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Best of 2015: The Top 10 Listing Turn-Offs that Kill Deals

December 23 2015

We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published back in February and is #8 in our countdown. See #9 here.

trulia listing turnoffs kill dealsOnce you secure a highly coveted listing, the last thing you want to do is blow your chances at securing a hot offer. But making one of these mistakes could sink your sale. Find out how to avoid these all-too-common listing pitfalls and the smart staging, photo and marketing tips to turn it all around.

1. Bad Photos

Blame Instagram filters for making everyone with a smartphone consider themselves a budding Annie Leibovitz. But when it comes to listing photos, resist the urge to snap a few pics with your phone and call it a day. Photos are everything when it comes to making a first impression on potential buyers, so hire professionals to take sharp, high-resolution listing photos from multiple, flattering angles.

And remember to look out for the little things that may be major buyer turn-offs. The dishes in the sink, an open toilet lid, a stray ashtray or even the household pets lounging in the living room often sneak into photos and can signal a red flag for buyers. Instead, learn the five photos that may help set your listing apartlearn the five photos that may help set your listing apart and capture the attention of to buyers—and how to capture them.

2. Embellishing

Photos may not lie, but listing copy certainly can. You might think that a little exaggeration is a harmless way to get buyers in the door, but your white lies will instantly be evident when it comes time to show, and your newly-alienated buyers will turn right back around. When you lose trust, you lose a potential sale.

3. Error-Riddled Listing Copy

One you make sure your copy is flattering yet truthful, make sure that the spelling and grammar are correct. Forgetting an apostrophe or making a typo might seem like a small thing, but to buyers and their agents it sends a message that you are not detail oriented, and it might make them wonder what other problems they should be looking out for when it comes to your listing.

Of course, simply having grammatically correct and factually accurate listing descriptions is not enough. To learn how to write compelling listing descriptions, check out this short guidecheck out this short guide.

4. Zero Social Media Presence

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest ... the sheer number of social media outlets now can be overwhelming, especially if these networks didn't exist for the bulk of your career. But your sellers and potential buyers expect you to be online, so pick at least two social media outlets — like Facebook and Instagram—to focus on and update them regularly.

Bonus! By posting daily updates, not only are you giving your listing a marketing boost, you're also giving your business a boost by consistently reaching past, present, and potential clients and showing off your current success.

Unfamiliar with social media? Read this guide to social media strategy for real estate agentsthis guide to social media strategy for real estate agents to get started.

5. Empty Flyer Boxes

Being on social media doesn't mean that you should give up on paper. Plenty of buyers still do drive-bys, and you want them to provide them with a tangible takeaway with information about the property. Sure, an empty box might make buyers think that the home is so in-demand that all the fliers have been taken, but it's just as likely that it makes the property looks neglected. Either way, you're probably losing out on a sale.

6. Dirt, Messes, and Odors

Sure, a dirty, smelly home is something that can be fixed, but do you want to risk making a horrible first impression by taking buyers into house full of piles and grime that reeks of cat urine? If homeowners still inhabit the property, you need to be blunt what needs to be done (like a professional cleaning) before it's fit for viewing, especially if they're smokers or have pets.

7. Lack of Staging

Sellers might think that staging is a waste of money, especially if they're pretty proud of their, uh, unique style. But you can get the point across about the importance of staging without having to tell them that their decor is horrendous. Make it clear that the point of staging is to create something of a blank slate so that buyers can envision themselves living there.

8. Overpricing

When it comes to pricing, many sellers need a serious reality check, and it's your job to snap them out of their delusions. Focus on the comps in the area, and make a point of showing them the actual selling prices. Let them know that listing high and eventually making a price reduction if necessary isn't a winning strategy; in fact, it can keep a home from selling at all.

9. No Rebates and Credits

These days, rebates and credits aren't as necessary in most markets, but at times they can still hold their place. Buyers want to feel like they're making a smart purchase, so it helps to make them believe that they're getting a deal.

That's where rebates and credits come in. If you're in a particularly competitive market or if you're simply dealing with a tough-to-sell or stale listing, consider offering a "bonus" like a closing-cost credit so that your property has an edge on similar listings in the area.

10. Poor Follow-Through

Even if you do everything else right, you have to be able to count on the sellers to help you finalize the deal. That means that the sellers need to fill out the necessary documentation, coordinate with the buyers to schedule inspection times, and otherwise dot the I's and cross the T's. Give your sellers friendly (but firm!) reminders to make sure they're doing their part and let them know that you're there to help them when they need you.

This article was originally published on the Trulia Pro blog. You can find the original version of this article and many more listing tips herehere.