Writing Property Listings That Sell
If half of all homebuyers find their homes on the internet, property listings – and the photographs that go with them – are critical in landing clients and sales. But, with all the work that goes into prepping a property for sale, the listing often gets overlooked. How can you tell? Maybe the property listing isn’t structured correctly. Or, maybe the property description rambles on or uses too much ‘agent speak’. Maybe the photos are just plain bad.
Among the tools in the agent best practices toolbox, you’ll surely find advice on writing property listings that entice prospective homebuyers to learn more. Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula that will work for every property, everywhere, every time. But, there are guidelines on how to write property listings that span across all markets.
What makes a good property listing? Read on as we share our advice:
When You’re Writing Property Listings…
Follow the Format!
Keep it short: The best property listings are short property listings. Readers tend to zone out after 300 words or so. Keep your descriptions to 250 or less. You’ll stay within most word count restrictions and within your readers’ attention spans.
Use a strong headline: Everyone scans the headlines, and there are a lot of them. Prospective buyers click on the headlines that catch their attention. What you include varies by market, but a good rule of thumb is to write headlines that contain the property’s location and one thing that makes it unique.
Introduce with your first sentence: Your first line is like an introduction between two people. Is the property a single-family home, a top-floor condo, a townhouse in the historic district? Here’s a great place to tell people, succinctly, what you’re selling.
Describe: Now that you’ve roped in their attention, reward potential buyers for staying with you. What should they know about the property? What are its main features? Recent updates? What’s the property like outside the house? What are some nearby attractions/amenities/services? Here’s where you invest the bulk of your word count in portraying your property in the best possible, but truthful, light.
Special offers: Are the homeowners offering seller financing or a credit toward closing costs? Can the seller offer a flexible close date? Here’s a great place to mention it.
The call to action: Tell readers what you want them to do – contact you. Ask them to contact you for a showing or to attend an upcoming open house. In hot markets, especially, remind them that the home won’t likely last long before it’s off the market again.
Some Rules of Thumb
- When you’re describing the property, describe the property.
Don’t describe what you remember from when you saw it last week, or the way you wish it was, or how it might have been 10 years ago. Don’t overuse adjectives like a sixth-grader trying to make word count. Your description sets the expectation. Don’t set buyers up for disappointment.
- Choose your words carefully.
Certain keywords are good, and certain keywords are bad. Good keywords:
- Stainless – People love stainless in kitchens. If it’s there, mention it.
- Landscaped – If a property is landscaped, buyers notice and want to see.
- Impeccable – Another word that sells well in real estate listings. Buyers associate impeccable with a home that’s ready to be lived in, and is decorated tastefully.
Here are a few keywords to avoid:
- Cosmetic – If your listing says your property needs cosmetic updates, potential buyers see 80s wallpaper, 70s paneling, and a whole lot of work ahead of them.
- Fixer— Similarly, if a home is called a fixer – that typically makes buyers think a lot of work needs to be done, and they’ll price that into their offers, if they ever come to see the property at all.
- Investment – Using ‘investment’ in a listing might work on high net worth clients. On the lower end of the spectrum, though, investment means sweat equity and a diamond in the rough.
- Photographs – What’s it look like?
In listings, 89% of buyers cite photos as a very important listing feature. Use a good camera; hire a photographer. If your photos are uninspiring, your listing will be too, no matter how great the writing is.
In the end, take your time with property listings. They’re the first touchpoint you have with potential buyers and your only chance to make a first impression. Spend the time here working in the home’s unique features. And, proofread at the end to make sure your grammar is correct. The time you’ve invested may just land you your next client, sale, or referral, and it will serve as a building block for your brand and your business.