Other than your property photography, the description on your property listing is the most important part of your marketing. We often call this introduction the romance paragraph because it’s meant to entice readers into scheduling a visit.
A poorly written property listing is unlikely to turn prospects into renters as efficiently as a great one. We’re going to show you how to make that description pop!
1. Show, don’t tell
Anyone who’s taken Creative Writing 101 is familiar with the expression “show, don’t tell.” But that can be easier said than done — so what does it look like in a great property listing?
Essentially, “showing” means using descriptive language that makes it easy for readers to paint a mental picture of the property. Be specific with your descriptions.
Telling: The property is beautiful. Inside, you’ll find new kitchen appliances.
Showing: This residence is surrounded by well-maintained trees and greenery to welcome you home. The kitchen was renovated last year with a new dishwasher, microwave and granite countertops.
The second example is more descriptive and specific. It shows what’s beautiful about the property without even using the word “beautiful” and names each new kitchen amenity.
2. Be concise
We just finished saying that descriptive language sells. Now we’re going to pull back on that a little bit (just a little.) Be concise. Don’t go crazy with adjectives. If you go overboard, your property listing will lose focus. Here’s an example.
Too much: This massive single-family home is covered in gorgeous green ivy, and it will amaze you with its stunning and modern exterior.
Better: This ivy-sprinkled home has too many outdoor features to convey in a short space. You need to see it for yourself!
There are many ways to approach a listing, but we like the second example better because it focuses your attention without overwhelming you with excess detail.
3. Use words that sell (and avoid ones that don’t)
Even the best property listing won’t have much time to get someone’s attention. Your word choice can make or break your online listing.
There are certain words that resonate with readers. For instance, the word “you” is present in almost every online listing for a reason. Property managers know that people need to be able to see themselves — and their lifestyle — in the unit.
Another word that sells: “ready.” Let your prospects know that you’re ready for them to move in.
Beware of certain words that don’t work. While “new” and “updated” are very appealing words, “vintage” sounds like “old.” If it’s a colonial home, call it a colonial (remember to be specific).
“Unique” is another word that should be avoided. It’s like when someone has you try a new food, and you say, “Well, that was different.” Different how? Unique how? That doesn’t sound very positive or appealing, does it?
To learn more about writing a great property listing, check out Words To Use When Marketing Your Properties Online.
4. Add a call to action
The call to action is the most important part of any advertisement. It tells your audience what you want them to do or how to interact with you.
Think of virtually any ad you’ve ever seen. There’s always an expression used along the lines of “call now” or “learn more.” That’s the call to action, sometimes referred to as the CTA. Without it, you’re bound to lose prospects. Don’t be afraid to throw in a little urgency: “Available to the first buyer to pass a background check, so don’t wait! Call or text now!”
When writing a property listing, include a link to your website. If your company website is outdated (or maybe you just never got around to making one), let Yardi make a professional website for your business.
5. Create that sense of coming home
Remember that Folger’s holiday commercial from the 80s where a man comes home for the holidays, makes coffee and is warmly greeted by his family? It played for nearly 20 years during the holiday season, which means it was incredibly effective.
It lives on because of how well it created that sense of coming home. Viewers of that commercial could imagine themselves joining loved ones over coffee.
That’s exactly what your property listing should do (minus the coffee). Your romance paragraph should make readers feel like the ad was written just for them.
This sense of coming home only happens when all of the pieces of good writing fall into place.
- You use descriptive language
- You’re concise and specific
- Your word choice is appropriate
- You include a call to action
Consider Fair Housing Laws
When it comes to advertising and marketing, the Fair Housing Act is very clear about what you cannot do. Landlords may not show a preference for “race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin.” Some states offer additional protections for those who identify as LGBTQ.
Property listing disclaimer
Please note that this post does not constitute or replace legal counsel or professional advice on behalf of Yardi Breeze. We hope this information is helpful as a starting point, and we encourage you to do more research.