Awful Listing Slogans


4 minute read

September 9, 2011

Perhaps I’ve touched on this subject before in the past, but we can rejuvenate the discussion now that the busy Fall market is under way and Realtors are already writing their listing captions.

Here are a slew of awful MLS description cliches that still bother me…

Advocates of these useless slogans might argue that they’re not to be taken as literally as I examine them below.  They might also argue that my sarcasm is off the charts, and I’m not looking at these phrases logically.

But I might argue that these are a complete and utter waste of time and space.

I might argue that on the MLS listing, we have 463 characters, including spaces, where we can describe the house or condo.  So why waste them?

I’ve always been a fan of introducing the neighbourhood with something like, “Welcome To Leslieville!”  But the other 420-ish characters will be used to describe the home.

I figure that buyers are interested in the heating, plumbing, electrical, roof, wiring, and anything else that will affect the value of the home.

What upgrades are there?  I like seeing: Recent Improvements Include Roof (2011), Downspouts (2011), Hardwood Flooring (2010), High-Efficiency Furnace (2009).

Isn’t this more informative and useful than: Sit On Your Front Porch And Chit Chat While You Watch The World Go By?

Regardless, there are Realtors out there that know how to write a good MLS caption (my colleague Steven Fudge is the best in the business), and there are Realtors who are feigning as the next F. Scott Fitzgerald.

“Wrap Yourself In An Inferno Of Beholdment As You Gander At The Everpresent Whimsy That Is 123 Mabel Street.”

Snicker if you want to, but there are so many Realtors out there that don’t know the difference between and adjective, noun, verb, and the like.

But then there are the short, choppy cliches that Realtors throw into the MLS captions that drive me insane.

Here are the most common:

“Show And Sell”

This one always bothered me because it begs the question, “Well what else am I going to do?”

Listing a property for sale on the open market and instructing Realtors to “show and sell” is like putting a sign on the toilet that says “pee in here.”  Did you expect people would drink the water?  Maybe store some valuables in the bottom of the bowl?

It’s a waste of space, and borderline insulting that you need to tell your colleagues that they should show this property to their clients and then attempt to sell it to them.  That’s what we do for a living!

“Shows AAA+++”

What does AAA+++ mean?

I remember back from high school and university – an A+ is 90% or better.  So what is an A++?  Or what is an AA++?

We’re not rating eggs here, and we’re not rating the credit worthiness of the United States (although Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s might disagree…).  So isn’t AAA+++ as stupid as saying, “I’ll give 110%?”  Isn’t that physically impossible?

I once got 66 out of 60 on a Grade Eleven economics test, since my teacher always loaded the tests with bonus marks.  The tests were ridiculously hard, and the bonus marks gave most people a chance to try and get up to a respectable grade.  But since I spent my high school years studying instead of  talking to girls, I was able to consistently get 110% on these tests.

I don’t know how you can have 110% of a house…

“No Need to Inspect”

Says who?

A lawyer might argue that if an unrepresented buyer walked in off the street and read this caption on the MLS listing, the listing agent could be liable under an “impled agency relationship.”

As for buyers that are represented, perhaps they should let their own agent decide if the house needs an inspection.

“Smoke and mirrors” is a term I use a lot to describe houses that are meticulously cleaned and staged, but have huge red flags.

“Show Your Fussiest Buyer”

Something I learned a long time ago – all buyers are fussy! 🙂

But seriously, this is one of those useless directions that is meaningless in practice.  I show properties to buyers who are interested in that type of property.  I’ll show $1.2 Million homes in Lawrence Park to people who are looking for $1.2 Million homes in Lawrence Park!  I won’t find this listing, see the caption, and the take John & Judy who are annoying as hell and bring them through the home even though they’re looking in Bloor West…

“This One Won’t Last Long”

As soon as I see this caption, I know with complete and utter certainty that this unit will last long!

In fact, I almost take this as a sarcastic approach to lasting an awful property, an over-priced property, or BOTH!

Alternatively, sometimes Realtors will under-price a home, set an offer date, and then use this caption.  In that respect, instead of saying “Won’t Last Long,” you may as well say, “Will Last Exactly Eight Days And Will Sell On September 16th With Absolute Certainty.”

“Act Quickly”

Same as above, just a more efficient use of characters.

You should know that if a house is really worth seeing, they don’t need t0 write “Act Quickly.”  Today’s buyer is so well informed that the moment a great listing hits MLS, that buyer is already emailing his or her agent!  Buyers are already acting quickly, as are the agents.

“Move In And Enjoy”

Phew!  I’m glad they told me to move in and enjoy, because without this direction, I likely would have moved in and sulked for a while.

In fact, I might not have moved in at all!  I might have just bought the house and then held on to it for an indeterminate period of time.

But what about how to enjoy the home?  Can I get suggestions on that? 

Maybe something like, “Oooooh, Sip Champagne In Your Backyard Hot Tub And Watch The Neighbours Through The Windows.”  I think I’ve seen that one before…

“Designer Magazine Worthy!”

Well, not quite.

Because if it was really worthy of being in a designer magazine, it would be.

Perhaps what’s going on here is you’ve purchased several throw pillows from Home Sense and borrowed some art books from your friend Antoine, and you figure that this is how houses show in magazines.  Close, but not quite.

In fact, about 50% of listings for “modern” houses that have been staged will say something about being “magazine worthy” or having “designer flair.”

I love scented candles, willows, lemons & limes, and Jamie Kennedy cook books as much as the next person, but if everybody is doing it, how can it be unique?

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

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  1. Joe Q.

    at 8:57 am

    What’s common to many of these headlines, David, is that they seem to be written for realtors and not for prospective buyers. I would think that the number of buyers reading listing descriptions far exceeds the number of sellers.

    1. Joe Q.

      at 9:04 am

      … far exceeds the number of agents, that is.

  2. dunky

    at 10:02 am

    There is one agent who generally lists some of the most run-down properties in my neighbourhood who has the absolute worst property descriptions. What’s particularly infuriating about them is that he doesn’t even bother changing them to suit the property, they’re basically cut’n’paste jobs.

    Every single one opens with “Location! Location! Location!” Leslie and Gerrard? “L!L!L!” East Brimley and Markham Road? “L!L!L!” 935 Sheppard Avenue West? “L!L!L!”

    This is from his personal website: “I provide clients with “24 by 7″ service such that their real estate goals are met and, usually, exceeded.”

    24 by 7 service? That’s an amazing 168 square feet of service!

    1. David Fleming

      at 10:51 am

      @ Dunky

      I was once told to stop short of nit-picking at spelling errors and broken english, but quite often you have ESL agents writing something like:

      “Go to shop. Eat at restaurants. Lots of TTC. Location is good.”

      I have to wonder if they coudln’t get somebody at their office to edit this a little, or perhaps jazz it up a little bit.

  3. Kyle

    at 10:12 am

    I really get a kick out of agents who use their client’s listing description to indulge their struggling inner-novelist.

    “On A Coveted Tree-Lined Street, Behind A Vintage Merchant Class Facade In One Of The City s Most Dynamic Urban Villages, Is A Modern Sun-Drenched Contemporary Masterpiece…” Hyperbole much?

    “This Extraordinary Residence Is A Bespoke Masterpiece Built Behind An Elegant 1860 Facade By Renowned Designer Renee Nieuwland W/Faultless Quality & Brilliant Design: Antique European Elm Flrs & Doors, Belgian Blue Stone & Limestone Tiled Flrs, Extraordinary Carved Limestone Fp’s, Jesso Treated Walls, Carrera Marbles, Superb Mouldings, Wainscotting & Clg Hgts. For Your Most Discerning Clients Who Will Appreciate This Paean To Exquisite European Sensibility.” This one almost made me leak.

  4. George

    at 10:46 am

    This is common not only to the real estate industry but also to weather reporting (and countless other areas). “You’ll want to put on a warm sweater and thick socks today.” “Better get the umbrella and rain coat out.” “Turn on the air conditioning, stay out of the sun, and stay hydrated.

    I find it condescending to receive such unsolicited advice. Salespeople (and presenters of any type) need to realize that, like you said, the public is educated enough to respond appropriately upon hearing the facts.

    1. xxx

      at 9:31 pm

      agreed! just because youre a meteorologist does not give you the authority to tell me how to dress. That authority solely belongs to my wife.

  5. Kyle

    at 1:18 pm

    There are 2 listing slogans that i’ve seen numerous times, that simply defy all logic:

    The first is when an agent advertises “Demanding Location!” In-laws are demanding, marathons are demanding, calculus is demanding, toxic bosses are demanding. Why would anyone want to live in a demanding location? I’ve seen this used enough times to say for sure that this is not a typo.

    The second is when agents brag about the home being staged. I’ve seen listings boast “Staged to Perfection!” To me this makes no sense and kind of defeats the purpose of staging. It would be like a woman wearing a T-shirt saying, “I’m wearing a Wonderbra, they don’t usually look this good, you know!”

  6. Pen

    at 10:15 am

    So true David some descriptions are completely useless and the cut and paste practice signals no imagination – Rich, Royal, Regal is one that makes my eyes roll back into my head. Before I even see the listing rep’s name I know it belongs to one of 2 one-trick ponies.

    A couple that tickled my funny bone:

    Absolutely nice!!!

    Korean countertops.

    1. JC

      at 11:08 am

      LOL re: Korean countertops.

      Speaking of one trick ponies…. theres one guy that works downtown that as soon as I see that he’s the listing agent, I know exactly what the photos for the listing will be. He uses the same ones for every listing. Working hard for the money, he is.

  7. Joe Q.

    at 6:56 pm

    It Also Doesn’t Help Matters When Every Word Is Capitalized.

  8. jeff316

    at 12:06 pm

    This was post very funny. Well done.

    One of my favourites is the overuse of the same adjectives. One agent in my neighbourhood describes every basement with a ceiling height of more than 6 ft as a basement with “gloriously high ceilings”. Really, no basement ceiling is glorious.

  9. Bill Petrey

    at 3:41 pm

    “Won’t Last Long” – When I read that, the first thing I do is look at the DOM. It usually shows the listing’s perseverance to actually last a very long time.

    I remember one blisteringly hot July in Dallas, Texas, one of the many new listing emails I got in my inbox that day (that’s right, I’m a Realtor – spam me) had a picture of a snow-covered house. Something tells me that this isn’t a new listing and something tells me this client isn’t getting full-representation.

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