From creative wording to special offers, find out what makes for a high-quality, enticing property description that virtually sells homes on its own.
Property descriptions can make all the difference in making — or breaking — a future sale. Their incredible importance makes them a must on any listing, and the ability to craft quality descriptions is an essential skill for any real estate agent.
Well-written property descriptions hook the buyer and answer important questions. They highlight desirable features, mention brand-name appliances, and summarize any upgrades or renovations. Because of their ability to persuade, property descriptions make an agent’s overall job much easier. They:
• Tell the story of a home better than photographs alone.
• Help a property stand out from others on the market.
• Provide a positive first impression for homebuyers — not just about the home, but also about the agent.
• Motivate buyers to schedule a viewing (and make an offer).
• Help an agent sell properties quickly.
What Do Buyers Look for in a Property Description?
A quality property description is a work of marketing art. Words are the canvas’s paint, and the more beautiful the “paint,” the better the painting. The best descriptions paint a picture that convinces a potential buyer to view the property. And since more and more homebuyers are searching for their dream home online, high-quality descriptions are a must. In fact, 43% of web-based searchers said that they are not as interested in seeing a home if the property description includes spelling and grammatical errors.
How to Write a Property Description
There are important guidelines agents should follow when drafting a property description, including paying attention to spelling and grammar, following a basic structure, and using creative yet tasteful word choice.
Property listings are often dry and similar to one another. They may only include the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, whether or not there is a garage, basement, or other desirable feature, and the asking price.
The goal of writing a quality description is to set your property apart from the rest. To do so, it is wise to start with the basics and go from there. The basic structure of a property description includes five elements:
1. An attention-grabbing headline
2. A concise opening statement
3. A cleverly crafted narrative that describes the home’s best features
4. A list of any special promotions
5. An enticing call to action
1. Eye-Catching Headline
Buyers scan listings, looking for content that pulls them in and matches their requirements. Because buyers tend to scan rather than read, it is important to write a relatively short, snappy headline. Best practices suggest that headlines should be no more than ten words.
Since they don’t have much time to grab a buyer’s attention, agents should put on their creative writing caps and write with powerful and illustrative words. Example: Charming, Fully-Renovated Craftsman in Desirable Neighborhood: Won’t Last!
2. Succinct Opening Statement
Remember, buyers tend to know exactly what they are looking for and will move on if they do not find content that matches their needs. Reel buyers in further with a potent first sentence that expands on the headline. Let the reader know what they are looking at and persuade them to keep reading.
3. Cleverly Crafted Description
Continue writing succinctly as you craft your property description. Aim for 250 words or less — buyers aren’t likely to read a long piece of text. Also, take into consideration the fact that your MLS and popular real-estate listing sites will likely have text length limitations. Some sites even count the headline as part of the description, so include your headline in the final word count.
Most descriptions start with must-know information, including:
• Number of bedroom and bathrooms
• Square footage
• Recent renovations and upgrades
• Notable brands (appliances, flooring, etc.)
• Lot size
• Extras (pool, fireplace, deck, appliances included, etc.)
• Special features (historic property, ocean views, etc.)
It is up to an agent to take these primary features and transform them into a compelling narrative.
Here’s a great example of an inspiring description:
“You will adore this charming 2-story Craftsman home. Newly renovated with beautifully restored original features, this spacious and historic property is located in a desirable neighborhood within walking distance of popular coffee shops, fine dining, and shopping. This home features hand-scraped Brazilian walnut floors and vintage tilework throughout. Enjoy fresh meals prepared in a gourmet kitchen complete with Sub-Zero and Miele appliances. Rinse away the day’s stressors in one of two Jacuzzi tubs or seamless glass showers. All of this within minutes of downtown Santa Monica and I-10.”
Remember, the listing’s data fields already include statistical information such as the home’s square footage and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. There is no need to repeat this information in the description. Instead, use the space to really tell the home’s story and highlight what makes it valuable and desirable.
4. Beware of Overselling
It’s important not to oversell the home in your description. There is nothing worse for a buyer to be led on, believing that they are about to encounter a magical space, only to find a cramped, outdated, or dull property. Be as honest as possible, and use attractive words that fit the truth of the home.
5. Beware of Wording that Violates the Fair Housing Act
When you write a property description, it’s important to avoid words that violate the Fair Housing Act. Not only does discriminatory verbiage turn buyers away, but it may also land you a fine.
Keep a lookout for any wording that could be interpreted as discriminatory against any of the seven protected classes: race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, or familial status.
As of now, there is no official list of discriminatory language. However, some examples that may raise red flags include:
• Bachelor pad
• Traditional neighborhood
• Country club
6. List of Special Promotions
Adding a list of incentives can motivate buyers to act quickly and speed up the home sale. Some examples of special offers include:
• Seller financing, which helps buyers avoid overwhelming questions and documents from banks
• A limited time discount from the sales price
• A limited time first-time homebuyer discount
• A limited time bargain that covers 100 percent of the buyer’s closing costs
• A one-year home warranty for the buyer
• Flexible close date
7. An Enticing Call to Action
Close out your property description with a call to action that lets buyers know how to act (and motivates them to act quickly). Calls to action can be short, sweet, and potent: “Schedule a viewing now: this home is likely to sell fast.”
8. The Importance of Professional Photography
Just as a high-quality property description is critical to selling a home quickly, so are professional photographs. Buyers expect to see well-staged and professional-quality images that capture each room from multiple angles. The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” rings true here.
Buyers want to imagine themselves in each room of the home, from the modern kitchen to the spa-like bathroom, cozy study, and airy bedroom. Buyers also expect that the photographs match the reality of the space when they see the home in person.
Arrange the photographs in the same order as the rooms are arranged in the home so the buyer can “walk through” the home digitally. It’s also beneficial to add short descriptions to each image so buyers know exactly what to expect when they tour the house.
By following these guidelines and taking the time to craft quality, creative, and enticing content, you’re on your way to drafting a property description that sells. By ensuring that your content is free from grammatical and spelling errors, includes creative verbiage that sparks the buyer’s imagination, and features professional photography, you’ll be making sure your property descriptions will do most of the hard work for you.