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Top 5 Content Issues in Real Estate Listings 2024


    Since we started doing content moderation for classified sites, we have handled real estate listings. At that time, we encountered almost every issue the category faced. We keep a close eye on how the challenges develop and are ready to provide solutions when new issues surface.

    Below, we have collected a list of the 5 biggest issues we see in real estate listings. 

    Photo depicting an incoming phone call from an unknown caller on a mobile phone

    Scams and frauds

    Scammers frequently target desperate house hunters by demanding deposits for unseen properties, often creating a false sense of urgency by claiming that the property is in high demand. To combat this, platform owners can implement AI-driven tools that analyze listing patterns and flag potential scams. 

    Since getting a good apartment is often very hard, especially in the bigger cities, some people may fall for this and send the money. The scammer collects the fee, and the would-be tenant never hears another word from them. Most likely, the apartment never existed or didn’t belong to the scammer.

    For instance, algorithms can detect anomalies like multiple listings linked to a single contact number or listings that ask for payments outside the platform’s secure transaction system. 

    Educating users on these red flags and promoting a secure payment gateway can significantly reduce the incidence of fraud, enhancing trust and safety across the platform.

    Be aware of AI generated content

    Chic Living Room Interior with Mockup Frame Poster, Modern interior design, 3D render, 3D illustration
    This living room does not exist, it’s completely rendered by an AI.

    As scammers now harness AI tools like DALL-E and Midjourney to create convincing yet fraudulent property images, platforms must respond with advanced defenses. This is where content moderation tools can help differentiate between AI-generated fakes and genuine listings.

    Systems like Besedo’s AI tools scrutinize the digital signatures and metadata of images and text, effectively flagging and filtering out deceitful content.

    Remaining on the platform

    Ensuring that all discussions regarding payment and meetings remain on your platform is crucial for maintaining the security and trust of both parties. Moving transactions or communications to apps like WhatsApp can violate terms of service and increase the potential for fraud. 

    You can safeguard these interactions by using content moderation within your platform’s chat systems. Real-time moderation tools can detect attempts to divert discussions off-platform while flagging potential fraudulent language or behavior. 

    For example, suppose a user tries to share a phone number or suggests continuing the conversation on another platform. In that case, the system can automatically warn both users and restrict the message, keeping all communication secure and within your monitored environment. 

    This not only enforces compliance with platform policies but also protects the integrity of transactions, fostering a safer trading environment.

    Misleading information

    Listings might present inaccurate details about property features or amenities to appear more appealing.

    Misleading information in real estate listings can take various forms, making it a significant issue for platform integrity. Here are some examples:

    1. Exaggerated Property Features: Listings may boast of amenities or facilities that are non-existent or overstated, such as claiming a “fully renovated” status when only minimal upgrades have been made.
    2. Incorrect Location Benefits: Promoting a property as ‘close to public transport’ when it requires significant travel or highlighting proximity to attractions that are not conveniently accessible.
    3. Manipulated Photos: Images that have been digitally enhanced to hide flaws or make spaces appear larger or brighter than they actually are.
    4. Omitted Information: Failing to mention issues like noise problems, restrictions on property use, or pending legal matters that could affect the buyer or renter’s decision.
    5. False Advertisement: Using buzzwords or terms that imply certain standards or certifications that the property does not meet, such as “luxury” or “eco-friendly,” without official backing.

    Misleading information in real estate listings damages trust and can result in financial and reputational harm to your platform. To maintain credibility, it is crucial to ensure that all property details are accurate and transparent. 

    Implement stringent guidelines for sellers and agents to follow when creating listings, such as verifying property features, amenities, and conditions. 

    Employ automated tools to cross-verify data against public records or previous listings. Establishing a robust review process before listings go live can significantly minimize the occurrence of misleading information.

    Duplicate pictures or ads

    Users may post their ads multiple times to stay on top of the lists, resulting in duplicates. This is not good for the user experience and could harm SEO.

    A duplicate picture could also be a sign that the apartment in the ad is not genuine. Suppose someone has used a stock photo or stolen the picture from another listing. In that case, it is a good idea to be on high alert when reviewing the ad, as it is highly suspicious that the advertiser cannot provide a picture of the place they are selling or renting out.

    Referral or contact detail schemes

    Some advertisers will, on purpose, list houses already listed by real brokers to get a referral fee. Other times, you will see people posting properties that aren’t even real to collect contact details of potential tenants/buyers that they can then sell off either to real estate agencies as leads or to scammers that abuse the information.

    The more grey-zone version of this practice is when agencies post first-class properties at a great price that always end up selling just before the potential tenant/buyer gets in touch. This way, the agency collects details of interested parties, and it can present similar properties at a slightly higher cost.

    Some issues faced by the real estate category are more severe than others, but they have one thing in common. They all impact the user experience negatively. The first step to combat these challenges is understanding what is present on your site and how they manifest themselves. The next step, of course, is to decide how to deal with them.

    Closing words

    There is plenty to be on the lookout for, and especially when you deal with real estate in high demand areas. You can always reach out to us at Besedo for a quick chat, content moderation and compliance is something we have done for over 20 years now. Get in touch with us, no string attached.