Few things in real estate are as important as your real estate listings.
Even if you’re in a hot market, it’s vital that you have a detailed, compelling listing.
You only have a few minutes to capture someone’s attention — and you need to write to both potential buyers and other real estate professionals.
Today, we’re going to take a deep look into how to write a real estate listing, including tips for making your real estate listings stand out.
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The Right Structure for Real Estate Listing Descriptions
A real estate listing description should (generally) be formatted as follows:
- A strong introduction.
- A brief summary of the property.
- A description of each room.
- A strong call-to-action.
Once you have your template down, you really don’t need to deviate from it.
Begin with a strong introduction and headline. Your headline should be a full sentence about the property’s strongest selling points.
Follow up with a summary of the property. This should be a single paragraph of about 60 words. This should cover all the points that you’ll discuss below.
Now, write about 150 to 200 words about the property itself, room by room, featuring anything that you find particularly alluring or unique.
Finally, close with what the potential buyer should do next: call your phone number or email you.
Your listing should take a buyer on a journey through the property from start to finish. It should also be very clear about what buyers should do next to find out more.
As you can see, the goal is to front-load all the most important aspects of the property. Each subsequent paragraph pulls the reader further in and gives them more information — but they should know what the property is about within the first paragraph.
Tell a Story and Be Evocative
If you’ve looked at a lot of property listings (which, as a real estate agent, you have), you know that a lot of them are almost alarmingly dry. But they don’t have to be.
Whether you’re writing for your real estate website or your real estate listings, you should be as evocative as possible. Try to get the buyer to imagine themselves in the property.
“When you look out the backdoor…” and other such introductions can help ground people and spur on their imagination.
A copywriter often writes to what’s called a “buyer persona.” That’s a specific person that would fall within their audience, such as a mid-30s couple with 2 children trying to buy a townhome, or a 28-year-old working professional buying a suburban property.
Create buyer personas when you develop each listing; it’ll help you write on a more personal level toward the individuals reading. At the same time…
Always Remember the Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act means that you cannot discriminate against people for race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, or family status.
Of course, you’d never dream of doing so. But this also means that, in practice, you shouldn’t slip into any language that calls attention to any of these things.
Don’t say something like “perfect for a family” or “a great house for a bachelor.” Even things like “exclusive” could raise red flags, as it could indicate that you’re discriminating based on one of the listed factors.
The Fair Housing Act doesn’t actually make it illegal to describe a house as “a great family home.” But what it does do is make it possible for a prospective buyer to sue you for discrimination if they don’t get the property and they don’t meet any of the criteria you mentioned.
It’s not worth it.
(Likewise, keep these things in mind when you’re running an open house. While you may want to be effusive to a new couple with a young child about how perfect the house is for a family, these things can be misinterpreted by those who overhear them.)
Tips for Writing a Real Estate Listing
Let’s take a look at what works and what doesn’t work when writing a real estate listing. At its core, a real estate listing is really ad copy. You have to be very clear with your description examples, as well as featuring things like square footage.
Writing the Best Headlines
- Make sure your headline is strong. Your headline should always reference at least one of the major, important features of the property. What is it that comes to mind when you think about the house? If you had to describe it in just a few words, which words would you use?
- Use descriptive words — but don’t mislead. It’s worth it to get buyers who are truly interested in the property. If there are negatives about the property, be upfront. You want to draw people in with the property’s assets; but you don’t want to waste your time with those who aren’t going to be interested in its negatives.
Creating a Compelling Description
- Keep descriptions short and sweet. While your entire post should be around 250 words, it should all be content rather than fluff. Keep your sentences short and your paragraphs down to two or three sentences. The longer the description, the less likely anyone is to read it.
- Don’t use “buzzwords” like “handyman special.” Be careful about your word choices. In the old days, a buyer might just look at a few listings. Today, they’re more likely to look at dozens. If you have tons of cliches in your home description, they will notice and the description will feel inauthentic. Everyone today knows that “cozy” in an MLS description means small, especially other real estate agents.
- Focus on the most unique aspects. As you write your real estate listing, make sure you hit upon all the unique aspects of the property. Does it have a great workshop in the back? Access to a pond? Does it have a brand new pool? Tree house? Everything matters.
- Don’t forget about the neighborhood. Many people purchase a property because of the neighborhood. Attract your home buying audience by including a description of the neighborhood in your real estate description.
- Avoid basic information. The square footage of the property, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and even the size of the lot will all be covered elsewhere in the listing. You don’t have to include this information in the text. When you can, avoid repeating yourself… unless there’s something that really needs to be seen.
Look At Your Analytics
- Pay attention to your listings that perform the best. Keep track of the listings that get a lot of hits. It could be that the property is simply more desirable. But it could also be that your description for that property was the best.
- Add updates if necessary. As you schedule things like open houses, make sure to update your listings and let them know. If buyer financing falls through and a property hits the market again, add a note to say that the financing has fallen through. if the sale is pending but not assured, add a note to that effect.
- Consider adding video. If your listing is going on Facebook, Craigslist, or another similar venue, consider adding video. Even a silent video walkthrough of a property can be enough to ensure that the listing stands out among the rest.
- Look at the competition. Just like you’re looking at comparables, look at what other buyers and what other buyer agents are looking at. Are they seeing a lot of the same lingo? If you’re selling something in a neighborhood that has a lot of product moving, what distinguishes your house from the others?
A good real estate listing can move a property from the “don’t check” pile to the “arrange a showing” pile. Today, a lot of buyers are looking at a lot of properties, and many of them are looking at listings online. If you’re not able to differentiate your house from any other house, they may just ignore you.
Real Estate Listings and Photographs
A picture is worth a thousand words. It’s true. And luckily a lot of agents are better at taking photos than they are at having to write advertising copy.
Most buyers are going to look at the photos first. After that, they’re going to look to the listing to clarify things they may have missed. Your real estate ad is nothing without great, professional photographs.
Consider purchasing some photography equipment if you generally take your photos yourself. A home buyer is going to decide whether they want to look at a property primarily based on those photos.
As a bonus, you can post the best photos on social media to bring in additional customers. Consider sharing your house listings and real estate ads throughout your social media accounts for further engagement.
Performing a Comparative Market Analysis
If you’re still stuck on how to tackle a real estate listing, consider performing your own little comparative market analysis. Take a deeper look into how other, similar properties are being described.
Not only will you get ideas from these related articles, but you’ll also see what other prospective buyers are seeing. Based on the other descriptions, you can figure out what’s lacking and what a buyer might be interested in.
Over time, you’re going to start to see trends in how real estate listings are being depicted in your area. That makes sense. There are top agents in every area and they have their own unique style.
Don’t get too caught up in flash and trends. The ultimate truth is that a house should sell itself (especially in the current market). Focus on letting the property shine rather than getting bogged down in flowery language or linguistic tricks.
Decades ago, you only had a few options. There was the multiple listing service, the local newspaper’s property listing page, and bulletin boards. Most real estate listing descriptions were extremely short and to the point.
Today, you could be posting your listing anywhere from Zillow to Craigslist. Write a lengthy, informative real estate listing but modify it for each venue. For instance, you want to make sure that the most important information always appears “above the fold” (before a website’s “read more” button).
Listings should also be posted on your own social media accounts and your website, to further increase engagement. Even if you haven’t built up a significant following yet, listings can be shared via hashtags and engaged via comments.
Sounds exhausting? A lot of platforms built for real estate agents today will push content to all your accounts, so you don’t have to manage it all manually. Consider getting with a marketing company or purchasing a web platform that will help you automate some of the work.
Finally: Keep It Simple
Even though you should be evocative and careful with your word choices, you should avoid making your listing any longer than it really has to be.
Choose each word carefully—and cut out any words that aren’t necessary.
When it comes to marketing copy, you only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention. If you meander, they’re just going to close the listing.
In the old days, realtors had only a few words to work with at the back of a newspaper. Today, you could write an entire thesis on the property if you wanted to… but you shouldn’t.
How to Write a Real Estate Listing That Captures Buyers
Copywriting is a very specific skill, but it’s one that a real estate professional will develop over time. Just as your real estate website and your other real estate marketing, you have to choose the right words to draw buyers in and get them to commit.
A good real estate agent should be able to write an evocative property description that will get a buyer to call in. From there, the open house or showing should be able to sell the property.
But like most real estate skills, it doesn’t happen overnight. You may need some practice before you start developing real estate listings that effortlessly capture buyers.
Until then, you can take a look at some examples of real estate listings to learn more.
How do you write a listing that pops?
It’s important to showcase your properties through creative real estate listings. Take high-quality photos, write a detailed listing of at least 250 words, and make sure that every feature (such as hardwood floors or marble countertops) is covered.
How would you describe a luxurious home?
There are a few things associated with luxurious homes: hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and bonus rooms. If you’re describing a luxurious home, make sure that you highlight the most luxurious amenities, such as chandeliers.
How do you write a good description of a real estate listing?
Make a list of the “pros” (best features) and “cons” (worst features) of the real estate listing. Make sure that all your pros are covered in a single paragraph at the very beginning of the listing. Expand on these elements throughout the listing and close with a brief review of the cons.
What is the right length of a real estate listing?
A real estate listing should be around 250 to 300 words, but the most important information should be in the first 60. A lot of potential buyers aren’t going to get past the first 60 words, so you don’t want important information to get hidden.
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