There were 692,000 properties listed on Rightmove in 2021. That’s 692,000 other listings competing with yours to get buyers clicking. For your real estate listing to stand out on these crowded online property portals, you need to work some serious copywriting magic.
Sure, some properties just sell themselves. But not everyone is lucky enough to be tasked with finding a buyer for a swanky and sophisticated penthouse suite complete with jacuzzi.
If you’re instead trying to sell a very average two-bedroom flat in a not-particularly-remarkable city suburb, how are you going to make sure your listing stands out from the sea of other unremarkable two-bed flat listings?
Creating a compelling property listing is the first step towards getting people on the phone to book a viewing—and, later down the line, to closing a sale.
Here are our top tips for taking your real estate listings from dull and forgettable to noteworthy and exciting.
9 Ways to Elevate Your Real Estate Listings
1. Nail the headline
Your real estate listing is going to appear in a large selection of listings that all look very similar. There’s less than a second to get a buyer to notice it before they scroll on past.
So what do you do?
Create a headline that pulls them in and gives them exactly what they’re looking for.
Here are a few tips for crafting a stellar headline:
- Keep it crisp and concise. Under seven words is perfect.
- Use power words. These are words that evoke strong emotions. In real estate, particularly high-impact words include ultra-modern, upgraded, move-in-ready, exclusive, authentic, unparalleled, and
- Avoid generic and boring buzzwords like must see, lots of potential, close to everything, and
- Experiment and play around. Create a few different versions, then pick the best.
2. Get specific
Too many real estate listings rely on vague descriptions that don’t give the reader any useful information about the property. Buying a house is a huge investment. Your reader needs to know details and they need to know them ASAP.
So mention anything and everything that’s relevant and could be a selling point.
Does the house have a pond in the garden? Mention that it’s perfect for budding naturalists. Is the kitchen and dining room open-plan? That makes it a good property for those who enjoy entertaining. Perhaps there’s a treehouse. For a family with kids, this could be a real selling point.
Use numbers and figures. Rather than describing a kitchen as “vast”, talk in square feet. Give the exact date that the new boiler was put in.
And don’t just say “stone floor.” Is it sandstone, slate, or granite? What kind of oven is there? What type of shower? Mention the brand if it has name recognition.
That said, you don’t need to zero in on details if it’s something negative that will put people off. For example, you shouldn’t mention the type of dishwasher if it’s likely to need replacing within the year.
And you can highlight those features that are particularly popular at the time of writing, based on real estate trends. For example, after the pandemic, home offices and outdoor living areas are in high demand.
Finally, it goes without saying, you need to be truthful. This particularly applies to talking about the condition of the property. Only say that a house is in “immaculate condition” if it really is. People are going to visit before buying so you won’t do yourself any favours by being dishonest.
3. Turn it into a story
You want readers of your listing to use their imagination. Paint such an evocative picture of the property that they can imagine themselves living a happy and fulfilling life there.
To do this, it’s helpful to address the reader directly. For example, “You’ll love the original fireplace.” Or “When you go up the stairs, you’ll see a bay window with pleasant views of….”
Or go one step further and get them to picture themselves doing something specific in the house. “Imagine yourself coming home from a busy day at work and pouring a glass of cold wine to enjoy out on the terrace.”
Or “Picture yourself flicking on the wall-mounted flat-screen TV while the dog lounges on the hearth in front of the fireplace.”
Of course, your listing will be accompanied by photos so don’t simply list and describe every detail. Instead focus on helping your reader imagine how a space feels, not just how it looks, which they can infer from the photos. The atmosphere and ambience are something they are reliant on words for.
You also want to explain why a particular feature is a benefit to the buyer. French windows are a feature—but being able to open those windows on a summer’s day to bring the outdoors inside? That makes them ideal for garden parties or keeping an eye on the kids when they’re playing. That’s a benefit.
This means it’s important to have your target buyer in mind when writing. The kind of listing that will appeal to a young family will be very different to a property where the target buyer is a couple of pensioners.
4. Focus on originality
Anything that helps the property stand out is a bonus. People want homes with character—places that feel unique. Any features that differentiate your listing from others will add value.
High-tech products are particularly attractive at the moment. Smart home devices such as locks, lights, thermostats, and cameras are all important draws for real estate clients.
And don’t forget to mention the neighbourhood. The location of your property naturally makes it unique. If you’re targeting families, for example, mention that the property is near schools or parks, while older buyers might appreciate the proximity to grocery stores or doctor surgeries.
Is the neighbourhood full of old buildings? Mention that it is historic. Are there shops nearby? Talk about artisan bakeries and independent delicatessens. You can even describe the street itself, if it’s a peaceful tree-lined boulevard or a bustling hub of activity.
5. Ignore the boring basics
Your listing will have a section for details such as the number of bathrooms or contact information. So save the writing space in your listing for details that buyers won’t be able to find elsewhere.
6. Turn flaws into wins
One easy way to present your property in the best light is to play up the good features while quickly passing over the negatives.
Is your property falling apart? Say that it needs major renovation but then quickly focus on the brilliant location or the affordable price.
Do all the appliances need replacing? Instead, focus on the large garden full of mature trees and a vegetable patch.
Does it overlook a noisy street? You can mention this but also add that the property has a 24/7 concierge and smart locks.
7. Don’t try too hard
Buyers will be turned off if it feels like you’re exaggerating or overdoing it. So be cautious about the kind of words and tone of voice you go for.
Words such as perfect, for example, are far too subjective. Similarly, words like dazzling and spectacular are a bit too effusive. And don’t describe a view as breathtaking unless it really is. Few suburban homes are going to have a truly awe-inspiring view. Instead, stick to adjectives that actually help the reader imagine the property.
8. Pick the right words
Zillow’s study of 24,000 homes revealed that certain words are a major red flag for prospective buyers. These words and phrases include:
- Fixer or fixer-upper – most people want a move-in-ready home, not something requiring lots of work.
- TLC – top-tier homes in the study that mentioned TLC sold for 8.7% less than expected. It’s almost as bad as writing DIY-lover’s dream.
- Cosmetic – everyone knows that cosmetic updates is shorthand for ‘needs major work.’
- Investment – a home that is simply an investment is likely in poor condition.
- Potential – again, this suggests the home isn’t finished and will need lots of work.
- Bargain – let the price speak for itself rather than telling people it’s a good deal.
- Nice – this is too subjective to mean anything concrete.
Other words that put people off? Motivated seller. Stunning. And immaculate.
In addition, you want to cut out any pointless filler words such as incredibly, very, extremely, or generally. These just take up valuable space without adding anything.
The same study also revealed that some words can elevate a listing and encourage people to spend more on a home. These include:
In fact, bottom-tier homes described as “luxurious” sold for 8.2% more than expected and top-tier homes described as “captivating” sold for 6.5% more than expected.
9. Front-load the key information
Buying a new home is considered one of life’s most stressful experiences. Your readers are overwhelmed and exhausted. They don’t have a limitless attention span. So get straight to the important information.
Put the most important aspects of the property in the first paragraph. You can then go into more detail later on. Each paragraph should be just two or three sentences long. This makes it easier to digest.
Examples of Great Real Estate Listings
This description does a great job of describing a fairly average property in an engaging way. It does this by focusing on specifics. For example, “lovely south facing views” and a “Juliette balcony.” It also mentions “space to work from home” which is useful in this age of remote work. And it specifies that there is a “rainfall shower.” The only mistake this listing makes is using the word “stunning” which is over-used and a bit cliché.
This listing starts with a few bullet points picking out key features. This helps time-pressed buyers see the most important information straight away.
It then gets down to specifics, addressing its two different target buyers: “those who admire Victorian period features” and those who admire “practical, bright, and well-presented family accommodation.”
It goes into detail about the location and the nearby schools and public transport as well as mentions that the property is 1800 square feet. Other details include “double-glazed wooden sashes” and “stripped wooden floorboards.” The only mistake made in this property listing is the use of the subjective “charming” to describe the fireplace.
Another not particularly interesting property is rescued here with a listing that gets the reader to imagine themselves entertaining on the private balcony and a detailed description of the public transport options and the proximity to Westfield shopping centre.
Frequently Asked Questions About Writing Real Estate Listings
How do you write a real estate listing?
Writing a real estate listing takes time and thought. All too often people just list the features of a property without considering what their target audience is really looking for. Instead, make sure you focus on the particular and unique benefits of the property—why does a particular feature matter?
What should a listing include?
A high-performing real estate listing should include an attention-grabbing headline that includes powerful and evocative words. It should also include specific details that aren’t clear in the photographs alone. Getting the reader to imagine themselves in the property by telling a story is also very persuasive.
What are the best property words?
The best words to use in a property listing include luxurious, landscaped, and upgraded. Using specific descriptors rather than generic adjectives like nice, charming, or perfect is much more effective. Avoid well-known real-estate code words such as eclectic, which many people take to mean ‘weird’, vintage, which is associated with old-fashioned, and cosy, which everyone now knows means ‘small.’
How long should a real estate listing be?
In general, it’s good to keep your real estate listing under 300 words. That said, the most important information should be in the first sentence or two as many won’t read beyond that.
Give Your Real Estate Listings a Kick Start
From headlines to power words, writing a real estate listing that converts requires careful consideration and creative thinking. Getting regular feedback by checking analytics or surveying clients will help you understand what works and what doesn’t.
If you’re too busy doing client outreach, handling viewings and closing sales, and are struggling to invest the necessary time in creating results-focused listings, then get in touch today. Our skilled real estate copywriters know how to convey what makes a property special and help you get those sales. Find more here.
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