Become Better at Writing Real Estate Ads and Listings With These Tips
Jacqueline Kyo Thomas
As a real estate agent, writing is an integral part of your job.
From “just sold” postcards to neighborhood guides to Facebook ads, you have a lot of writing to do. But not just any kind of writing— you’re tasked with copywriting. When you’re copywriting, it’s not enough to share an accurate description of a property. You can’t leave it at dull facts and figures. Your writing must move the reader to act.
If you’re looking to improve your copywriting skills, this guide is for you. Below, we’ll share time-tested tips to help you become better at writing real estate copy.
Copy is a form of writing that persuades the reader to take a desired action. Most copywriting is sales or marketing-focused. Copy can push a product or raise awareness with the hope of eventually making a sale. Every single ad that you’ve read before is an example of copy.
As a real estate agent, you’ll need to write persuasive copy to sell your listings. Here’s why:
Good copywriting delivers non-stop value to the reader and makes them pay attention. But there’s a science to it. Let’s dive into that now.
The first and most important step to writing good copy is to write for your target audience.
You are not making a general announcement.
You are not writing to everyone on the Eastern seaboard. You’re not even writing to everyone in Massachusetts. You are writing to that one buyer who will eventually purchase the property.
But, how do you write to that person if you don’t know who it is?
Start by what you know. You know the person is interested in buying a home in your area. This narrows the list down already.
You also know something else about the reader. You know that they’re interested in the price of your listing (most house hunts start online and are sorted by price range).
These two insights will help you frame your real estate listing. Every listing should do two things:
1. Celebrate the local neighborhood. Everyone wants to move into an awesome neighborhood. However, “awesome” means different things to different people. For some buyers, “awesome” means access to restaurants, shops, and a vibrant nightlife. For others, “awesome” is quiet and bucolic. You don’t have to do a Vulcan mind-meld to figure out what your buyer thinks is awesome. You’ll know what they’re attracted to because they’re looking at your listing. Be sure to highlight all of the wonderful things about your neighborhood each and every time.
2. Show how the property is a good value for its asking price. Who doesn’t want to think that they’re getting the most bang for their buck? While it won’t stop buyers from negotiating, it’s still important to show that the property is a good deal.
Knowing what your buyer wants (to buy a property in a nice location for a good price), then you can move on to the next step.
Start by making a list of everything that you know about the property, including its location, age, asking price, number of bedrooms, square footage, floor plan, and unique features.
Next, make note of important details about the property that a potential buyer will want to know. Was the home recently renovated? Does it have a garage or dedicated parking? Is the home convenient to local, public transit? Does it have a view?
Also, make a list of area amenities. If you're familiar with the area, you may already have this written down. This list can include restaurants, shops, and other attractions.
Now that you have a list, let's talk about how to put it together.
Your property description should paint a positive image of the property. Start by summarizing the home's best and most important features.
One of the most effective ways to do this is through storytelling. You can pull the reader in by telling them what it’s like to live there.
What will the buyer experience when they walk through the front door?
What will they see every morning from their bedroom window?
With your copy, you can walk the buyer through the property virtually. Don’t underestimate the power of words. They can make the reader fall in love with a property and motivate them to act right away.
Inject emotion into your property’s listing.
The easiest emotion to elicit in real estate copywriting is fear, specifically FOMO (i.e. the fear of missing out). Using phrases like “you don’t want to miss out” or “going fast” to make the reader feel afraid that this great property will slip through their hands.
Word choice is everything. Words like spacious, custom, and landscaped can give a positive impression of the property. These words suggest that the property is valuable and worth considering.
On the other hand, words like fixer, potential, and bargain conjure negative vibes. These words can give the buyer pause because they signal that the property isn’t move-in ready.
Be careful with every word that you include in your listing.
Positive words to include in your listing:
Negative words to exclude from your listing:
Show, don't tell. Don't just say that the home is good for the asking price. Show it with words. Buyers become suspicious when you explicitly describe the home as a good value. Pack your listing with the property’s unique benefits in an effort to emphasize its value.
There’s a saying in copywriting that goes: Don’t sell the mattress, sell the good night’s sleep.
Instead of rattling off a list of features in your property description, focus on the benefits that the potential buyer may enjoy.
For example: Instead of listing “private roof deck,” pull the reader in with a sentence like, “enjoy the glittering city lights every evening from your private roof deck.”
People buy benefits, not features. This is an extension of your storytelling.
The best copy is easy to read. You only have a few seconds to capture a reader’s attention and convince them to call you. Use these tips:
After writing your description, create an attention-grabbing headline. Identify the top benefit of your property (stunning view, convenient location, premium amenities) and include that in your headline.
This step may not be necessary for all listings (such as on the MLS), but if you’re advertising on Craigslist or social media channels, it’s a good idea to create a stand-out headline.
While writing your copy, be extra careful not to use any language that violates the fair housing act. Yes, it’s important in your property listings, too. Don’t use language that could be considered discriminatory against a person based on gender, race, religion, color, national origin, disability, or familial status. And those are just the federally protected classes; don't forget your state's protected classes, too!
Here's a partial list of unacceptable words that can get you into legal hot-water:
May not be usable in certain circumstances, for example, if the community is solely occupied by older persons.
By the time they’ve come across your listing, a house hunter has likely read dozens of other property descriptions. Make your stand out by using the above real estate copywriting tips.
Check out these related resources before you go:
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