Tips for Writing Listing Descriptions Like a Pro
Listing descriptions are a necessary marketing tool in real estate. However, that doesn’t mean that they are easy to create. To that end, we’ve brought you five tips to help you write your next listing description like a pro. Read them over so that you have a better idea of what to do next time you have a listing up for sale.
1. Write a headline and opening statement that stands out
Put simply, your headline and your opening statement are what will keep people reading your listing description. With that in mind, you’ll want to make sure that these components are well-crafted.
Where headlines are concerned, keep them short and 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: Don’t miss this updated single-family home located just minutes from downtown
Opening statement: This two-story home features an updated kitchen and bathrooms, as well as a spacious master bedroom suite.
2. Use words to walk the buyer through the property
After you’ve crafted an attention-getting opening statement, the next step is to create a listing description that essentially uses words to take the buyer on a tour of the property. Consider the following example for 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…
Keep in mind that when you’re writing, you’ll want to try your best to match up the order of your listing photos with the way the rooms are ordered in your description. In all, you’ll want the experience of reading your listing description to be as close to the experience of walking through the property as possible.
3. Keep your description realistic, but avoid words with negative connotations
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.
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 out-rightly 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 call to action
The last step of writing a listing description 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.
However, in real estate, 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.
In this instance, you might say:
Call today to schedule a showing. This well-maintained home won’t be on the market long!