Standing up for truth in real estate ads!

3 minute read

During the week a friend emailed me through a link to a share accommodation advertisement on Gumtree. The advertisement was written by a tenant looking for a flatmate, and provides a truthful yet comical overview of the property, its features and even the flaws. From the advert:

North Bondi – crap place. Great location and view

Ludicrously overpriced, with carpet stained like an infant’s undies and a truly appealing paint job…. no, I meant a peeling paint job…… this 2 bedroom top floor North Bondi flat is perfect for the blind and/or less discriminating flatmate. Your potential bedroom is unfurnished although it does have the requisite four walls and ceiling so that’s a plus.

The bathroom has a bath which manages to retain water so it’s fulfilled its destiny. The kitchen has all the essentials but not a bit more and the place is furnished and decorated in a style best described as “junkie minimalism.”

So why move in? I’m glad you asked. The view and location is about as good as you’ll get as you’ll see from the photos. That is the view from the room. Impressive huh? And there’s a small balcony too. Plus, the hovel is within easy walking distance to shops and right at the start of the 333 bus route so getting in to the city is a piece of p1ss! You get a seat every time and you can laugh at the losers having to stand (it’s the small, petty things that keep me happy). And it’s got internet, washing machine and all the essential stuff.

If you have a designer’s eye and wish to play down the trailer trash aesthetic, please feel free to make the changes. I have absolutely zero attachment to the current furnishings and would welcome someone with the ability and desire to polish this turd.

As for me, I work (as little as humanly possible) in media/marketing ergo, I’m a complete tosser. On a positive note, I am house broken and have no criminal record. The rest – 33 years old, male (as if you couldn’t tell), likes boy stuff such as televised sport, the consumption of take away food and I’ve recently discovered the joys of adding fabric softener to my washing. What a day that was!

I don’t mind who I live with but I would prefer not to live with a couple. Nothing personal against the loved up but you people make me sick. To live with that is.

If you happen to be a girl, believe it or not, my past two flatmates were girls and I dare say that we got along quite well. Hell, I’ll even put you in touch with them if ya wanna check my bonafides.

Standing up for truth in real estate ads, I humbly hand it over to you.

I thought this ad was an absolute cracker and wouldn’t be surprised if it resulted in a higher level of enquiry than an ad written in a more traditional way. We’ve all been in the position where you’ve inspected a property and found the agent has been a little creative with their property advertisement. This is proof it is possible to market flawed properties through the truth.

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  • Bill
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 4:53 pm 0Likes

    Ryan I’ve been in your Bondi flat and I never noticed any peeling paint.

  • Ryan O'Grady
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 5:01 pm 0Likes

    Wish I had views like that!

  • Mark Copley
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 6:03 pm 0Likes

    This is great stuff.. I saw a similar thing but done on video and it was fantastic! must see if I can still find it..

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 9:04 pm 0Likes

    There was an agent 15 to 20 years ago in the UK who use to specialise in trash talking his listings. It was his style and he had a huge following. I would love to find examples of his ads again.

  • James
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 11:53 pm 0Likes

    Hi Glenn,

    Link here for an agent that used ‘brutally honest descriptions’:

    Also the uk real estate agent that sent his staff on a poetry course to help them write particulars…


  • Glenn Batten
    Posted August 27, 2011 at 12:32 am 0Likes

    Thanks for sharing but thats actually not him… although the homage is nice he is really just a copycat a decade or two later (or maybe even 3).

    The I guy I remember did it all in classified ads as it was before the internet and certainly well before real estate was big on the net. I found his work in a book on real estate advertising in the early 90’s I think so I guess he was doing his ads in the 80’s or very early 90’s. Julian Bending has only been doing it for 5 years so it rules him out.

  • Vic
    Posted August 28, 2011 at 5:38 pm 0Likes

    A fun article Ryan. I wonder how this style would fit with most property ads.

    What does annoy me about ad descriptions is the seeming need for some agents to place a lot of superlative adjectives in their text. It may please the vendors but treats the searchers as idiots. It is even worse when an agent does it on video.

  • Ryan O'Grady
    Posted August 29, 2011 at 6:43 am 0Likes

    It would be interesting to see if any vendors would allow their agents to ‘speak the truth” and point out the flaws along with the benefits.

  • Rachael Lord
    Posted August 29, 2011 at 11:01 am 0Likes

    This was great! I’d live with the guy. Maybe spruce up the place a little though….$300 a week wow Bondi you’ve outdone yourself!

  • Steve Basin
    Posted August 31, 2011 at 6:04 pm 0Likes

    Ryan, thankyou for sharing this listing, because this notion of disclosing the truth, and
    bringing it all onto the table is what makes an ad like this stand out from the crowd.
    And my gut feeling this person will have an overwhelming response, helping him towards
    getting the best room-mate.

    I just wrote a blog post, on inspiration from this post and the gumtree ad. I had gone into great depth there, but some of the key highlights that I think we can all takeaway, or maybe at the very least think about.

    1. Not disclosing the full information, is the thing of the past. If they don’t like what they
    see and read, its highly unlikely they will like when they inspect.

    2. Which brings me to this point, it Saves Time! not only for the buyers and renters
    but the agents and property owners. Getting more qualified enquiries!

    3. There is always a buyer and a renter. I don’t care if the house is a run down
    shack, in a run down neighbourhood. The positives are everywhere. Lets start with by saying “its cheap!”

    4. Being open leads to trust. By disclosing things not normally seen in most
    real estate listings, buyers and renters will appreciate you more. The old adage goes well
    here “People like to do business with those they like and trust”

    5. Truth always prevail – whether you like it or not. People aren’t stupid….

  • Ryan O'Grady
    Posted August 31, 2011 at 6:16 pm 0Likes

    Steve, I know for a fact this tactic would have worked. I’ve leased and purchased property in and around Bondi, on many occasions I’ve been bitterly disappointed when inspecting properties which are nothing like I thought they’d be.

  • Mark
    Posted September 6, 2011 at 10:51 pm 0Likes

    To help tell the truth It is a good idea to get professional real estate photography as well.

    There is a great directory Australia wide at that has real estate photographers listed. There are links to their web sites and portfolios so you can see the quality of their images.

    Get a real estate photographer to help sell your home, it makes a big difference.

  • Mark
    Posted September 6, 2011 at 10:52 pm 0Likes

    It is a good idea to get professional real estate photography as well. There is a great directory Australia wide at that has real estate photographers listed. There are links to their web sites and portfolios so you can see the quality of their images.

    Get a real estate photographer to help sell your home, it makes a big difference.

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