A Simple Checklist for Writing Perfect Property Descriptions Quickly
As much as real estate agents are out showing homes and meeting with clients face-to-face, there’s also a lot of time spent behind-the-scenes, or, in the office. This time may be spent doing marketing, emailing leads, making phone calls, or preparing paperwork for closing. There’s always a lot of work to get done!
One thing that agents have to do regularly and consistently—but, that’s made to look like it was done so easily—is writing property descriptions. Though this small writing job may be second-nature to most real estate agents, it can be a struggle for others. Yet, those who may be able to write descriptions quickly may not be writing the best listing descriptions they can. And, those who write them well, may not be able to keep up with all the listings they have.
So, here’s a simple checklist to help you write perfect property listings in no time!
- Think of a Catchy Tagline for the Home
This one, a listing in Shaker Heights, Ohio, says: “Charming and elegant in beloved Fernway. You will fall in love with this special home in this special neighborhood! This family cared for this gem for 32 years, now it is ready for its next family.” Even if you wouldn’t necessarily write this way, you can tell that this agent put thought into this tagline.
- Keep the Listing to 250 Words or Less
There’s typically some debate regarding how short or long your listing descriptions should be. The general rule of thumb is to keep to 250 words or less, but you may have a short version that will go to websites like Zillow and Realtor, and a longer version for listings displayed on your website. Either way, it doesn’t matter how many words you use per se, but that you’re economical with those words.
- Use Terms That Will Pick Up in a Search
Speaking of being economical with words you choose to use in your property listing description, there are definitely a handful of words that tend to be used frequently by real estate agents. Some will tell you you should avoid generic words or descriptives, like “hardwood flooring” or “updated kitchen” are overused. And, they might be.
But, these words may also be essential to write if you want leads that are specifically searching for these things, to have that search take them to your listing. For instance, if someone is looking for a “yard” in a city, you’ll definitely want to mention this in your listing so it will come up. Wherever you’ll be sharing your listings, be sure to check what criteria these websites have, so you can make sure you’ll have a match.
- Be Honest, But Know Your Market
In addition to using words carefully, you have to also remember to be honest in your description, while remembering who your market is. And, just because you primarily work in one market doesn’t mean you can’t pivot to another audience when the situation calls for it.
For example, you may be hesitant to use the words “fixer-upper” or “TLC”, because it may scare away certain buyers. But, these terms may also welcome investors. The same goes for words/phrases like “luxurious” or “recently renovated”. If you think buyers in your market would be attracted to this, then add that into your word count.
- Highlight Anything Unique or Special About the Home
Once you get the tagline and basic description out of the way, you’ll want to highlight anything unique or special about the home that can’t be found in other homes. Then, you want to use language that can help the person reading this listing to imagine themselves there—to the point where they’ll want to see it for themselves. So, be sure to mention that gorgeous deck in the backyard or the amazing location of the home (with specifics). This one is cashing in on the “old world charm”, the history of the home, and the fact it sits on a “priceless 200’ beach parcel”.
- Check Your Grammar and Punctuation
One way to tell if a property listing description was written too quickly, is if there are a lot of grammatical and punctuation errors. Or, if there are too many of those generic phrases thrown together to make the description that looks like a list of ingredients you’d find on a package or a board game that tells you a list of what’s included (or, not included) inside.
We get it—you’re not an editor, you’re in the business of selling homes. Yet, taking the time to really clean up the description so it not only sounds good, but it reads well and looks professional. If you’re not sure, slap it into a Word Doc and use Grammarly to check for any mistakes. You’ve seen these before, so no need to show you in a photo.
- Make It Shine
Real estate agents know that a picture says a thousand words. Yet, it’s clear that there are still so many listings out there that missed the memo on this. Though the ones you see with bad pictures may be FSBO listings or expired listings (if you see these, find out what’s happening with it—may be another lead!) and not from real estate agents necessarily, you don’t want people to see your listing and immediately think you didn’t care to put the effort in.
This actually matters; if people see that you put in perhaps a little effort into the property description but no effort into the photos at all, it demonstrates that having to work with you in any fashion would be exhausting and ultimately, not worth it. This home is not afraid to flaunt what it’s got.
- Include Contact Information and Showing Details
Don’t put all your effort into creating a perfect property listing quickly, without including contact information and showing details. Though you may not have all of this information yet, simply adding “Contact ‘so-and-so’ for more details about showings” can go a long way. Put it in there, and make sure someone will be around to answer the call.
- Create a Template
Once you nail writing a great property description, the goal is to speed up the process each time you have to do it. By creating a template (or, by using a description that did particularly well), each time you have to write a new property listing, you can use this old template as a basis or at the very least, a reminder of what needs to be included. Over time, you can use sentences from each property listing description to create a database of sentences you can draw from if they happen to fit another listing description later on.
- Time Yourself—Or, Hire Help
Writing a description is not too different from writing the blurb for the back of a book. Once you get the hang of it, you should be able to write them rather quickly. And, to make sure you’re not spending too much time writing these listings, time yourself! It should take no more than 30 minutes to write one. That being said, if you are unable to do this because it’s not your wheelhouse, it’s okay to hire some help to write your property listings.