Writing compelling real estate listing descriptions

We give you the ultimate guide on how to write compelling real estate listing descriptions by exploring the power of words, the language pitfalls to avoid and how to maintain the perfect professional balance.


Redfin and online language writing-enhancement platform Grammarly, revealed in a 2014 study that nearly 45% of the 1 300 people surveyed would be much less inclined to tour a home if a listing description was riddled with spelling and grammatical errors.

While photos remained much more important than text, 87% of the survey participants said that descriptions were ‘extremely important or very important.’

Understandably writing the perfect listing description is not at the top of the to-do list of busy agents, however, it is important to at least have concise and clear listing descriptions on your properties for various reasons.

Proof and then proof again

Before we get into the thick of it, the first rule of Grammar Club is proof once, proof twice.

Making sure that your description is free of spelling and grammar mistakes is the biggest improvement you can make when writing listing descriptions.

Due to the increased exposure digital listing syndication offers, chances are that if you make a notable mistake your listing will be shared and viewed for all the wrong reasons.

Some of the language pitfalls to avoid

Use the right terms

Sometimes what you hear is not necessarily how it is written or how it is even pronounced, and using the words wrong can leave people with the impression that you are not as knowledgeable as you are presenting yourself.

The Redfin study revealed these words as the most common real estate specific red flags you should watch out for:

  • curve appeal (curb appeal)
  • granted counters (granite counters)
  • rod iron fence (wrought iron fence)
  • walking closets (walk-in closets)
  • quite streets (quiet streets)
  • dinning room (dining room)
  • fresh pain (fresh paint)
  • on suite bathroom (en suite bathroom)
  • back slash, backslash (backsplash)

Is it their, they’re or there?


Probably the most common mistakes made by people, not just real estate agents, is knowing the difference between the classic they’re/there/their, your/you’re, affect/effect, lose/loose, new/knew.

Most spell checkers won’t pick this up and it is therefore very important to have someone else read your copy as well. Remember the first rule of Grammar Club?

This also applies to words that sound the same but mean something different. For example, sneak peak instead of sneak peek or stainless steal instead of stainless steel.

Excessive punctuation and caps lock

We get it, sometimes a listing is just so exciting that you want to scream from the rooftops but using excessive punctuation and caps lock is one of the most irritating things on the internet. We promise we spend a lot of time online.

Instead of relying on multiple question marks, exclamation points or all caps to catch buyers’ attention, let the words and photos speak for themselves.

As said in an article about online “netiquette,” or being polite on the Web: “Typing in all capital letters on the Internet is considered rude because it is difficult to read and comes across as very aggressive (LIKE SHOUTING!). If you take away nothing from this ‘how-to’ other than knowing that typing in ‘caps’ is widely despised on the Internet, consider it time well spent.”

Also: This Is Also Very Annoying And Hard To Read.

Length

The Redfin/Grammarly survey revealed that buyers prefer a medium-sized listing description. This translates to descriptions of roughly 50 words -  further analysis by Redfin revealed that “homes with descriptions of around 50 words are, indeed, more likely to sell within 90 days. What’s more, they also tend to sell for higher than list price.”

Consistent abbreviations.

Be consistent with your abbreviations in and across your listings, and shorten the most common items such as AC - most people will know what that is, but if abbreviate 1 Bdr w/ AC + WIC people will have no idea that you are saying 1 bedroom with air conditioning and walk in closets.

Highlight the best

When you have to pack a lot of information into a small space, consider what might be the most important details to your ideal buyer and include those first.

For example, you might want to play up the designated parking in a hip city apartment that would attract young professionals — which might help explain why your property is going for a little more than the apartments without designated parking in the same area.

You can’t leave out the biggies, but the way bed, bath and price data is displayed on websites have been revolutionised and listing descriptions have become important places to not just describe the property but also the lifestyle, commute, and affordability of the property and the area. Buyers are looking to narrow down their search based on things like proximity to work, shopping, coffee shops and good schools.

Use the property description to talk about features that the pictures fail to represent, such as seasonal elements or impressive details that weren’t photographed. If a property has easy access to running trails, don’t just mention it but also provide a link to the trail map if it’s available.

Finishing touches

No one wants to read fancy and prestigious listing descriptions — but don’t let the comfort of informality cross that fine line into sloppy.

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