How to Write Great Property Descriptions

How To Write Great Property Descriptions

It’s a well-known fact in real estate, that sharp photos and well-written property descriptions help listings sell faster, and for above asking more times than not. In some cases, property descriptions alone can affect whether a house is selling.

One Agent Inner Circle member shared a story about taking over a listing that hadn’t sold for 2 YEARS – but he had it under contract in 4 days… with 8 offers! He did all this simply by changing the listing description

Don’t worry though, you don’t have to be a New York Times bestselling author to write great property descriptions, you just have to be great at what you already specialize in… knowing your market. The best agents know what draws people to a home, and exactly which type of people are shopping in their market.

Write Directly to the Home’s Perfect Buyers

The goal of any property description is to draw in the buyers most likely to purchase that specific house. However, all too often we see property descriptions that look like stat sheets the general public then has to decipher.

A downtown home with room to entertain draws in a very different buyer than a small farmhouse tucked in the woods on a 100 acre parcel. So if you want to find the right buyers for a particular property, write accordingly!

Keep in mind when casting your net for the home’s perfect buyer, you should be as inclusive as possible. This isn’t just about fair housing, any language that excludes any group of people could immediately turn away a buyer that may very well have been your best offer.

Start by outlining the 3 core pieces of information you need to have before you begin writing your description (I promise, this will save you time in the long run).

1) The Property’s Unique Benefits
Capturing a property’s most desirable attributes is what agents do best. But just listing the key features doesn’t help potential buyers visualize themselves living there. Talk to the homeowners to really understand what it’s like to live there, after all who is better suited to highlight everything to love about a property than they are?

2) The Wants & Needs of the Property’s Potential Buyers
Understanding what makes a property great is one side of the coin, but we all know that people don’t buy houses simply because they loved it’s top feature. People search for properties based on a varied number of criteria: location, neighborhood, affordability,  commute, school district, and the list goes on… the point at which people buy a specific property is when the unique benefits of the home finally meet up with their criteria. Be sure you understand what the needs and wants of the potential buyers are for that specific home and speak directly to those in your copy.

3) The Words That Attract The Right Buyers
Communities of people tend to have their own language and phrases that you can use to make your property descriptions stand out. Take some time to figure out any specific language, phrases or lexicon used by your audience. (If the home has space for entertaining, and you know nothing about throwing a party, maybe it’s time for a crash course.)

The easiest way to appeal to all three considerations above is to use our Brainstorming Cheat Sheet to Perfectly Position Your Listing. Download it now!

Structure Your Copy

Now that you’re done brainstorming and have really focused on what will attract buyers to this specific property, it’s time to start writing. And while every home is different, great property descriptions all share the same traits. They all:

Tell a Story
From early childhood onward, stories captivate us and spark our imagination. They’re ingrained in our cultures, used as educational tools and motivate many of our decisions. Because of which, great stories sell no matter what industry you’re in. So shift gears, and try telling the story of living in and loving this home.

Example (before): 5 Bed, 4 Bath home with view and room to entertain…
Example (after): Spend evenings entertaining your friends over a city view in this 5 bed, 4 bath…

Appeal to The Senses 
Psychologically readers engage better with writing that calls to their senses. By using language that appeals to the senses, you have a higher likelihood of connecting with your reader.

Example (before): A backyard with beautiful rose bushes.
Example (after): Enjoy the vibrant scent of fresh roses right in your own backyard.

Use Impact Words that Appeal to Emotion
Beyond the senses, readers also draw a connection to writing that evokes emotion. Your goal here is to make an emotional impact without being cliche. Words tend to lose their impact the more a person has heard or read them, so be original and stand out from the crowd.

Example (before): “Charming”
Example (after): “Warm”

Speak to the Genuine Qualities of the Property
As humans tell stories, we have a tendency to elaborate the details over time. The 5 inch fish becomes 10 and then 20. However, when it comes to property descriptions you can’t inflate the details. Every home has a perfect buyer, just as it sits. Your goal is to tell the most authentic story you can to attract that buyer.

Let’s Put It All Together

Outside of images, the 150 to 500 words you have available within MLS descriptions are the most important part of marketing a home, so make sure you get the most out of them. 

Start by writing the long form version of your description. Here, you’ve got more space to elaborate on the highlights of a property…. so showcase your talents as a real estate agent. Set the scene and put buyers in the home before they ever set foot in the door. Make them feel as if they’ve woken up to the first morning in their dream home.

Once you’re done with the long form version, it’s time to craft your short version… or is it? The goal of the first sentences in your long form version is to entice people to keep reading, so why wouldn’t you want the same thing for your short version? Long-story short (pun intended), if you’ve crafted the right opening for your property description, you’ve already done the work to create your short form copy.

See the Difference for Yourself

Every agent has the opportunity to stand out with great listing descriptions, no matter what kind of writer they may be. So use our strategy with your next listing – or try switching up one of your existing descriptions and see the difference for yourself.

Thank you to Neil Mathweg and his copywriter Keith Gilmore for submitting this amazing sample of their work, for us to share with all of you:

Full Example:
“You found me! I’m a classic Cape-Cod home, looking for that special someone. I may be in my 60’s, but I still turn a lot of heads with my young qualities – NEW Windows, UPDATED WOOD FLOORS & Carpet, SPACIOUS Dine-In Kitchen! (Check out my update list!) Spoiler: I’ve even gotta a potential 4TH BEDROOM downstairs & ¾ bath, or just use it as your bonus room. And when you’re not upstairs in my Updated LRG Master, chill out in my REMODELED 3 SEASON PORCH! But you won’t wanna be at home very much, what, with how close you’ll be to Olbrich Lake (psst! Biergarten), Pinney Library, Java Cat & Olbrich Gardens! I’m definitely priced to sell, which means I won’t be around long.. Let’s meet today!”

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27 responses to “How To Write Great Property Descriptions”

    1. Alex Camelio Avatar

      Thank you so much Sandy!!

  1. Nadine Battle Avatar

    Thank you. I use to tell a Story years ago and my assistant and clients loved it. Don’t know why I got away from that. Great read and advise.

    1. Alex Camelio Avatar

      Thanks Nadine! 🙂 I’m really glad you found the article helpful. It’s always interesting to think about how, at times, we move away from things that are working and then look back years later and don’t know why we stopped. I think we’ve all done that at some point – and I’m really glad to hear this helped get things back on course.

      PS – I also responded to your email. 🙂

  2. Monte Lorenzen Avatar
    Monte Lorenzen

    Very good

    1. Alex Camelio Avatar

      Thanks Monte!! Much appreciated.

  3. le ronda gaines Avatar
    le ronda gaines

    I am so very appreciative! This is right on target! i have a listing soon to be released. I am excited to rewrite with a captivating story highlighting the qualities of the home while appealing to the senses of potential buyers. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!!

    1. Alex Camelio Avatar

      Thank you so much Le Ronda!! I’m glad you found this helpful. I’d love to see what you come up with for a description when it goes on the market too! 🙂

  4. Norma Kania Avatar
    Norma Kania

    Excellent…. I also used to be more colorful and got away from it to cram all the minute details into the allotted space….

    1. Alex Camelio Avatar

      Thanks Norma! I’m so happy you found this helpful. It’s definitely really easy to feel like you need to get all those details in but when you take a step back it’s all about painting the story around the features that attract the right buyer.

    1. Alex Camelio Avatar

      Thanks so much Ray!

  5. Larry A Castle Avatar
    Larry A Castle

    Alex you can count yourself proud. I used to be a real estate agent but now just looking at properties and I can’t believe the descriptions some of these agents use. One used the neighbors address because the property didn’t have a postal address. I have found listings for property that when you tried to look at it, it didn’t match up with the maps that were with the listing and no signs on the property either. I have looked at houses that the description would better come off a rap sheet in the sheriff’s office. I have seen some property listings that have one or two pictures of the outside of the house only, I have seen many listings that have inside pictures and they are so dark you can’t tell anything from them, I have seen agents try to make rooms look larger than they are through camera tricks. In my opinion most of these things are just lazy real estate agents that just want the listing and expect some other agent to sell the property for them.

    1. Alex Camelio Avatar

      I feel your pain Larry! There are definitely waaayyyy too many below average descriptions out there. Sorry you’ve had to wade through them. Hopefully we can keep doing what we can to raise the bar. 🙂

  6. Glenn Ross Avatar

    Awesome article..!
    Can’t thank you enough..

    1. Alex Camelio Avatar

      Thank YOU Glenn! I really appreciate you taking the time to read it and am so glad you found it helpful. Hope you have an awesome day!

  7. Clark Niblock Avatar

    Love your final example – you definitely have a way with words. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Alex Camelio Avatar

      Thanks so much Clark! I can’t take credit for that final example though. That one was submitted by Neil Mathweg and his copywriter Keith Gilmore. I had worked up a different one that was very similar, but the one Neil posted in our group was so great I just had to share it with everyone. (Plus, Neil is one of our AIC contributing authors so it made sense.)

      Either way – really glad you loved the article!

  8. Maya Garg Avatar

    Thank you. love the article and the suggestions.

    1. Alex Camelio Avatar

      Thanks so much Maya! I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

  9. Lynn D Larson Avatar
    Lynn D Larson

    This was a well-thought out article on how to write good property descriptions by thinking before one starts to write. It also includes topics that should be thought out carefully. Thanks so much.

    1. Alex Camelio Avatar

      Thank you so much for the kind words Lynn! I’m really glad you found the article helpful.

  10. Terry Riel Avatar

    Always enjoy your very helpful tips! Article(s) was wonderful!
    Thanks so much! Terry Riel, NH Realtor®

    1. Alex Camelio Avatar

      Thank you so much Terry! Hope all is well with you in NH!

  11. Liz Freeman Avatar

    Very impressive information!! I definitely plan to use your suggestions.

  12. Lezlee Heninger, REALTOR Avatar
    Lezlee Heninger, REALTOR

    Great article, as we tend to get a little stale in our write ups using the same expressions over and over!
    Thank you!

  13. Annette Gregorio Avatar
    Annette Gregorio

    Alex, as always, really helpful content! I don’t like “stat sheets” when reading property descriptions, boring! Telling a story makes so much sense. The examples you shared were great! Thanks for sharing!

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