Tips to 'Read Between the Lines' of a Real Estate Listing

Posted by Jerad Cox on Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 at 7:46am.

Prime Edmonton Real Estate: Often when we read an advertisement it is important to 'read between the lines' to understand what is really being offered by an advertiser, and real estate listings are no different!

It should be noted right away that there are strict rules that govern what can and can't be said on a home listing description. It must be truthful, and cannot be intended to intentionally mislead or misrepresent the actual features of the home for sale.

Here are 5 ways to help you when reading a real estate listing:

  • Short Descriptions - When I was a child, my mother used to always tell me "If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all". This Golden Rule also applies to real estate. If there is not a lot of a description of the property, its condition, or its highlights, then chances are that it may not be in dream home condition, but may need some renovations.
  • Very Long Descriptions - Have you ever read a home listing description and need to take a break in the middle of it because it was so long? I know I have.  Very long home listing descriptions usually occur when home sellers want to a list by list inventory of the home, rather than a description. I don't recall a time when a really long description ended up enticing my client to look at it where they weren't disappointed when they viewed the home. How long is too long? You will know when you see one.
  • Vague Terms - Words that are hard to quantify will often result in home buyers assuming that something is there that is not. Words like 'large', 'best', and 'close' are all examples. These are subjective terms - someone who has been living in a 2000 sq ft home might think that the living room in a 1100 sq ft home is not large at all, but someone who was living in a 700 sq ft apartment might.
  • Know the Basics - The basics for all home listings should be home size, number of bedrooms, number of baths, approximate age of the home, basement development, and garage/parking.  Make sure you clearly know what you have with those basics before you start looking at the bells & whistles. I have had many instances of clients sending me MLS listings of homes that they liked, only to find out they were 2 bedrooms or a bathroom short of what they needed.
  • 'In law Suite' - There are legal basement suites, which have been given approval by the city zoning and have passed inspection, and then there are basement suites that have not been zoned, not been inspected, or both. The umbrella term that Realtors used in the past was 'In law suite' if there was any doubt as to whether the suite was legal or not. However, both the city of Edmonton have recently cracked down on the use of this term, as it is believed that it may cause buyers to assume that this is a rentable suite that can create income for them.

With all advertising, it is important for consumers to keep an observant eye on what ads are stating. Often what is said in a real estate listing - or more importantly, what isn't said - can help you determine if the property should be looked at more closely as a possibility for purchase.

1 Response to "Tips to 'Read Between the Lines' of a Real Estate Listing "

The Ultimate Edmonton Home Buyers Guide wrote: [...][...]

Posted on Thursday, February 19th, 2015 at 8:13am.

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