Real Estate Property Descriptions
If you take listings, you have to either write real estate property descriptions or have someone do it for you. They’re important, because they draw buyers and their agents to your listings. And, when they’re done well, they impress sellers who may then choose you as their listing agent.
The photos come first. However, a study done by Redfin and Grammarly stated that 87% of respondents rated property descriptions as important or very important in helping them choose which homes to view.
So take your time. Give it thought. Then write property descriptions that do their job well.
You can write better real estate property descriptions.
Begin with the knowledge that pictures may say a thousand words, but even the best pictures can’t speak of life in that home.
For that you need words, and since you’ve never lived there, finding those words can take a bit of effort.
Start by paying attention and putting yourself in a potential buyer’s shoes as you walk through the house.
What do you see that draws your attention? What do you really like? Can you imagine yourself enjoying some specific feature or features? What benefits do you see? Take notes so you’ll remember when it’s time to write the narrative.
Next, enlist help from the seller.
Asking the seller to tell you about living in the house may not get you very far – unless you ask some specific questions. Try these:
- When you purchased your house, what was the first thing that appealed to you?
- What made you decide that “This is the one?”
- Which room in the house do you use the most? Why?
- Which room is your personal favorite?
- Which window has the best view, or the best sunlight?
- What is the most attractive feature in your house?
- Does your house have little quirks or details that you especially enjoy?
- What is the most convenient thing about your house?
- What do you enjoy most about living here?
- What will you miss most if you next home doesn’t have it?
After you ask about the house, ask about the location or the neighborhood in general. Are there events and activities throughout the year? Is it part of a community that has a club house and amenities such as a pool or tennis courts? Find out!
When you use your seller’s comments to help you paint a picture of enjoying life in the home, you’ll present more than just dry facts. You’ll do what my first broker recommended: “Put the reader in the house.”
Writing the description:
You may now have more information than you can use in the space allotment, so…
Consider what would be most important to the people who are most likely to move into this neighborhood. Then use those features and benefits in your description.
For instance, if you’ve listed a 2-story home in a 55 and over community, it would be useful to note that the master bedroom is on the ground floor. If this is a community more likely to attract young families or corporate executives, the most important features will be something else entirely. Take time to give that some thought.
Once you’ve decided upon the most important features and benefits to mention, it’s time to write.
Try to begin with a benefit/feature that will draw the most interest. Aside from the number of bedrooms and baths, what might be on your likely buyer’s “must have” list? Mention that first!
When describing the house or the yard, avoid generalities and be specific.
- Instead of “pretty trees,” give the species.
- Instead of “large deck,” state the actual size.
- Instead of “great kitchen” tell what makes it great.
- Instead of “luxurious master bedroom,” describe what makes it luxurious.
- Instead of “fantastic view,” describe that view.
Any time you’re tempted to use words such as great, large, small, beautiful, pretty, etc. STOP and remember that those words mean something different to every person reading them. You might think that 10,000 square feet is a large lot, while I would see it as a postage stamp.
While you’re at it, avoid those words that make consumers make fun of real estate property descriptions and come up with disparaging definitions. You know the ones. Cute, cozy, charming, quaint, etc.
Focus on benefits, not just features.
Information from sellers will help you write real estate property descriptions that focus on the benefits of living in that house. Yes, you have to be careful to follow ADA and Fair Housing guidelines, but remember that your goal is to appeal to a buyer’s emotions. So show them how good it feels to live in that house. Include a few words that evoke emotion.
Avoid jargon, abbreviations, ALL CAPS, and excessive exclamation points.
You know what you mean by those abbreviations – but other people might not. In fact, even after years in the business myself, I can’t figure out what some agents are trying to convey with their abbreviations. Descriptions filled with abbreviations turn into garbled messes.
Aim to make your words flow, so the picture of that house, yard, and community forms in your reader’s mind.
When you are writing marketing materials of any kind, the goal should be to make the words disappear – leaving only the thoughts behind.
To please some sellers, you’ll have to include details that I consider boring.
I once wrote a property description for an agent whose clients insisted that we list the brand name of each fixture and appliance. We also had to include the name and country of origin for the (in my opinion, ugly) marble used in each bathroom. All of that could have been included in an addendum and the description would have been much more appealing – but the customer is always right. Right? This, by the way, was for a dedicated web page, not simply MLS. In other words, there were no word limits.
Take care with grammar and spelling, and proofread to catch those typos!
The study I mentioned earlier also revealed that 45% of the respondents would skip touring a house if the description was filled with spelling and grammar errors.
I know, it isn’t the house’s fault, but sloppiness in writing property descriptions could still cause your listings to remain on the market longer than necessary.
If you have trouble with grammar, get a copy of my e-book: A Grammar Guide for Real Estate Agents. Keep it handy for reference until you feel confident that you aren’t making any of the common mistakes outlined there. And in the meantime, get someone else to proofread for you before you submit a property description. (Or a blog, post, letter, etc. Grammar errors CAN hurt your income.)
As for typos: Everyone makes them, so proofread 2 or 3 times. You really don’t want to advertise that your listing has “new pain” or an “in-ground poop.”
Yes, I do write real estate property descriptions…
Not often, because most agents are happy doing it themselves. However, some do call on me to write about high-end properties, about listings that have been for sale too long and need a change, or about properties that just don’t “speak to them.” It happens. Sometimes an agent can’t think of one interesting or attractive thing to say about a listing, so they call on me.
My fee for a standard MLS description ranges from $175 to $450 depending upon the size and complexity of the house and grounds. For a multi-page website filled with photos and descriptions of the interior, exterior, and neighborhood, the fee is higher.
When you need help with a property description or any other real-estate marketing words, write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.