Writing Listing Descriptions That Sell

Writing Listing Descriptions That Sell

When buyers are searching for properties online, photos and property descriptions are vital to gaining exposure and showings. The same is true when agents are searching for properties to show their clients. But should the descriptions for both audiences be the same?

The answer is no, because you are appealing to two different needs, with different perspectives when viewing the information.  Let’s review the best way to communicate with each audience.

Start by gathering valuable information

When taking a new listing, leave a questionnaire for the sellers to complete. Or take notes while you are at the property. This will give you the insight to make your listing sound real and in-line with the sellers’ vision of their home. They usually love their home and want to convey that love and those things that had them purchase their home in the first place. Listen to what your Sellers are saying before crafting your story.

Here are some possible questions.

Q1: Describe your home for me. Number of bedrooms, bathrooms, layout, model type if this applies. Who is the builder? Have you put in any upgrades?

Q2: What are the unique features of your home?

Q3: Why would someone want to buy YOUR home vs. your neighbors or others for sale in your subdivision or area?

Q4: What are the top 3 things you love about living here?

Q5: Any special moments or memories in this home you would like to share?

Q6: Tell me about the features of this community, the neighborhood, homeowners or condo association if it applies, and surrounding area features that appeal to you.

Writing for the buyers – Focus on the story

Now take the information from your questionnaire and use it to build your story using all 5 senses. The right price might be the initial incentive to see the listing. To hook them, make sure the description is accurate, with a well-told narrative that builds excitement, and has the buyer imagining him or herself living there.

Here are two real-life examples:

1. One home was being put on the market as the husband and wife were downsizing now that their kids were all grown and out of the house. When touring the property, the couple showed the listing agent a wall inside the laundry room. There were multiple lines going up the wall with the height of each child, at various ages towards the ceiling. For all 3 of their children, they marked the walls in colorful paint until they were full grown. This wall, along with their memories, were very sentimental to the owners. When the home was being shown to buyers, that wall was one of the things that was shown to them as a way to highlight the vision of raising kids and growing a family in this home.

Sample Listing Description: This impeccable home was custom-built and is located on a very desirable corner lot. Spacious floor plan with master bedroom plus bathroom on one side and 3 bedrooms on other side of home. Sparking pool in back with safety railings all around. Pet friendly and kid safe. Lots of love and attention to detail in every aspect of this home. Come and take a tour!

2. Another example took place during a listing presentation when meeting with the owner’s son and daughter. Their mother had recently died after living in her condo on the water for over 30 years. When going through the questions listed above, what stood out for them were the memories of visiting their mother there every year along with their children. Their faces lit up when they shared some of the precious moments for them. This is the feeling to convey when you speak and write about the property. Joy can be very contagious.

Sample Listing Description:  Imagine waking up every day to the sounds of the waves breaking at the shore, the ocean breeze drifts past your balcony as you sip your morning coffee or smoothie. Watch the palm trees sway with the wind and yachts go by as you get ready for another spectacular day in this modern and completely renovated condo.

When writing for the buyers, tell a story, convey a feeling, describe a vision. Use emotional appeal.

Writing for the Agents – Focus on the features

As you write the listing description for the agent, think of the features that matter most. Be concise and descriptive. The agent has already met or spoken with the buyer (s) and knows what they are looking for.  Agents read quickly and have many listings to go through. How do you make your listing stand out from the rest?  First, do not write a story. Instead write the important features that appeal to buyers. Write the details that are important in your area and part of the country. Write to create a visual impression along with the photos.  What are the unique features that would appeal to the buyer?

Some ideas include:

  • Location
  • Square Footage
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of Bathroom
  • Floor Plan
  • Special features: Was the home recently remodeled. If so, which rooms?
  • What type of materials are featured throughout the home? Ex. Stainless steel appliances,
  • granite countertops
  • Type of floors
  • Storage
  • Amenities
  • View

Sample Listing Description:  Over 1275 sq. ft. Large master bedroom with completely remodeled bathroom.  Tiled throughout. Stainless steel eat-in kitchen with granite counter-tops.  Enclosed den can be used as an office or second bedroom. Two walk-in closets professionally done. Gas fireplace in living area.  Floor to ceiling windows with views of the golf course and lake. Amenities include: Two professional tennis courts pool, BBQ area, gym and billiard room. 24-hour security. Low monthly maintenance.

When your audience are the agents, remember “Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.”

Word of caution

Always remember: when you write the listing descriptions to be very careful about not breaking any laws when it comes to fair housing. This goes for both audiences.

Act today

Change the listing description on the top 10 real estate sites in your area.  The description for the agent goes on the MLS. However, the listing description in the MLS gets pushed to all the third-party real estate websites that feed from it.  You can, in most cases, go to the individual websites, such as Realtor.com and Zillow, and change there the listing description to the one you wrote for the buyers. This functionality may vary from market to market and website to website. If you cannot change the listing description on the third-party website, then do it on your own website. And use the buyer’s description when you post on your social media pages and when you send your listing out to your database. Also use you’re the buyer’s description in your advertising. Try doing this for the top 10 real estate sites that are dominant in your market. It can make a big difference.

Words are powerful, and following the above tips, can make your listings sell even faster.

Written for real estate transaction management software Form Simplicity by Janice Zaltman, a Realtor, LEED AP, Marketing Coach and Writer with more than 20 years of experience in the sales, marketing and media fields.

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