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 help draw buyers and their agents to your listings.
Far too many give the bare minimum of facts and do nothing to entice. About all they do is repeat the information given in the MLS property details.
How can you write better real estate property descriptions?
Begin with the knowledge that pictures may say a thousand words, but even the best pictures of a home’s interior can’t speak of life in that home. You’ll need to draw word pictures to accomplish that.
For that you need words, and since you’ve never lived there, finding those words can be difficult. So enlist the seller’s help.
Enlist sellers to help you write real estate property descriptions.
Asking the seller to tell you about 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?
How about the proximity to shopping, recreation, entertainment, and mass transit?
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:
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 “fenced yard” state whether it’s a 6′ tall chain link, a pretty little white picket, or a decorative split-rail. Instead of “great kitchen” tell what makes it great. Instead of luxurious master bedroom suite, tell what makes it luxurious.
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. By the same token, I’ve seen photos of condos that sell for a million dollars and more, and I thought they were downright ugly. Someone else thinks they’re attractive. At least I assume they do, because people purchase them.
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. Check out examples at inman.com.
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.
To please some sellers, you’ll have to include details that I’d 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 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?
Will your true real estate property descriptions discourage some buyers from looking?
Sure – but so what? Those are the buyers who would waste your time because they wouldn’t like the house after they got there.
Yes, I do write real estate property descriptions…
Not often, because most agents are happy doing it themselves. However, some do call on me for extremely high-end properties or for listings that have been for sale too long and need a change. My fee for a standard MLS description is $175. For a multi-page website filled with photos and descriptions of the interior, exterior, and neighborhood, the fee is higher.