For many of us in the real estate world, writing property adverts is a challenge. It's hard to sit down and be creative when you are jumping from phone call to phone call, putting out fires, and trying to make deals happen. The end result is, many of our adverts end up looking like an afterthought. A couple of feature bullet points with a 'call me now' chucked on the end.
On top of that, I've often heard salespeople make comments like...
"Buyers don't read adverts anyway." or "It's all about the photos."
But is this really true all the time? Or do we use it as an enabling excuse to avoid doing something that takes a little thought and creativity?
How do our owners feel when they read those short bullet point adverts?
Imagine you are selling your biggest asset, a home you fell in love with at some point earlier in your life. The majority of your personal wealth is tied up in this property and the sale price it achieves will heavily influence your future. If you are in that position (which every owner basically is), wouldn't you want the best possible advert representing your property?
Now I know writing adverts can be hard. I have spent many an hour of my life staring at a blank computer screen, waiting for inspiration. So I have a tip to make your life easier.
TIP: You don't need to write a novel. You just need to turn a few of those property features into benefits.
This salesperson gets it...
I was in Tauranga, NZ last week and spotted this photo signboard. It's a great example of going a little bit further with your bullet points to turn '4 walls' into a lifestyle.
How to instantly improve your adverts...
To write better adverts, you need to understand the difference between a feature and a benefit. A feature describes what something has. A benefit is what that thing gives you...
Turning your features into benefits...
Here's a feature: 'Afternoon sun.'
Now, here's the same feature described as a benefit:
'Each day when you get home from work, you can sit yourself down with a glass of wine and soak up the last of the sunset. What a way to end the day.'
Or a short version. "Enjoy your wine after work in the afternoon sun" or "Come home from work and bask in the afternoon sun."
The key message: Don't just list features in your advert. Describe how those features will benefit your buyer.
Eg. Instead of just writing '2 bathrooms' write 'thanks to the addition of a second bathroom, you'll never have to queue up in the morning...'
Here are a few more examples:
'Close to the beach.' = 'Bring more relaxation into your life with long walks on the beach, which is only 350m away.'
'Close to transport.' = 'Save money by taking advantage of the regular bus service which stops only 50m away.'
'Low maintenance.' = 'Free up your time and spend your weekends doing what you love, instead of mowing lawns.'
'Close to schools' = 'The sought-after local primary school is only 300m away, and your kids can walk there without even crossing the road.'
What to do when you don't know what to write
Next time you find yourself staring at a computer screen wondering what to write, start by listing the features of the property. Then, turn each of those features into a benefit. Now, put those benefits into some sort of order. Add a call to action at the end and you are just about good to go!
If you get stuck on the headline (and who doesn't), pick your favourite property benefit from the list you have just written and use that.
Key buyers will read your advert
While I agree that buyers scrolling through listings online are all about the photos, I can say from personal experience that once I'm interested in a property, I read every single word of the advert. As a buyer, I'm looking to the advert for clues to know if this property will work for me. I'm looking for extra info I can't spot in the photos.
Potentially interested buyers will read your entire script, so it's worth giving them your best sales pitch!
More tips to improve your adverts
You have to show buyers why this home is special. Every compelling advert should have an element of 'scarcity' built into it. Something like 'I have been in real estate many years but I have rarely seen a home with this combination of style, sun-aspect and family-friendly living spaces.'
Avoid lazy adjectives
Examples of lazy adjectives: Really, interesting, great, beautiful.
I call these lazy adjectives because they lack creativity. Real estate buyers are over-saturated with these words because every single advert is filled with them. So as a result, they lose their meaning. In essence, we gloss over them once we've read them a hundred times.
Once you have written your advert, go through it again and if you spot one of the words above, replace it with something more interesting. Use an online synonym search tool to find an alternative word that is more compelling.
Synonyms for 'beautiful' include: Alluring, elegant, bewitching, enticing, sublime.
Show your owners that you care about their home by taking the time to choose creative words to describe it.
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