11% of Real Estate Agents Cannot Write

by Peter Thomas Ricci

We’ve all seen listings with lackluster writing and grammar, but how common are those listings across the industry?

Bad grammar. Misspellings. ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Oh yes, we’re talking bad writing in real estate listings, something we all inevitably see on occasion.

How often, though, does bad writing actually pop up in listings? Thanks to a new study by Redfin of luxury home listings, which it conducted along with the online proofreading application Grammarly, we now have some interesting numbers to add to the conversation –and not all of them are bad!

Bad Writing in Real Estate – Thankfully Uncommon

First, we’ll get the encouraging news out of the way – of the 106,850 listings that Redfin analyzed (across 52 metro areas), 31.0 percent had no grammatical or spelling errors, and less than 1.0 percent featured many errors, though nearly 11 percent did feature incomplete sentences.

Of course, there were other interesting findings in the report, including:

  • Listings with complete sentences (and without spelling or grammatical errors) sold three days faster, and were 10 percent more likely to sell above their listing price.
  • Meanwhile, homes with many errors had not only the most median days on the market, but the lowest percentage of homes selling above list price.
  • Poor Riverside, Calif. has the highest rate of listings with misspellings at a whopping 57 percent.
  • In Las Vegas, 28.5 percent of listings were written in all capital letters in 2013, compared to 8.4 percent nationwide; that’s bad news for Vegas, because only 5.6 percent of listings written in ALL CAPS sold above their listing price, the least successful of any style point in the study.

Style Isn’t Everything

Interestingly, though Redfin’s study showed rather plainly the perks of clean writing in listings, there were some outliers in the data that suggested a substance over style quality to some listings.

For instance, though 30.9 percent of perfectly written listings sold in less than 30 days, listings with five or more misspellings sold even quicker, with 32.1 percent selling in that time frame. Furthermore, 10.6 percent of perfect listings sold above their asking price, but so did 10.5 percent of listings with incomplete sentences. Clearly, style ain’t everything in the world of real estate writing.

Check out our graph below for another perspective on the data:

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