One of the best ways to sell something is to take a picture of it. Likely, the first thing that will attract people to your listing description is photos of your home. People will come for the picture but stay for the description.
The listing description is arguably the most important part of real estate Ads. The primary goal is to tell people what you’re selling, but a well-written one will make potential buyers seriously consider purchasing your property.
But what exactly is a real estate listing, and why is it important that it be well written? Surely a simple description of your home will be enough to bring in buyers? As it turns out home listings genuinely help sell property.
Regardless of how you’re selling your home, there are a few things you should know when putting together your property description. Here are some helpful tips for writing a fantastic listing description.
What Is A Listing Description?
A real estate listing description is an advert for when people put a home on the market. The point of a listing description is to entice people into looking at and potentially purchasing your home.
There are two key components of a listing description: the photo and the description. While the pictures should clearly display your home and its features, the description tells people what features to expect in the home.
Why Is Writing a Good Description Important?
In 2018, a survey reported that approximately 98% looked online to purchase their homes. People can do most business from the comfort of home nowadays. A great listing can mitigate the lack of physical presence.
Having an accurate description can still help buyers decide what property they want without being there. But, a lot goes into ensuring buyers have enough information to work with to decide what home they want.
What Does It Take To Write a Great Listing?
By this point, you know you’ll have to put in a bit of work to come up with an eye-catching property listing. But what exactly does writing a good listing entail? Here are the components to writing a great listing:
- High-quality photos
- Proper formatting
- Creative descriptions for the house’s best features
- Avoiding “red flag” words
- Call attention to upgrades, unique characteristics, and brands
- Consider talking about nearby attractions (like parks or stores)
- Make sure your description is properly edited
Think of writing your real estate listing description as putting together an essay. Ideally, you’d want to aim for an A+ on this assignment. You want this essay to be interesting, factual, and well put together.
Use High-Quality Photos
Technically, the quality of your real estate listing photos doesn’t count as “writing,” but it is a large part of real estate Ads. Pixelated, small grainy photos look unprofessional and may put tech-savvy prospective buyers off.
There’s also the pragmatic perspective to consider – low-quality photos are harder to see. People won’t be able to make out what you’re attempting to sell. Bad photos can completely ruin even the best listing description.
What’s Involved in Formatting a Property Description?
Formatting is the primary thing to keep in mind when writing the description. Proper formatting is necessary because it helps streamline your writing and helps clearly present your home’s best features.
First off, your entire description shouldn’t be more than 250 words. Most local multiple listing services (MLS) and other online marketplaces don’t allow long, wordy descriptions.
There’s also the matter that most buyers aren’t likely to read long descriptions. Try to aim for the full 250 words and always include your headline in the word count.
Some websites will have a dedicated space for you to write your headline. Other sites might arrange things where the headline is the first line of text of your description.
Make Your Headline Interesting
The headline is the second thing people will see when looking up listing descriptions. Your headline should be short and succinctly describe your property. Make sure to focus on a location-specific benefit.
Working with agents offers certain advantages like guidance on popular attractions in your neighborhood. A good headline would be House in Garden City: “Charming Tudor-style home in quiet child-friendly neighborhood”
The general format a headline should follow is the type of home and location, followed by a short description of the home and the community or notable neighborhood feature. This should be enough to attract potential buyers.
Think Up Your Opening Statement
The first line of the listing description should correlate with the photo and headline. Any opening statement you write must tell viewers what they’re looking at and talk about further details you couldn’t put in the headline.
Something like, “This large, old-style home features lovely masonry work and a fenced-off backyard.” Talk about attributes that may attract shoppers to the home. Here are a few features that are likely to bring in buyers:
- Double garages
- Private outdoor spaces
- Mountain or city skyline views
- Nearby transportation options
- Lakeside property
- Great curb appeal
- Mother-in-law suites
- Plenty of options to expand
It helps to understand what shoppers are looking for in their potential homes. People like to have their money’s worth, after all. This is another area where a real estate agent can help; they’ll know what buyers want.
Describe Your Home’s Main Features
With your “title” and “opening statement” out of the way, it’s time to write the rest of your essay. Here’s is where you’ll flesh out the remainder of your 250-word count. Now you can talk about the property’s major features.
Things like the number of bedrooms and baths, square footage, location, renovations, lot size belong in the body of the listing description. However, you should not write up a list of rooms and repairs made.
A truly fantastic description will require you to flex your descriptive skills. If you want to hook readers, you’ll have to use rousing and exciting language. Right now, you’re writing an ad, and you want people to buy your product.
Would-be buyers should want to schedule a tour or contact you for further questions about the property. Your main aim is to make people want to know more about the home that they can’t figure out from an online ad.
Consider Offering Promotional Offers
You don’t have to give special promos to whoever’s looking to purchase your home. The prospect of additional perks for buying your property may entice people to buy more quickly. There are a few incentives you can offer.
- Close date flexibility: You can offer quicker or longer closes to buyers
- Credit closing costs: The option to pay some a buyers closing costs
- Home Warranty: Buy a home warranty for a buyer
- Seller financing: Offer to serve as buyer’s bank
Some of these options require you to provide money as an enticement or assume financial risk. Seller financing, for example, can end up with the buyer defaulting, but it does make your home available to more buyers.
Conclude Your Listing With a Call to Action
A call to action (CTA) is exactly what it says. CTAs are closing lines that inform buyers of their next action. In your case, you want the buyer to come to look at the home.
Something like, “This home won’t be here for long! Schedule your tour today!” will work just fine. Convince your potential buyers that checking out the house is something they should seriously consider.
How to Write An Enticing Real Estate Listing
It can be hard to convey thoughts through words alone. While your photos should help attract buyers to your property, you still have to describe what you’re showing. A good real estate listing is both show and tell.
Know What Buzzwords to Use
One trick to putting together amazing home listings is using buzzwords. You have to know what words will make people want to buy your property. Here are a few buzzwords that can make your listing stand out.
- Hardwood flooring
- Open floor plan
- Wood (name specific types like reclaimed, oak, or pine)
- Masonry (slate, flagstone, slate)
- Countertop materials (soapstone, marble, granite)
Some buzzwords – like “renovated” and “upgraded” tell people that the home has new, trendy features that won’t show wear from the previous owners. Other words like “move-in ready” are something many want in their homes.
There will be people who don’t want the hassle of having to furnish or repair their new houses. At the same time, hardwood flooring is always a popular choice for people.
Try to focus on words that detail desired features like adjectives that describe enhanced lighting. For example, “Light pours into the living rooms’ sliding glass doors.” draws attention to how well lit the living room is.
A heavy focus on house materials, newly added features, value, and green features help bring in potential buyers. Write things people appreciate and would want in their homes – but always be honest, don’t falsely advertise.
Know What Words to Avoid
There are two sides to the art of buzzwords. Just like there are specific words that can sell a home, some make people avoid homes. If it helps, think of these terms as anti-buzzwords – words people don’t find attractive.
- Fixer-upper (or fixer)
- TLC (tender loving care)
The term fixer has the negative connotation that a buyer will have to work to make their new home comfortable. If you’re not explicitly selling a home as a flip or fixer-upper, you should avoid mentioning this word.
Six of these words generally imply that the home will either require a lot of effort to repair or that it’s not suitable for immediate service, so to speak. People want to be able to move in and settle down.
“Bargain” may imply that there’s something wrong with the house that you’re not properly advertising. It can erode trust in the seller and in the house itself.
While “nice” isn’t a terrible adjective, it’s not very objective. Nice could mean that the home has a layout from as far back as the 60s. While you may find this nice, others may not.
Try to keep away from fluff also. A general rule of thumb is that if it doesn’t add to your point (to sell the house) or describe something in the home, don’t write it.
You can remove the number of bedrooms if you need more space to describe the special details. Things like the number of bathrooms or square footage will be elsewhere in your listing; you don’t need them in the description.
Turn Negatives Into Positives
While you want to accentuate the positive, you should also strive to be as honest as possible. Sometimes, a less-than-great feature might appear in the photos, so you’ll have to come clean about those.
It’s entirely possible to turn potentially negative features into positive ones. You could say that a small yard means that outdoor maintenance is an easy job. A smaller bedroom can become a yoga room or a home office.
While the lack of some features will put some people off, how you portray them is still important. You may be able to win some buyers over with an optimistic description.
What Are the Best Features to Advertise?
Honestly, a little bragging wouldn’t be a bad thing in your listing. It would help to list any notable brands, recent renovations, and neighborhood features. Don’t be afraid to tell people what’s great about your home.
There are quite a few features buyers are looking for in a home. Here’s a list of attractive qualities in houses and the surrounding neighborhoods:
Notable Home Features
- Smart appliances
- Double kitchen sink
- Front porch or deck
- Large living room
- Laundry room
- Ceiling fans
- Private outdoor area
- Outdoor lighting
Notable Neighborhood Features
- Exceptional schools
- Safe streets
- Closeness to stores and restaurants
- Nearby parks
- Plenty of public transportation
- Conveniently located by freeways
If you have Whirlpool, Samsung, or Bosch brands in your kitchen (or elsewhere), say so. Talk about the new cherry wood banisters you installed on the staircase. Buyers want to know about the nearby dog park.
Advertise all the energy-efficient features inside the home as well. Energy-efficient windows help cut down on heating and cooling costs. Many people would want to know about any built-in means to save money.
Solar panels or tiles can increase the value of a home, and smart thermostats make it easier to maintain energy-efficient temperatures. Take the opportunity to talk about the best parts of your property.
Avoid Discriminatory Language
1968’s Fair Housing Act (part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968) disallows discrimination during the selling or renting of housing properties across the US. Buzzwords are fine, but you can’t use discriminatory language.
There are seven protected classes that you cannot show bias toward. Religion, race, color, gender, disability, familial status, or national origin should have no basis on who you sell or promote your property to.
Something like “Great neighborhood for young families.” won’t work in your listing description. There isn’t a specified list of words or phrases you can’t use, but here are some phrases to keep away from.
- Traditional neighborhood
- Country club
If you’re unsure of what you can’t say, remember this: if it sounds exclusionary or specific to a certain group – don’t write it. However, there are ways to mention traits like “family-friendly.”
Describe how close your property is to playgrounds or talk about festivals held in the area. You can describe family activities to imply that the neighborhood is safe for children.
If you’re trying to get across that young homeowners may want to live in the community, mention the nightlife or job abundance. You’re painting a picture of your previous home that seems communal but addresses buyers’ desires.
Best Practices for Writing Property Listings
There are some general tips to keep in mind when writing your real estate property listing. When putting a home on the market, you want to appear as professional as possible. Below are a few practices to consider.
Take Advantage of Your Word Count
You have 250 words, and the best thing to do is make them all count. Homes with longer listings will attract more buyers. People are looking for somewhere to live, so they’ll want as much detail as possible.
Any extra words you can squeeze in will provide as much information for them to make an informed decision. Some sites will let you write more than 250 words but try not to take advantage of that opportunity.
An over-stuffed property listing can come off as rambling and having nothing of value to say. A few words over 250 is fine, but try to stay this generally recommended word count.
Proofread Your Property Listing
Misspelled words and improper punctuation won’t endear buyers to your listing. A poorly edited description looks unprofessional, sloppy, and indicates that you don’t care about the listing.
Buyers will return the seeming lack of care by skipping over your listing regardless of what features you list. At worst, your ad may appear to be a scam if it contains too many mistakes.
Seek a Second Opinion
You’re selling the home that you’ve probably lived in for quite some time. It makes sense that you’d be a little biased. After writing your listing, ask someone familiar with your home to review your description.
A second opinion can help you identify the proper value of what’s in your home and identify its best features. Once you review the listing, rewrite it as required for accuracy’s sake.
Don’t Falsely Advertise Features
There’s a difference between highlighting your home’s best features and false advertising. For example, Don’t talk about a renovation you’ve got in the works if you haven’t completed it by the time of closing.
You’re technically advertising something that the buyer won’t have access to. If your home is on the smaller side, don’t say, “The home is expansive.” If you’ve written your description well, you won’t need to lie.
Stay Away From All Caps
When writing on the internet, it’s a rule that you don’t use all caps. Caps lock can make it seem as though you’re yelling at buyers. A listing description should be succinct; you’ll draw attention to features just by having them.
Don’t make the street address a mystery. People want to know where they’ll potentially be living. It also helps buyers easily locate the home if they’re interested in coming to view it.
Tell people the neighborhood the property is in and if they’re buying a co-op or condo. Addresses should be in the first line of the listing. If you’re able, end the description with the home’s address.
Try to keep away from real estate jargon, also. You don’t want to confuse people with terms the layperson may not understand. Make the description as simple and straightforward as possible.
Are You Putting a Home on the Market?
Are you looking to put a home on the market? If so, you need to know how to write a proper listing description. The point of the listing is to make people interested in purchasing your property.
You have to list all the best features of your home and the surrounding neighborhood. If you’ve got energy-efficient windows or nearby parks, say so. Always remember to include a call to action and to edit your listing.
Dean Miller Real Estate can assist with your real estate needs. If you’re looking to buy or sell Long Island property, contact us for assistance.