Archive for August, 2006

Writing a Classified Ad For Houses

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Sorry it’s been a few days since I checked in, believe it or not, the tile guy saga is still going on (would you believe he lied to us? the job wasn’t done when we went and checked!), and the broken window cost $159!

We got an offer accepted yesterday on a house just outside of Pensacola Florida, but as we were researching it…we found out that the square footage was mis-represented in the MLS listing as 1352 when it is really only 1040 plus an illegally converted (and a bad conversion job at that) garage. The comps we had been given were 1200-1300 real feet PLUS a garage, so we revised our offer based on that info, we’ll see what happens. (note, the reason we were able to revise our offer is because they had not accepted our offer exactly as it was written…they had Counter Offered that they wanted $1,000 EMD (earnest money deposit) instead of the $500 I had put on the offer, so in effect, they had “rejected” my offer and made ME and offer which I had the option to accept or reject, which I “rejected” and made them back a different offer. Until both of us agree on the exact same terms, we don’t have an agreement, or a contract.)

Anyways, this post is supposed to be about writing classifieds, so here goes: we are running classifieds for 2 of our properties this weekend in the main newspaper, and here is the first draft I was given for the ads:

Apopka – 3/1.5 with Lots of NEW + bonus room, Owner/Agent, No banks needed, Move In now! $183,900, phone number

Pine Hills – Newer roof, kitchen & carpet. 4/1 or 3/1 with lrg FR. Bath-handicap accessible, Owner/Agent, Move in Now! $149,900, phone number

Both give details on the house, including area of town, bedrooms, price, etc., but what are we emphasizing (and what SHOULD we be?)

  • Owner/Agent is a necessary evil if you are licensed, but we don’t need to flaunt it, so stick it at the end after the phone number
  • Remember, every word costs you money in a classified ad (if you go over onto another line) so take out anything that doesn’t need to be there, such as “4/1 or 3/1 plus big LR” let’s just call it a 4 bed because that’s a selling point, take out the 1 bath because that’s a negative, and get rid of the living room thing, they probably assume it has some kind of living room already!
  • Instead of “lots of new” list some of the items
  • If your property is right on the border of a more desireable location, put that in too.
  • The word “handicap” is not PC (politically correct) so lets say “wheelchair accessible” (I actually called a friend of mine who is in a wheelchair and asked him how to word the ad and flyer for this house)
  • Here’s a biggie: the biggest thing that will catch people’s attention in these ads and make the phone ring is thrown into the middle with no emphasis, “No Banks Needed!” needs to be moved right up to the headline.
  • Think like the reader of the newspaper…are they scanning looking for something that says “move in now”? probably not, so get rid of those expensive 3 words.

Here’s the ads after re-writing them:

Apopka/Lgwd- No Banks Needed! 3bed/1.5ba + bonus room. new kitchen, floors, paint $183,900, phone # Owner/Agent

Pine Hills No Banks Needed! New roof, kitchen & carpet. 4bed, wheelchair accessible $149,900, phone # Owner/Agent

Short, simple, to the point, and should make the phone ring!

Good luck with your ad writing,


Broken Window!

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

Tim went to show Country Club today to a potential buyer and the front kitchen windowBroken Window was busted out…probably just neighborhood kids, but that shows that vacant properties attract vandalism! Anyways…the couple liked the house, so now we just need to get the mortgage done for them…cross your fingers!

Update on the tile job at Thompson…he has called already 3 times today, I guess the job is done, and to quote him “I really NEED the check today” so now one of us needs to drive 30 minutes to go check out the work…as opposed to next time we are in the area like we are used to. Live and learn!

That’s a day in the life of…(but it’s only 2pm, so we’ll see!)

What’s $200 worth to you?

Monday, August 21st, 2006

I have 4 rehabs going right now, and one more that I am waiting on the sellers to move out in 9 days, then I’ll have 5 going. I needed bad tile ripped up and new tile laid at the one on Thompson Rd, so I called my normal flooring company and they quoted me $4 a foot, for a total invoice of about $1,800. My handyman’s assistant’s boyfriend had just gone into the tile installation biz for himself after 10 years of working for someone else, so we decided to give him a shot and save a few hundred dollars. He gave me a shopping list to go to Lowe’s and buy tile and thinset (would have been included in the other bid) so it took an hour there getting someone to bring the tile to our truck, which sank to the axels when they loaded the pallet (I thought Tim was going to die!) then we drove to the house (30 minutes from us) and the tile guy had already left, so we had to unload 42 boxes of tile ourselves, but we were on our way to a meeting, so we went to the meeting sweaty! Then he calls and asks for an advance…I usually only pay when the job is done, but he had torn out all the tile already, and he said he needed money for the dump fees (and money for supplies, but I had already bought everything…go figure!). So, I gave him $300.

Today (8/21) he calls and asks where the grout is…he never told me he needed grout (there’s another trip to Lowe’s and a 30 minute drive and another receipt), I thought that was included in the bid (it’s included with my normal tile company) and now he is asking for money to go to the dump (which is what I thought the first $300 was covering), and now he says he needs money to cover fixing what the handyman had messed up on the backer board for the tile counter top (no, we don’t usually do tile, but laminate comes in 12 foot lengths, and this is a 12.5 foot run of counter, and no, that was not in our original figures on the repairs).

So, anyways, to sum up…to save $200, I have now spent almost 2 hours at Lowe’s and 2 round-trips to the house (30 minutes each way) is another 2 hours, and add up all the nickels and dimes he’s adding…and, I haven’t even seen the quality of his work yet!
Next time I’ll have my regular tile guy do the work, he measures, delivers, does all the work, and sends me a bill when it’s all over…my 4 hours of time could have been spent more efficiently somewhere else (like making offers!).

Lesson Learned: If you have good tradesman…let them do the work, don’t try to save a few bucks, it will backfire on you most of the time.