Hawaii Randy's Real Estate Opinions: Is Your Real Estate Listing Accurate or Misleading?

Is Your Real Estate Listing Accurate or Misleading?

PlumberAt times it can be frustrating to search through listings of homes for sale.  There are too many agents willing to game the system.  Any possible advantage they may gain, is outweighed by the negatives.

Here are a few issues I see on a regular basis.

  • Homes with overrated conditions (puffing). Marked "Excellent" or "Above Average", when the home is in a state of disrepair.
  • Listed as Active, when they are in escrow and not accepting showing appointments.
  • Not disclosing short sales or bank owned properties.
  • Misrepresenting the size, type of property or topography.
  • Not updating the listing to sold in a timely manner.

Why some agents do this:

  • They use this listing as a carrot to pick up potential clients who inquire about the property.
  • By overrating the condition or size, they hope to get more showings.
  • They do not disclose the short sale or REO status to prevent buyers or their agents from filtering it out from their internet searches.  Some lenders are requiring their listing agent to not disclose this in their listings.
  • Lazy or sloppy.

The net result is the listing agent looks unprofessional.

  • They make our profession look bad, hurting the overall opinion of real estate agents to the public.
  • They waste a lot of people's time.
  • They hurt their reputation with other agents in the area.
  • They hurt future clients by negatively impacting how agents will show their listings and will want to do business with them in the future.
  • They give the seller, themselves and their broker potential added liability.

 I showed a property last week that was listed over $1.5 Million to a foreign buyer.  They saw it on the internet and wanted me to show it to them on short notice.  It was listed in "Excellent Condition".  The home needed approximately $400,000 to $500,000 in repairs and renovations.  This is an extreme case, because the numbers were so large.  The same principles apply to a home a fraction of that price.

If you have a fixer upper, call it that!  There are buyers looking for them.  Buyers looking for move-in condition will never buy it.  You are just wasting their time.  If it is a short sale or bank owned property, do you really believe you can trick someone onto buying it?  Get real!

Looking at the big picture you are tainting the data.  When real estate agents, appraisers and others are trying to establish value for homes in the area, they are looking at you bad data.  By not identifying a short sale, foreclosure, less than perfect condition or over sizing the home, you are negatively impacting the comparable market value of homes in the area.

My best advice is to be honest.  There is a buyer for every property.  Price it correctly and list it accurately.  That way the right buyer can find it.  Respect other people's time.  Be an asset to your profession and not a liability.

You can't trick someone into buying a home.  Lawyers and prosecutors have a name for that.  It's called fraud.



Randy L. Prothero, REALTOR®

Broker-in-Charge, ABR, AHWD, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, MRP, SFR

eXp Realty

Team Leader - "The Prothero Group"

Randy Prothero is well established as an expert in working with military / VA clients and first time home buyers.  His home seller's (listing) campaign is one of the most aggressive marketing programs in the area.  His luxury home listings sell faster and for more money.

Based out of Mililani, Hawaii. Randy services the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) Performs mediations and ombudsman services for the Board of Realtors.  To improve overall professionalism in his area Randy also offers classes for real estate agents. 

www.HawaiiRandy.comOahu (Honolulu County) Property Search  Hawaii Military Relocations

Comment balloon 80 commentsRandy Prothero • August 31 2010 07:51AM



Good list for the most part. 

Our MLS requires the disclosure of REO listings. Short Sales cannot be disclosed in the public remarks. If disclosed (optional), the notice goes in the private remarks. While I don't agree with the policy, it is what it is.

I've also seen some older homes that are in excellent condition yet have not been updated in years. While priced accordingly, I've seen buyers feedback that states the home needs $50k in updates. Sometimes this is a subjective issue.


Posted by Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR, ACRE, Plano TX Ambassador (RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs) over 8 years ago

Hi Randy,  I usually try to preview properties before showings, especially with new clients.  It can saves a lot of time and I can talk with the Listing Agent beforehand if I have concerns.

Posted by Tricia Pearson, Real Estate Broker, San Antonio/Hill Country Homes for Sale (Tricia Pearson - Pearson Real Estate - Texas Hill Country) over 8 years ago

You do have to be careful how you describe a home.  'Puffing it' isn't the right thing to do, but as Tom mentioned repairs/updates can be subjective. Someones fixer-upper is someone else's castle!

Posted by Holly Weatherwax, A Great Real Estate Experience ( Associate Broker, Momentum Realty) over 8 years ago


The listing agents are doing their sellers a disservice by not bringing the right kind of buyers for the property. It is what it is so tell it like it is!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 8 years ago

Randy, I agree. There is a fine line between puffery, misrepresentation and fraud.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 8 years ago

Some agents are a wimps and afraid to correctly rate the property because they fear their seller's reaction !!!!

Posted by Michael J. Perry, Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist (KW Elite ) over 8 years ago

I agree that it is a fine line, and that one person's perception can and most often is different than another person's perception.  But blatant misrepresentation is ridiculous - when someone arrives at the property it is usually quite evident and becomes QUITE the embarrassment.

Posted by Blake Clifford (McColly Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I wrote about this last week.  I guess we are all tired of running after listings that are either puffed, sold or just not what they say they are. 

We all have to get better at following up on the listing....meaning proofread, update and for reflect the market not the seller. 

Posted by Diane Osowiecki, Greater Nashville Real Estate (Diane O and Friends - Benchmark Realty) over 8 years ago

Great points. Yesterday I was to show a property to a couple, first time buyers. On Sunday I starting lining up showing instruction via Showing Assist. All but one were confirmed within minutes. That last one, which was to be the first we would see, didn't respond. I called the LA at 9:10 and 11:55 ...voicemail, then I sent him an e-mail. I called his office...we don't have showing instructions. Fast forward to 5:30 pm, I get a response to the e-mail "It was rented", uh, the home was listed for sale, not rent! Then the best...an automated request for feedback on the property. The feedback went something like this: How can I give you feedback on something I couldn't show?

Posted by Phil Cogan (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I recently showed a home that said "renovated this and renovated that" in the listing.  The home was built in 1980 and had original bathrooms and original light fixtures.  It was such a disappointment when the buyers are expecting renovated.  They might have been ok if it had said "needs updating"

Posted by Wendy Hayden, Chesterfield, Richmond & Powahatan (Photographer, Home Stager, ePRO) over 8 years ago

Embellishing is unfair. I don't do it.

Posted by Dave Halpern, Louisville Short Sale Expert (Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827) over 8 years ago

"Marked "Excellent" or "Above Average", when the home is in a state of disrepair."

You actually have a place on the MLS to give it a grade? Interesting.

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 8 years ago

Randy -

Thanks for the very appropriate concerns.  I especially agree with the comment about misrepresenting the size. 

I would just like for some agents to get their basic math right!  I've seen where some agents include the garage into the finished square footage of homes!  Sometimes, I've seen large homes listed with very little square footage.  It makes for huge mistakes when you are trying to do a CMA or show appropriate properties.

Posted by Nancy Mitchell (Century 21 Heritage) over 8 years ago

Think about all the potential buyers that they are turning away on that listing and other listings by not being honest.

Posted by Home Loan Search.Online (Home Loan Search Online) over 8 years ago

Hi Randy,  I discovered a listing with 2 different square footage dimensions.  When asked the owner siad her agent had added the extra s.f. and that " ...all agents do it to help the house sell." 

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 8 years ago

Our MLS mandates all REO's and Short Sale listings are disclosed. As for the rest I have to say all this puffing bugs the heck out of me and my buyers are quick to comment on what a poor job the listing agent is doing when it is clearly not as described. They do get annoyed at wasting time.

Posted by Corinne Guest, Barrington Lifestyles (Barrington Realty Company) over 8 years ago

So true!  We kind of get to know the agents that don't know the difference between a "fixer-upper" and "move-in condition", don't we?  It's deceptive and a waste of time when listing agents don't tell it like it is.  OR, include photos so that we can see for ourselves. 

Posted by Kathy Kenney, Realtor - Princeton & Central NJ Homes for Sale (Keller Williams, Princeton, NJ) over 8 years ago

There are many agents that are sloppy and lazy. Just yesterday I was showing a home and the comments said get into this great home for the NEW YEAR. The home has been on the market for 8 months and was written prior to last January!!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 8 years ago

"They do not disclose the short sale or REO status to prevent buyers or their agents from filtering it out from their internet searches.  Some lenders are requiring their listing agent to not disclose this in their listings"

Hmmm I think (my opinion) that to NOT disclose a short sale is to not disclose a material fact... really do not care what the banks want...


Posted by J Perrin Cornell, Broker, ABR, VAMRES (Century 21 Exclusively, Wenatchee, WA) over 8 years ago

Randy - you've touched on a significant issue we see in the MLS as compared to the reality. It certainly is doing a disserivce to the client, although perhaps they are willing to engage in the same behaviors to try and get the home sold. It's a waste of time so often, and if you don't have time to preview it wastes the buyer's time.

The lack of status updating, especially with REOs and short sales is especially annoying.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) over 8 years ago

Love the post Randy! You are absolutely correct in saying agents should accurately describe the condition and selling circumstances (short sale, foreclosure, etc) in the MLS. It is very misleading to see a home in MLS that appears to fit a clients needs only to go and find the home in a completely different state.

Posted by Troy George, Real Estate Broker - Colleyville/Southlake - (817- (Colleyville, Texas Real Estate Expert - Synergy Realty) over 8 years ago

It is super annoying to have them talk about the renovated house (renovated in the 80s).  No pictures is often a clue.

Posted by Yvette Chisholm, Associate Broker - Rockville, MD 301-758-9500 (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 8 years ago

I appreciate this post... I recently worked on a CMA and decided to actually preview the top properties that matched the potential listing.

It was eye opening and helpful to price the home accurately. It takes longer to do this, but it is worth the effort to get the home priced right.

Posted by Roseanne Campagna, Kent/DesMoines/Blk Diamond/Renton/Maple Valley, WA (John L. Scott RE Maple Valley, WA ) over 8 years ago

Great post Randy! People need to say what you mean and mean what you say.  Stop puffing and just tell it like it is. 

Posted by Graziella Bruner, Associate Broker - Serving Wayne & Oakland County (NCS Premier Real Estate) over 8 years ago


You are right on the money! It wastes people's time and frustrates everyone involved. These type of tactics causes consumers to not trust (unfairly) most real estate agents.  We have the same thing on the mortgage industry. The sins of a few cast a blanket of mistrust over all of us.

Posted by John Fortener, Powered by Success Mortgage Partners NMLS#130562 (John Fortener-Cert. Mortgage Advisor- GA Residential Mtg. Licensee) over 8 years ago

Puffing should be taken out of the real estate glossory!!  Lying is lying, plain and simple.  I am furious when I get to a property and it has been misrepresented; not as much for me but for the time it wasted not only me but my clients.  I live in a beach area, and water front is something that is used all the time, and cannot be trusted. It's really sad.  Who the heck came up with this term, "PUFFING' anyway.  I understand there are so many items that are subjective.  What's clean to you doesn't always mean the same thing; therefore, we should aim to stay away from any language that is subjective.  Let's face it there isn't much room in the MLS description box anyway!  Oh hog wash on the banks, do we work for the banks.  Always disclose the truth.. if it's a short sale, there is a box on MLS that says potential short sale, and foreclosures as well can be listed separately.  Sometimes this is a plus, as some buyers are looking for "deals"!  It's impossible to misrepresent the size here in the MLS/MRIS in the Mid-Atlantic Retion, the MLS  program pulls up the sf off the tax records!! 

You go...Randy..great job. :) Gail

Posted by Gail C. Harris, Reach the BEACH with Gail C. Harris (cell: 703.868 (Resource Network, LLC SFR, AHWD, ACRE, SMAR Board Director) over 8 years ago

Pictures tell a 1000 words. And if the pics are missing it may be a sign that the house has a problem.

Posted by Christa Ross, Helping you buy and sell Pittsburgh's Best Homes (RE/MAX Select Realty - REALTOR and Green Homes Specialist) over 8 years ago


In our area, we have a catagory in the MLS called AWC, which is shorthand for Active With Contingencies. Many agents use this when a home has an accepted offer so that they continue to get the Realtor.com (and most other online aggregator type sites) exposure. Much better (and used in other boards) is PWC, Pending With Contingencies. I can 100% assure you that the first conversation with online buyers should NOT be telling them that the home they saw online (on our IDX or similar) site, IS NOT AVAILABLE!! Buyers see all of us as nothing more than carny barkers for such behaviour.

Posted by Patrick Harfst (United Brokers Group - Gilbert AZ) over 8 years ago

Fortunately, today with so many pictures, the condition is difficult to hide. And, the agents who do, have that fact associated with their reputations.

Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) over 8 years ago

It shows the trait of the agent doing anything other than inserting factual data into our MLS. I was reading some of the new mls rules that will be in effect...and I believe some of them are to insert the data about short sales.

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 8 years ago

I recently spent 2 weeks trying to chase down an agent for a showing on one of his (Active!) listings, only to find out that it had been foreclosed on the previous week. And it's still showing active today. Makes me crazy.

Posted by Julia Odom, Chattanooga Homes for Sale (Select Realty Professionals) over 8 years ago

Randy, I am working with 2 buyers right now who are both looking for an over-sized garage or basement to do woodworking in.  Agents aren't putting this info in the listing and are not taking pictures of the garages or basements.  I happened on to a couple of very sweet properties that had the agent promoted that space better, may have already been sold.  You just never know what a buyer may be looking for.  Don't discount unique garage or basement spaces, they may just make the sale.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 8 years ago

Randy: One of the big problems I have is the "short sale" listings. There is no specific designation for short sales in our MLS; rather the agent remarks are where they are supposed to be mentioned. And most of the time agents do mention it there. But, unlike REO/Foreclosure properties, you can't do a global search for short sales. Since it's about 50 percent of our market, I hope that changes.

Posted by Aaron Vaughn | Builder | Investor, If the deal makes sense, the cash will follow. (Conifer Homes) over 8 years ago

Puffing listings is an ethica violation and should be reported.  In the meantime, the easiest way to ensure no suprises is to preview whatever properties you are recommending your clients see.  If I've already seen a property and can point out a few things not in the listing, my clients appreciate me more.

Posted by Bryan Robertson, Broker, Author, Speaker (Intero Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Thanks, Randy. You're absolutely right - I can't believe how many agents put misleading information into the MLS of all places - and then I get to the house with my clients and it's not at all what we pictured.  C'mon agents, we're better than this!

Posted by c c over 8 years ago

Aloha Randy!

You know, despite explaining things to them, many buyers still think it is US who is sending them inaccurate info about a property, not understanding that that the MLS reports our system sends them are on the most part, inputted by OTHER agents.

'Makes us look bad :(

Excellent post.

Posted by Debbie Sagorin, Marketing Irvine to the Highest Level (Coldwell Banker Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Randy, my favorite is when they say "move in ready" when it requires new carpeting, paint, fumugation, etc. Fortunately, our MLS is very picky about accuracy in listings and we also have buyer's agents who are not afraid to tell the listing agent that they property does not quite match up to the description. Feedback is great!

Posted by Roberta Davidson, GRI, CNE, REALTOR®, PLLC (Keller Williams Realty Professional Partners) over 8 years ago

Another issue, noted in our local paper today, is if there are changes and/or improvements which have not been properly noted even on the assessor's listings.  Then the comparables, aren't.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 8 years ago

I couldn't agree more!  It is a waste of everyone's time when a listing is not correct.  Just give the facts...the good, the bad, the ugly and let the client decide if it is what they are looking for.  And by all means, update the status.  I shouldn't have to call to find out if the seller has selected an offer.

Posted by Candy Miles-Crocker, Realtor - Real-Life Real Estate Training (Online Real Estate Agent Training) over 8 years ago

Randy...that tick usually backfires. When a buyer goes into a home with a preconceived idea of what the place is nad it turns out less, not much will change their minds.

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) over 8 years ago

I always wanted a second job at MLSLI going through listings and reporting them. So many are inaccurate, false or just misleading. Not to mention all the listings that violate Fair Housing.

Posted by Donna Galinsky, Make Lake Norman Your Home! (Allen Tate Company) over 8 years ago

The case I mentioned was really bad.  I was asked the day before to show the home.  It took me almost 24 hours to get the agent to respond, leaving me no opportunity to preview it.  At over $1.5 million you would expect a certain level of expertise (professionalism) from the agent.  It is not amateur night in the price range.

The ceilings were falling down, there was holes in the walls, broken windows and severedamage to the exterior from the ocean air.  Not subjective, flat out misrepresenting.  I do not believe it will be easy to even get financing on this property.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 8 years ago

Our MLS has check boxes for short sales, etc.  Many agents are not checking the box. 

I currently have a listing in a condo complex.  There are 5 large complexes in the valley, all built by the same developer.  All 2 bedroom / 2 bath units have exactly the same square footage.  About 1/3 of the listings for the last 8 years have shown larger square footage.  It angers my clients, because it makes their units look smaller when they are exactly the same.  A buyer may have legal recourse against the listing agent and the seller later, if they bought the property and find out they were lied to.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 8 years ago

So true!

Patrick - love your comment about carny barkers. See my post about agents who will not return calls: http://activerain.com/blogsview/1828777/why-won-t-some-agents-return-phone-calls-  Same sort of issue - they make us look bad to the buyers who think we are hiding something when we can't get showing instructions for a house they see on the internet.

Posted by Virginia OnullConnor, Realtor - Temecula, Anza, SoCal (Realtor®, Photographer, Artist) over 8 years ago

Happens all the time in our market area. Some agents just dont get it. There are alot of great listings out there, but some agents embellish their listings like they are the best homes for sale on the market.

My biggest pet peave is "great investment". Ok prove it. Show me why? Show me data. Show me financials. Tell me what justifies it as a great investment? You would not believe the confused looks I get from other agents when I ask them that. Then they just stutter and refuse to answer my question commenting about everything but thier claim.

Posted by Mike Wong, Realtor: Commercial, Residential, Leasing, Invest (Keller Williams Realty Southwest) over 8 years ago

Our market area is by and large mature- new builds are exceptionally rare, and spot built at that. SO- everything is 20, 40 or 100 years old. The accuracy of the descriptions varies widely, and you really have to check the photos or preview to make sure you aren't wasting the buyer's time. It is maddening to walk into a "renovated" bath and see one new vanity and the original 60-year old tile in desperate need of grout. 

Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) over 8 years ago

One of my favorite listings I wrote said "Rehab it from top to bottom or tear it down!"


Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) over 8 years ago

I have a current situation where, sadly, a Seller passed away the day before the repairs and fix up were to begin. I have a couple of weeks while the legal paperwork is beign completed where there is no mention of fix up because the fix up is to be remedied if current plan stays in place.

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) over 8 years ago

I  was working with a buyer recently who needed a certain size master bedroom for their nice furniture, and a lot of master bedrooms aren't that big around here. Several times we walked into a room that was listed on the MLS as being 13' x 13', plenty big, but those measurements didn't account for a protruding wall (due to a closet or utilities) that would take up 2' x 4', making the USABLE size of the room much smaller. Frustrating, and a complete waste of time for my clients.

Posted by Shannon Lewis, Realtor, Broker - Champaign-Urbana, IL (Beringer Realty) over 8 years ago

Shannon Lewis wrote:

"Several times we walked into a room that was listed on the MLS as being 13' x 13', plenty big, but those measurements didn't account for a protruding wall (due to a closet or utilities) that would take up 2' x 4', making the USABLE size of the room much smaller."

I think that is frustrating but probably not misrepresentation by an agent.  Floor plans would help... but they are cost prohibitive... in many cases.

I had a buyer who needed the basement in a particular configuration.  I looked at the county record footprint but we still had to run down to the basement FIRST.  Even with correct measurements we could not tell where the furnace was.  I tried calling agents. Turned out it was easier to look. 

First market I worked in had room measurements in MLS. Current  market does not, want room measurements, show the house.  You kiss a lot of frogs looking for master bedrooms where a buyers furniture will fit... or living rooms where a large sectional or wall unit will fit in some price ranges.

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 8 years ago

Preaching to the choir here! Drives me nuts! and my favorite is the giant waste of time for my ocean view clients who end up standing on the roof to see the ocean.

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) over 8 years ago

Amen.  Early in my career I had a really awful listing, but felt I would be hurting my client by saying so.  Had to learn the hard way. 

Posted by Marsha Cash (RE/MAX Advantage) over 8 years ago

Randy, thanks for the post.  I completely agree! In addition to entering the accurate information on the property, I would love to see only recent, untouched up, photos of the property.    

Posted by Lorelle Kitzmiller over 8 years ago

I recently had a similar concern about a listing.  A sign rider indicated the home had a 'lake view" when clearly it did not.  Could not for any reason figure out why an agent would so blatantly mislead.  The rider only lasted a week and has been taken down, but why put it up?  Just relects poorly on the agent.  Spoke to several neighbors and they all just laughed at it, but all said the same thing.  Makes that agent look bad.  As far as the REO, that is a fineable offense in our MLS if not indicated.

Posted by Anonymous over 8 years ago

I couldn't agree with you more!  Why waste my time and my clients time when you know the house needs a total rehab?  Please be truthful in your listings and you will attract the right investor and same me and my client a load of time!

Posted by Cathleen DeLoach over 8 years ago

I see a lot of this.  I tell my clients if it sounds to good to be true it probaby is not true.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 8 years ago

You know what else kills me, is that with IL broker reciprocity solutions, from my website, if another real estate agent puffs the listing or fails to disclose something, it makes ME look bad.  If want to look better than the listing agent, I have to come forward with the truth about the listing and the listing agents exaggeration.

It's not that different than the seller who wants to overprice their property when all they end up doing is making the properly price property look even better...

Food for thought...

Posted by Robert Jarvis, MBA (Keller Williams, Chicago, IL) over 8 years ago

Several more great thoughts.  They idea that we should preview before showing homes is a good thought, but not always possible.  I do it often, but think it is a sad state of affairs that I have to run interference from bad agent practices.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 8 years ago

Some people will always game the system. I've been noticing how many do it with the improper use of the word Realtor too.

Posted by Joetta Fort, Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder (The DiGiorgio Group) over 8 years ago


I am an investor / agent, we list all of our own properties.

1.  Agents should put as many pics on MLS as it will allow

2.  then link to a virtual tour or online photo album with pics that show all areas of the house, the basement, the garage, the furnace, the neighorhood pool

We sell a ton of fixer uppers that go to both owner occupants who want a good fixer upper and to investors.

Those owner occupant buyers love it when we tell them right up front:  needs paint and carpet and updating, needs roof and furnace - and oh by the way, any repairs you can't do or need done before financing, we can negotiate into the price of the home . . when priced right we sell these houses in under a week.  They want a good deal, but only want to do the repairs that they can do themselvs and usually want the more expensive repairs completed first before they buy - so do their lenders.

For the investor buyers, we want them to come back again and again and if we waste their time saying a house needs less in repairs than it actually does, they will not come back and look at the next listing.

Puffing up the listing just makes the listing agent look bad in the market place and if they do it enough the other listing agents may discount their listings and just stop showing them as they never live up to the MLS listing hype.

Posted by Kim Tucker, Buying and Selling Houses and Cash Flows! (kcmoHomeBuyer.com --> We Buy Houses Cash.) over 8 years ago

I particularly love the ones that have "newer carpet" and "newer paint" and when you visit the home it's the original paint and carpet from when the home was built 10 years ago.

Posted by Carrie Sampron, ABR SFR & Kathy Sampron (303) 931-3629 Highlands R (Home Smart Realty Group) over 8 years ago

These agents often help me win buyer clients and their loyalty. We get many "hits" on our website on properties listed with other agents that have misleading photos and/or descriptions.  Once prospects realize that we are going to help them sort through both the dogs dressed up as gems, and the overlooked gems that did not get the description or photos they deserved, we've added value and gained trust.  Of course, I work in a small enough market that between our agents in different areas, we pretty much know the entire inventory which helps us waste less time.

Posted by Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate (Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island) over 8 years ago

My MLS allows us to flag violatins of rules which may result in a fine to the listing agent. I routinely flag violators. It is bad enought that the general public reargds Realtors on the same level as car dealers! I recently emailed a listing to a client for a property listed at $325K as a short sale. I called listing agent to check on status of offers. He indicated the bank had approved the short sale at $415K yet he still hasn't changed the listing. He got flagged!

Posted by Larry G. Williams, Stockton/Tracy/Lathrop/Manteca (Home Buyers Realty) over 8 years ago


I have ran into this situation A TON OF TIMES and I feel your pain and agree, if it acts like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, IT IS A DUCK! Thanks for the post, hopefully some of these agents doing this read your post and decided to change their ways!

Posted by B B over 8 years ago

Hi Randy - It drives me nuts when "short sales" aren't disclosed in top part of MLS sheet and only in private remarks.  I know they can be difficult to sell but geez this isn't helping anybody! Plus MLS rules are supposed to dictate where the info appears on the sheet...not the banks...or am I wrong?

Posted by Coleen DeGroff, Haile Plantation Real Estate - Gainesville FL (eXp Realty) over 8 years ago

Be accurate. Document your source (i.e sf taken from public records). Take good photos, and lots of them.  Put your best foot forward, but dpn't mislead.

How hard is this standard of reasonableness?

Posted by Jeanne Dufort, Madison and Lake Oconee GA (Coldwell Banker Lake Country) over 8 years ago

You have to be straightforward and above all honest. Call a fixer upper a fixer upper.

Posted by Robert Amato (Bob Amato of Empire Home Mortgage Inc) over 8 years ago

I think some real estate writers of listings are frustrated back seat fiction writers!


Posted by Ty Lacroix (Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc) over 8 years ago

Thanks for that post, I totally agree. Having bought 8 properties in 4 different cities over the years, I've experienced all of what you describe as a potential buyer.

I also love when agents include "steps to (insert popular destination/beach/school here)", when it's in fact miles away!

I can say as a buyer when an agent has done that to me once, I never trust what their listings say again. I've also refused to list my home with agents who do business this way.


Posted by Debra Gould, The Staging Diva (Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc.) over 8 years ago

While working with my clients (ALL BUYERS) I find myself frequently, it seems, explaining what the listing agent actually meant in his listing.

We have to careful because of our code of ethics, but biting my tongue gets painful after a while.

Do listing agents that write misleading statements actually expect us on the other side to bail them out?

Just askin'

Posted by Jon Quist, Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996 (REALTY EXECUTIVES TUCSON ELITE) over 8 years ago

More great points.  Putting as many pictures as possible and quality ones would help a lot.  That way buyers could get a an idea oif the home.  Many of the agents with the phony condition are the same ones without pictures or old or misleading pictures.

I also see many with pictures of the beach instead of the home.  If the home were on the beach that may not be so bad.

My favorite picture is the one of the toilet with the seat up.  I am still not sure what that tells a buyer about the home.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 8 years ago


Great advice. I have a client that is only interested in Contemporary homes. I have him on automatic notice and you wouldn't believe the amount of homes he and I are sent that are Traditional style homes. Almost none of the homes we are sent are listed properly. 

How any realtor could think a Dallas or Traditional style home is contemporary I don't know. I have had to take him off of automatic notice and go through all the homes in his search one by one before I can send him any.

Posted by Valerie Duncan Stewart, Real Estate Agent-Broker, OKC, OK ((Metro First Realty)) over 8 years ago

I think the one I love the most is when REO agents say that the home is move in ready, bring your pickiest client and everything is missing including the kitchen sink!

Posted by Monica Atherton, Your Temecula Real Estate Gal (The Associates Realty Group) over 8 years ago

Valerie - I have also had to not use the automated search for several clients to filter out the bad information.

Monica - When the market changes, some of those agents will not do so well.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 8 years ago

I can't imagine a "fixer-upper" in HI, to be honest.  Here, inclement weather is what really kills neglected homes.

Posted by Jeff R. Geoghan, REALTOR, Marketing Manager (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 8 years ago

Because we don't have bad weather, many older homes were not built well.  We also have termites that can literally bring down a home.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 8 years ago

Ah, I forgot about the termites.  Are they big & bad on the islands?

Posted by Jeff R. Geoghan, REALTOR, Marketing Manager (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 8 years ago

Termites are small and wild.  It has gotten much better the last few years with all the colony elimination systems around the island.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 8 years ago

"It's a wreck, but what the heck,"  that is my favorite line for a 'fixer-upper.' 

Congrats on featured post.

Posted by Mary Yonkers, Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor (Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Mary - There are buyers looking for those.  Why hide it?

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 8 years ago

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