a nice 1500 square foot house

How to write a property description

a nice 1500 square foot house

Here at Nila June, every day we hear from top real estate agents about how to write a property description that sells.

The consensus is that the written property description remains a unique opportunity to make a listing stand out. Zillow surfers include not only potential buyers, but also potential sellers. Members of the latter group are assessing the work of the listing agents, with eye toward choosing one. Considering these facts, agents should pay ever-closer attention to the quality of their public remarks for MLS. This is especially true as listings become more and more swamped with photographs that all look the same, and as the residential sales market begins to tighten.

Below the “Get your property description now!” button are a few thoughts and observations to date about how to write a property description.

The allure (and danger!) of property description headlines

We generally agree that a property description headline is important, but only if it’s good. You’re better off without “Honey stop the car!” or any number of other throwaways. Generic, over-used headlines announce to the world that you cut-and-pasted the listing description together from a bunch of descriptions that weren’t great to begin with.

Let’s work through a headline hypothetical: Suppose you want the headline to be about the view from the property.

“Sweeping views” might be true, but it is vague, and not much better than “Honey stop the car!”

“Inspiring ocean views” is a little better, a little more specific. But it’s not there yet.

“Unobstructed views of the Atlantic Ocean” is getting somewhere, but it is still weak. Views from where on the property? And can you be more specific than the second largest body of water on the planet?

How about: “Enjoy breakfast views of the working shrimp boats from your brand new deck!”

Pretty good. And you know what else? You can’t take a photograph that anticipates property use, time of day, and the specifics of external scenery.

A word of caution about ALL CAPS and exclamation points in your property description!!!

Please, let’s all agree: only one exclamation point allowed per listing.

You can use it in the headline, but still, only one!!!!!!! See how ridiculous this looks?!!!!!!

The only way to make it worse would be to write the headline in ALL CAPS!!!

If that is what you are doing, seriously consider hiring someone, or using a service such as Nila June Instant Property Descriptions.

Local context in property listing descriptions

Schools, shopping, parks, open spaces, downtown, employment centers—where are they relative to the house? You don’t have to begin your listing description by placing the house among its local amenities, but it’s perfectly reasonable to do so. Either way, we should know these facts by the time we reach the end of the description.

Ideally, you will consider the relationship among locational advantages and property features. Then you might find yourself writing that the short commute home from Denver gives you more time at home to enjoy views of the Rocky Mountains.

Your listing description should appeal to all five senses

Sure, the hardwood floors gleam, the kitchen is large, the ceilings are high, and the gas fireplace is stately.

Does the combination of oak hardwood flooring and the vaulted ceilings make for great acoustics? Is it a gas fireplace that offers quiet, picturesque warmth? Or is it a wood-burning fireplace that attracts with its crackling and spark? Perhaps coffee and breakfast will smell great in the kitchen and taste great on the screened-in porch.

 

Don’t be afraid of "overstatement" in property descriptions

We’ve seen plenty of advice admonishing real estate agents not to exaggerate property features in the listing description. This is generally good advice, to a point, but we must keep in mind that one person’s junk is another person’s treasure.

Just because we might look at a small, aging ranch house as a shack doesn’t mean that the person who is thinking about buying it feels the same. That potential buyer has every right to feel great about their budget and purchasing power as someone who is looking to spend more than seven figures on a seaside mansion.

Therefore, we suggest a modification to this common advice: Make every house seem great! But show your clients only those houses that fit their budget. So, don’t take the seven-figure buyer to the “great” $200K ranch, and don’t take the $200K buyer to the “great” million-dollar home. Then everyone’s happy. But both homes really are great.

 

The listing description should treat yard amenities with respect

The deck, pool, patio, or gazebo—or any combination of these—are not throwaways to be mentioned at the end. In today’s increasingly work-from-home world, chances are high that your buyers will spend a chunk of their time outside. We advise you not to give these important recreational amenities short shrift.

A few thoughts about words in your listing descriptions

Be careful with the thesaurus. If you’re writing about “the ostentatious primary bedroom,” you’ve taken a wrong turn. Here again, might be time to hire someone or use Nila June.

Don’t use the word “boasts.” No matter what. The home does not “boast” anything.

Ditto for “stunning,” especially with describing an entryway or a view.

Bottom line is, if you’re not comfortable choosing words, then get some help. There’s no shame in this. Can you imagine a writer trying to do your social job? No? So why force yourself to do a writer’s job? You should be shaking hands and showing houses!

Don't overthink the "call to action," or CTA

Yes, we think you should add the CTA to the property description, if there is enough space. We add it ourselves to Nila June descriptions, but would advise sacrificing it if character limits become an issue. Better to keep an evocative description of the interior than a generic “Schedule your tour now!” If they’re buyers, and if they’re interested, they are going to have their agent schedule a tour whether or not they see the CTA to do so. 

a nice 1500 square foot house

Here at Nila June, every day we hear from top real estate agents about how to write a property description that sells.

The consensus is that the written property description remains a unique opportunity to make a listing stand out. Zillow surfers include not only potential buyers, but also potential sellers. Members of the latter group are assessing the work of the listing agents, with eye toward choosing one. Considering these facts, agents should pay ever-closer attention to the quality of their public remarks for MLS. This is especially true as listings become more and more swamped with photographs that all look the same, and as the residential sales market begins to tighten.

Here are a few thoughts and observations to date about how to write a property description.

The allure (and danger!) of property description headlines

We generally agree that a property description headline is important, but only if it’s good. You’re better off without “Honey stop the car!” or any number of other throwaways. Generic, over-used headlines announce to the world that you cut-and-pasted the listing description together from a bunch of descriptions that weren’t great to begin with.

Let’s work through a headline hypothetical: Suppose you want the headline to be about the view from the property.

“Sweeping views” might be true, but it is vague, and not much better than “Honey stop the car!”

“Inspiring ocean views” is a little better a little more specific. But it’s not there yet.

“Unobstructed views of the Atlantic Ocean” is getting somewhere, but it is still weak. Views from where on the property? And can you be more specific than the second largest body of water on the planet?

How about: “Enjoy breakfast views of working shrimp boats from your brand new deck!”

Pretty good. And you know what else? You can’t take a photograph that anticipates property use, time of day, and the specifics of external scenery.

A word of caution about ALL CAPS and exclamation points in your property description!!!

Please, let’s all agree: only one explanation point allowed per listing.

You can use it in the headline, but still, only one!!!!!!! See how ridiculous that looks?!!!!!!

The only way to make it worse would be to write the headline in ALL CAPS!!!

If that is what you are doing, seriously consider hiring someone, or using a service such as Nila June Instant Property Descriptions.

Local context in property listing descriptions

Schools, shopping, parks, open spaces, downtown, employment centers—where are they relative to the house? You don’t have to begin your listing description by placing the house among its local amenities, but it’s perfectly reasonable to do so. Either way, we should know these facts by the time we reach the end of the description.

Ideally, you will consider the relationship among locational advantages and property features. Then you might find yourself writing that the short commute home from Denver gives you more time at home to enjoy views of the Rocky Mountains.

Your listing description should appeal to all five senses

Sure, the hardwood floors gleam, the kitchen is large, the ceilings are high, and the gas fireplace is stately.

Does the combination of oak hardwood flooring and the vaulted ceilings make for great acoustics? Is it a gas fireplace that offers quiet, picturesque warmth? Or is it a wood-burning fireplace that attracts with its crackling and spark? Perhaps coffee and breakfast will smell great in the kitchen and taste great on the screened-in porch.

 

Don’t be afraid of "overstatement" in property descriptions

We’ve seen plenty of advice admonishing real estate agents not to exaggerate property features in the listing description. This is generally good advice, to a point, but we must keep in mind that one person’s junk is another person’s treasure.

Just because we might look at a small, aging ranch house as a shack doesn’t mean that the person who is thinking about buying it feels the same. That potential buyer has every right to feel great about their budget and purchasing power as someone who is looking to spend more than seven figures on a seaside mansion.

Therefore, we suggest a modification to this common advice: Make every house seem great! But show your clients only those houses that fit their budget. So, don’t take the seven-figure buyer to the “great” $200K ranch, and don’t take the $200K buyer to the “great” million-dollar home. Then everyone’s happy. But both homes really are great.

 

The listing description should treat yard amenities with respect

The deck, pool, patio, or gazebo—or any combination of these—are not throwaways to be mentioned at the end. In today’s increasingly work-from-home world, chances are high that your buyers will spend a chunk of their time outside. We advise you not to give these important recreational amenities short shrift.

A few thoughts about words in your listing descriptions

Be careful with the thesaurus. If you’re writing about “the ostentatious primary bedroom,” you’ve taken a wrong turn. Here again, might be time to hire someone or use Nila June.

Don’t use the word “boasts.” No matter what. The home does not “boast” anything.

Ditto for “stunning,” especially with describing an entryway or a view.

Bottom line is, if you’re not comfortable choosing words, then get some help. There’s no shame in this. Can you imagine a writer trying to do your social job? No? So why force yourself to do a writer’s job? You should be shaking hands and showing houses!

Don't overthink the "call to action," or CTA

Yes, we think you should add the CTA to the property description, if there is enough space. We add it ourselves to Nila June descriptions, but would advise sacrificing it if character limits become an issue. Better to keep an evocative description of the interior than a generic “Schedule your tour now!” If they’re buyers, and if they’re interested, they are going to have their agent schedule a tour whether or not they see the CTA to do so. 

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