Writing for Real Estate

During these days of economic turmoil, attracting a buyer can be tough. And yet, in the real estate sector, for many first-time home buyers, the moment couldn’t be more opportune. Prices have been slashed, tax incentives are in place, and while financing has tightened up, it can still be had.

So what must you do as a realtor or individual wanting to sell a house? You must entice. You must spark the imagination. You must help the prospect “see himself there.” In other words, you must write creatively, communicating in terms that tap the emotional hot buttons of your potential buyer.

Ethics and the law prevent you from deception; there are things you must disclose. If your property is far from “pristine” but not quite a hovel, you might use the euphemism “fixer upper.” But there are other words that suggest the same thing, yet kindly. “Imagine the potential when you walk through the rugged archway.” So, OK, the plaster might be peeling or the area may be overgrown, but with some work, it could be great.  You probably don’t want to say “work your fingers to the bone” but maybe a little “elbow grease” isn’t so bad. “Vintage home,” “ready to restore,” “diamond in the rough” all indicate work is needed but these terms don’t scare business away.

What if the location is crowded or the lot is small? That’s when you say, “close-knit neighborhood,” “friendly cul de sac,” “low maintenance lawn,” “conveniently near shops, stores, and the train station.”  What if the environment is desolate or underdeveloped? Then flip the benefits to say, “spacious setting,” “quiet retreat,” “view of the skyline,” “birds and fields abound in this quaint setting off the beaten track.”

“Picturesque” is a word that often comes into play. I still remember the grabber in the ad for the house we bought. It read “storybook Cape.” How could you resist?  So let the architecture lead you into phrasing that sells. Alliteration (words that start with the same letter) works well. Consider “commanding Colonial,” “grand Garrison,” “fireplace-studded Federal,” or “sweet Saltbox set near a salt marsh.” Use the construction material to your advantage: “Sturdy brick,” “natural clapboard,” “no-care siding,” or “rustic log cabin reminiscent of the days of Daniel Boone.”
Are there visible flaws or repairs underway? Then play to the positive! “Spacious kitchen renovation will greet you when you move in.” “Recently refinished floors – so fresh, they’re still drying.” “Molding and chair rails added to bring this antique back to its former glory.”

Are your prospects apt to be young professionals? Then talk about the social scene and career opportunities. “Located near charming restaurants, a day spa, shops and gym.” “A quick commute to the local college,” “Shuttle runs from Main Street to the airport.” But if your prospects are likely to have families, then consider more serious,  responsible elements: “Top 10 Town for Schools,” “safe backyard,” “Located within 1 mile of the regional hospital, YMCA, mini-mall and town park.”

Now comes the creative part. What might your prospect do while living in your property? Appeal to the same “wants” that drive direct response: adventure, idealism, success.  For example, “Follow your dreams of living in a castle with this turreted turn-of-the-century Victorian.” Or “lounge by the lake at the edge of the property on your own personal pier.” Or “In-law cottage ideal for that aspiring writer or gardening enthusiast.” Or more practically, “Zoned for home business.”

And most importantly, make it easy for prospects to respond with multiple options: phone, e-mail, website, and in person. Give your hours. Provide direction. Include pertinent dates, offers, credentials.

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