There’s always something to howl about

Writing for money? I’m in real estate. Writing for money is a big part of what I do to earn my living . . .

“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” —¬†Samuel¬†Johnson

Kris Berg asked me last night about my experiences writing for money. This was something I was interested in when I was very young, but, again from Johnson, “The expense is damnable, the position is ridiculous, and the pleasure fleeting.” I have an absolutely unbounded loathing for the word “submit,” and this was something I could never eradicate from my mind, every time I licked a hopeful envelope.

When I am retired, I may consider the matter again, although it seems certain that writing for money is going the way of recording pop music for money: Ever more popular, no money. That doesn’t even matter to me. I’ve given away everything I’ve ever written, and I don’t see myself stopping. It is up to the reader to decide if the product is worth the price — and we are so much mis-schooled that many of us don’t know how to evaluate something that comes to us without a price. But it is very satisfying to me to write and to know that my writing is not being mucked with by some drooling, drunken moron to whom I am expected to “submit.” That satisfaction, the freedom to write whatever I damn well please, has always been compensation enough for me.

But do not for a moment entertain the idea that I am not writing for money. Yesterday I had what I considered to be an unjustifiably low offer on one of our listings. You can’t blame a guy for trying, but, upon reflection, I decided that the problem was at least partly mine.

I’ve written quite a bit about writing for real estate, but I realized yesterday that I need to be doing more than rhapsodizing about benefits and lifestyle. I am a good persuasive writer, and some small part of the writing I do for a listing has to be devoted to wrestling with logic and not just gaily dancing with emotion.

So: I wrote this text and put it on the back of the flyer with the floorplan:

Defending the price of this home…

It’s common in this market to expect that homes are offered at inflated prices and that buyers must be prepared to strive to make a dead fall leap to land on the perfect discount price without inadvertently leaving money on the table.

This home is not priced that way.

We don’t play games. We don’t do double-talk. We don’t have any secret agendas.

The homes that we list and sell are priced to the current market. If we have any doubts about our own estimate of the value of a home, we enlist the assistance of Gwen Baker, a seasoned appraiser who has evaluated many hundreds of historic and architecturally-distinctive homes.

Gwen Baker estimated this home’s value at $330,000, which is why we priced it as we have.

If you’ll take a moment to examine the comparable listings shown here, you will see that this home is an exemplary bargain when compared with currently-listed homes and with recent sales.

On top of all that, it sits on the most delightful corner in the F.Q. Story neighborhood — where virtually nothing nearby is for sale.

We’re completely transparent Realtors. We don’t play games. This home is priced fairly and aggressively. It can be yours in just a few weeks — and you won’t have to worry about second-guessing the price.

I backed it up with five active comps and five recent sales, all stone-accurate true comparables, all shown on a CMA table. We’re the lowest price, and we’re also the lowest price per square foot. This home was priced aggressively from day one, so — you have to read this between the lines — don’t spoil your chance of getting it by being a dolt.

That is writing for money — my money and my clients’ money. I’m not writing to amuse you, to fill your empty hours on the bus or at the airport, to thrill you with imaginary worlds or celebrity gossip or gee-whiz business tips you’ll never deploy — the evanescent cotton-candy-feasts of frustrated wish-fulfillment that litter our lives. I’m writing to protect my clients’ investment in their home — and yours, as well, when you buy it from them.

I have no desire whatever to “submit” my writing to an editor — and if you ever see the words “respected” and “editor” side-by-side, you’ll know that a very fat ass is being kissed. But writing for money? That’s a big part of my job…

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3 Comments so far

  1. Hilary Shantz October 31st, 2007 4:40 pm

    Thanks Greg for pointing out that what we typically call a “feature sheet” can be much more than an outline of features. We can use it as a tool to sell the home including any copy that can persuade the buyer: persuasive arguments, stats, key facts about the home versus competing properties, lifestyle copy to seduce the buyer… More out of the box thinking from a straight shooting realtor. Keep on sharing your great ideas.

  2. […] Writing for money? I’m in real estate. Writing for money is a big part of what I do to earn my… […]

  3. Soco Real Estate January 26th, 2009 4:41 am

    Thanks for sharing this great information.