Putting the best “face” on a for- sale property via a listing is tricky.

Listing Agents Have Tough Assignments When Writing Property Descriptions

Not only does the listing agent (the typical listing author) have to convey the basics of the house (price, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, lot size and special features), the listing agent has to “spin” the property to make it seem irresistible.

Of course, video tours and photos of the property are required but words describing the property matter are just as essential.  Those carefully chosen words by listing agents can be motivational in terms of getting potential buyers to actually look at and consider the property.


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Frederick W. Peters, president of Coldwell Banker Warburg, said, “The thing that people tend to forget is that advertising has only one goal in the real estate industry: get the person to go look at the property.”

Allen Adamson, a marketing consultant, agreed.  Adamson said that getting a prospective buyer to thoroughly check out a property “…is a huge communication challenge.  the trick is to go beyond the facts about the house and to make an emotional connection with the consumer…if (the words) are all evocative, consumers will tune out.”

Less is More

Adamson said that “…the more you try to tell them (potential buyers) everything, the less they’ll hear anything.”

An effective property listing requires finesse, flair, discretion and diplomacy.

Brad Nelson, chief marketing officer with Sotheby’s International Realty,encourages listing agents to boil down their listings to the essentials.  He insists that agents limit their word count to a 350-character count on property descriptions in advertising supplements.  Nelson said, “This way, agents are forced to focus on the most important features (of the property) that will capture a buyer’s attention.”

Real Estate Listings Translation Guide

“Interesting Design” means the house is odd.

“Cozy” means the house is dark and small.

“Room to Grow” means house is “cozy.”

“Natural Beauty” means the house isn’t landscaped.

“Good Bones” means the house is a wreck and needs money to make it “work.”

“Loads of Original Details” means the house has “good bones,” is a wreck and needs money to make it “work.”

“Right on the Water” means the house is in a flood zone.

“Walk to the Beach” means you need good walking shoes and a packed lunch to get to the beach.

“Create Your Own Dream House” means the house is a tear down.

“For the Discerning Buyer” means “interesting design.”

“Priced to Sell” does not mean the house is a bargain.  Diane Saatchi, an associate broker with Saunders & Associates, asks, “Shouldn’t all properties priced to sell?”

“Price Reduced” means the house was previously overpriced.

“Like New” means the house could be 3 or 30 years old.

Write What Is Meaningful about Property

Highlighting features such as “home office, infrastructure, and internet speed” are essential for urban, suburban and rural properties since many prospective buyers (and their families) have hybrid working and/or learning arrangements.

Pre-pandemic, some property features were described as “mother-in-law” or “nanny” suites while now, those same features might be described in listings as accommodations for families or friends who may be quarantining.

Likewise, words such as “private,” “retreat,” and “secure” have different meanings today…savvy agents who have their fingers on the pulse of buyers’ preferences use these words a lot.

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Thanks to The New York Times.

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