4 Red Flags That Send Buyers Running

March 4, 2011

How you present a listing online and the words you choose to describe it may be turning off some buyers. Bankrate.com recently asked real estate professionals to weigh in on what listing red flags are turning off their buyers.

1. No photos. "One red flag in many buyers' eyes is the lack of photos for a listing," says Don Tepper with Long & Foster in Burke, Va. "There can be some legitimate reasons for few (or no) photos in a listing: The sellers want privacy, or they have valuables they don't want in the photos. But many would-be buyers--rightly or wrongly--assume that there's something wrong." Tepper recommends about a dozen photos for listings and photos that match the home’s description and showcases its best features.

2. Outlandish claims. Referring to the listing as the best property on the market might not be a good idea, says Ziad Najm, a broker at Cedar Real Estate in Mission Viejo, Calif. "Some buyers may be turned off to begin with and some will inevitably be disappointed if the claim doesn't live up to their expectations,” Najm says. Instead, Najm recommends focusing on adjectives that are flattering to the property but leave some room for interpretation.

3. Priced too low. You want to price the property competitively but pricing too low may make some buyers suspicious or attract unqualified buyers. "Typically, multiple buyers will be attracted to the low asking price and eventually the sales price will climb close to market value as competing offers bid up the price," Najm says. "However, the strategy is not without risk in that some buyers will be alienated by a potential bidding war."

4. Listing a property “as is” in the description. That’s not a deal breaker but when you see “as is” in a listing, buyers might be cautious, says Diane Conaway, a San Diego broker with RE/MAX United. Some buyers take the “as is” phrase as the "previous owners stole everything including the kitchen and bathrooms," Conaway says. "Our contract states 'as is' anyway, but some agents restate that in the listing, which is a disservice to their sellers."

Source: “Red flags: How to spoil a home description,” Bankrate.com (February 2011)

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