It’s amazing what a few words can do. They can immediately motivate a potential buyer to make an inquiry on a home, or cause a buyer to lose interest by the time they reach the third or fourth word. Yes, words are that powerful!

So what makes a buyer want to read more about a particular listing? Is it factual (but dry) information about the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.? What about over-the-top words that will grab one’s attention, but quickly make a potential buyer feel like they should run the other way from such obvious oversell. Neither of these approaches is phenomenally successful.

Paint a Picture

Crafting a successful real estate listing is first and foremost painting a picture of a beautiful place. The painting, or description if you will, is so interesting it makes buyers want to see it and touch it for themselves. The description should definitely include factual information, but it’s woven into the description in such a way that the dry facts become a mere backdrop for the overall vision of a wonderful place that buyers must simply see for themselves.

Practical Tips

While painting a beautiful real estate listing definitely involves “marketing artistry”, there is still a practical formula to follow in order to design an effective real estate listing. The basic formula includes

  • A brief, eye-catching heading.
  • The opening statement.
  • Features narrative.
  • Special promotions (if applicable).
  • Call to action.

The Headline — The heading is typically the shortest statement in a listing, yet it’s the most important part of a winning formula because it determines whether buyers are going to continue reading. Having said this, there’s no rule stating that a realtor has to nail down the headline before writing the rest of the listing. In fact, writing the body of the listing that narrates all the wonderful features of a home, may stimulate one’s creative juices to the point where a catchy headline practically writes itself.

When you do write the headline, make it short (5-7 words or less) and sweet, by using powerful, emotive language. If you’re wondering if your words evoke a response, use this tool here, to try out the effects of different phrases.

Opening Statement — If the reader has made it this far, they’re interested, but it’s still very important to design an opening statement that will lead them to the features narrative. The opening statement should use positive language and get right to the point. The opening statement is also a good place to introduce one or two features of the home. Consider how the following statement begins to paint a beautiful picture, while also introducing several key features.

“You’re going to love this beautifully-landscaped, 3 bedroom home nestled on a half acre of private land.”

Narrative of Features — This is the main body of the listing. This is the area where realtors should describe a home’s primary features using positive and inspiring language. In other words, tell a story like this one:

“This clean and crisp, 2-story contemporary home is loaded with gorgeous features. The spectacular open floor plan of this 2,400 sq. ft home provides breathtaking views of a private lake, and features a spacious patio that is perfect for entertaining. With 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, plus a finished basement complete with a fireplace for cozy winter nights, this 5 years young home offers comfortable, relaxed living for every season.”

Special Promotions — This section is optional, but if included, it should be brief and to the point. As always, use positive, upbeat language that makes a buyer want to know more.

Call to Action — This last section should finish what was (hopefully) an exciting, motivating read for potential buyers. Continue the mood by using upbeat language that urges a buyer to take further action. Creating a sense of urgency, so a buyer will act sooner rather than later, can be accomplished without the use of hype or oversell. Genuine enthusiasm and excitement will draw more people in than resorting to old-school tricks such as exaggeration.

Selling the Undesirable

So what if you’re trying to sell a home that seemingly has no redeeming features? Remember the old adage, “There’s a lid for every pot.” A “feature” that one buyer may see as a disadvantage, another buyer will view as an opportunity. Select several key points upon which to focus and continue to use upbeat language to turn the negatives into positives.