More on the marketing class system.

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This is unfortunately just a new twist on an old theme.

My word processing software comes with a spell-checker. I will go out on a limb and say that most word processing programs include this feature. I also believe that dictionaries are still in print.

EXCELLANT BANK OWNED OPPORTUNITY!! lOOK NO FURTHER THIS SPACIOUS 4 BEDROOM 2.5 BATH IN SCRIPPS RRANCH IS A FAMILY PLEASER… KITCHEN AND DINNING HAVE RECESSED LIGHTING…

I know, I know. I am fighting a battle I will never win. Why is it that agents find writing 200 characters of text to be so challenging? More importantly, why is it that their clients are okay with the results? Sure, this is an MLS excerpt for a bank-owned listing, but the bank is still a client. Okay, fine. The bank is a busy-busy, frowny faced entity right now. They are trying to move their very large inventory, and it is not practical to suggest that they are in a position to monitor the comings and goings of the agents who they have hired to represent them.

I can’t resist a footnote. This same listing shows “N/A” for almost every input field including “pool” and “spa,” even though the description tells us there is a pool and spa. And thank goodness they are “in the back.” I just hate it when my neighbors build pools in their front yards, but that is beside the point. Remember, a lot of people search by these fields, so when you say there is no laundry room yet there is, you may have just lost a buyer.

My photo editing software is not fancy. I didn’t pop for the expensive version. But it does include an intuitive little rotate icon, one which allows me to… rotate stuff.

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I know, I know. We see this kind of stuff all of the time. Athol Kay in Connecticut has built an entire cottage industry around exposing laughably bad MLS photos. Why is it that any agent would think this is passable? More importantly, why would their clients accept this as a reasonable marketing effort on their behalf? Sure, this is a short-sale, but the seller is still a client. Okay, fine. They are disinvested in the process at this point. The bank is going to ultimately accept whatever they accept and forgive the balance of the debt, and the seller is not going to see a proceeds check. So, who cares?

I care. I have spoken in the past about the class system that seems to exist in marketing homes for sale. I see too many agents treat a lower priced home differently than a million dollar baby. One gets a single-page, third-generation photocopy of the MLS printout and the other a four-page glossy brochure. One gets a sign slapped in the front yard and the other gets forty professional photos and staging worthy of the Lincoln Bedroom. This is a practice Steve and I shun, of course. Just because I may make less on a lower priced home does not mean that the sale is any less important to the seller than is the sale of the higher priced home to that client. And, if our marketing plan is indeed thoughtfully designed to provide the best and broadest exposure and appeal, what is good for the one is good for the other. To suggest anything else is illogical (and quite possibly cheap and lazy).

Now I am seeing a different king of class system evolving: Traditional versus distress sales. Maybe the theory is that the bank won’t notice, that the short-selling owner won’t care, or (sadly) that in light of the lower commission an agent might be realizing on this particular sale, they just “can’t afford” to provide the same level of service. That’s just crap.

We are closing escrow today on a short-sale. The lender (in this case “lenders”) approving the sale will invariably ask the agents to take a “short” position as well, on commissions, and this was no exception. Regardless, our marketing effort and expense for this home was no less than for any other home we have represented, and our reasoning is this – The sale price still matters. It matters to the lenders, it matters to the surrounding neighborhood which will now have this new “comp” with which to contend, and it matters to us. Not only is my credibility as an agent at stake, as every ad I print or place is a reflection of our standards and our service, but I like to sleep nights knowing that I did the best I could do for every client. This even includes the clients who may be paying a little less attention or caring a little less about the outcome.

I guess that’s just me.

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