The power of the property description as a selling tool is often overlooked because most people, including sales agents and property managers, focus on the photographs.
Sure, everyone knows that people look at the pictures first … but then they read the words.
Buyers generally create a list of potential houses by scrolling through the pictures and making quick decisions.
A second pass is usually when they look at the description and use it to filter out those houses that don’t meet their requirements – and this is when your words are the most important thing on the page.
realestateVIEW.com.au Marketing Manager Genie Kamvissis said the key to the perfect property description was to avoid the sales pitch.
“We have found that, easy-to-read and detail-oriented property descriptions have a higher chance of getting leads, as opposed to overwritten listings or those that lack key features,” Ms Kamvissis said.
“Try to avoid clichéd calls-to-actions such as ‘Once in a lifetime property opportunity’ or ‘hurry, this one will sell fast!’,” she said.
“Also, the headline is critical. On realestateVIEW.com.au approximately 60% of people are viewing only the imagery without reading the description.
“To grab their attention, ensure the headline is enough to make them keep reading.”
Property journalist and website developer Nick Moore specialises in writing property descriptions for agents and said writing for the web was a highly specialised discipline that required expertise and experience.
“Most agents wouldn’t consider taking their own property photos these days and soon it will be the same for the words.
“Vendors will appreciate that the best person to write up their home is not a real estate agent, it’s a professional writer,” Mr Moore said.
“The reason lazy cliches are bad is because the property portals make it so easy to comparison browse, which means you want your listing to stand out from the mob.
“Cliches are stale and and they’re in all the other write-ups, which means yours just blends in. Aim for fresh and special.”
Bulleted lists are another trouble spot, said Mr Moore who worked in newspapers for 20 years including at The Age, Courier-Mail and Sunday Mail.
“Bullet points work great online but not a great long list of 20 of them without order or structure. A big slab of unorganised bullet points looks too intimidating for the reader to enter. It also screams “afterthought” and “least effort possible”, which reflects poorly on the home for sale.”
Mr Moore said that writing property descriptions was potentially a poor use of an agent’s time.
“You really should be spending at least an hour writing up a client’s property. Say your agency lists 10 properties a month – that’s 10 hours that your agents are not chasing more listings or trying to find buyers.
“Surely they could be doing something more profitable in that time than writing so-so property profiles.”
Additional writing tips:
The simpler the better
Studies show that even the most detail orientated people skim the text on a page. Keep your listing description simple with bullet points and short paragraphs. Sentence case is best, as capitals seems like you are yelling at the customer.
Go the extra mile
Find key points of interest in the area (through a simple Google search) and include the proximity to these locations in your listing. This will show potential buyers you have done your research on the area and is a key factor in a buyer’s decision making process.
Include the finer detail
The obvious inclusions such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms and carparks are essential. However, including fittings such as floorboards, carpets and appliances may be the smaller details that get you over the line.
Consider your audience
Think about your target audience. Who would the house appeal to? What features would appeal to this particular audience? Make sure you write the property using language and features that will speak to that ideal buyer.