Selling Soulfully with Jennifer Allan

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To Disclose or Not Disclose a Home's Material Defect In Your Marketing - a Follow-Up

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about whether it's a good idea or not to "disclose" an obvious material defectdefect in your public advertising of a home, or let buyers discover it on their own when they visit the house. My opinion is that it's usually best to be upfront about such things so that you are marketing to the "right" buyer, not just using a shotgun approach hoping that "right" buyer stumbles along.

Well, there's more to the story; thought I'd share.

After the blog got featured, a member wrote to me privately telling me that she was currently in that situation with a new listing. The home is cute, in a great location, great square footage and tremendous potential. BUT (sigh - always a "but"), it has a material defect that will likely scare the pants off the majority of retail buyers. The defect is fixable, but at significant cost.

My reader had debated whether or not to disclose the defect in the public comments of her MLS listing. She (and her seller) had already priced the home properly (significantly below the non-defective comps), and she knew the price would be attractive to the market.

But... to mention the defect? Or not...?

After talking with her managing broker, my reader decided to be silent on the defect in the public marketing (with a brief mention of it in the broker comments), with the goal of generating as much activity as possible from a wide spectrum of buyers. Her seller agreed with this approach and away they went.

Well, the strategy worked, sort of. They had a bunch of showings the first week - woo hoo!

But...no offers and universally negative feedback. "My buyers loved the house until they got to the basement...then... yikes!"

At the end of seven days, her sellers asked her to change the marketing to more accurately reflect the reality of the situation. They admitted they were tired of all the showings, knowing that most of the buyers wouldn't consider the home at any price, and the negative feedback was wearing them out emotionally. (The agent admitted to similar feelings - that she was starting to dread notices of showings and subsequent agent feedback).

So, the agent changed the marketing as requested and immediately was rewarded with two showings, presumably by buyers who were willing to consider dealing with the defect. The agent told me that her enthusiasm level improved dramatically once she felt she was advertising the home more accurately, and felt she'd learned a valuable lesson in marketing - "UNDERpromise and OVERdeliver!"

Which raises the question - while OVERpromising in marketing might get more buyers/customers in the door, if they don't buy because they felt misled, was the marketing effective? (I vote NO).

But was the agent wrong in trying it "her" way at first? Did she dis-serve her sellers with her initial "more-inclusive" marketing?

I don't think so, but I'd love your thoughts on the matter! I'll share mine if you'll share yours.  

EPILOGUE: Two weeks and six more showings later, the house went under contract and is scheduled to close this week.

 

It's Here!

 

The More Fun You Have Selling Real Estate, the More Real Estate You Will Sell! 
(True Story)
Order Your Here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comment balloon 41 commentsJennifer Allan-Hagedorn • April 26 2011 09:22AM
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