How Important are Property Descriptions?

It doesn’t matter if you are in residential or commercial real estate, writing property descriptions is one of the most important things you can do to sell your listings. People see your property descriptions long before you have a chance to discuss the property with them.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 44 percent of home buyers started their search online. A study done by LoopNet and Google indicates that 59 percent of respondents start their commercial real estate search online. Since you won’t be there to talk to most buyers, an accurate and creative property description is critical for both residential and commercial real estate agents. Here are seven tips to help you write those descriptions.

1. Identify the Target Market for Your Listing

Today, business moves very fast because everyone is in a hurry. Buyers know what they’re looking for. If you publish a very general listing, it won’t attract anyone’s attention. Before you write property descriptions, make sure you’ve defined the key advantages of your property and the type of buyer who would be most interested in it, then write your listing descriptions to attract those individuals.

2. Review the Competition

It’s very rare that your listing will be the only one buyers will have to review. Take advantage of the opportunity to review competing listings and identify those things that will give you a competitive advantage. Consider the features other listings highlight and the time those listings have been on the market. If you find listings that have been on the market for longer than they should, you can look at the pricing and features to identify things you shouldn’t highlight in your property description.

3. Make Your Headline Count

The headline for your property description is the thing that must grab the reader’s attention when they are skimming through a long roster of listings. You only have a few seconds to accomplish that. Based on your target market for a specific property, write a headline that is:

·        Very specific. Include the most important feature of the property that will speak directly to the target market. Very often, this feature is the location of the property.

·        Short. You need to make your headline very concise. The headline isn’t the place to use flowery language or to tell a story. The headline should make your target market take notice.

·        Use descriptive words. Avoid the language that will automatically disqualify your property. For example, in residential real estate, most buyers know that “cozy” means very small.

4. Write a Descriptive Opening Statement

If your headline attracts attention, the next thing you need to do is give them a reason to keep reading. The best way to do that is to describe the key feature of the property in terms of proving its value. For example, here’s an example of a headline and opening statement:

Residential

·        Headline: Upscale Loft Living in Downtown Chicago

·        Opening statement: This spacious loft with dedicated parking puts you right in the middle of all the downtown action.

Commercial

·        Headline: Rare Apartment Offering in Growing Community

·        Opening Statement: Current Cap Rate: 4.2% | Market Cap Rate: 5.0% | Day-One Cash-on-Cash: 5.5%. April Apartments is a well-maintained property in the highly sought after neighborhood of Glory Park.

5. Create a Narrative

If you look at typical listings, you’ll find many that are too short and uninteresting. Many listings are one long block of text that is difficult to read, or they appear in all capital letters. You want to encourage your prospects to read the description, so make it easy for them to do so.

Paint a picture of how wonderful it would be for your prospect to be successful in purchasing the property. Use descriptive adjectives and write as if you were talking to a prospect. Whenever possible, make use of headings, white space, and bullet lists to make it easy for buyers to scan the description. Write a description that allows your target prospect to picture themselves owning the property and getting the benefit of the specific features they require.

Residential

Think about your target prospect. Is the home’s open floor plan perfect for keeping track of a busy family? Does the indoor to outdoor living layout make the home an entertainer’s dream, or are the mountain views sure to bring serenity to their daily lives?

Don’t take up valuable real estate in your property descriptions with things that are already included as a standard part of the listing such as number of beds or baths. Consider these examples.

Boring: five bedrooms, four baths

Descriptive: mother-in-law suite with a separate entrance and dedicated bath

Boring: updated kitchen

Descriptive: stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, farmhouse sink

Boring: renovated

Descriptive: a recent remodel includes hardwood floors throughout and luxurious finishes

Commercial

Is your target prospect looking for a high foot traffic location, a prestigious business address, or a consistently high occupancy rate? Use descriptors that can bring your listing alive.

Boring: downtown

Descriptive: in the heart of commerce in downtown

Boring: parking is available

Descriptive: plentiful secured parking for your staff and customers

Boring: renovated building

Descriptive: completely renovated and ready for your tenants to customize their space

6. Consider SEO Optimization

Your property descriptions will appear frequently on the internet. Be sure that you consider SEO optimization. For example, use phrases that you know people will be searching for. That could be the location, property type, and specific amenities.

Since a description is typically fairly short, don’t repeat keywords excessively. One or two occurrences of a keyword phrase are typically all you’ll need. Never abbreviate phrases that you know people will include in a search.

7. Check the Details

If your property descriptions include grammar and spelling errors, you’ll lose points with your prospects. No one wants to complete a real estate transaction with someone who they’re not sure has a grasp of the details. Get someone else to read the description if you’re not sure you can spot your own errors.

Your property descriptions are a critical part of your property marketing plan. Potential buyers will quickly decide whether your listing is worth their time. If you make descriptions compelling and easy to read, you’ll increase the number of leads it produces. You’ll also have everything you need to make outstanding face-to-face presentations to the right buyer.