There Will Be Typos

By Dave Fratello | March 29th, 2016

If you type for a living, you already know your favorite key on the keyboard: Delete.

Indeed, they say that good writing is only partly about getting all the words onto (virtual) paper. It's about editing – looking at what you've got, and adjusting it.

The business of real estate is mostly not about good writing. (A truth that is all too painful at times when one deigns to try to read a typical listing.)

The type of precision in this business that is valued is more in the fine points of negotiations or in contracts... the proverbial dotting of i's and crossing of t's. 

So it's no surprise that Realtors commit some howlers when inputting listings, crafting flyers and ad copy or dealing with technology. Here are a few recent examples that mirror common mistakes:

207 South Redondo Avenue Manhattan Beach CABotched prices. Sure, sometimes overeager agents will go along with a "seller's price" just to take a listing, pushing out a property onto the market that may be 5, 10 or even 15% higher than a reasonable market price. That's an error, but not purely a mistake.

Mistakes come in inputting the wrong price with an extra digit, for instance. The recent sale of 207 S. Redondo Ave. first posted showing a sold price of $26,450,000. That would have been an astonishing markup of nearly 9 times over the asking price. No, no.  

After several days, the listing agent became aware of the mistake and the extra zero got lopped off. The sale price: $2,645,000 (-6% from the asking price, not 9x the asking price).

743 31st Street Manhattan Beach CAJust this week it was the lot sale at 743 31st doing much the same.

What's the going rate for land on treasured 31st St. in the Tree Section? Maybe around $2.0M. There's already a listing on the block at 762 31st asking $1.900M.

743 31st came out asking $19,500,000.

The mistake was, perhaps, more than obvious. It changed on Tuesday after just a couple of days on the MLS. (Along with that huge "price reduction" came a drop in the commissions offered to buyers' agents, but that's another story – and probably not a mistake... even if it might be an error.)

Open Houses in the Wee Hours. As you know, each week here at MBC, we highlight the newest listings that have open houses. We tell you something about each house and give you the dates and times of the weekend open houses.

What we see each week, though, is that agents often input the wrong time of day for the open houses. We have to edit that in our writeups, because we don't want to be sending you to open houses between, say, 1am-4am. (As this active example shows.)

To avoid this, an agent (or assistant) needs only to tick the correct box (or circle) on the MLS input form for open houses. Fill in box one (AM), and your open house will show up as a morning event. If anyone takes it seriously, you may get a call from your client in the middle of the night.

Novel words and phrasings. Some agents like to wax poetic or try new things in listing descriptions. You want to give them an "A" for effort, even if, sometimes, it doesn't quite work.

One active Manhattan Beach listing is referred to in the official description as being so rare, it's like "Haley's Comet."

But Haley is typically a girl's name. (Or there's that Sixth Sense kid, Haley Joel Osment.)

This simply must be a reference to the esteemed astronomer and mathematician Sir Edmund Halley, whose name has become attached to a periodic comet. What a difference one little "l" makes. (Fun fact: Oddly enough, Halley predicted the comet's return, but never once saw it himself.)

Style points for the listing? Yes. An "A" for spelling? Not so much.

The Carrera/Carrara phenomenon. You know this one by now, as we come back to it occasionally. (As in this post one year ago: "Carrara and Carreras.")

Many agents, thinking of two-seater sports cars instead of the centuries-old marble mines of Carrara, Italy, will refer to a countertop as being made of "Carrera" marble.

Easy mistake to make. Easy to fix.

You'd love see that fixed permanently, but there are no proofreaders at the MLS. Egads, talk about your 24/7, thankless jobs!

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