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Tip of the Week: Which city name is best to use?

Aug 11, 2016
The original title I had in mind for this Tip was “Which city is best?, but then I realized that was opening a can of worms, and I don't care to touch worms. The real question is, “Which city name should I use for my listing?”

Sounds simple, doesn't it? Yet it brings up a challenge of using what draws the most attention versus what's going to help it be found more frequently, especially on third party websites used by the public.

 You may have noticed that a few recent Tips have been connected to how listings appear on public websites. That's become a major factor in a lot of marketing strategies.

 The issue that brought all of this up was a problem searching for properties in Miramar Beach, using the city name. If you search in the MLS by main area 15, you get one number of listings. Search in the MLS for city name Miramar Beach, you expect to get the same number, right?

 Wrong, because some of the listings in area 15 use the city of Miramar Beach, some use Destin, and some use the city of Sandestin. By the way, the city of Sandestin doesn't actually exist, it's only recognized by the post office as an acceptable city name for the zip code 32550. Technically the term Sandestin is a trademarked word and shouldn't be used in this context at all. But as long as the post office allows it, we have to also.

 The bigger scope problem comes in when the public searches for properties in that area. The general public doesn't think of properties in the Sandestin Resort as being in the city of Sandestin. If they know a city at all, they think of Miramar Beach. But they won't find the listings that have Sandestin as the city.

 This same problem exists in other locations in the ECAR area. For example, do you use Rosemary Beach, or do you use Inlet Beach. Inlet Beach is technically correct, even for properties within the Rosemary Beach community. But agents, and sellers, want to use Rosemary Beach because it's more well known. This is another example of the uncomfortable conversation that you need to have with your seller.

 If you need to check for the best city name to use, go to the post office website, UPSP.com, and use their Look Up a Zip Code option under Quick Tools. That's our official source for cities and zip codes.

 So what's more important? Using what looks good, or what works best?

 Questions? Call us at 850-244-2411, or email susan@ecaor.com.

Susan Beck, MLS Director
Emerald Coast Association of Realtors®
Fort Walton Beach, FL
Santa Rosa Beach, FL