What You Say About a Home Matters

One of the places buyers and sellers go to find information regarding local real estate is

Trulia aggregates lots of great real estate information: crime rates, information regarding schools, and to a lesser extent, comments from locals about the area.

Most don’t know that Trulia is owned by Zillow and that Zillow, with their controversial “Zestimate,” now outpaces other real estate search sites (including Whether it’s Trulia, Zillow,, Craigslist, or Hawaii Life, making real local estate global is key to comprehensive market exposure.

One thing I love about Trulia is a posting called “Real Estate Reality Check.” A few years back, Tara-Nicholle Nelson posted an article entitled, “What Sellers Say vs. What Buyers Hear.” It was spot on in so many ways. Her point related to well-intentioned but misguided property remarks posted by agents.

The “verbal home staging” can often send the wrong message to an otherwise interested audience.

Almost all agents understand that descriptors such as “cozy,” “darling,” “cute,” and even “charming”  to mean the house is small relative to the market.

Offers of seller financing, especially today, relay to buyers that sellers are desperate to unload their property and will take whatever buyers have to offer. Caveat Emptor, for sure!

Pointing out the good, the bad, and the ugly?

In the end, Tara’s point is that if your home needs work, sellers are better off to make whatever corrective measures possible ahead of listing. I like to characterize it like this: sellers need to make their home look like a magazine because if yours doesn’t, the next one will.

I disagree with Tara on some level because she suggests sellers should talk about the work that needs to be done right up front. My job as a listing agent is to “make the virtual phone ring”  and get buyers through the door. Verbal staging should capture what a seller loves about living in the home. Including a potential repair list is probably counter-productive, in my opinion.

What sellers might say also matters, so mine know that I prefer that they not be present during showings. Much as I love them all, they sometimes innocently say things that really sabotage potential offers. Consider what a buyer hears when a seller says they don’t owe anything on the property. Or what about letting slip you’re going through a divorce? For a buyer, it translates into “I can get a better deal.”

Truth is, even the tone of the listing can influence showing activity and getting buyers thru the door is key to getting the property sold!

About the Author

Denise Nakanishi

Denise Nakanishi is a REALTOR Broker with Hawai'i Life. Denise Nakanishi is one of Hilo's most acclaimed real estate agents. She reached the rank of Major in the US Army and is now known by many as "Major Mom." The nickname fits–not only does Denise bring the discipline and mission-oriented attitude you'd expect, she's also caring and compassionate, always looking out for her clients like they're her own family. Having made the Big Island her home since 1987, Denise combines her extensive knowledge of the area with a sharp focus on customer service and the results speak for themselves. She's the recent recipient of the Best East Hawai`i, Best of Zillow, Chairman's Circle Award, President's Circle, Top Producing Agent since 2001, and Realtor of the Year awards. Denise stays ahead of the curve because she's passionate about education–she served as Education Chair for Hawaii Island REALTORS® for many years. She's one of Big Island's best real estate resources, known for her weekly article in the Hawaii Tribune Herald. Denise leads Team Nakanishi for Hawai`i Life, who is committed to their family, work, and community. In her little time away from work, Denise is a committed runner and Grandy. She also devotes many hours to various Veterans' Organizations, the East Hawaii Cultural Center, and the Hawaii Island REALTORS®. You can email me at or via phone at (808) 936-5100.

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