After looking on-line for a house for months, I’ve become quite frustrated with most listings. This is an open letter to anyone listing a house concerning what you can do to get my attention, whether you are a real estate agent or just an owner selling your house yourself.
Dear Person Trying to Get Me to Buy Your House:
Here is the #1 thing I want from you: Clear information. You have a house. I want a house. But obviously, I don’t want just any house. I have a particular type of house in mind. I want three or more bedrooms, 2 or more bathrooms, a basement, a big yard, and possibly a fireplace and deck.
Now, I can be flexible when it comes to certain things. I might prefer a cathedral ceiling, but I can live without it. However, there are some things that I must know, as they are non-negotiable. When you don’t provide this information, I get frustrated. It means I have to spend more time trying to figure out the information myself. And house-hunting is time-consuming enough. On a bad day, I will probably just move to the next listing.
Here’s an important thing I want your house to have: a basement. If you don’t have a basement, I don’t want your house. It’s as simple as that. Please say whether you have a slab, crawl space or basement in your listing. And if you actually have a basement, why in the world are you not saying so? This is a huge selling point. If it’s a full basement, it will majorly increase the living space.
Okay, maybe you don’t have a basement, and you think that by leaving out that fact, you will get more people interested in your home. Perhaps, but they are going to see your house before they buy it. If they don’t see a basement, they will know you don’t have one. This also goes for any other important things you are trying to omit, including pictures of the inside of the house.
Which brings me to my next point: Put up as many pictures as you are able to. Some sites only allow a few pictures. I think this is ridiculous and that people should be able to put up 40 pictures if they want. I want to get a thorough view of your house. If it’s ugly, it’s ugly. Not showing me your hideous décor will not prevent me from seeing it in person. At that point, I will be angry, because I drove a heck of a long way to see your house and I could have decided in two seconds on-line that your house was too outdated to consider.
Yes, walls can be repainted and floors can be replaced, but when the entire house looks like the set of That 70s Show, why are you still listing it at a price that should mean it’s contemporary and ready to move in? Are you that unaware of the amount of time and money it’s going to take to completely renovate the entire house? The matching blue toilet and tub might have been cool in their day, but not anymore. I don’t want to have to rip them out of every bathroom. There might actually be people who are interested in an authentic vintage house, but it’s not for me.
Next, be as accurate as possible. So you accidentally typed that you had 13 acres when you really have 0.13 acres? Yes, we all make mistakes. But you really need to check and double check your information. When I use search filters, your house might get left out simply because you didn’t get it right. Because of all of the mistakes I’ve seen like this, I feel I can’t trust the search filters and have to wade through tons of houses that don’t match my criteria, which is a huge waste of time.
Finally, STOP YELLING AT ME! It does not help to sell your house by typing in all capital letters. This is considered yelling on-line. I know you’re excited about your house, but I kindly ask that you simply type the most information about your house as you can in clear, proper English and let me decide for myself whether it is a “MUST SEE! ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS RARE FIND THAT WILL NOT LAST!!” The more you yell, the worse I think the house must be. As Stephanie from Full House would say, “Cut. It. Out!” (On a side note, I was told by my real estate agent that his office had a required format of all capital letters. I don’t know why this would be a requirement. They should know that it’s annoying to read).
And the real estate websites out there are not very user-friendly. Each one has a good function or two, but I can’t seem to find one that combines everything I want in a website. Why can’t I log into my account right away? Why do I have to click on something else to get a log-in page? Why can’t I save notes on my saved listings? Why can’t I just search by an entire county instead of by town or zip code? Do you think I want to search each individual city when I am looking over several counties? Why do you still have houses up when they are no longer on the market? Is that just so I can like them before I realize they aren’t available anymore? You need to conduct surveys regarding what buyers want in a website and then you need a complete makeover, because it is not convenient at all. Don’t even get me started on the horrible postings on Craigslist that don’t even list an address or other pertinent information, like a price or town.
I think I’ll go live in my car.
*Disclaimer: I’m not usually so negative, but after searching for a house for five months, I am beyond frustrated with the process. I just wish everything was clear, searchable and accurate. It would save so much hassle. Is anyone else dealing with this? Feel free to vent in the comments below.