There’s a lot that goes into building a platform like LandSearch, especially in making sure it’s normalized, accurate, and responsive. It can be extremely challenging, with a ton of behind-the-scenes work and countless issues to solve.
One of the most important characteristics of our website is quality. We provide consumers with a certain amount of certainty that what they’ll find here is one of the highest quality user-experiences not only in the land market but in real estate in general. As a result, we’re constantly looking for ways to ensure and increase the quality of the land listings we represent, and all listings will go through our listing verification process.
Our experience dealing with nationwide data and implementing multiple listing feeds is there are several common errors made that are somewhat universal. Calling these issues out isn’t meant to criticize by any means. We certainly make our share of mistakes. Our only goal is to be helpful by highlighting some of the obstacles we see standing in the way of your property receiving the nationwide exposure it deserves.
One of the most common listing errors we see in a feed is the wrong city name provided for the location of the parcel. Even though this is understandable, especially in rural areas throughout the U.S., this particular piece of the puzzle should be there and be correct. Correct as in the city listed is an actual U.S. city located in the correct state. It’s not unusual for the county to be listed as the city. To map a property, the listing needs to have legitimate location data. To solve this issue, simply make sure every listing has an actual city named and if the property extends through multiple cities, use the dominant city, or the city that contains the largest portion of the property. You can find a full list of our city names here.
<commons:City>Broward</commons:City> <commons:City>Fort Lauderdale</commons:City> <commons:City>N/A</commons:City> <commons:City>Sioux Falls</commons:City>
In the first pair in the example above, the first attribute is incorrect. Broward is a county, not a city. The second one is correct. In the second pair, the first attribute is incorrect as well. A legitimate city must be provided. The last attribute is correct.
Similar to the city, often times a listing won’t be accepted because the wrong county is given. There again, in many cases, a city is provided as a county. The same reasoning applies to this location field as does with the city. To ensure this doesn’t happen to your listings, provide the correct county and if the property extends through multiple counties, use the dominant county, or the county that contains the largest portion of the property. You can find a comprehensive list of county names here.
When it comes to mapping a property, the latitude and longitude coordinates are extremely useful and should be included in the data if at all possible. Latitude is the geographic coordinate that specifies the property’s north-south point, while longitude is the coordinate that defines the east-west point on the earth’s surface. Seeing as how these coordinates are a long string of detailed numbers, it’s not hard to understand why these coordinates are often left out or incorrect. It’s a good idea to verify the coordinates for each property. An easy way to do this is to plug them into Google Maps.
<Latitude>-1.0</Latitude><Longitude>1.0</Longitude> <Latitude>38.497627</Latitude><Longitude>-84.048937</Longitude> <Latitude>-87.650997</Latitude><Longitude>34.904122</Longitude> <Latitude>34.904122</Latitude><Longitude>-87.650997</Longitude>
In the first pair in the example above, the first attribute is incorrect. The coordinates provided correspond to the wrong location. The second one is correct. In the second pair, the first attribute is incorrect also. The coordinates are reversed which again corresponds to the wrong location. The last attribute is correct.
Whether you’re mailing a package, typing a location into a GPS app, or creating a real estate listing, making a mistake in an address is easy to do. We see this almost as much as any other error. It could be anything from calling the street a “lane” instead of an “avenue” to not providing a street number. Either way, the solution is to try and provide an accurate address. To help with this, we've provided a complete list of states and zip codes for verification purposes.
<commons:FullStreetAddress>24 Stone Ave.</commons:FullStreetAddress> <commons:FullStreetAddress>24 Stone Blvd.</commons:FullStreetAddress>
In the example above, the first attribute is incorrect. Ave. is entered and is not the correct street suffix. Blvd. should have been entered instead. The last attribute is correct.
In many cases the listing provider’s email address is invalid. Since this is how land buyers will contact you, it’s vital that the correct email address is given. The most common issues we see with email addresses are just simple misspelling errors from typing or formatting problems like commas or multiple email addresses provided. It may seem obvious, but make sure that the contact information you provide is accurate and a legitimate way to get hold of you.
<Email>firstname.lastname@example.org</Email> <Email>email@example.com</Email> <Email>firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com</Email> <Email>firstname.lastname@example.org</Email>
In the first pair in the example above, the first attribute is incorrect. The word "reallty" is misspelled. The second one is correct. In the second pair, the first attribute is incorrect as well. There were 2 email addresses provided when there should only be 1 here. The last attribute is correct.
Parcels, or specific property boundaries, are important in real estate and property ownership. They’re also valuable when it comes to mapping and searching for land to buy. Like the latitude and longitude, the parcel number is a “weird” string of numbers that don’t mean a whole lot if you don’t know what you’re looking at. It can be easy to accidentally get it wrong or feel like it’s not important. It’s not unusual for the parcel number to be left out or an incorrect number. Parcel number formats depend on the property’s location and are typically assigned by the local taxing authority. You may want to double check that the parcel number you have is a real parcel number and the correct one for the property you’re selling.
The bottom line is it’s all about money. A property’s asking price is one of the principal factors that determine whether you’re property will sell, when it will sell, and who it will sell to. Since the price of a property is extremely important, it’s equally important to represent the price honestly and accurately. One of the errors we see somewhat often is not that the price is actually wrong, but the way it’s formatted is wrong (ultimately making the price wrong). If you’re not listing a total price, make sure you clearly denote it’s not a total price but instead it’s per square foot or per acre. If it’s a lease it’s wise to state the pay period you’re price will be paid in. Otherwise, people get confused or are led to believe the price is higher or lower than it actually is.
There’s another scenario where sellers essentially try to manipulate websites by pricing their property for $100, $1, or even $0. In actuality, what they’re representing is the down payment with seller financing, not the price. Obviously, this is a dishonest tactic in that there is an intent to deceive and when it happens it can be frustrating to both buyers and sellers.
It may seem like this topic has already been covered, and it has to an extent. It basically sums up every issue so far. The problem is there are as many ways to format information incorrectly as there are fields to enter it into. You get the idea. Rather than going into a lot of detail, the sum total is it’s recommended anytime you enter property data, whether it’s the description, address, property details, contact information, price, etc., be cautious you enter it accurately in the appropriate format.
The size of the property for sale is one of the first characteristics buyers look at to decide if it fits what they’re looking for and if the asking price is fair. It’s important anyway, but the lot size is especially valuable when it comes to land, since in many cases there’s no structure on the property. The easy fix is simply to be certain you include the lot size when creating the listing as well as notate whether you’re talking about square feet or acres.
<LotSize commons:areaUnits="acre"> </LotSize> <LotSize commons:areaUnits="acre">234</LotSize> <LotSize commons:areaUnits=" ">85</LotSize> <LotSize commons:areaUnits="acre">85</LotSize> <LotSize commons:areaUnits="squareFoot">3.2</LotSize> <LotSize commons:areaUnits="acre">3.2</LotSize>
In the example above, the first attribute is incorrect. No size quantity has been entered. The second one is correct. In the second pair, the first attribute is incorrect also. No size unit was provided. The last attribute is correct. In the last pair, the size is obviously in acres, but in the first attribute square feet was chosen as the unit of measurement so it's wrong. The second attribute is right.
As mentioned above, since quality is such a high priority for our website, there are some general land-centric property requirements that must be met in order for listings to make it through the verification process. If the property has a structure over 800 square feet then it must have a minimum of 3 acres (this is why it must have a lot size). State, county, and city names should match our official naming or at the very least one of our aliases. Since we’ve built a map-driven experience, listings must be mappable so a valid address, parcel ID, and latitude/longitude must be provided. To learn more details about the property requirements see our feed specifications and in our help section, you can view our listing quality policy.
To reiterate, in no way are we trying to tell you how to do your job. These are simply suggestions based on our experience. The intent of this list is to ensure the process goes as smooth as possible. Our aim is to provide land buyers with a resource of the highest quality that's targeted and streamlined. We hope our knowledge dealing with real estate data on a daily basis is helpful to you and ultimately aids in you achieving your fundamental goal of selling your property faster.