Real Estate Marketing -- The Importance of Listing Language

Brandon Cornett

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Mr. and Mrs. Buyer have just seen a listing photo of a house that's right up their alley. It seems to have the features they want, and it's within their price range. Now, continuing in the process, they read the details. They read what you've written to describe the house.

This is when the quality of your listing language either moves them forward, or drops them off.

The first parts of the listing are easy to write, and they're often enough to get a buyer to come out for a visit. Number of bedrooms. Square feet. The basics.

But your goal is to get as many interested buyers as possible to come out, which obviously increases the likelihood of a sale. So you have to go beyond the basics. Here are some tips to help you do just that:

Do the necessary research.
When I'm hired to write about the benefits / qualities of a product or service, I almost always spend more time researching than writing. I never write a single word until I know, with certainty, what's worth writing about and what's not.

The point is, you can't write everything about a house in a listing — there's no room for that. So you have to examine the property inside and out to find those things that make it truly unique. You have to dig up the unique selling points.

Put the reader in the house.
Whenever possible, try to describe the enjoyment that results from a particular feature (as opposed to describing the feature by itself).

Note the difference in the examples below.

This house has a rear deck with a lake view.

Enjoy watching sunsets over Jefferson Lake from your screened-in rear deck.

The family room features a large brick fireplace.

The family room's grand fireplace will keep you cozy during Colorado winters.

Don't underestimate the small stuff.
If you're creating a short, bulleted “laundry list” of features, be as specific and all-inclusive as possible. The house might have a feature that makes you yawn but makes a buyer perk up:

Extra outlets in the media room. Low-maintenance deck material. Wrought-iron gate. Picket fence. Sometimes the smallest things make the biggest difference to people.

Use brand names.
Certain brands can add value to a house through name alone. First, you must identify these brand names and make a list of them. This comes from the research we mentioned above.

Then it's simply a matter of weaving them into your property description.

Note the difference in the example below:

Rear deck

Rear deck built with low-maintenance Trex® material (with transferable lifetime warranty).

I've exaggerated the contrast between these examples for demonstration purposes. But you get the idea.

Buyers are looking for more than a house. They also want a home. A house is walls and ceilings. A home is where memories are made. It's up to you to bring this across with your listing language.

Brandon Cornett has worked as a writer and advertising manager within the direct mail industry. He now dedicates his time to helping agents and brokers improve their real estate marketing programs. His free newsletter is available at:


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