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What do comics & real estate have in common?

Here is an example I use frequently when I meet with a new client.

Garfield & Real Esate

Lets be clear here, though I have felt like this many times after a meeting with a stubborn realtor, I am not making any allusions to realtors needing straight jackets…

Prince Valiant & Real Estate ListingsPlease excuse this comic, I have no idea what it says so I apologize if it is offensive in any way or if it makes anyone look or feel stupid…

Take a two second glance at these two comics and tell me how they apply to real estate listings. Any guesses at the point I am trying to get to?

Maybe this will help: What is the Garfield comic about? What is the Prince Valiant comic about? If you answered: Jon was overcome with joy at Garfields absence & How the heck should I know, respectively, then you get the point.

Large amounts of text are a complete turn off!

Eyes glaze over and people move on when you have a postage stamp sized photo and five (5) plus lines of text at 5pt Helvetica Condensed font at 80% leading. Very few people have time, energy or desire to weed through that much text.

In this day and age buyers are much more savvy to buying a home, even first time home buyers.

There was a time when a first time home buyer didn’t know what they could afford. They wanted the biggest house for the cheapest price possible. They didn’t even know what they could afford. But now with the economy the way it is and people being much more educated on the real estate market, most first time home buyers have done a little ground work and know what they can get approved for and afford.

What does this have to do with listing text?

Good question. You need to help agents understand that their listings are a marketing tool that they SHOULD be using it as a pre-qualification tool. I cant tell you how many times I have heard that the agent just needs to get that extra “hook” in there, or that the sellers are adamant about getting a specific list of amenities in the ad… ugh!!! They need to change their perspective! Realtor’s are supposed to be the professionals, and if the sellers won’t let them do their job… well.

Here is how pre-qualification through listing text works?

Buyers know what they need, they know their budget, size requirements and they know their wants… Needs come first. Here is an example of bad listing text:

Stunning Views! You’ll love the impressive entryway w/ a double staircase. The mainlevel boasts gorgeous dining rm that seats 12, music/sitting rm, a master suite w/ fireplace & bath w/ double vanity, 2 person shower & private door to backyard. You’ll also find a 2nd master bdrm, family rm, kitchen & elevator. The dream kitchen features a lg island &stainless appliances.The family rm is beautiful w/ inlaid wood floors & fireplace. The backyard beckons w/ saltwater pool & inground hot tub.

This is only half the text, and it isn’t the worst example out there. The buyer learns almost nothing from the first half of the text except how many adjectives the realtor can use to describe the things this house has in common with every other house on the market, kitchn, dining room, family room… granted we do learn a little about the house, but nothing important. No one will buy this house simply because it has “Stunning Views!” & and “impressive…double staircase”. People want to know if this house fits the bill first. Here is what this listing should look like:

Example house



123 Barnum Road, Anytown, USA

5 BR • 2.5 BA

5325 SF • .53 Acres

Then if you have any room list the things that make this house unique and AREN’T already shown in the pictures. If you have lots of room to advertise USE PICTURES! If there is a pool, show a picture, if it has a fantastic chef’s gourmet kitchen, SHOW IT!!!Good example of copy text

At this price there is only going to be a few people interested in this house. Those people will only be looking for homes that are a million plus homes, so make it clear. The rest? Help them move on to a listing in their price range.

Buyers will appreciate the honest salesman, the one who isnt trying to trick them into calling. Buyers want someone they can trust, they want the person who has their best good at heart, the one they know will tell them upfront what is going on.

(See an actual example of listings done correctly)

Leave them wanting more…

Here is the secret to the hook: ready? Give them everything they need to know if the house in the picture will work for them. Then send them to your Web site where they can see tons of pictures, video, as much flowery text as you want. This is the place for information over load. Don’t be shy about advertising the address too, let people drive by the house and don’t put “By appointment only” on your yard signs. Most people wont just go knock on the door with out calling, and if they do, tell your sellers to get over it! Those are the people who are really interested.

When we were selling our house, if I saw some one pull in I walked right out and talked to them, told them anything they wanted to know and if they seemed interested I asked them to come on in and excuse the mess. We had several offers on the house and three (3) of them came from people I showed the house to on a whim.


  • Be straight and to the point.
  • Give the buyer the info they need to determine whether the house is right for them, prices, address, size & acreage. They will appreciate it.
  • Lead them to your site for more information, this will give them a secondary opportunity to get to know you. *Give them something for free, information, and they will feel the need to reciprocate.
  • Don’t say it if you can show it. Pictures are worth a thousand words.
  • Teach your realtors how to be successful and they will feel a loyalty to you and your product!