A property description is the written portion of a real estate listing that describes the details of a home for sale or lease. Descriptions account for roughly one-third of a listing and are accompanied by property information (i.e. the number of bedrooms) and photographs. The goal of property description is to attract home buyers. Listing descriptions need colorful words to paint a clear mental picture of a home’s features and benefits, over and above the accompanying photographs. Therefore, first-rate copywriting is a must.
Property listings are placed on local and regional Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) and national websites like Zillow and Realtor.com. Their format is standardized, making it easy to create and distribute property information widely. Here are the three core components of a real estate listing:
Simple data, or facts, about the property such as the street address, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage and asking price.
After querying property information (neighborhood, the number of rooms, price, etc.), home buyers will see listing results that match their search. On the search results page, property photos immediately attract their eyeballs. Pictures make the first and strongest impression. Regarding image quality, you can take the photographs or your listing agent can take them, but the best results come from professional freelancers who specialize in real estate photography. You’ll be looking at a couple hundred bucks for top notch work. What’s more, some pros can also make drone videos or virtual tours. In any case, property photos should be high resolution so that they are clear.
So far in their journey, home shoppers have narrowed their choices based on data and pictures. But they still need to get a feel for what makes each home unique and interesting compared to other homes on the market. This is where property descriptions do their heavy lifting. Good descriptions communicate a home’s features, along with the benefits, which make it the most desirable choice. Making a property stand out can help sell it faster.
Property descriptions start with an opening statement followed by a paragraph or two about the home that’s up for sale. All copy should be terse, highlighting the home’s features and their benefits. For example, a pool is a feature. Entertaining friends, exercising or cooling off on a hot summer day are benefits. Carefully chosen adjectives convey extra meaning which creates value in the mind of the reader. For example, windows are merely features. But large windows that let in plenty of natural light takes on a whole new meaning, wouldn’t you agree? Let’s break a high-quality property description into its fundamental components – the opening statement, and body.
A well-written opening statement piques a reader’s interest and compels them to continue reading the rest of the description. The best summaries do the following:
Ideally, the summary combines all three elements above. Here are some opening statement examples:
After catching a reader’s attention with an opening statement, it’s time to expand and elaborate on the property’s features and benefits. Because writing a property description is an inherently creative and potentially frustrating process, a few rules of the road can make it easier and to ensure that it is written well. Here are few do’s and don’ts:
Bonus: Loan Program Eligibility
“This 1,523 square foot single-family home has 3 bedrooms and 3.0 bathrooms. It is located at 3991 Bleacher Ave, Burbank, California.”
“Gorgeous 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom home in beautiful Silver Lake. This property offers 1,160 square feet of living space and a lot size of 5,499 square feet. Your family and loved ones will enjoy the spacious backyard, perfect for family gatherings! Come and take a look at this beauty….Don’t miss out!”
“Remodeled to perfection! This beautiful home is located close to shopping and dining. Here are just a few of its wonderful features: cozy fireplace, new kitchen cabinets, stainless steel sink, modern quartz counter tops, wood flooring, remodeled bathrooms, freshly painted, central a/c, attached two-car garage, large back yard, and so much more!”
“Elegant custom home offers unparalleled craftsmanship and exceptional amenities! This French inspired design is truly remarkable inside and out. Features include cherry cabinets, quartz counter tops, crown molding, custom windows provide plenty of natural lighting, expansive decking (1000 sq. ft.), gourmet kitchen with island (great for entertaining), gorgeous master suite, den, storage, plus STUNNING views of L.A. Basin and Downtown L.A. High demand area.”
Listings are posted by REALTORS ® on their local or regional MLS. Only licensed agents who pay membership dues can list properties for sale in Los Angeles on their local MLS. Listings are sometimes distributed to large publishers like Realtor.com and Zillow, depending upon local MLS rules. Folks looking to sell their home without an agent can create a listing and upload it to the For Sale by Owner (FSBO) areas of real estate websites like Zillow and Trulia. Listing agents will manually post properties for sale on those platforms, too. Real estate advertisements are similar to listings in that they include property information, a description, and photos. However, property ads get two additional elements – a headline, and call to action. Advertisements are placed on websites like Craigslist, in local newspapers (print or online classified sections) and other local publications like real estate magazines. Here are the two additional elements that expand a listing, turning it into an advertisement:
Ads contain headlines that listings do not. You can pretty much use the same technique for your headline as you would for your listing’s opening statement. Some headlines work well when they include the price and size of the home. Here are some headline examples:
The purpose of a call to action is to elicit a response from an interested home shopper. Responses typically include a click on a link, a phone call or an email inquiry. One of the best ways to formulate a call to action is by starting it with a verb and then adding a benefit, or “what’s in it for them.” Here’s the call to action formula:
Call to Action = Verb + What’s in it For Them
And, here are a few call to action examples: