View Poll Results: When Reading Property Ads I want to

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Thread: What Makes A Good Property Ad?

  1. #1
    Established User Array Aitch's Avatar
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    What Makes A Good Property Ad?

    Hi Forum

    I'm hoping to get a little feedback here on what others think, and based on the amount of responses, I may decide to include some 'property description tips' on the add property forms of MRF.

    I've noticed more and more that a lot of advertisers are just copying each other's styles for describing their rooms. Basically, this consists of bunging a list of items into the description field of their ads. Personally, I have always found long lists uneasy on the eye which is why I included check (tick) boxes for Features & Facilities along with another section for Property Amenities. These, I find, are easy to glance over and make reading ads quicker.

    When I'm home hunting, those ads that interest me the most are the one's who's descriptions talk to me. In other words, someone has taken the time to personally write a bit about the place, leaving all the other items in the areas provided. But hey, it could just me, and the majority might prefer to read a list of haves and have-nots, even if it is a bit formal and potentially repetitive.

    The link that follows is quite typical of a modern style ad and although all other areas are utilised, it still reads to me as:

    * Got this
    * Got that
    * Got this
    * Got that
    * Got this
    * Got that
    * Got this
    * Got this
    * Got that
    * Got this
    * Got that
    * Got this
    * Got that
    * Got this
    * Got this
    * Got that
    * Got this
    * Got that
    * Got this
    * Got that
    * Got this
    * Got that - ad infinitum.. This is the kind of ad I'm talking about

    Homes are personal, and IMHO I think if someone wants to attract a tenant they should add a personal and friendly touch to the descriptions. Something that might read more like this:

    >>> Hi everyone, my name's Bob and I have a smart new apartment to rent located in the middle Sukhumvit area of Bangkok. There are many shops and restaurants (catering for all budgets) within a 3 minute walk of the apartment entrance. You can easily stroll over to Prompong BTS at a leisurely 5 minute walk.

    The room itself has been freshly decorated and has a fitted kitchen area next to the large west facing window. The air conditioning units are brand new Samsung models and very energy efficient. Furniture includes a 3 seat heavy duty PVC sofa, modern glass top coffee table, light wood coloured dining room table and chairs (seats 4), 2 door refrigerator, hot running water (kitchen area and bathroom), 29" Sony TV, English Cable channels (inc). Secure WiFi to the room is available at 500 Baht/Mo payable to the office.

    The bedroom has 1 year old queen sized bed (bedding not included), and a large wardrobe. This room is light and airy and has vertical style blinds at the window.

    Bathroom is modern and has 4 storage drawers under the wash basin. Please view the photos on this page.

    For more details call Bob (that's me), for an appointment and I'll happily show you around.
    <<<


    So what reads best in your opinion as home hunters? The lists (many of which repeat items already listed in the designated areas), or a feeling that there's a real person behind the ad who is putting in the effort to grab the attention of the reader?

    Thanks in advance for any feedback

    Aitch
    Last edited by Aitch; 6th April 2010 at 18:11.

  2. #2
    Established User Array Aitch's Avatar
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    Is Property really that Boring?

    When I first entered into Online Room finding, I thought it would be a great little niche, and just like any online project, it is gradually built up based on user feedback and not so much the personal preferences of a webmaster, hence some of these questions and polls that I post from time to time.

    Little did I know at the time, that anyone involved in real estate is about as popular as a painful root canal. Thinking about it, I CAN relate somewhat because when I sold a property in the UK a few years back I was buggered around, fobbed off, and ignored, by the agent acting on my behalf simply because I was 1000's of miles away and they could get away with dodgy dealings to their advantage. But this business is not monopolised by dishonest and greedy landlords and letting agents. Is it?

    Even though I'm not an agent myself (not would I want to be!), and just the webmaster of the free property portal, you would not believe some of the emails I get which can only be described as irate and occasionally slanderous let alone insulting. I can only assume it's the nature of the 'property game'.

    This is why I strive to understand from a tenants perspective what it would take to make a home finding property portal like MRF appear more friendly and not caste an air of mistrust and dubious motives despite the rhetoric that it is what it is, a free-for-all mainly Bkk orientated home finder.

    Or maybe finding and learning about homes and locations along with prices and all that jazz is just such a boring subject unless folks are actively seeking a new place to live. Maybe that's it?

    But after 5 long years, there is still more gripe (nationally) than gratitude and it still baffles me to be honest.

    Anyway, I've got too much time on my hands but as I was checking the forum and saw the continued lack of interest in how home seekers would like to view ads, so I thought I'd just rant a reply to my own post.

    Cheers

    Aitch

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    Striver Array Mr Pants's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aitch View Post
    >>> Hi everyone, my name's Bob and I have a smart new apartment to rent located in the middle Sukhumvit area of Bangkok. There are many shops and restaurants (catering for all budgets) within a 3 minute walk of the apartment entrance. You can easily stroll over to Prompong BTS at a leisurely 5 minute walk. The room itself has been freshly decorated and has a fitted kitchen area next to the large west facing window. The air conditioning units are brand new Samsung models and very energy efficient. Furniture includes a 3 seat heavy duty PVC sofa, modern glass top coffee table, light wood coloured dining room table and chairs (seats 4), 2 door refrigerator, hot running water (kitchen area and bathroom), 29" Sony TV, English Cable channels (inc). Secure WiFi to the room is available at 500 Baht/Mo payable to the office. The bedroom has 1 year old queen sized bed (bedding not included), and a large wardrobe. This room is light and airy and has vertical style blinds at the window. Bathroom is modern and has 4 storage drawers under the wash basin. Please view the photos on this page. For more details call Bob (that's me), for an appointment and I'll happily show you around. <<<
    This reads the better of the two in my opinion. Checkboxes at the bottom for quick reference would be helpful too

    The most irritating thing I found when searching for an apartment was the number of ads with terrible/non existent photos. So many people seemed to opt for a close up of a tv or a lone photo of a bed. It makes me want to shout: the furniture looks very nice, but what does the apartment actually look like? I saw a few places that blatantly lied about a few things, but there's not much an agent can do about that...

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array Robin Friday's Avatar
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    Yes, pictures, pictures, pictures. Big fuck off pictures as well as opposed to the majority of piddly little bastards seemingly taken on 9 year old 0.3 megapixel LG shitephones. I'm far more likely to want to check out a property if I have at least a general idea as to the layout, size (other than the ever-present, but somewhat misleading when you take into account how properties are laid out, meters square measurements), state of repair, views, facilities etc. If they have those, I don't give much of a fuck as to whether the ad reads like a shopping list or a postcard from your mother and father's holiday to Torromolinos.

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    A lousy and daring fellow Array Bubba's Avatar
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    I'd prefer a list and lots of pictures. I'm looking for information about a place to live; if I want literature I'll pick up the novel I have here sitting on my desk.

    I also wish to see the house in the pictures looking somewhat tidy, of if not tidy at least interesting. I'm always a bit puzzled as to why someone would want the internet viewing public to know they live in a semi empty apartment furnished with the cheapest and ugliest furniture Lad Prao shophouses have to offer.
    Nuts In A Blender

  6. #6
    Established User Array Aitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pants View Post
    The most irritating thing I found when searching for an apartment was the number of ads with terrible/non existent photos. So many people seemed to opt for a close up of a tv or a lone photo of a bed. It makes me want to shout: the furniture looks very nice, but what does the apartment actually look like? I saw a few places that blatantly lied about a few things, but there's not much an agent can do about that...
    Thanks for the feedback MrPants.

    Actually, there's a lot an agent can do about the above. If they are hard working and honest, they should be managing the ad(s).

    If the landlord sends them over some naff photos and sketchy details, then the agent should either request better ones showing more areas, or he should head over there himself and take a batch of high quality pics that will spruce up the ad and make it far more appealing and informative for the viewers.

    In addition, he should be making sure the information is correct and rewrite the description (if necessary). Let's not forget, a lot of these ads are uploaded by Thais and Indian/Thais, and there's little point in using the services of an English run agency if they don't correct any language confusion and or misinterpretations.

    The landlords pay the agents a fee, and so the agents should 'work' for them in the interest of all parties and not just post their ads 'as is' and hope for the best.

    Aitch

    ---Update---

    Quote Originally Posted by Robin Friday View Post
    Yes, pictures, pictures, pictures. Big fuck off pictures as well as opposed to the majority of piddly little bastards seemingly taken on 9 year old 0.3 megapixel LG shitephones. I'm far more likely to want to check out a property if I have at least a general idea as to the layout, size....
    Couldn't agree more, although not sure that all the effing and blinding makes the point any stronger!

    Each time a advertiser submits a property, an auto email is sent out to confirm that it has been received and pending authorisation. At the end of that email, there's a few lines which read:
    IMPORTANT:

    Including a Photo with your property will increase your chances of filling your vacancies, as ads with Photos tend to get noticed first. (MrRoomfinder allows up to 6 photos and 1 map image per ad)

    Thanks for using Mr. Roomfinder.com
    Quite often, that advice gets ignored (especially on the cheaper properties), yet the very same advertiser may send me an email a few days later complaining that he or she can't find their ad (ads without pictures are listed behind those that do have photos), and they go on to say how dissatisfied they are with the service because there have been no callers.

    Aitch
    Last edited by Aitch; 8th April 2010 at 15:02.

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    Hangin' Around Array Cyrille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aitch View Post
    Couldn't agree more, although not sure that all the effing and blinding makes the point any stronger!
    Golly!

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    Established User Array Aitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    I'd prefer a list and lots of pictures. I'm looking for information about a place to live; if I want literature I'll pick up the novel I have here sitting on my desk.
    But that's the point of the post. The lists of Features & Facilities and Property Amenities is already shown in the ad in an simple to glance at format which is easier on the eyes than reading down a page of endless haves. So what this means is that there are duplicate areas on the same page. One is easy to read, the other more difficult. In any case, a list isn't a description as such, it's a list. Isn't it?

    A personal short or detailed description (depending on the size of the place) in addition to a list of common Facilities & Amenities shown directly below that description, gives more information about the property, not less, or more of the same. Don't you think so? Okay, so if something isn't on the main check list, add it to the description, but to repeat it? That wastes time for home hunters, not save or informs them better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    II also wish to see the house in the pictures looking somewhat tidy, of if not tidy at least interesting.
    MRF allows 6 photos + 1 map with every full page ad. Agents don't generally show the outside of the buildings for fear of independent home seekers going it alone. However, i think that if someone really wants to know where a place is they can simply Google the name of the property and find its location in a nanosecond. So this hiding the building concept is a bit daft if you ask me and something that i think most home hunters would appreciate if they could see a photo of. Look, if someone wants to use an agent, they will use an agent regardless, so i always think a photo of the building exterior should be shown for every project to help promote it.

    Regarding photos of untidy homes, or rooms in homes, this is something that can be really comical. Some advertisers show the place as a very scruffy, untidy mess of a joint with clothes, shoes, bags, sinks full of unwashed dishes, and unmade beds, ad infinitum. And they wonder why no one calls.

    Aitch

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    As far as MRF goes my criticisms of the site are the agency thingy that i've already moaned about hehe, i had thought the whole point of MRF was that it was for those independent non-agency lettings. I understand of course why you went down that route, but from a personal perspective if i want to use that particular agency i will just use their site. It would be great if i could search without their properties! Also there seems now to be quite a lot of duplication and what appear irregularities, i.e the same photos on different properties, what seems to be the same property on at different prices, and most annoying of all is using the BTS search facility and yet finding places listed that are nowhere near that BTS.

    As far as the information goes, yes your example above of the personal feel is great and exactly what I thought MRF is about, but you will not get that with some soul-less agency!!

    Sorry to sound such a moaning b**tard. On the positive when i used MRF 5 years ago to find a place i thought it was brilliant. I got details of a number of smaller, harder to find places and the place i lived at i would never ever have found without the listing there. (which incidentally was a listing with barely any information and no pics!).

    MRF now seems to have an identity crisis. What is it? a sub-division of said agency? or something different?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Array Robin Friday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aitch View Post
    not sure that all the effing and blinding makes the point any stronger!
    I post how I talk I'm afraid. You could ask a drinking partner of mine who's a business partner of yours for confirmation of that...I'm quite the potty mouth.

  11. #11
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    For example... i just did a search of places near MRT Cultural Centre and Huai Khwang. The first property (agency one), says nearby school "Harrow International School". So straight away i know something there is utter bollocks. Harrow is no-where near any MRT station and certainly not those two! So i immediately take the information with a pinch of salt. It's pretty annoying.

    I understand that you're only as good as the advertiser on your site, and it's one thing for someone trying to let one place to have shit information, but for that agency. Well frankly it just makes me think they are a typical bunch of bullshitters. In that instance I know it's not true, in another i might not be clued up and i know i can't trust the information!!

    Moaning b**tard again i know!!

    P.S did i add that it also says its near Phrakanong BTS.

    The bottom line is that all the worrying about the style of the ad means nothing if the information is false. And at the moment there are too many ads on the site which simply have false information.
    Last edited by Lebowski; 8th April 2010 at 16:03.

  12. #12
    Established User Array Aitch's Avatar
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    Hi Guys

    Yes the misinformation thingy must be a right frustration, and I guess that's one of the drawbacks of a free-for-all. In fact it is what I get most email complaints about, although why people don’t moan at the advertisers rather than me is still a mystery as all agents, landlords and tenants represent themselves. I mean, I don't know these people, their properties, or the accuracy of their ads no more than the advertising department of the Bangkok property classified could or would possibly verify such details.

    It's obvious what's happening. Opportunistic advertisers are looking for tenants as fast as possible and the more they, what shall we say, ok, tell a few untruths about the joint (bit like most teachers CVs I would imagine?), is the very reason they do this.

    So the 10 minute sweaty walk to the nearest BTS turns out to be a 20 minute gallop. That would p*ss me off too, but the person that's dragged themselves over to view the pad might still fall in love with it and take the place regardless, even though they're peeved about the misinformation.

    This is why I think writing a few personal notes forces people to exaggerate less, and give a bit more ad accuracy as a result. You can apologise for a typo on a list for example, but it's not quite so easy to excuse yourself when writing a sentence or a whole paragraph of inaccuracies

    Btw, with regards of seeing too many ads from the same advertisers, I would have closed the site down years ago without the support of those British sponsors as it was proving to be quite a thankless, costly, and time consuming task, which was quite the opposite of what I had planned for the project after the main build was complete. To this day complaints outnumber compliments by a 100 to 1. In fact, the latter is probably even rarer than that!

    But anyone, whether they're private landlords or agencies of some sort can upload as many properties as they like. 1000's if they have them, and with so many agencies in greater Bkk, and more popping up all the time, (not to mention the freelancers), there will always be batches of properties from the same guys (whoever they are). But seriously, does it really matter who advertiser them if the properties people want are at the right price and in the right location?

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, quite often a greedy private landlord may well be asking more than an agency for a similar place in the same building, so it's not all doom and gloom just because the site allows agents as well as private landlords (who sometimes pose as such but are really agents anyway).

    Wish it could be perfect by introducing strict posting rules, but I think you would find a lot of advertisers have enough problems uploading their ads as it is without having to follow strict guidelines which might then be followed by temporary or permanent bans if they're not good boys and girls. This ain't Thaivisa you know!

    But maybe the forms could be made simpler and more BS proof. I don't know! Take a look at this screenshot of a MRF Add Rental Form and let me know what you guys think could be done to improve it, if anything.

    Oh, and don't suggest adding 'more options' to complicate matters, as I spend enough time explaining and uploading photos for computer illiterates as it is, but if you think the search and accuracy could be made better by removing this, or changing that, then I'm all ears.

    Btw, I did suggest a budget-only finder section to the guys over at Ajarn (main site), but they haven't responded with any zest or excitement, so it's my guess they feel it's not really workable, or, they're just too busy working on more important issues.

    Cheers

    Aitch
    Last edited by Aitch; 8th April 2010 at 22:29.

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    Absolutely Aitch i understand how annoying it must be for you as well, the nature of your site means you cant possibly be expected to verify every advert. However i do think you can expect an agency who gets paid to do precisely this be economical with the truth... rather than outright lie!

    p.s i have tried to be complimentary as well! Sadly it's human nature to complain when things are bad but not compliment when things are good. However usually actions speak louder than words...and i am still using MRF!! It's like the Inland Revenue Self Assessment advice line in the UK (well it's not like it but..), whenever i've used them they have been absolutely excellent, yet i've never written in and said so!

    We wouldn't moan if we didnt care!

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    Established User Array Aitch's Avatar
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    Hi Lebowski

    Yes, I wasn't having a pop at you or your post as such but merely pointing out the nature of the game as it stands. And of course ads should be accurate and not just used to lure in bait in the hope that the home seeker will be sucked into renting a Sh*t hole as opposed to the Penthouse advertised (extreme example of course).

    I think it's the same the world over in classified ads (although not all ads of course). How many times as a young man did I go to view a second hand car advertised as being in immaculate condition, only to find a rot box on arrival. The seller would probably respond with such claptrap as, "Err, well, . Yeah, but it is in immaculate condition when you consider how old it is". He he!!

    Aitch

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aitch View Post
    only to find a rot box on arrival. The seller would probably respond with such claptrap as, "Err, well, …. Yeah, but it is in immaculate condition when you consider how old it is
    Lets keep the Nana tales out of this thread!! hohoho

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