Thursday, August 13, 2009
Words not to use when Advertising your Home
Got a PDF today regarding words that you are not supposed to use per the following remarks from our MLS. The local board stated, "Attached are the list of words that you are not allowed to use according to HUD. It has come to the MLS board's attention that many agents across the board are in violation with their listings and especially public remarks shown on pictures. Please police your own listings to make sure you are in compliance."
Wow! Made me afraid. What could it be that people are saying or words they are using to send an email out to every local real estate professional?!?!
Some of it is real. For example you can't use terms that discuss ethnicity, nationality, or religious institutions in a given area near a home for sale. Even if it is near the "Baptist Church," you can't "say" that or risk offending HUD. In the "BIBLE belt" it can be pretty difficult to omit every church that might be nearby a home you happen to be selling.
What I thought was funny however were a few of the terms you CANNOT USE! One in particular struck me as funny. The term is "Anglo Saxon." Just WOW! I never would have thought of that one. Frankly, if you are Welsh or Irish you might be offended, but who in this country and in this day and time (especially with our educational system) would know or care what an Anglo-Saxon was anyway? Who would use that term to describe a home? I can see it now;
"Beautiful 3 bedroom/2 bath for the Anglo Saxon in you!"
It is kind of a Jeff Foxworthy(ism) that says, "If they put it in the list of words not to use, then some dang fool used it."
Terms that you MIGHT USE, which means they may violate the rules still, are words like "fisherman's retreat." Yes, you read me right. This term "may" violate the law. We don't want any fish getting offended and we also don't want to be providing an unfair advantage to the fish!
Another that I know you have seen is the term, "handyman's dream." You can say "fixer-upper," but again, we don't want to have people assuming we only sell to "handymen." If you want to use it, beware! If you want to use the word Catholic or Mormon in your advertising you had also better think about it, but according to the rules please state proudly in your advertisement the word "EASTER BUNNY!" It is actually in the list of okay phrases. Again, who would use this term in an advertisement to sell a house?
We MAY NOT say Christian, but we can say "Happy Easter" and "Merry Christmas." Also, don't even dream of using the word "Empty Nesters." The word "traditional" might violate the law if you use it, and while our own Association has changed "Master" Suite or bedroom to "Owner's Suite," HUD says that Master Bedroom is perfectly fine to use. No worries, you won't offend anyone so says our government!
The words "must comply with park rules" and "newly-weds" are potential no-no's, and while you can't use the term Jewish, you can specify that "kosher meals available" with confidence. Now how does that make any sense?
In the end, feel good because "nanny's room" is okay to use with no one need be ashamed!