Not All Real Estate Advertising is Created Equal

4941_st_charles, New Orleans, LA

I took a late night picture of the exterior of this home while visiting New Orleans during Carnival week. When I looked up the information, I realized it was a perfect example of how listing marketing can vary by agent as well as demonstrate how listing facts can appear inaccurate online. I wrote about the latter in a recent post called Buyer Mistake #1: Believing all the property information online is accurate and up-to-date.

I expected this house to be listed as a foreclosure; it had no lights on, two different real estate signs in the yard and the landscaping was unkempt.

Located in Uptown on St. Charles Street, this 7,158 square foot mansion is listed at 2.1 million. With two different brokerages marketing the same house at the same time, I expected consistency between the facts.

Initially, the first obvious difference was the lead photo displaying the exterior of the house. Both are good but one is obviously more eye-catching than the other.

4941_st_charles_1 Realtor.com

The second, less obvious difference is that Broker #2 has an upgraded account with Realtor.com and is able to enhance the listing with a call to action and additional photos… of the 25 photo slots available, she is using 21. The photos look professional. Broker #1 does not have an upgraded account and therefore is only displaying 4 images and does not have a call to action.

The third difference is that one of the brokerages lists the house at 6 bedrooms and the other at 8. Two bedrooms is a big discrepancy. In visiting the individual broker sites, both agents have shared interior images and the same description:

Grand Mansion, in the same family since 1947. This magnificent home is a beautiful four-bay center-hall w/spectacular details including early 20th century crystal chandeliers & exquisite plaster work on the ceilings. The beautiful winding staircase w/breathtaking stained glass leads to the 2nd flr sitting area, 5 spacious rooms & gorgeous mantels. The 3rd flr has the possiblity of 3 bdrms & full bath. Above the 2 car gar is a 1 bd apt for guests.

By the description, the estimate would be 8 bedrooms plus the guest apartment.

To be fair to the advertising agent, often the inaccurate information or discrepancies have more to do with how their respective MLS feeds information to the secondary sites. The bottom line is that in order to be sure you are getting accurate information, you must connect with an agent who is researching directly on the MLS (multiple listing service) in your area.

If you are a seller, when you do choose an agent, decide what’s important to you when selling your home in your market. More than 90% of buyers shop real estate online before speaking to an agent. Of the two listings above, the agent for Broker #1 doesn’t have an upgraded account with Realtor.com, obviously he doesn’t deem that important in his market. The agent for Broker #2 has an upgraded account but the link to her web site is broken and when you do find the listing on the brokerage site, the virtual tour does not work.

Consider this: these agents are marketing listings in the millions of dollars, how does that translate when you’re selling homes with prices and potential commissions that are significantly lower?

If these details are important to you as the seller, then find an agent who thinks they are as well, at YOUR price point.

Agents: if you’re too busy to manage your listings online, hire a company like mine to do it for you!

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