You need every edge right now, so don’t let poor grammar bring you down.
This is a challenging time for real estate agents. With less than half of the usual inventory available for sale* and with fewer buyers able to qualify for a loan – you’re facing stiff competition for every sale.
Poor grammar will limit your chance of landing that listing or that buyer.
Perhaps that’s not fair, but it is one of those facts of life. With one notable exception, poor grammar can limit your chances for success.
If you’ve chosen real estate for a career, poor grammar won’t prevent you from having employment.
You may not be accepted at the agency you want, but someone will accept you. The question then, is not whether you can work as a real estate sales person, but whether you can succeed.
Before you say it, yes, you’re right. Not all prospects will even notice if your grammar is poor.
That’s because their grammar is equally poor. According to theatlantic.com, 10% of working age Americans don’t speak English well. I’m sure there’s another percentage whose grammar is somewhere in the middle between poor and passable.
They might not notice if you write “I’ll be their at noon” or “If you have questions, please call myself or Joe.”
But what about the rest of the people?
You know, the ones who do know the difference and who do care and will judge you by your grammar?
An article from Cision revealed that “65 percent of adult Americans are bothered by misspellings and improper usage of the English language. The 18-34 set is the most bothered by such slip-ups, with 74 percent in this age group agreeing misspellings and grammar errors on social media irk them.”
Another article, this one from prnewswire.com, stated that “six in 10 Americans (59 percent) say that improper grammar is their biggest annoyance when it comes to the English language.”
In other words, there is a large percentage of the population who will notice and will care.
And… they may pass you by if your grammar is poor.
Perhaps they’ll do so because it annoys them. Perhaps it will be because they don’t feel that they can trust you to take good care of them – especially when it comes to writing an agreement for them. Some will think that if your grammar is poor, you aren’t very intelligent. And no one wants or needs an unintelligent real estate agent!
Like it or not, and whether they are spoken or written, we are judged by our words.
Those listening to us or reading our blog posts, emails, letters, etc. form opinions about our intelligence, our knowledge, our concern for others, and importantly – our ability to communicate clearly.
Our ability to communicate clearly is vital, because unclear communication leads to misunderstandings. And misunderstandings can lead to lawsuits. It doesn’t often get that far, but it certainly happens. At the very least, misunderstandings lead to hard feelings and ongoing distrust.
For some prospects, the care you take in communicating clearly is an indication of the care you’ll take when assisting them.
Can they trust you to guide and advise them through a major purchase or sale if you can’t be bothered to learn grammar? Can they count on you to accurately write a listing agreement or a purchase and sale agreement if you don’t pay attention to details such as punctuation? Can they rely on you if you won’t take time to proofread your work? An added or missing zero would make a huge impact on someone’s life!
How do you know if your grammar is poor?
If your broker, your spouse, your best friend, your co-workers, your parent, or your child corrects your grammar – your grammar is poor.
The one notable exception…
In the first paragraph I mentioned that with one notable exception, poor grammar will harm your ability to become successful as a real estate agent.
The notable exception is that English is a second or third language for you.
If you were born, raised, and educated in the United States of America, you’ve had the opportunity to learn Grammar since you entered school in first grade or even preschool. (Granted, some “teachers” don’t bother with educating students, but many do.)
Other life-long citizens understandably expect you to know grammar.
If you began life speaking another language and are now working hard to learn English, you’ll often not only get a pass for grammar bloopers; there will be people willing to help you get it right.
In my limited experience – through reading posts and comments on Active Rain and through writing letters and real estate bios for a variety of agents – I have come to a conclusion.
My conclusion is that most of the real estate agents I’ve met who count English as a 2nd or 3rd language have better grammar skills than several people I know who grew up speaking English.
Why? I believe it is because they care and they are trying harder. They’re making an active, concentrated effort to learn and to use the language correctly. I applaud them, as I feel sure many others do as well, because I know I would not do half as well at learning their first languages.
One more thing…
Studies show that consumers will skip over your listings if your descriptions are filled with grammar errors, typos, misspellings, or an excess of abbreviations.
If consumers can’t easily understand what you meant by what you wrote, they simply skip on to another listing with a clear description. It’s silly, because they might miss their dream home, but that’s what surveys reveal.
Bloopers are entertaining to read and get a lot of laughs. But they don’t help sell houses. Make sure your property descriptions are error-free and easy to understand.
Does this mean you need to be a fanatic grammarian?
No. And it doesn’t mean you need to follow debunked grammar myths https://activerain.com/blogsview/4551329/woo-hoo–busting-a-grammar-myth- that some teachers tried to drill into their students.
Does it mean you have to be on alert to never write a fragmented sentence? No, because your writing needs to be conversational, and we humans do speak in fragmented sentences now and then.
If your grammar is poor, what can you do about it?
Aside from enrolling in some adult night classes, you can get a copy of my Grammar Guide for Real Estate Professionals. And study it, of course.
The Grammar Guide covers the most common (and jarring) mistakes made by real estate agents in blog posts, letters, and emails.
It includes examples of correct and incorrect usage, and it offers hints to help you remember what you’ve learned.
So if your broker, your mom, your spouse, your friend, your parent, or your child corrects your grammar, act now.
Inventory is low and fewer buyers can qualify for a loan right now. That means that as a real estate agent you face some stiff competition in the coming months.
Give yourself every advantage by brushing up on your grammar skills, starting today.
Go here to read more and order your copy of the Grammar Guide for Real Estate Agents.
* A news report on 10/8/23 stated there are 890,000 homes currently for sale in the U.S., and that over the past several years, on average, there were 2,000,000 homes for sale at any given time. Meanwhile, according to NAR, the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials estimates that there are over 3 million active real estate licensees in the United States.