A friend recently asked me to help him buy a beautiful old home he had just seen. It appeared to be in reasonable condition, but it was advertised under the heading: ‘Huge potential’. This made him wonder what was wrong with it, and his worry was compounded by the fact that it had already failed to sell at auction.

Was there anything wrong? No – nothing substantial. So why did the agent choose this heading? Perhaps it was to protect himself against criticism in case there were any problems; or perhaps he felt it would attract more buyers. Either way he made a major miscalculation. The person who comes to see a very old home with ‘huge potential’ has to be thinking serious renovation or even demolition. And that is not your average buyer.

In fact, the agent reduced the market to renovators who would expect a low price to compensate for the cost of renovations, and who weren’t interested anyway because it really is just a nice family home.

More likely the agent was being lazy, and used the first heading that came into his head. Even more unforgiveable is that he was continuing to use it after the property had failed to sell at auction.  

The take-home message is that when you write your advertising, think what buyers would be ideally suited to the property, then write a heading that would appeal to them. And be prepared to change your advertising if it is not working!


Dr Gil Davis is now a university lecturer, but for twenty five years he was one of Australia’s most successful real estate agents. He wrote the top-selling book Sell for more, packed full of useful tips for agents, which you can purchase on-line through Harper Collins.

Note from the Editor:

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