listing real estate industry real estate business

Writing Property Listings That Get Buyers in the Door

By Laurie McDonnell on March 19, 2019
Laurie McDonnell

Prospective home buyers take 10 weeks to pick a property and typically look at a median of 10 homes before making a decision, according to NAR research. These findings could suggest that sellers’ agents have plenty of time and opportunity to impress a buyer and close the deal. But the numbers also show that buyers have plenty of options and patience—and if a property doesn’t impress them, they won’t hesitate to try finding one that does.

Therefore, getting buyers to come see a home becomes critical. The property listing description, whether online or on a flier, is often the first time a prospect is exposed to what a house has to offer. A great description intrigues buyers into wanting to learn more. A so-so description may cause them to move on to something else that better strikes their fancy.

Writing an effective property description sometimes is more an art than a science. It requires creativity, strategy, and effort. Here are some tips for writing property listing descriptions that sell homes.

Know the Audience

In theory, everyone who reads your property listing is the audience, but the target market most likely to be intrigued by your listing is the buyers you’ll be writing directly to. Terms such as quaint, cozy, value, and charming may appeal to people looking for something affordable or small. Spacious and expansive imply more square footage and a higher price. Luxurious, elegant, and stately are often associated with a high-end property and stand out with wealthier buyers. As you write a property listing description, think about how the target market will react to each word.

Grab Their Attention

From the start of the description, you want the reader’s eyes to pop out at terms, features, and suggestions that will inspire them to keep reading. Start with your headline—this is your main pitch to grab the reader’s attention, so use the strongest, most direct, most captivating language possible. If you can get specific without being boring, do so. For example, “Luxury Condo with Stunning Lake Views” will stand out more than “Condo Overlooking Lake.”

After your headline, continue to pile on the outstanding features of the listing early and often. Be sure to emphasize things all buyers want to know about, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, finished basements, upgrades and updates, the neighborhood, and so on. A bulleted list of the top features is great for readers to instantly scan and, hopefully, be impressed by. Don’t hold back about why a buyer should be interested in the property.

Be Carefully Descriptive

Your property listing should paint a picture of the home you are attempting to sell, and you’re encouraged to gush about its features and go a little overboard with your adjectives. However, be careful not to go too overboard. If a listing sounds too good to be true, a buyer will be sorely disappointed when they find out it is. Accuracy is essential to your listing; if you say the whole house has been repainted, the whole house better have been repainted, because if buyers discover something inaccurate (even if the inaccuracy was unintentional), they might think you are being dishonest about other aspects of the property.

Also, be careful you aren’t giving the wrong impression with your word choices. For example, a great value might imply cheap and give buyers ammunition to lowball their offer. A fixer-upper might lead someone to believe the house is falling apart, and a mansion may summon a false image of Wayne Manor. Be positive and effusive with your description, but don’t include anything that gives the wrong impression.

Pick Powerful Pictures

If your description is impactful, prospective buyers will want to learn more. Give them that information with a good selection of accompanying pictures that specifically show off the highlights and features you’ve written about. If you mention a hot tub on a beautiful porch, include a photo of it, perhaps at sunset, with the water gurgling—as opposed to an unimaginative picture with the lid closed on cloudy day. If you brag about the natural light in the kitchen, include a pic of the sunny room in all its glory. Between powerful words and appealing pictures, you create an environment that readers can immerse themselves in, as well as a home they can imagine themselves loving.

No Errors

The next tip is a bit technical: Thoroughly edit your listing twice before submitting, posting, or printing it. Misspellings, bad grammar, and unfortunate typos can overshadow all the good stuff in your property listing and cause readers to think you are a careless agent. Write your listing, then edit, then revise, then edit again. A strategy professional copy editors sometimes use is to slowly read your copy out loud, which is a great way to catch extraneous and missing words. If you don’t trust your editing abilities, ask someone else to take a look at your listing. Finally, if you do catch an error after a listing has already been posted online, fix it immediately.

Make Writing a Priority

Our last key to writing property listing descriptions that get buyers in the door is to prioritize the writing process. If you view this as a task, that’s all it will be—something you need to do because it’s required, but without any passion or creativity. Potential leads will see that apathy in the listing and think “meh,” even if it’s the perfect home for them.

Look at the process this way: If this was your own house that you had loved for years and wanted to find a great owner to buy (at your asking price, of course), you likely would put a good amount of effort into writing the perfect listing. Approach your clients’ homes the same way, and you’ll create descriptions brimming with detail, information, salesmanship, and pride—and that’s the kind of listing that sells homes.

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