We’re real estate agents and brokers… not creative writers. How do we write engaging, effective listings that read like invitations, not pleas? The great news is that although writing listings can seem daunting, there are simple and fail-proof guidelines—what we call “listing laws”—that can instantly up the ante on the marketability of your listing copy. We’ll help you navigate some chief ways to write clearly and enticingly enough to boost interest in your properties… and get them sold!
Listing Law #1: Hook them with the Headline
First impressions pack a punch. Fair or not, headlines can be make it or break it. It’s been proven over and over that most potential buyers judge listings based on pictures and price. Your headline, therefore, may be the only copy buyers read. Thus, it needs to speak quickly and powerfully to your target audience. One way to approach the headline is to brainstorm by listing all of the property’s features and amenities, then listing adjectives you’d use to describe the property. Pick the most prominent feature and/or amenity, paired with your descriptive adjective, and this gives you a start. Next, turn the facts you’ve listed into a descriptive image. Below are examples of features, amenities, and adjectives, followed by eye-grabbing headlines:
Description: Newly renovated, upgraded kitchen, modern, urban, trendy
Headline: $40,000 Kitchen and Bath Renovations Mean Trend-setting Modern Style and Easy Home-Cooked Meals
Description: Stunning ocean views, open floorplan, roomy, quiet, peaceful
Headline: Stunning Ocean View Guarantees Rest and Relaxation in this Roomy 5-Bedroom
Description: Designer fixtures, smart appliances, posh neighborhood, luxurious, elegant
Headline: Architect-Designed Fixtures and Appliances Lend Additional Elegance to Posh Neighborhood
Listing Law #2: Only the Best… Leave the Rest
Your listing needs to cram in as much powerful description in as few words as possible. You only have so much room, so a little must go a long way. Thus, make sure that every word you use counts. If you call the house “spacious,” there’s no need to later call it “roomy,” “large,” or list the square footage (which will be listed many other places beside the description). Instead of saying “surrounded by beautiful, lush greenery,” why not say “garden view”? Also, if the home has a home office, a Viking stovetop, smart appliances, and a renovated Master bedroom, these are worth mentioning. If, however, the house has a fireplace, a two-car garage, or tiled bathrooms, these things are hardly worth wasting listing space. Remember: the description is the place to pitch your property. Only highlight the unique or brand-name features of a home. Leave the rest for the showing.
Listing Law #3: Be Honest and Turn the Disadvantages into Advantages
Never, never, never lie about a listing. Honesty is the best policy. In fact, it’s so critical that we might even recommend listing any primary drawbacks of the property in your listing as well—provided, of course, that you present them with humor and in the best possible light. For example, if the house is known to be in an extremely high-crime area, including “Combat crime with updated, smart security systems” would be ideal to list. Or, if the property is close to the highway, a listing might include, “Direct and easy access to travel for work and leisure.” Don’t hide flaws. However, do point out how you can either mitigate, combat, or use flaws to the buyers’ advantage. A final example: if the house you list has a tiny third bedroom, list it as a small space but point out the opportunity for a home office or single-person guest suite.
Listing Law #4: Consider Your Diction
Because you have such limited space, your diction—or word choice—is critical. Words such as “beautiful” or “very” or “clean” simply don’t conjure the same picture as “stunning,” “superior,” or “immaculate.” Descriptive imagery, active verbs, and impactful adjectives are the order of the day for garnering interest. It’s worth the extra time it takes to think of the most fitting word.
Listing Law #5: Consider Your Closing Remarks
Many surveys have revealed that potential buyers often remember only the last thing they see or read. Thus, your closing description in a listing can be as lasting and meaningful an impression as your headlight. Use your final descriptions to remind buyers of what the property has to offer them—the more personal and specific, the better! An example of an impressive closing remark would be: “Come and experience for yourself the calming effect of a lakeside view.”
Listing Law #6: Be Specific
Never waste space on the nuts and bolts of a listing. There are places reserved in a listing for the number of square feet, bedrooms, and the price; there’s no need to waste the body of your description on these nuts and bolts! Also, the little things matter. You never know what will make buyers’ socks roll up and down. If you’ve got a Nest thermostat or a SubZero fridge, don’t be afraid to list them. If you have a permanent Tiffany fixture of an impressionist mural in your pool-house, the listing is the place for that. If you have a tankless water heater or a flat-top stove, again… these “little” details may generate big-time interest and set your place apart from the rest.
Listing Law #7: Consider Your Target Audience
If you have a spacious home, you may not be targeting empty nesters. Thus, there’s no need to mention the senior citizen amenities located near the property. Likewise, you may not advertise a house with two bedrooms to a family of 6+. However, you may want to mention your proximity to hospitals, dog parks, and restaurants, as all ages and walks of life could potentially use these amenities. While you’re considering audience, make sure that your listing doesn’t discriminate against any party!
Listing Law #8: Proofread
No matter what you write, your listing will get no respect if it’s loaded with grammatical and spelling errors. Proofread thoroughly before publishing your listing! Have another pair of eyes go over your copy as well. It’s easy not to catch your own errors. Having a clean, correct listing will ensure you seem professional and polished.