Yes, photos matter in real estate listings. Photos grab attention. And photos help visitors imagine themselves living in the home you’re trying to sell.
But words matter, too. In fact, it’s the power of the words used in your listing that move a prospective buyer to take action.
Here’s a look at how to choose the perfect descriptions for your listing:
The Recipe for Listing Success
Energy Leads to Engagement
Prospective homebuyers aren’t just going to give you their attention — you have to earn it. So first things first: Don’t bore your readers. Instead, write with energy and a focus on entertaining potential buyers
Consider the words in your listing an impassioned plea for readers to see the home in person. Having a hard time getting passionate about the home you’re selling? There’s always something to get excited about. Find that something and then convey it with energy.
What can you get excited about? Here are a few ideas: a turnkey home, proximity to good schools, an investment property on the market at a bargain basement price, beautifully maintained landscaping, new hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, flex spaces that can serve any purpose the buyer needs, neighborhood amenities, new roofs, and windows, etc.
Any of these things may seem boring when taken at face value. So add the energy and the entertainment value they need, and make these features and characteristics come alive for your readers. In short, make reading your listing worth the audience’s time.
It Starts With a Headline
Think about the experience you want your audience to have. Prospects are most likely scrolling through dozens if not hundreds of listings in search of just a few that meet enough of their needs to earn an in-person visit.
The headline will serve as an elevator pitch, and it’s your make-it-or-break-it moment.
Don’t just describe your listing. That is, it’s not enough to say you’re selling a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house in a certain city. Instead, let your headline serve as an introduction to the story of the home you’re trying to sell. Which of the following would you rather see in person: 2 Bed 2 Bath in Baltimore or Beautifully Renovated Baltimore Charmer?
What’s that story you want to tell? It could revolve around any number of things, including short commutes, walkability, or the retreat-like nature of a home’s interior. The headline should tell the reader what makes your listing unique and different.
Use Your Space Wisely
The headline is the introduction to the story of the home you’re trying to sell. And the listing description is where you make that story come alive.
Don’t let the term “description” confuse you. You should not just describe the home. Rather, embed the home’s description into a narrative that lets your reader know what it’s like to live there.
Describe how natural light pours into the spacious kitchen each morning. Explain how the second living area opens to the outdoor space, making it the perfect springtime play area for kids. Describe how the quaint fourth bedroom would make a perfect home office. Or how the open floor plan is ideal for entertaining, and that the hottest new restaurant in town is just a short walk away.
Make sure you’re sharing unique information. There’s no need to repeat yourself or include information that’s clearly outlined in the listing details (think square footage, bedroom-bathroom breakdown, etc.). Read your listing aloud once finished writing. This will help you gain an understanding of how it flows — and the level of energy your words create.
Types of Real Estate Words: Aspiration, Value, Description
Studies have identified the most common and most effective real estate listing words. Zillow conducted one such study that analyzed 24,000 home sales and the keywords included.
The most-used word in that study? Luxurious.
Luxurious wasn’t just an oft-used word but also an effective one. The study showed that bottom-tier homes described as “luxurious” earned 8.2 percent more than their expected sale price. That’s an incredible boost in ROI from using just one word.
Other words uncovered in Zillow’s study: captivating, impeccable, stainless, basketball, landscape, granite, pergola, remodel, beautiful, gentle, spotless, tile, upgraded, updated.
You’ll notice that these words fall into three categories:
- Aspiration: Aspirational words refer to how you would want visitors to feel or what you would want them to say when walking through a home. Any homeowner would want their abode to exude gentility, to feel luxurious and captivating, to look impeccable and beautiful. And that’s why these words are so effective in real estate listings.
- Value: Buyers also want value — the sense that they’re getting more than what they’re paying for. Words like remodel, upgraded and updated give the reader a sense that the home does deliver the value they’re looking for. Words like basketball (often used in the description of a sports court or permanent basketball goal) and landscape deliver the idea that a home includes outdoor spaces to be enjoyed — that there’s value outside the home’s four walls.
- Description: Yes, space is tight in a real estate listing, and you don’t want to spend precious words reiterating what’s already in the details section. That is, there’s no need to share how many bedrooms or bathrooms the home includes. But descriptive words like stainless, granite, pergola and tile are common because they reinforce what the visitor sees in your photos — and they serve as trigger words that set apart your listing.
Take a Forward Look at Trends
As you know, interior design trends are constantly evolving. How can you take advantage of the next big thing? First, take a look at interior and home design magazines and sites that preview coming trends. Here’s a short list of what design authorities are recommending for 2017:
- Art-inspired wallpaper
- Mixed metals
- Vintage interior looks with modern twists
- Hideaway spaces and lofts perfect for interacting with technology
- Warm terracotta tones over the currently popular cool tones
Now, take a look at the home you’re selling. There’s a chance it may have design features or components that will become more desirable as trends shift in the New Year. If the home you’re selling includes unique wallpaper, a loft space or terracotta tile, make sure to mention it prominently in your listing.
Don’t Forget the Photos
The words you use in a real estate listing are of the utmost importance. But those words are merely part of a larger game plan for selling a property; one that should absolutely include professional real estate photography and the use of a real estate marketing service.
Published by Hometrack Real Estate Marketing
Copyright October 2016