A real estate listing is important when selling or buying a home. It should give you all the info you need to make an offer, the legal description, price and terms etc. It is also used as a marketing tool to attract buyers and to create interest in the property. The listing also specifies the listing brokerage contact information.

The listing realtor should have photos, room sizes and descriptions to help the anonymous buyers out there who are surfing the internet to determine if the property could meet their needs. How many bedrooms are there, how many bathrooms and what kind of baths, i.e. are they a full bath or a powder room?

The photos will also help the buyer determine the condition of the property. The listing should be specific with regards to information such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms, if there is a basement and is it finished. Is there parking? This criteria is searchable and should not contain any errors or omissions. Most Canadians search for price, number of bedrooms and parking.

The photos should be clear. Photos should not be taken with a smart phone. If you only see the corner of a room, or one third of the vanity, you're not working with the right person. I've seen photos with the photographer's image in the mirror and the toilet with the seat up… gross.

The language in the listing can be very telling, for example:

  • First time offered in 30 years! / Original Owners!: that means the house is most likely dated
  • Attention Builders/Renovators: not a pretty home, perfect to be torn down
  • Separate Entrance to Basement: basement apartment, but may not be legal
  • Cozy. Cute. Sweetheart: small
  • Well-appointed living room: typically means they are elegant
  • Formal principal rooms: not open concept, separate living room, dining room

You can't buy real estate online. I had a client who was looking for a home from Dubai and had settled on two houses, but when he got here and viewed the homes they were NOT what he was expecting.

You have to visit the property. A good idea is to use google to virtually walk around the neighbourhood to see what the area is like, what's across the street.

You can't smell, feel and experience the home online. It's just a guideline to help you sift through the many listings out there.

Once you start touring homes, you will begin to understand the nuances of the listing a little better.

Be aware of the "as is" because the means there will be no warranties. You won't know what you are buying. However, banks do that and they use it often for estate sales when the executor has not lived in the house in many years.