How to Write a Real Estate Listing Description (Like a Pro)

How to Write a Real Estate Listing Description (Like a Pro)

When you’re looking to list a property, you want to make sure that you’re highlighting all of its best features. After all, you want potential buyers to see all that your property has to offer!

So, how do you write real estate listing descriptions that sell and do your property justice?

Here are a few tips and examples of real estate listing descriptions:

1. Start by writing a great headline

When writing real estate copy, you need to create a headline that quickly and clearly demonstrates what your property offers, and is needs to grab your reader’s attention.

Keep your headlines short and punchy. Do your best to highlight at least one of the home’s main benefits and/or its location. On the other hand, your opening statement should be a strong first sentence that’s meant to showcase any additional key features that you were unable to fit into the headline.

For instance, you might use the following:

Headline: Rare Find! Fully updated single-family in the heart of the city

Opening statement: This unique two-story gem features an updated kitchen and bathrooms, as well as a spacious master bedroom suite.

2. Use strong, active language throughout the listing         

In order to craft the best real estate listing descriptions for your properties, focus on using active language. Instead of saying, “this house has a beautiful garden,” try, “this house boasts a stunning garden.”

Here are some additional examples for how to write a good real estate listing focusing on active voice:

  • Avoid passive voice: Passive language can make your listing sound boring and less effective. Try to use active voice as much as possible. For example:
    Passive: Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances can be found in the kitchen.
    Active: The kitchen boasts granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.
    Passive: Stunning views of the city skyline can be seen from the master bedroom.
    Active: The master bedroom offers stunning views of the city skyline.
  • Be specific: Generalizations can make your listing sound vague and uninteresting. Be specific about the features and amenities of the property.
  • Use descriptive adjectives: Choose adjectives that evoke strong emotions and sensations. For example, instead of saying, “this house has a nice view,” try, “this house offers a breathtaking panoramic view.”
  • Highlight unique features: Emphasize the unique features and qualities of your property that make it stand out from the competition. Does your property have a spectacular view, custom-built features, or an amazing location? Highlight these aspects in your descriptions and photos to make your property stand out.

Consider the following example of how this process might work:

Through the front door is the sun-drenched entry foyer with its second-story palladian window. Just down the hall sits the newly-renovated eat-in kitchen, featuring stainless steel appliances and an ample center island, which offers plenty of entertaining space. Move seamlessly from the kitchen into the open-concept great room…

The truth is that not all of your listings are going to be newly-renovated homes or luxury condos, which naturally lend themselves to being described by a host of positive adjectives. Some listings are going to need more TLC, but research suggests that you shouldn’t say that in your description.

In the book Zillow Talk: Rewriting the Rules of Real Estate, the company shared some of its data on listing descriptions. One surprising finding was that the words used in descriptions seemed to have an impact on how much money potential buyers offered for the home. As an example, listings labeled as a “fixer” tended to sell for 11.1% less than expected. Additionally, listings described as having “potential” sold for 4.3% less than expected.

That said, you still want to do your best to paint an accurate picture of the home. Be careful with the various connotations of the words you use. To that end, it doesn’t make sense to call a kitchen “fully renovated” if all the homeowners did was get a new appliance package and update the countertops. In that case, the word “upgraded” might be a better choice.

3. Provide plenty of photos and videos

For a truly effective real estate listing, match your listing with great photos. If possible, offer a virtual walk-through of your home, so potential buyers can envision themselves in the space, and be sure to show off the unique features that make your property special.

Here are some tips to take great photos and videos for your real estate listings:

  • Use good lighting: Natural light is the best, so try to schedule your shoot for a time when the sun is shining bright.
  • Declutter the space: Remove any personal or unnecessary items from the scene of the photo. This will allow the potential buyers to focus on the space itself.
  • Use a wide-angle lens: This will help capture a wider view of the room, making it look more spacious and inviting.
  • Show the best features: Highlight the best features of the property in the photos. This could be a beautiful view or a unique architectural element.
  • Take multiple shots: Take multiple shots in different angles and lighting to capture the space from all perspectives.
  • Edit the photos: Make sure to edit the photos to enhance the colors, brighten any dark areas, and crop out unwanted elements.
  • Hire a professional: Consider hiring a professional photographer to take photos of the property. They have the experience and equipment to capture the space in the best possible way.

4. Make sure to follow the Fair Housing Act

One thing that you want to be absolutely certain of before you publish your listing description is that nothing you’ve said violates the Fair Housing Act. The act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.

While no one aims to be outrightly discriminatory in their listing descriptions, sometimes a seemingly innocuous phrase does break the rules. Take the single home we’ve been describing throughout the course of this article, for example. While the home likely has multiple bedrooms, it’s not okay to describe it as “a home that’s perfect for a growing family.”

If you’re unsure about whether something you’ve said in your description follows the provisions in the act, feel free to reach out to your broker or another mentor for clarification. In this case, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

5. End with a sense of urgency

The last step of writing real estate listing descriptions is to craft an effective call to action. A call to action is an invitation for the reader to take the next step. It’s used often in marketing and advertising to sell products.

Use words and phrases that create a sense of urgency and encourage potential buyers to act quickly.

However, in real estate copy, rather than trying to convince people to make an offer on the home directly, your best course of action will likely be to try and encourage the reader to schedule a showing.

  • Use phrases such as “must sell,” “urgent sale,” or “price reduced for a quick sale” to create a sense of urgency.
  • Offer incentives such as a free warranty, bonus room, or appliance. This will help create an atmosphere of urgency as the buyers may feel that the deal is too good to be true, and someone else might snatch it before them.
  • Highlight that the property is unique and in high demand. Draw attention to how many buyers have already shown interest, how many viewings are booked, and how few similar properties are available. This establishes a sense of scarcity.
  • Use deadlines to generate high demand for your property. For example, you could advertise the end of the tax year or the end of a mortgage deal as a deadline after which the house will be taken off the market.
  • Having a strategic price can create urgency. Having a low price could make buyers think that the deal will end up fast, or a higher price will show that the property is valuable and is ripe for investment.

The bottom line on how to write a real estate listing description that sells

Overall the key to real estate writing is to tap into the emotions of your target audience and approach them in ways that convert your leads into sales.

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