7 Deadly Sins of Listings Management

5 minute read

Well it seems the the 2007 BRW Rich list are now all going to hell (wherever that is) . Maybe ABC Learning’s Eddie Groves saw this coming and decided to dwindle his shares the good old fashioned way.

But what are the 7 deadly sins when publishing your vendors listings? Please note, I can update this at my discretion at any time in the future.

1. No photos or logo drop in
If you seriously think you are providing a service to your vendors if you do not provide at least 6 photos with your listing then you are seriously deluded. Even worse, if you publish a listing with a coming soon image you may find that by the time you get the real photos ready your vendors listing may be on page 20 of search results and on some sites like REA not viewable at all. So don’;t be to eager to list and do not publish a listing until it is ready!

2. Tacky headlines
“Will sell fast hurry”, ‘be quick”, “owner must sell” If you are a serial abuser of these types of terms then no amount of confessions will get you out of the path of the super heated gates of insignificance. It look is even worse when the listing is more than 30 days old. Show some taste for your vendors and take some time to think or even try one of these free software packages on the net.

3. Short useless descriptions
“Great buy, nice quiet location, call today” Put some effort in, please! You make the rest of your industry look bad. Try to set a formula for all listings and make it into a ‘law’ within your agency. Start with an overview, then talk about accommodation, then other rooms, parking, and maybe some local area information. Getting consistency with our listings structure is not a hard thing to do after the initial set up.

4. Extra Information
If you set a formula as mentioned above for all of your listings then make it a law that there must be a minimum amount of property information before it can be published. Information such as land size, building size, extra features should be a standard. If you don’t, you will only frustrate potential buyers, renters and vendors!

5. Publish Street Addresses
The number one reason agents give me for not publishing street addresses is that other agents will then try to pinch them. Please, how confident are you in the services you provide? The vendor chose you for a reason, so show some confidence in the skills of your team to finish the job off!

This is the Internet age, potential buyers and renters demand information at their fingertips, they don’t want to ring you or email you asking for basic information and even if they do, it will be wasting their time and therefore not a great start to the relationship.

6. Publish pricing
Again, unless the property is for Auction, you should always publish pricing, at the minimum at least give an indication of pricing. Simply hiding the price and providing no textual information in relation to price and thinking that people will call you and you can then wield your magic, is old style thinking, or in my opinion – not thinking at all! Your first contact with a potential buyer will certainly be frustrating for them, so why would you want to start negotiation on that setting.

7. Answer every single email
Yes, I know, some people are annoying and they may waste your time. Why not get some software like OneNote and create a range of emails in response to regular enquiries. If you have not addressed the above issues then you deserve to be annoyed. If so, you notice a trend in the enquiries you may not be providing enough information on your listings.

The worst offenders are property management companies (some dedicated property management companies) and in the past few weeks I have sent off 30 emails asking for more information on some rental properties for some friends. In response I have had 3 phone call and 4 email responses, that’s 7 out of 30, embarrassing.

So today I called and asked why I did not get a response. Here are some of the replies.

Oh, we already had a tenant, it should not be still online

We didn’t have any photos, so I would not have been able to help you anyway

and this doozy…

mate, we rent everything and there are people that don’t ask questions and just rent the property

These are extreme examples, but 7 out of 30 is embarrassing, I will commend one company and that was Ray White Unlimited, who actually responded to both emails within 1 hour and in detail. The other responses came from private advertisers and a Raine and Horne office.

The silent business killer
One thing that agents must realise is that every experience a consumer has, whether buying, renting or selling gives them an impression of your company. The silent business killers are looking at your listings right now, they are viewing your website, your branding, your responses. You may be great at one on one and you may dress sharply, have a great sense of humour, a polite manner, but they see none of this.

Some Links
Copycat Software
Really Sold
Google Docs

If you have more sins of listings, then let us know, it seems we can just add them any time!

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  • Kitchen design
    Posted March 11, 2008 at 10:17 pm 0Likes

    No street addresses really annoy me. You have to ring the agent, wait for them to call you back yada yada…. What a complete waste of time!

  • daytona beach fl remax
    Posted March 12, 2008 at 3:13 am 0Likes

    This is an intresting and kinda funny post amazing what some will do.

  • Bill Anderson
    Posted March 12, 2008 at 7:24 am 0Likes


    Could not agree more. I would also suggest from point 1 that those photos should be professional photos, not tacky, poorly compiled snaps from a cheap digital. I recently viewed a competitors photos that had a reflection of the agent in a robe mirror, a corner of a photo showed a fast food wrapper (obviously the pics were taken quickly on a lunch break) and just as bad were shots that had no relevance to the real features.

    I also ensure floorplans are included, it costs very little to have done.

    I am also searching for a new property and really notice how inadeqaute the information is from probably 75% of listings.

    Its a matter of trying to promote the property to all buyer personalities and must have visual appeal, information in more than one format (try a real description and follow up with dot points of the main features) then a call to action… we are supposed to sell after all

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted March 12, 2008 at 7:35 am 0Likes

    G’day Bill, Dayton and Kitchen Designer (I have seen you many times before)

    To Bill and Dayton thanks for posting your comments and welcome to business2.com.au

    Bill, I agree with the photos, I have written many posts about photos before, such as if you do not use a professional photographer then all team members should get the same camera type so that staff can learn from each other as some members will read the manual and learn more.

    It is also important to take around 4-5 photos per room and feature and then use the best one for the web.

    I would like to see REA and Domain etc give users who carry more information/update listing regularly a higher place on listings results , as this will help both the portal, agents and consumers and create the kind of real competition that is needed to drive the better agencies higher.

    If an agency is to deserve the commissions then I think at least 1 hour preparing the information for the web is not too much to ask.

  • Jon May
    Posted March 12, 2008 at 8:36 am 0Likes

    I will also add “Use professional photography”. Of all the marketing efforts in which an agent could invest, decent photography must rank at the top. RE advertising uses visual media; internet, newspaper, signboard, in-house magazine. I don’t remember the last time I heard a home advertised on the radio! Photos are a very often a prospects first point of contact with a property. Their next decision is made there & then. I find it incredible that most agents won’t spend less than 2% of their fee on protography (IMO).

    I’d value hearing some insight from within the industry on this observation.

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 12, 2008 at 3:15 pm 0Likes

    Peter, I agree 100%. Photos, good descriptions and addresses, especially the last. And, as you say, respond to your emails.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted March 12, 2008 at 6:53 pm 0Likes

    Another silent business killer is a lack of attention to detail.

    Spelling mistakes send out a clear message that the agent isn’t real good at the little things. You don’t get a second chance at a first impression – lots of sellers tell their friends to go and have a look at their home on the major portals, imagine what they say about the agent when they find that the copy is incorrect – the agent is all of a sudden off to a bad start with the relationship.

    Also, potential sellers that have subscribed to client alerts will also receive the property straight into their inbox & the immediate impression is that if the agent can’t get a simple thing like the spelling in the ad correct then how would they go marketing our property? It’s the little things that count.
    The saying “I don’t care if you can’t spell – just so long as you can sell” has never been socially acceptable when uploading advertising into any form of media.

    Warning to agents – Poor spelling is a silent business killer. Please take a moment to check your copy thoroughly before uploading onto the web. In the papers you could maybe get away with blaming the printer but on the web there are no excuses.

    Dave, could you provide some figures about the average number of REA client alerts that get sent out once the agent uploads a property onto your site? I know they go out in a batch – but do they get sent out within say 24 hours of being uploaded and is it possible to change the copy before the alerts are sent or is it the original upload that gets sent?

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted March 13, 2008 at 9:32 am 0Likes

    Greg, great call re spelling mistakes.

    An easy way to get rid of most of these is by using Firefox and the add on called Australian English Dictionary (not all and not perfect), this places a red line under anything that it believes could be a spelling mistake in text input fields.

    This way in any text input field such as this one (comments form), spelling mistakes can be easily eradicated.

  • Simon Baker
    Posted March 15, 2008 at 11:44 am 0Likes


    I was presenting in Brussels on Wednesday this week to 80 agents who use our http://www.athome.be website. At one point i was talking about what makes a good listing and i used some of the points you raised above. What was interesting is that these agents also make the same mistakes … we are not alone in the world.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted March 15, 2008 at 9:23 pm 0Likes


    Would you care to share what points you used, and what you didnt? I would be interested to see what you considered as the more important ones from the list, and what plays a lesser part. Also if you got this from your experiences in the industry or out of some survey or stats REA has conducted?

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted March 20, 2008 at 5:15 pm 0Likes

    Simon, true, the mistakes are quite a worry for me, I am continually astounded how some agent land clients, I mean a simple spell check and then a read over does it. I can see how mistakes are made. I make quite a few on here, however I do not get paid 10-15k per article. Hang on, I am doing this for nicks

    Hope you have a great Easter everyone.

  • PaulD
    Posted March 20, 2008 at 6:34 pm 0Likes

    Hi Peter,
    was “nicks” the deliberate spelling mistake ?
    I thought it was nix ??
    I guess the spell checker wouldn’t know the difference. 🙂

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted March 20, 2008 at 7:00 pm 0Likes

    Smartie Pants, oops smarty! 🙂

  • Diggity
    Posted March 31, 2008 at 3:16 pm 0Likes


    How ridiculous that 26 pictures can now be added to the portals listings!
    1. See the reasons below.
    2. If agents see 26 images possible they will fill ’em up no matter what the image quality or outcome for the vendor!

    Surely the aim of an real estate advertising (and best initial result for vendor and agent), is to get an inspection. Then a true 3D experience can be controlled by the vendor’s expert salesman.
    Too many images can destroy this outcome!

    My many years of successful experience in the agency World (with nearly as many involved in advertising real estate online), suggest that too many pics provides consumers with a reason to think they can make a decision from a web listing, especially if they have numerous properties on their ‘shopping list’. i.e. As some agents have told me, “It just gives ‘them’ the chance to say ‘No’!”

    Thanx for your blog efforts.

  • snoop
    Posted March 31, 2008 at 8:13 pm 0Likes

    I dont know
    I have bought several qld props site unseen from internet pics and a valuers report.
    The more the better for me
    And an honest agent would show the warts and all shots too

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted March 31, 2008 at 8:33 pm 0Likes


    With some properties we dont take more than half a dozen photos yet for others we might take 20 or 30 so even if we wanted to we couldnt upload poor image quality shots.

    In general though our experience has been totally different to your own. We find that buyers and sellers alike want more pictures and they want more professional pictures. In fact the properties with the highest enquiries are generally those with more photos in comparison to their immediate competition. And if we get professionals involved the response is much better again.

    I would take quality over quantity if given a choice but I reckon that a high number of quality shots works best. That increases the chance of an inspection rather than reduce it.

  • Diggity
    Posted April 2, 2008 at 4:47 pm 0Likes

    I guess I haven’t seen that many listings with good shots, Glenn. Especially without a pro photographer most agents are very wide of this mark, despite many believing they don’t need a pro.
    I certainly agree with your quality as distinct from quantity comment.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted April 3, 2008 at 12:22 pm 0Likes

    That’s so true about agents photos in general and something Peter has commented on a number of times.

    The photography for real estate agents ebook he posted on a few months back should be compulsory reading for any salesperson before they take photos.

    Coincidentally one of the neighbours in my street just came on the market last week with another agent. I have never been inside the place so I was not influenced by preconceived ideas of price or value other than my general knowledge of prices in the street and area. They are asking $855,000 yet the photos were terrible and represented a value of probably around $550,000. They will struggle to get inspections as the images do not justify the price especially in comparison to other properties listed at the same price and the photos make it look a million dollars..

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted April 4, 2008 at 6:57 pm 0Likes

    I met with an agent today who described the benefit of internet advertising in one simple sentence.

    He said, “when the buyer comes through the property it’s like they are doing a 2nd inspection”.

    It would be interesting to see how much time is now being saved by not having to take buyers through the property for 2nd or 3rd inspections.

    I remember on many occasions we had the whole family turn up at 2nd inspections as if a tourist bus had just pulled up. 🙂

    Excluding pre-settlement inspections or the inspection where they have to check the home against poor building/pest reports, do many 2nd inspections actually take place any more ?

  • Jason Rose
    Posted August 17, 2008 at 7:12 pm 0Likes

    Totally agree with all the above. We are constantly looking at improving the quantity and quality of our copy and our photos. Whilst i admit we are not perfect we are getting better. Data provided from realestate.com.ay has us generating over twice the enquiry on our properties than the average for the areas that we cover. the only thing that we can put this down to is a focus on improved copy and photos.

    We have found that a majority of agents are too lazy to respond to email enquiry or take telephone enquiry. We manage over 2000 residential properties here in Brisbane. Most of the calls that an agent receives from potential tenants are “when can we inspect the property” Almost 2 years ago we developed software that allows tenants to schedule inspections on our rental properties. Once a tenant books a time other tenants can then go and add there details to that inspection. An email is sent to each tenant confirming the inspection time and 5pm the day before the inspection a text message is sent to the tenant once again confirming. We have had nothing but positive feedback from potential tenants. Before we implemented this software, in ou busy times of the year we were getting a call into the office every 5.6 seconds during business hours. To give you an idea how much enquiry we generate,we have booked over 32,000 tenants into inspections since december 2006.

    keep up the great posts. they make enjoyable reading

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