We have all read advertisements or listing descriptions of land for sale that we know stretch the truth or paint a more flattering picture than perhaps is actually there. As land brokers, if we are honest, most of us are guilty of doing this at some point in our career. Most local real estate commissions have a term for exaggerations in advertising, and it is called “puffing.” This is not making flagrant misrepresentation or fraudulent claims about a property, but more so hyperbole and exaggerations.
This article is meant to poke a little fun at the land brokerage industry, and take a humorous look at what happens within our ranks. This is meant to be satirical and also hopefully will gently shame those of us who are guilty into getting better at what we do. Please take it in good fun, and know that it isn’t directed at anyone in particular: my aim is to offend everyone equally. The things below are all items I have seen in advertising that are worth picking on a little. So let’s highlight some terms often used to advertise rural land for sale, and then interpret those terms from my point of view.
“Won’t Last Long” – After a property has been on the market for 14 months, it is OK to take this phrase out of the description. This is a term that I see that shows me that the agent is very excited about the listing. If the property is that great of a deal, it probably would never have seen the open market in the first place.
“Our Agents have over 200 years of Experience” – Translation: Our agents are old. We may not know what Facebook or Instagram are, but we will be happy to advertise your property in the local newspaper. Why not? It worked in 1975.
“Call for Price” – Two possible translations: 1.) Even the agent is embarrassed to put that high asking price out there for the world to see; 2.) We feel like the only way we can get the phone to ring is to make you call us for more information.
How to interpret the quality of the hunting on the property based on the words used:
- Good hunting = poor hunting
- Great hunting = average hunting
- Outstanding hunting = above average hunting
When an agent posts pictures of a hunting property that show deer tracks in the soil or rubs on trees, I feel like the agent is saying “See, I told you there are deer on this property.” If the hunting is truly outstanding, then the seller will have pictures of harvested animals or game camera pictures.
“Land Specialist” – This is a term used by many who sell rural land to show their expertise. To advertise yourself as a “land specialist” I think you must have a real estate license plus you must have exhibited one of the following criteria at some point in your life: member of a hunting club, worked as a farmhand for at least one week, owned a Yeti cooler, drive a 4×4 truck with a lift kit, or wear one article of camouflage clothing on every property showing.
I feel like it should be mandatory for agents, when writing a description for a property, to use a minimum of one word for every $10,000 worth of asking price. I get angry when I see a $500,000 property with a 6-word description. It does the seller a big disservice.
A single picture of a property plat map or hand-drawn map is a dead giveaway that you are dealing with someone that does NOT specialize in selling land. This is a tactic often employed by residential agents that could not actually find the property to take pictures of it. Also, if every picture of the property has a side-view mirror in the lower right hand corner, then it means the agent was too lazy to get out of their vehicle or they did not want to get their loafers dirty.
These are just a few observations about funny things we do as land brokers. Please don’t take this as mean spirited, it is all offered tongue-in-cheek. Each of us is guilty (including me) and sometimes we need to step back and laugh at ourselves. Feel free to let me know if I left anything off the list.
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