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Dallas Architecture and Real Estate Insights

by Douglas Newby, Real Estate Broker

Dallas Architecture Blog discusses Modern Architecture and Mid Century Modern Homes, Dallas Neighborhoods, Dallas Real Estate and the Aesthetics of the City.

MLS Remarks Can Diminish Value of Home For Sale

Here is a portion of the MLS Remarks lead picture showing front of red brick Georgian Highland Park Home
Portion of Picture in MLS Remarks of Front of Red Brick Georgian House With a Circular Drive

How an agent writes about a home in MLS Remarks impacts how well the home sells.  I will be giving you an example of how generic MLS remarks might cost the seller a million dollars.

 

If an agent can’t write about a home, an agent can’t talk about a home.  If an agent can’t talk about a home, an agent can’t communicate the home’s full value.  If an agent cannot communicate the full value of a home, the home will not sell for its full value.

 

The MLS Remarks section is a good way to evaluate what the listing agent thinks about the home and how the agent expresses the desirability and value of the home.

 

Since the MLS Remarks are limited to 125 words, they are intended to provide a compelling headline about the home, the enticing characteristics that set the home apart, and why someone might love living in the home.  MLS Remarks are intended to provide an opportunity to engage the buyer so they will consider finding out more about the home.  Here is a hypothetical example of the type of remarks you have probably seen in MLS Remarks written by generic real estate agents.   MLS Remarks like these could cause a potential $4 million Highland Park home to sell for a million dollars less than its projected value – maybe sell for even less than a vacant lot with no house on it.

Photograph is Worth 1,000 Words

A photograph of the home leads the MLS Remarks section.  A photograph is worth 1,000 words.  A photograph however, just like the written MLS Remarks, can actually diminish the appeal of a home.

Here is part of a night shot chosen for the lead photograph.  Night shots might be dramatic for glass houses with interiors visible that glow at twilight.  Predominantly brick houses like this shot at night just dims the architectural characteristics of the home and makes it look like a bad builder home of the 1980s ready to be torn down.

 

MLS Remarks – Let The Text Begin

 

This is an example of how not to start off written MLS Remarks.  Just like a photograph, MLS Remarks shouldn’t dim the value of the home.  Here the first word used to launch the remarks is —

MLS Remarks Remarkable

I guess they want us to know their listing was eligible for remarks.

The next description in the Remarks paragraph to entice the buyer is—

Did You Wake Up This Morning Dreaming About a Georgian?

 

MLS Remarks Georgian

Now, how many of you woke up this morning and said, “If only I could have a Georgian.”  And if you were bound and determined to buy a Georgian, you can see from the lead MLS picture this home is a Georgian.  No new information has been provided.

 

In fact, the emphasis on the Georgian style by itself might be detrimental since Georgian is a style trending out of favor.

 

The generic agent further describes the Georgian by describing it as –

From the Picture, Can You Guess the Color?

 

MLS Remarks Red Brick

 

This might be a help for 10% of the male population that is color blind, but sighted people can see from the lead photograph that the home is red brick.

 

But there are still 95 words available in the Remarks paragraph to make an impression on the buyer.  It’s not too late.  This comes next ….

Driveway Heaven?

 

MLS Remarks Circular Drive

The lead MLS photograph of the front of the house already shows a circular drive so this remark adds no additional information.  Further, on a $4 million home, if a buyer desires a circular drive, one would think they could spend a few thousand dollars to pour some concrete for one.

Now the generic agent goes deeper with their next MLS remark —

Uniformity?

 

MLS Remarks Symmetrical Lines

 

Now, some people love symmetry, but again those people can look at the photograph of the front of the home and see the outside of the home is symmetrical.  The inside of the home is not symmetrical.  Maybe the powder bath has wallpaper with symmetrical lines?  No new information on the home yet.

 

As one reads further, you can see the pitch is building – pulling out all the stops now –

 

Bleeding Edge?

 

MLS Remarks State of the Art Conveniences

 

What does this mean?  The toilet has the fastest flush or maybe the slowest eco  flush.  Even the term “state of the art” undermines credibility because “state of the art” is of the moment and does not survive five or six years.

 

These MLS Remarks gain momentum with —

 

More Mundanity?

 

MLS Remarks Balcony Above Entry

We can easily see from the lead MLS photograph that there is a balcony above the entry.

 

Still, nothing new.

 

But there is still time for the generic agent to make an articulate comeback and illuminate the home.  Here a “Hail Mary” description is attempted —

 

 

Flamboyance Meets Highland Park?

 

MLS Remarks Resort Style Swimming Pool

 

In Highland Park, the most dignified and sophisticated neighborhood of Dallas, does a resort style pool suggesting built up rock formations, climbing walls, and water slides convey refinement?

The generic agent might double down here on the resort style theme.  Forget about refined cocktail parties and elegant entertaining in the rear garden of a 1930s historic home.  Instead think about —

 

At Least it’s Not Public?

 

MLS Remarks Private Putting Green

 

Thank goodness MLS remarks like these clarify that Highland Park does not allow public putting greens in Highland Park backyards.  And while you might think an Astroturf putting green is gross, how hard is it to lay down some AstroTurf if a putting green is desired?

Next, the generic agent should be commended for mentioning —

 

Of That Time—1930s Roots?

 

MLS Remarks 1930s Roots & Refined Elegance of that Time

1930s roots give a timeframe of the house.   However, there is nothing in these MLS remarks that express why or how the home exudes the best qualities of that era.  Further, there is nothing that refers to the refined elegance of that time.  A buyer is left to wonder if this is just a generic 1930s Depression Era home.

Now after the MLS remarks flirt with describing the innate elegance of the home, the remarks backslide.  If you can believe it, the generic agent might call this 4,000 square foot home –

 

Size Matters?

 

MLS Remarks A Mansion

 

Come on, when is a three-bedroom 4,000 square foot home in Dallas a mansion?  In fact, a buyer that would be attracted to a 1930s three-bedroom home probably would be repulsed by the idea of living in a mansion. This period home is the anti-mansion.

 

It gets worse.  Next, the generic agent might build to the climax of the marketing message with –

Cadaver?

 

MLS Remarks The House Impresses for its Great Bones

Uh-oh, does great bones mean a skeleton in the closet or the house is a wreck and needs to be totally renovated?  The generic agent does clarify that the home has been thoroughly updated.  But also isn’t this a bit of a downgrade from the earlier described ‘state of the art conveniences?

And now for the grand finale of remarks –

Lay, Layaway, Layout?

 

Brilliant Layout

Does this mean that the home is symmetrical?

 

How Not To Get To Highland Park Home

 

And maybe most perplexing of all, concluding the MLS remarks is the subsequent directions given to get to the house.  Highland Park has many of the prettiest streets in Dallas:  Lakeside Drive, Armstrong Parkway, Beverly Drive, all streets that could lead a buyer to a Highland Park home.  Yet, the directions provided in Remarks recommends some of the busiest and most unpleasant streets of the Metroplex:  I-35, Exit 429D, the Tollway, Lemmon.

 

Alternative MLS Remarks for This Highland Park Home

 

There are dozens of ways to describe an attractive home within the approximate 125-word limit of MLS.  Would a buyer think about the home differently if this home had been described another way?

Here is one descriptive approach for Remarks –

MLS Remarks Descriptive Approach

This description might have allowed a buyer to understand how this home was perfectly matched with their aesthetic needs and desires.  Why they might love living in the home, why it would have sustained appeal, and why it was such a good value.  The buyer might have realized there was not another house in Highland Park that would have provided what they desired for $4 million and gladly paid that price.

 

How an Agent Writes About a Home Matters

 

When choosing an agent, a seller should be aware of how an agent writes about the homes they offer for sale.  Selling a home is more than location, location, location, it is communication, communication, communication.  If your home is described in a generic way you will get a generic price.  Will the agent describe a photograph and list amenities and recite statistics?  Or will the agent accentuate the attributes of your home that will bring joy to homeowners and have lasting value?