Knowing how to write a good property description is vital if you want to attract buyers, fast.
If you have chosen to sell your property without an estate agent you’ll need to write your own property listing.
But, even if you are using an estate agent, you may find you need to rewrite their property description to get more interest.
That’s because, unfortunately, most estate agents write terrible property descriptions.
But fear not! Using highly-persuasive, proven techniques, we are going to show you what to takes to engage people and get more interested buyers viewing your home.
Let’s Start With A Marketing Model…
Let me be upfront here. My background is in marketing. I studied it at University and I’ve worked in it for over 14 years.
During that time I’ve worked with some well-known national estate agency chains alongside household brands such as Dyson and LLoyds Bank. Therefore, I know a thing or two about how to make a product appeal to more people.
Whether you realise it or not, when you put your property on the market, you are selling a product.
In fact, you’re selling one of the most important products the buyer will ever purchase in their lives.
And that means, knowing how to write an effective property listing is vital if you are to secure a viewing request, and eventually a sale.
Introducing, The AIDA Model
AIDA stands for; Attention (sometimes referred to as ‘Awareness’), Interest, Desire, Action.
It’s used to describe the four key stages needed when advertising anything. You need to get peoples attention so they know the product exists, then generate an interest in why the product may be right for them, this is followed by creating a desire for owning the product, with actually making the decision to take the action required (such as booking a viewing) being the final step.
In short, your property listing needs to follow the AIDA model.
That means, your property listing first needs to capture peoples attention. This is achieved through good visibility, a good choice of main photograph, etc.
Your property listing needs to generate interest in your home. That means the opening few lines of your advert are key. You need to start by answering the question every single person will have in their mind when looking at your advert “Is this home right for me?”.
Once you’ve captured peoples interest, you need to create a strong desire to own, or at least view your home in person. This is achieved by painting a clear picture in the persons mind of what it’s like to live in your property.
Finally, you need to make it clear what the person needs to do next (e.g. book a viewing) and how they do it.
Reading The Description Is Your Readers First ‘Viewing’
It’s rare for someone to walk through your front door for a first viewing and not already have an impression of your property in their mind.
That’s because they have usually looked at the photographs and read the description to start deciding if the property is right for them.
If they already have doubts in their mind, they become much less likely to put in an offer on your home.
That’s why you HAVE to treat the property description as your first chance to showcase your property as the perfect home.
How is this done? Simple – forget about boring, overly descriptive text and start thinking about emotions and WHY your property is such a good buy.
One of the move famous advertisers of all-time, David Ogilvy said in his book ‘Ogilvy On Advertising‘:
You cannot bore people into buying your product. You can only interest them in buying it.
The same goes for selling your home.
Yet, take a look at the kind of property description you’ll see on the majority (I’d estimate more than 90%) of property listings out there:
A well presented two bedroom ground floor furnished apartment close to Central Avenue. In brief the accommodation comprises entrance hall, lounge, kitchen, two bedrooms, two shower rooms, parking space. No chain.
Can you see how uninspiring this sounds? Sure, it may be factually correct and contain all of the key information but does it make you want to view the property? Absolutely not.
The description is doing exactly what Ogilvy warned against – trying to bore people into buying.
Why is it like this? Surely estate agents know what works?
Unfortunately not. Most estate agents are not trained marketers. Most estate agents have never tested different approaches in property listings. Most estate agents just follow the crowd and do the same thing as everyone else without EVER questioning it.
It’s the same issues that we uncovered when we analysed this video of an estate agent showing people around a property.
For most estate agents, it’s a numbers game. They focus on quantity, not quality and so do the quickest and easiest things to try and find a buyer. But quick and easy doesn’t mean ‘best’.
Not All Properties Were Created Equal…
That example I just gave you was from a home that’s on the market for £175,000. That’s significantly below the average house price.
But look what happens when you check the property descriptions of properties at the higher end of the market.
Here’s a description for a property that’s on the market for a cool £1.2m:
This handsome Victorian house is situated in a prime position for any cricket or football fan – the top floor enjoys a balcony over looking Trent Bridge cricket ground. The house has had an extensive total refurbishment with a total re-wire, all sash windows reconditioned and in working order, under-floor heating on all four floors and custom wifi/cinema installation. No expense has been spared – every room has been transformed.
Do you see the difference? The way the property is described is very emotive, it stresses the benefits of owning the property and describes it in such a way a picture of it is already forming in your head.
This is a big problem. After all, why should an expensive house be sold differently to a cheaper property?
Sure, it’s still not perfect and it is easier to write like this for a luxurious, unusual property than for an everyday house.
Yet, there are no rules to say you cannot write like this for any type of property.
Let’s take a look at the description for the £175,000 property again but let’s crank up the emotion and rewrite the description…
This beautifully presented two bedroom apartment is so close to Central Avenue that you’ll be able to walk to the many independent shops, bars and restaurants in just 8 minutes.
Still need a car? No problem, you’ll get your very own dedicated parking space at the rear of the property.
Inside you’ll find not just one, but TWO luxurious shower rooms so there’s no more queuing to get ready in a morning!
We could go on. This description would clearly need to describe the rest of the property too but do you see how much more appealing this sounds already?
So, What’s Going On Here?
You came here to find out how to write a good property description, so, let me talk you through the exact techniques I’m using in the example above:
Immediately Tells The Reader Why The Home Is Right For Them
The big selling point of this property is that it’s close to one of the most popular shopping streets in the area. The previous description mentioned it but in a very uninspiring way.
This description helps you imagine walking to Central Avenue AND tells you what you might do when you get there – not everyone will be familiar with the street so spell it out for them.
Not everyone may like the fact it’s so close to the shops but that’s fine. You’re not trying to appeal to EVERYONE, just to the people who are looking for what your property offers.
Uses Emotive Words
The new description injects emotion with words such as ‘beautifully’ and ‘luxurious’. Whenever you write you are appealing to peoples emotions.
By successfully creating an emotional connection with the reader you are helping them visualise what you are describing and are gentling pushing them towards the ‘Desire’ stage of the AIDA model.
Notice how the new description gives a very specific time-frame for how long it takes to walk to the shops?
This specific number helps to show the reader you haven’t made it up so it becomes more believable. It’s also much easier for the reader to understand exactly how close ‘close to Central Avenue’ really is.
Uses Conversational Language
If you want to engage people you should write like you talk. That means you can forgo the grammar lessons and most other things you learned at school.
Sure, your writing still needs to be easy to understand, but, if you write like you speak, it’ll be easier to make a connection with the person reading the description.
Asked A Question
‘Still need a car?’ – When you’re asked a question like this it opens a loop in your brain. You want to close it by answering the question. And if you want to answer the question, you want to keep reading to find out why the answer is important in the context of the question.
It’s a technique I’ve been using throughout this article to keep you engaged. Don’t believe me? Have a read back over the last few sections (I just used it again).
Talks About ‘Benefits’ Not Just ‘Features’
Did you notice how in the new description we didn’t just tell the reader that the property has ‘two shower rooms’ like the first description did?
Instead, we follow up the fact it has two bathrooms with what that actually means…. “so there’s no more queuing to get ready in a morning!”
People buy based on benefits and justify it with features. That means if you really want to get people interested in your property, you have to point out the benefits of any features you mention.
What Else Makes A Good Property Description?
The example I gave above only uses some of the techniques you can use to write a good property description. There are plenty of others, too.
You don’t need to use every single one. But, the more you can weave into your property listing, the more likely it is to attract viewing requests.
Create A Visual Image
We touched on this earlier but in essence, you want the reader to ‘demo’ your property just by reading your description.
You want them to imagine walking around and seeing and feeling the things you describe.
That’s hard to do when you just say the property has ‘a master bedroom with an ensuite’.
But, it’s much easier when you say ‘the large master bedroom has uninterrupted views of the stunning green Peak District hills and, at the rear, access to a recently updated ensuite complete with walk-in shower and white rolltop bath’.
It’s the same thing as when someone says don’t think of a pink elephant. All you can do is imagine a pink elephant.
Talk Directly To The Reader
The person reading your description is likely to be an individual. Talk to them like one.
Use lots of mentions of ‘You’ and ‘Your’ – for example, ‘you’ll get access to a large patio area that’s perfect for when you have your friends and family around.”
This makes it easier to create that connection with the reader and help them imagine themselves living in the property.
Use Brand Names
Well-known brands help to conjure up trust. If you’re including a brand name boiler, dishwasher, fridge, freezer, or even burglar alarm make sure you mention the brand.
That will help to show anyone reading that you haven’t cut corners when it comes to installing good quality components in your home.
Have A Clear Message
What’s the one single thing that’s most likely to attract people to your property?
Is it the south-facing garden or the fact it’s the only house on the street that’s been extended? Whatever it is, make sure you mention it as early as possible in the description.
No property listing should ever make claims that are not true. You will get found out eventually.
So, stick to only talking about facts but just make sure you present the facts in the most appealing way possible.
Good marketing is all about making the most of what is already true, not misrepresenting the facts.
Make It Clear What People Should Do Next
Don’t end a property listing description without telling people what you want them to do next.
Tell them to call now to book a viewing. Tell them if you are expecting a lot of interest or if you plan on conducting an open house viewing.
Even if you have successfully created the ‘Desire’ to own the property in the reader, they sometimes still need that extra nudge to take action.
Summary – How To Write A Good Property Description
The sad truth is that many estate agents do not know even 10% of the techniques that you’ve just read about.
They think that they already know how to write a good property description because they selling 20 properties a month.
They don’t realise that if they improved their property descriptions they could be selling 30, 40, 50, or even more properties a month!
If you are going the DIY route when selling your home, use as many of these techniques as possible.
If you are using an estate agent, INSIST they use these techniques and write you a property description as good as one they would write for a top-end home.
Every single one is based on proven marketing and advertising techniques that have been working for all kinds of products, in all kinds of markets, for several decades.
In fact, some of the same techniques are already in use when you look at the most expensive properties on the market.
Why? Because only the very best estate agents get to write descriptions for the most expensive properties.
The extra fees they’ll take for selling such a high-value property also helps them justify spending more time writing the description properly.