Writing a Great Property Description

Look through any property website or magazine and you will see all sorts of different headlines and descriptions for properties.   The description used in the advertising of a property can make a real difference.  Lets look at the facts, lets avoid the hyperbole and puffery.....

American economist Steven Levitt in an extensive study of real estate transactions found a powerful correlation between certain words used in real estate advertising and the final sale price of a house.  Indeed he argues that certain phrases encourage lower bids and actually communicate problems and issues to those "in the know".

He found that solid descriptive terms correlated to higher prices:

  • Granite
  • State-of-the-Art
  • Corian
  • Maple
  • Gourmet

While empty adjectives drove lower prices:

  • Fantastic
  • Spacious
  • Charming
  • Great Neighbourhood

So, lets apply these facts to our property descriptions.

When writing a description focus on the key selling points of the property - the hard facts.  If you have a custom designed high end kitchen any chef would be proud to own - then state that (even include the kitchen company's name).  Include brand names for appliances where appropriate.  If the house was designed by a registered architect, then call it architect designed.  Note the custom built brick barbecue area. Highlight the master bedroom ensuite with feature tiling.

Avoid embellishments.  Drop the "fantastic backyard", and instead mention the family cricket played in the summer.  Be careful of the potential double meanings - "well maintained" can mean "a bit rundown and tired" to those in the know.  "Neat-as-a-pin"  - boring.  Cozy - small.

Think about the best things about the house from your perspective.  What do you like best?  What do you use most?  Talk about those features.  Make them personal if you can.  Talk about enjoying the in-built spa pool on cool nights, or watching sunsets on the back deck. This converts features into benefits - why does something matter, whats the outcome, whats the end result?

Remember at all times to be accurate and truthful.

Write a draft and check it.  Look at the spelling, grammar and punctuation, avoid abbreviations if possible (not everyone knows what they mean), and remove unnecessary words.

One final word from Levitt - an exclamation point in a real estate advertisement is bad news for sure, a bid to paper over real shortcomings with false enthusiasm.


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