I’m not a real estate agent but I’ve worked closely with real estate agents for several years. I have a lot of experience writing for real estate – whether it’s marketing campaigns for properties, or newsletters and profiles for real estate agents. So, I’d like to think I know a little about the ingredients for a successful sale.
- A good, solid property
- Street appeal and the wow factor
- Excellent marketing strategy
- The right agent
And while I can’t physically help someone create street appeal and the wow factor in their home, I can use the power of words to bring their property to life, and help potential buyers visualise themselves in their dream home.
Together with some expert styling and impactful photography, the written description of a property completes an effective marketing strategy. Getting this mix right can often mean the difference between a property that buyers are fighting over versus one that just can’t attract any interest.
Writing a persuasive property profile
Every writer has their own way of drafting content. And each industry or genre has its own unique idiosyncrasies. Real estate isn’t alone and over the years I’ve refined my process for writing property profiles.
Streamline your process but ensure your language remains fresh and energising.
1. See it with your own eyes
I believe there’s no substitute for visiting a property and walking around it yourself. Some writers will happily draft their copy from the professional photos, which for me is fine on the odd occasion, but photos don’t give you the same perspective of space, the impact of light and the sense of privacy or seclusion.
Being onsite you get a feel for the neighbourhood. You get to experience the little add-ons, like concealed lighting or underfloor heating. And you also have the opportunity to ask questions, sometimes even of the vendor, and find out what they like about living in the property and the area.
2. Become familiar with templates
If you’re like me, you probably write copy for a few different real estate agencies. Each one probably has its own brand templates with strict word counts and often a specific style guide. It pays to know these inside out, so when you’re sitting down, about to begin drafting your copy you know the constraints you must work within.
- Headlines defined by the number of characters or the number of words.
- Introductory paragraphs that are short and snappy, or long and descriptive.
- Character-limited bullet points – usually between six and eight.
The key to efficient real estate copywriting is volume. In most cases, the rate you’ll receive per property profile isn’t high, especially when you factor in travel time, but if you can increase the number of profiles you write and decrease the time it takes to write them, you’ll see the benefits.
Trying to get a draft right first time and reducing the amount of rework is the best strategy.
Knowing whether you should be including punctuation on your bullets, and whether the location description should go into the introduction paragraph or the bullet points is critical.
3. Know an agent’s style
As well as knowing the agency’s brand templates and guidelines, it’s also really helpful to build a good rapport with the real estate agents you work with. If you know them, you can develop a feel for their personality and write a profile that matches their style (sticking within the overall agency guidelines of course!).
So, you might find yourself working for a very traditional agent who prefers factual, descriptive headlines that are straight to the point.
- Beautifully presented, contemporary living
- Enchanting Federation family home
- Delightful property in a quiet leafy enclave
Or you might have someone that’s more outgoing and likes to try something a bit different.
- Just add some finishing touches
- One step closer to your new home
- A property that simply ticks all the boxes
This is where it starts to get fun and you can let your creativity run free…
4. Create a master list
This is a tactic I started very early on in my real estate writing ventures. As a lover of words rather than numbers, it’s not often I get excited about opening an Excel spreadsheet! But this one is a little bit different.
When I first started writing I was full of new ideas and ways to say things. I realised that I couldn’t fit all of these into just one profile, but I didn’t want to lose the train of thought. So, I started to enter all these ideas and random words into a spreadsheet, with difference categories for headlines, adjectives, nouns and so on.
It’s grown quite significantly over time, but I never delete anything just because I’ve used it. In reality, there are so many ways you can describe a bedroom or a kitchen, particularly when it’s lacking somewhat in redeeming features. But with the help of my master list, you can sometimes find a new combination of words or phrases to transform what’s really quite a dull and uninspiring room into one that offers a sense of intrigue!
It’s usually my first point of call when I sit down to write. I scan through the list and see if any words or phrases jump out at me while I have the vision of the property in my mind.
Matching creative words with your visual knowledge together is a very satisfying and fun way to approach writing.
5. Keep up with the market
Over time, one very important thing I’ve learnt about being a copywriter is that you’re not on your own. While the life of a freelancer can sometimes seem very solitary, it’s a great relief to discover that there’s a huge network of likeminded individuals out there. I’ve been overwhelmed by people’s generosity when sharing knowledge and tips for success.
Where real estate is concerned, I find it useful to keep on top of what’s happening in the market. I regularly read articles and blogs related to both the regions I work in but also broader industry trends.
Whenever I see something interesting, I write it down so I don’t forget it and I can easily find it in the future.
Sometimes I come across interesting ways to describe things or new real estate terms I haven’t seen before, and I’ll often add these into my master list. You just never know when you might have to write about a property where these words seem just perfect.
Continuing to develop yourself and learn from the experience of others is what keeps life interesting, and I encourage everyone to make time for this.
If you’re a keen real estate writer, I’d love to hear about your experience and your strategies for keeping language modern and captivating.