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10 Tips for Writing Effective Real Estate Copy

September 03 2012

We spotted this great article on the Member's Edge blog from the National Assocation of REALTORS®. You can view the original post herehere.

Writing clear copy in real estate listings is more important than ever. Often the first contact a REALTOR® has with a potential homebuyer comes through a home listing. With the speed at which shoppers are able to jump from one listing to the next, especially online, it's essential that your listings are written clearly and are engaging. And since the first contact you'll likely have with a potential homebuyer will come through a real estate listing, the copy is your first chance to build a reputation and a relationship.

1. Write clear, catchy headlines
Describe the house factually, but add a sense of urgency so the property appears to be highly sought-after and desired. Nearly everyone will read your headline, while relatively few visitors will read the rest of the copy ... unless you can capture their attention immediately, that is. A good rule of thumb is to spend half your time working on the headline.

2. Cater to the local market
The more specific you can be about school districts, local parks and businesses, and cultural attractions, the more effective your copy will be. The specifics paint a clear picture of the house while at the same time showing your expertise and familiarity with the local market.

3. Proofread and avoid typos
Nothing can ruin a great headline like a typo in the body of the listing. If you have time, set the listing aside and work on another project so you can proofread with a fresh set of eyes. Even better, read the listing out loud. Not only will you catch typos, but your ear could help you identify a better word or phrase.

4. Highlight your contact information
One of the main goals of a listing is, after all, to schedule a showing. Make sure your phone number and email address are easy to find in the listing.

5. Include a call to action
When listing your phone number, don't simply include the number, but add a call-to-action to entice visitors to take action, for example, To schedule an in-person showing this week, call Jenny at 867-5309. Adding a call-to-action will help you avoid what Ryan Gervais refers to as Ugly Website Syndrome.

6. Make a sale with copy
If you can write ads that sellwrite ads that sell, your showings will be much more effective, since your new clients will be in love with the house before they even arrive to take their first walk-through. Ads that sell often include unique details about the house, a list of owner benefits, and something surprising enough to warrant a second look.

7. Be as creative as possible
In a crowded market you need to stand out. This doesn't mean you should throw caution to the wind, but you should, as Lynn Minnick suggests in the YPN Lounge, get creative with listingsget creative with listings. Show your personality as well as the personality of the home and see if you can make a match.

8. Present a picture of living in the house
Many listings present facts about a physical house. If you can differentiate your listing by selling a life, you'll be at a distinct advantage. Instead of saying a house has three bedrooms, mention that it has three bedrooms, perfect for children, office space or a workout room. Help people visualize themselves living in the house.

9. Make sure the photos match
It's important that the listing doesn't over promise or under promise on the house. Remember, this is the first contact you're having with potential clients. You don't want them to feel the copy is less than truthful. Instead, take this opportunity to show the house as honestly as possible, and point out the positives.

10. Be consistent with your copy
The tone of a listing, from headline to body copy, should be positive, engaging and professional. Further, if all your listings display that same level of professionalism and expertise, you're likely to develop a good reputation among shoppers.

What do you find works best when writing real estate copy? Do you have any tips from your own experience?