The Most Overlooked Opportunity for Free Real Estate Advertising

Posted by on Jan 27, 2015 in Marketing, Real Estate, Writing Tips | 0 comments

The Most Overlooked Opportunity for Free Real Estate Advertising

A listing agent’s job involves taking advantage of every chance to grab buyers’ attention, right? Are you overlooking your first and best opportunity for free real estate advertising?

As Lynn Madison pointed out in a recent class at the Main Street Organization of REALTORS, you should treat the “Remarks” section in your MLS listings like your most important piece of advertising copy. After all, this is what gets picked up and appears at the top of every listing on realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia and other property sites.

Don’t rush the process! You need to make sure you get it right the first time, because once this information is syndicated, property sites won’t come back for updates. Here’s how:

1. Don’t Be Redundant

Never waste the valuable “Property Description” space by repeating information that buyers have probably already used as part of their search criteria, or can easily see listed below the descriptive paragraph (number of bedrooms, for example).

Similarly, don’t attempt to provide a verbal tour of the property like this:

“… You are welcomed by a ceramic entryway with a generous separate dining room on one side and a bright, very open, living room on the other. The living room offers a lot of spaciousness, with a wood burning fireplace and sliding door which leads to the new deck with view of the private wooded back yard…”

Seriously, asking buyers to follow you on an imaginary property tour isn’t going to sell a home.

2. Consider Your Audience

Instead of giving a literal description of a property, think about whose attention you are trying to grab.

Potential buyers are your primary audience. But think harder. What KIND of buyer will be most interested in this home? For example, does its small lot, vinyl siding and new HVAC system make “maintenance-free living” its most important qualities?

Maybe its close proximity to a popular elementary school and partially-finished basement make a home ideal for a growing family, still on a tight budget.

A quick word of caution: Don’t violate Fair Housing laws by targeting your marketing in terms of one of the protected classes (race, color, religion, national origin, gender, familial status or handicap). 

The easiest way to avoid Fair Housing issues is to draw attention to certain home FEATURES that will be highly appealing to certain types of buyers. Example: Instead of “perfect for empty nesters,” try “comfortable one-floor living” or “ideal for relaxed entertaining.”

Even though buyers are your primary audience, don’t forget about other real estate agents. You know what will grab their attention, in terms of how this home compares to the current inventory.

Plus, don’t you get tired of reading the same old, same old listing descriptions? How would you react to one that was fresh and attention-getting—and hits the nail on the head, in terms of describing a property’s key assets? Do you think you’d be a little more interested in checking it out? Probably…

3. Call Attention to Special Details

If your listings have unique, appealing features that aren’t included in your standard MLS fields—or may not be part of buyers’ typical search criteria—use the property description to draw special attention to these features. This might include skylights in the family room (“a bright and spacious gathering space”) or a gas-fueled fireplace (“quickly and conveniently adding atmosphere for cozy evenings at home”).

4. Get Creative!

In the hectic world of real estate, property listings are one way you can—and should—unleash your creativity, breaking away from the standard mold and considering what is truly special about a home, including how to create strong connections with potential buyers.

More importantly, property descriptions are an opportunity to hone your marketing skills. With a little more attention to making your listings shine, just imagine how much faster you’ll connect with potential buyers—and reach the closing table!

 

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Julie Collins

Since 2002, Julie Collins has been teaching real estate agents how to be more successful in articles published by the National Association of REALTORS®. (She helps NAR produce at least two dozen newsletters each year.) That's how she knows real estate. But Julie knows marketing too, with over 30 years of strategic and tactical experience. Blending these strengths, she helps real estate agents learn how to leverage their marketing techniques and build a more profitable and rewarding real estate practice.

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