Pictures paint a thousand words but words can seal the deal. If your home is on the market you want your listing to do more than simply describe your property – you want to entice potential buyers and invite them to make an appointment to go see it. Listing descriptions and property remarks don’t have to be Chaucer-inspired but written properly without abbreviations or acronyms or “insider” language a good description can grab a buyer’s attention.
As a seller, you should be mindful of the composition of your listing description since you’re the one paying your real estate professional a big commission when all is said and done. Great photos will lure them into your listing. Once engaged, the potential buyer will be looking for additional information. This is when you want to hook them. A catchy headline and a first sentence that provides some intrigue is a good place to start.
Highlight the best features
Start with the property's fine points. Write in plain language without being too gushy or too flowery and over-the-top. Buyers are pretty smart and can read through glossy language. Make every word count as many listing description fields are limited to a certain number of characters. Take care not to be boring or repetitive. No need to drone on about all those extra bedrooms when the property details section of the listing will state how many bedrooms and bathrooms there are. Highlight unique amenities with dazzling adjectives, including brand names if there are high-end appliances in the home.
Highlight features that add value
If there have been renovations and upgrades that make the property stand out in the neighbourhood, make note of them. If it’s a home in an older neighbourhood, has the roof been done or the furnace replaced? This is where you want the buyer’s jaw to drop when they realize your property with all those recent upgrades in a desirable neighbourhood is a steal of a deal. You also want them to feel comfortable and secure in their decision to view your property. Your property description is prepping them before their arrival.
Help buyers picture themselves in the home
You’ve identified all those amazing features in the home but paint a picture for the reader about how they might benefit from these features. Relaxing in the hot tub after a long day. Enjoying the company of family at your oversized kitchen island. Buyers like to fantasize about their life in a new home. That’s one of the reasons why you stage your home and put away personal artifacts and family photos. So the buyer can see themselves living in your home.
Remember to tell them about the hidden gems
Even properties with not much going on can be made to look good when you point out the potential. Room for a double garage, hardwood under the carpets, walls that can be removed are things that can be highlighted.
The goal is to lure them in, but the words you choose have to paint an accurate picture. The property has to either meet or exceed the potential buyer’s expectations. Your listing description must be realistic so the property in the buyer’s imagination is the same property they come to see or even better.
Proof read then proof read some more
Follow good communications practices and have the text reviewed by at least two sets of eyes. Even the tiniest typo can spoil your listing description. The paragraphs don’t have to be worthy of a Pulitzer Prize but it should be readable and grammatically correct in every way.
Words with power
Professor Paul Anglin with the University of Guelph conducted a 10-year study in which he compared words used in real estate listings with buyer perception. Key words included in a listing that attract buyers include:
- Curb Appeal
Words that seemed the opposite effect according to Anglin’s study are:
- Must Sell
- Good Value (surprisingly)
- New Paint
- New Carpet