Writing A Stellar Listing Description
Few things in real estate are as important as your real estate listing descriptions.
Even in a seller's market, it's so important that your listing description is detailed, compelling, and accurate. You really only have a few words to grab someone's attention, and you have to entice both the potential buyers and all the other real estate professionals.
In this post you'll learn more about writing a listing description that shines, including tips to make it stand out from the rest!
What We’ll Cover
The Best Structure For Listing Descriptions
A real estate listing description should (generally) be formatted as follows:
A strong introduction.
A brief summary of the property.
A description of the best features and/or each of the rooms
A strong call-to-action.
Once you have your template down, you really don’t need to deviate from it.
Begin with a strong introduction and headline. Your headline should be a full sentence about the property’s strongest selling points. Highlight the key features of the home. You'll want to include a brief summary of the more general features of the property- a single paragraph is good.
You'll want to include more specifics about any key features, or you can briefly describe each room.
Make it clear what buyers should do to find more information about the property by including a call to action (CTA) giving them instructions to follow.
Within the first paragraph of your description buyers and Realtors should know the most important aspects and information about the property.
Consider The Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act means that you cannot discriminate against people for race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, or family status. You'd never meaningfully do this, but you should always air on the side of caution, ensuring you don't slip and use language or terminology that may construe something negative.
“it does open the door for prospective buyers to sue you for discrimination...”
This means excluding language like "Perfect for a family" or "Dream Bachelor pad". Other words like "exclusive" can even raise red flags, it may indicate some form of discrimination. While it is not illegal to describe a home as a "family home", it does open the door for prospective buyers to sue you for discrimination if they don't get the property, especially if they didn't meet any "criteria" you seemingly created.
Another time to avoid this type of language is during open houses, or even showing prospective buyers around. You would never mean to exclude anyone, but it's easy for words to be misconstrued or twisted. Protect yourself from that and be wary.
Tips for The Ultimate Description
Let’s talk about what works vs. what doesn't work in listing descriptions. Writing a listing description may come easy for some properties, but there will always be properties that are trickier to write about. And all in, real estate listings are basically the same a good Instagram caption - you want to get prospective buyers to be drawn in, enticed, and ready to buy!
Writing the Best Headlines
Your headline should be strong and eye catching. It should always reference at least one of the major features of the property. What specifically comes to mind when you think of the property? Which words would you use to describe it?
Adjectives are your friends. Use descriptive words — but don’t mislead. Being honest and accurate about the listing will lead to buyers who are truly interested.
Creating a Compelling Description
Your descriptions should be short and sweet, no more than 250 words for the entire listing description. It should be content rather than fluff and unnecessary wording. Your paragraphs should be no longer than 2-3 sentences. Long description means buyers (and agents) are less likely to read it.
Avoid excessive cliches and “buzzwords” like “handyman special". These things create the feeling that the description is vague and inauthentic. Everyone today knows that “cozy” in an MLS description means small, especially other real estate agents. Focus on highlighting the good and being honest and accurate throughout.
Highlight the most unique aspects of the property. Does it have a great workshop in the back? Access to a pond? Does it have a brand new pool? Tree house? Larger lot than the surrounding homes? These all matter when considering what to say in a listing description.
Out of ideas? Perks of the neighborhood can help fill out and improve your description. A lot of buyers are interested in certain features in the neighborhood, do describing the distance to shopping or dining, highlight the schools nearby, or the lack of traffic in the area can all help a buyer better imagine life in the area.
Avoid the basics. The square footage of the property, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and even the size of the lot will all be covered elsewhere in the listing, so you don't need to include it in your description. Avoid repetitive wording, unnecessary fluff, cliches, and discriminating terminology, and you'll have a quality listing description.
Look At Your Analytics
Pay attention to your listings that perform the best. This means keeping track of which listings get a lot of hits vs those that don't. In a hot market this may not apply, but it's good practice. Consider duplicating the style and wording of the more successful descriptions for future listings.
Update your listing description when necessary. Scheduling an open house? Update the listing info to ensure the inclusion of that date. If a buyer's financing falls through and the property is back on the market, adding a note about the cause of the status change can help future buyers feel more secure in submitting an offer and will take away some of the "heat" on the property.
Consider adding video when marketing the listing on social media, craigslist and other venues. Even a quick walkthrough of the home will allow the listing to stand out among the rest.
Look at the competition. Just like you’re looking at comps for the property, consider looking at what other buyers and their agents are browsing. Is there a lot of similar lingo? Are there aspects of your listing that would make it stand out from the others for sale in the area.
A well written listing can move a property from the “don’t check” pile to the “arrange a showing” pile. In this market buyers are looking at a lot of properties, many of them appear similar online. Use that to your advantage by differentiating your listing with the tips above.
Writing An Eye Catching Listing
As a Realtor you'll be wearing many hats. Mastering the basics of copywriting will help you craft strong listing descriptions, which will in turn boost your expertise when it comes to getting more sellers to use you over other agents. The skill will aid in building your website, marketing materials, even your social media captions. So take the time to give it a try.
Ideally you' should be able to write an enticing property description that will get a buyer to call in. From there, the open house or showing should be able to sell the property. Your job is to get the butts in the seats, so to speak. It won't come to you overnight, give it some time and practice often. Read a few listings and highlight the parts of the description that you enjoy & the things you don't. You'll find your stride as you go, but don't overlook just how useful a well written listing can be.