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10 Ways Listing Copy Does the Selling for You

June 25 2015

Make sure you use these ten techniques when writing listing descriptions, and your phone will be ringing off the hook.

RealtorMag TenWaysIn a digital age where first impressions can make or break your chance to build a relationship with a potential client, you'll never know how many leads you may have lost in the process of rushing to post that listing. Home buyers today jump from listing to listing online in a matter of minutes and read headlines in split seconds. So making your listing ad copy compelling is more important than ever before.

But how do you write hard-hitting, emotional copy in as few words as possible? Here are 10 tips to ensure your listings sell the property as well as you would.

1. Be specific. Many listings start to sound the same when you read them back-to-back, so the smallest details of a property are often what sets it apart and makes it memorable. What's something surprising enough about this listing to warrant a second look? The more granular and unique the details, the better.

2. Use storytelling techniques. How would you tell a friend about this listing or talk about it at a dinner party? What details would you include to help explain why it's of interest or why they should care? Compelling real estate copy has more than just facts. It contains a narrative that helps home buyers imagine what it would be like to live in that house. Keep in mind that people don't buy features; they buy benefits and a lifestyle — and the emotions that come with them.

3. Use local details. Including details about the local neighborhood can help grab a buyer's attention and encourage him or her to envision life in that house. Is the property near a park? A notable landmark? A hip new bakery? Is it in a great school district or near a charming town?

4. Ask past buyers what worked. Poll current leads and past buyers to find out what copy resonated with them. Maybe you'll find there's a common thread among ads they most like that you can replicate in future listings. This is also a good excuse to check in with clients and continue building a relationship with them.

5. Double-check spelling and grammar. This goes without saying, but it's incredibly easy to rush and overlook typos when you're a busy broker working in a fast-paced environment. Proofread your copy several times, and read it aloud at least once to ensure you demonstrate high standards and clear thinking in your listings.

6. Let your listings represent you. Show off your personality and the personality of the home by adding your own take on the property and making the copy original. Use descriptive imagery and adjectives specific to that listing, and shy away from using overused words like "luxury." One simple but effective way to enhance your copy is to look up synonyms for popular adjectives.

7. Watch out for double meanings. Make sure you choose your words carefully, keep your target audience in mind, and avoid adjectives that may mean different things to different people. Some words have double meanings and can be interpreted in different (and opposing) ways. For example, "opulent" can mean "atrociously overdone and gaudy" to some people. "Cozy" can be interpreted as "too small to fit a bed," and "fixer-upper" can be read as "a dump."

8. Never underestimate a great headline. A great headline is concise, direct, specific, and adds a sense of urgency. It provides context and not just a list of features. And it uses an adjective that doubles as a buying trigger, such as "amazing," "dream," or "special." Headlines written with an action verb can also be more compelling.

9. Include a call to action. What do you want potential buyers to do after reading your listing? Make sure to spell it out for them. Tell them to call you to schedule an in-person showing. Don't forget to include both your phone number and e-mail address.

10. Make sure the photos and tone match. It's imperative that the listing copy doesn't overpromise or underpromise, which can undermine a buyer's trust in you. So take this opportunity to showcase the house as honestly as possible, while focusing on the positives. Also, not only should the tone of the copy be consistent from top to bottom, but it should also reflect the overall look and feel of the property.

When in doubt, call an expert. Time is money, and your time is valuable. So don't beat your head against a keyboard when you could be closing a sale. There are copywriters who can help write, edit, and proofread your listing copy and whose passion is to be a wordsmith as much as yours is to be a sales professional. Don't hesitate to outsource this task to a professional.

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