no rationale!

    2. Kyle says:

      If you’re going to dream, you might as well dream big.

  2. Boris says:

    Comment

  3. Joe Q. says:

    When there’s a problem with attention to detail in listings (which are, after all, pretty simple), I begin to wonder about attention to detail in agreements and other legal documents.

    1. Chroscklh says:

      This is exact good point to mention. What else they mistake on? “Oops, did I write house have Garage? I meant house have garbage – lots of garbage in basement.”…”Did I write house have 3.5 bath because I meant house have termite and asbestos…no bathroom”

      1. jeff316 says:

        This is actually a really good point.

        How many times have we seen listings misrepresent features? Basements listed as “finished” when they are not, houses listed with an extra bathroom when they don’t have one (or a 1.5 listed as a 2 bath), houses listed for the number of bedrooms or parking spaces it used to have, or could have if renoed.

        And Joe is right the typos (hence the insubstantive response from Appraiser)

    2. Appraiser says:

      Hey @Joe Q. / REcharts / Craig/ Aggregator, etc., have you ever filled out a listing form? So in reality you actually have no clue as to their simplicity or complexity, right?

      Have you ever written an agreement of purchase and sale? Oh, right same answer.

      Instead of contantly taking empty pot-shots at the industry and realtors in general, why don’t you come up with something of value to add to the discussion?

      1. Joe Q. says:

        Guilty as charged — I’ve never filled out a listing form or an agreement of purchase and sale, but I’ve certainly seen the end results. Is the process for filling out a listing form particularly conducive to making the types of errors David mentions? (adding a few powers of 10 to the list price, listing as “for sale” instead of “for rent”, misspelling street names) Please educate me.

        I work in a field where a lack of attention to detail endangers health and safety, so perhaps this biases me, but I still hold that when someone makes basic and very avoidable mistakes in a fairly simple process (in which it is easy to spot these mistakes), I worry about them also making mistakes in more complicated processes (where it is more difficult to spot the mistakes).

        If you think I am “sock-puppeting”, feel free to confront the site owners with the accusation rather than dragging it through here. Let me know what you find out.

        1. Appraiser says:

          @Joe Q. et. al.

          You are unemployed and live in your mom’s basement, apparently with several imaginary friends, who are always quick to jump to your defence. So obvious.

          1. Joe Q. says:

            Actually, I’m a Toronto home-owner and family man with a great job at a large multi-national company, who posts only under this name. Sorry if this doesn’t fit your mental profile.

            Again, if you are think I’m “sock-puppeting”, take it to David.

      2. Geoff says:

        @ Appraiser – I don’t get your response.

        Neither joe q / craig etc are paid professional realtors. Filling out a form, even a complex one (perhaps especially a complex one) is one of the reasons the realtor is getting paid. There’s an expectation that it will be perfect the first time. It’s not open heart surgery or anything that has complications beyond the surgeon’s control; filling the form out correctly or not is solely within the realtor’s abilities (one would hope).

        If my mechanic were to not fix my brakes properly, one would hope he wouldn’t just say “well it’s #$#$ing hard to fix brakes, you know, have you done it?” No, that’s WHAT I’M PAYING YOU FOR! is the logical response.

      3. Sofa King says:

        @Appraiser

        For a refreshing change, why not take your own advice and “come up with something of value to add to the discussion?”

        Alternatively, if all you are capable of doing is insulting other commenters, why not head over to You Tube and post some hate on a cat video or something?

      4. Ed says:

        @Appraiser,
        Even if a listing form is antiquated and it is very easy to make mistakes I can accept that mistakes will be made, sometimes very large and obvious mistakes. But it appears that the listing agents were too lazy/incompetent/drunk (you pick the word) to review the listing after it was posted and correct those mistakes. That is UNACCEPTABLE.

        1. Chroscklh says:

          We should not the pile on Appraiser – he is probably like me, come from other country 3 month ago, never use compute before – is tough to do online form. Also, he probably have small, ineffective hands like raccoon – tiny hands no work good for to type buttons on form. He should receive the bonus fee for tiny hand, handicap.

          1. ScottyP says:

            Appraiser’s hands aren’t the only thing about him that’s tiny.

  4. Irena says:

    I see so many listings with no or bad photos that I have now started to email realtor’s asking “Are you trying to sell this condo? Where are the photos?”

  5. IanC says:

    On the same vein as the spelling of the street – what about the postal code?

    1. IanC says:

      I also see that adding “BLVD” where there isn’t one also stuffs it up…

      As in “QUEENS QUAY BLVD W”

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