The hardest part of writing a real estate ad (and how to overcome it)

Tim Cronin, Published: Fri 24th Feb, 2017

Over the years I’ve written literally thousands of real estate ads. Some of those ads have come together easily, and others have been a real battle. But regardless of whether the theme/angle to an ad comes to me straight away, or is more elusive, I’ve always found the hardest part is that very first sentence!

The problem is, there’s so many different things you could say about any given property, and a relatively short amount of space to say it in. Sure, you could mention absolutely everything. But the reality is, we live in an age where people have very short attention spans.

If you can’t capture their attention quickly, and then immediately follow-up with some enticing information, you’ll lose them to the next result in their property search.

Here’s the approach I take to writing ads.

What really matters?

When you first sit down to write an ad you’ll have a wealth of information at your disposal – almost certainly too much! You’ll either have a listing form in front of you that details every single aspect of the property, or page after page of scribbled notes that you took when you walked through the property.

So, the first thing you need to do is determine what’s important, and what’s not.

In general, information can be grouped into three categories...

  1. Attribute
  2. Feature
  3. Detail

Attributes are the key features of the property that really set it apart from others. These range from the size and age of the property, to its location and its potential.

Features are stand out points of the home. Things like the new kitchen, the polished timber floors or the sleepout, for example.

And last are the details - the aspects of the home that on their own may not be compelling enough to convince a buyer to commit to the mortgage, but nonetheless add weight to the argument. Think ‘granite benchtop’, ‘ornate fireplace’, ‘repainted throughout’, etc. Getting these straight in your head will give you some sort of a hierarchy to work with. The main attributes are not only things you should mention, but are things you should mention early in your ad.

Features may warrant a mention in the first sentence or two, but are more likely to fit in further into your ad. Details should only be used if they help to paint a picture for prospective purchasers.

Who are you talking to?

Understanding what the key attributes of your property are will help you determine who your audience is, which will in turn help you get that first sentence under your belt.

Obviously if it’s ‘large’ and in ‘great school zones’ we’re highly likely to be talking to families. Once you know that your first sentence almost writes itself –

Zoned for some of the city’s most desirable schools, this large home will appeal to families of all shapes and sizes.

Instantly you’ve directed your advert at a specific audience. You’ve singled out families, and told them there’s plenty of space, and great schools nearby. Mums and Dads reading this ad are now certain to be intrigued.

The final tip is this – just start writing!

You can’t finish if you don’t start!

You can look at your screen for hours on end. But unless you start writing that ad is never going to get done!

As soon as something pops into your head, hit that keyboard. Odds are that first idea won’t be perfect – but there’s an old saying amongst writers that says ‘write first, edit second’. Essentially, get it all down first, then go back and tidy it up.

Hopefully this helps!

Until next time, good luck with all your listings!

Tim & Jarrad.

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