Exaggerated Claims in Advertising



"Well go and get your potholders out because this one is so hot you may not be able to touch it."

Real estate professionals - are unsubstantiated claims of concern to you? Plain old exaggeration or foolishness? Truth in advertising?

I find listings that are marketed in this way irritating. I can't help it.

Some time ago, I heard this remark from a long-term agent: "I know your reputation. You're a straight shooter. You shoot from the hip."

Stemming from such a transparent core, I find it contrary to my nature to buy into these superfluous descriptions. 

Obviously, there is room for this type of advertising. It's used successfully and frequently by all different brands vying for attention and loyalty. I understand the legal definition for puffery encompasses the words "no reasonable person" would take the claim literally.


Generally speaking, puffery remains legal as long as the outlandish claim is immeasurable and unsubstantiated.

I just can't bring myself to join in.

When I come across this sort of hyperbole, I feel like I'm being sold a bill of goods. Is there anything else I should be worried about?

Go figure. For me, a prejudiced review accomplishes the exact opposite of what it's meant to do!






 Photo by Nic Mcphee










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Jill Sackler, NYS Real Estate Broker Associate based on Long Island's South Shore

Sunny Isles, Fl 



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©Jill Sackler 2010


Comment balloon 15 commentsJill Sackler • August 08 2019 05:18PM


Ah puffery!  It can be quite perilous when it comes to selling homes.  The "F" word can be tossed about. . .That "F" word being FRAUD.

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) about 1 year ago

Jill Sackler - You spoke your mind and I'm glad to hear it! When I hear puffery in advertising sirens and alarms go off in my head! What is puffery? It's so much more than the ego to lure others to buy into whatever the puffer is selling. Rather delusional too! 

I liked your post very much and Myrl Jeffcoat comment too!

Posted by Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) about 1 year ago

Myrl Jeffcoat Of course, you're right but it's not even outright fraud I'm concerned about. There's nothing ambiguous about that and it can't be tolerated. Sometimes, it's just all the silliness that gets to me. Mostly harmless, I suppose but is it even necessary?

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP The most recognizable brands have a long tradition of puffery but I've read the courts are starting to crack down on it a bit. The key to getting away with the claim is that it's unable to be disproved.


Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) about 1 year ago

Jill, you and I are alike - describe the home like IS, so when the buyers get there, they know what to expect.   

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) 12 months ago

I have enough trouble getting the legitimate reviews onto the public websites... puffing?? I leave it to Alice's Caterpillar.

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Jameson Sotheby's International Realty) 12 months ago

Good afternoon Jill Sackler - you are right.  Becoming a trusted adviser means using honest and discerning conversation.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) 12 months ago

Jill - you hit a hot button for me.  I can't stand "puffery" that borders on dishonest.  My pet peeve is when I'm looking for waterfront property (as in property right ON the water), and someone has a listing that is land locked, but if you stand on a stool and look out the bathroom window, over the trees you can see water!! AARRRGGHHH!  That's NOT waterfront!! Thanks for the post. - B

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) 12 months ago

Jill, I get very irritated when a buyer calls about waterfront property, and when I check it out .. the water is far off.

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®, Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate (Vision Quest Realty) 11 months ago

Oh boy! You've touched a hot spot, Jill! I see this with descriptive write-ups as well as, what I call pseudo-reviews - OBVIOUS agent-written reviews that makes you wonder how some of these people sleep at night!

As someone else said, it borders on fraud - and sadly, no ones does anything about it.

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 10 months ago

Jill loved your take, there are so many in our profession who are #1 in their own minds but now days with the various platforms it is hard to hide number of listings and number of sales, Endre

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) 9 months ago

I was looking for your current posts.

I hope you are enjoying a very productive year.

Happy Holidays!

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) 8 months ago

Jill hope all is well, miss the interaction on this platform, Endre

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) 8 months ago

Jill - Let's hope 2020 brings about many positive changes. Wouldn't it be nice if ethics was followed by all???

Posted by Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) 7 months ago

I hope you are off for a strong start in this new year.

Have a very productive January!

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) 7 months ago

Hi Jill Sackler - Saddly, most people are more acquainted with the words "Fake News" these days than Puffery, which is a serious violation of Code of Ethics in Real Estate. The message you conveyed in this post needs to be revisited, revised, and reiterated to get consumer attention. 

By the way, I tried to pull up an older blog post you wrote on 5/2/11, entitled "The Silver Lining Chronicles - May is Older American Month. Your intro peaked my interest. I did not know "Kennedy dedicated the month of May as Senior Citizen Month," or that "President Carter renamed it to Older American month." I wanted to read more; however, I got an AR pop-up asking me for my keys. 

But back to the point.... now I understand why there is so much confusion with former proclamations by USA Presidents. When one President declares something and another one decades later nullifies it or changes the idea to something else, it's no wonder kids don't believe or credibility is lost. 

Your Silver Lining Chronicles were very good!

Posted by Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) 3 months ago

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