Copywriters have been using time-tested formulas for nearly a century to capture readers’ attention and convey the information potential buyers need in an enticing way.
With most real estate listings now being read on the internet, some rules of good structure have changed. Knowing and understanding modern copywriting requirements is vital for ensuring your real estate listings are read.
Using a copywriting structure is not the same as being formulaic – every listing should be individually written so that the property’s unique features and benefits are highlighted.
While every home is unique, and there are many copywriting formulas, there are four essential elements of every real estate listing, as described below.
Essential Copy Elements
While many Agents have a preferred method of writing their property copy, and sometimes the format is dictated by your company style guide, certain elements are essential for a good real estate description. These include:
- The headline
- The editorial/features description
- A bullet-point summary
- The call to action
Your headline is the most important part of your ad copy. It’s often the ONLY thing potential buyers will read before deciding whether a property is right for them.
In copywriting, a captivating headline can mean the difference between clicking out of curiosity to read further or scrolling past.
When crafting a headline, your goal is to grab buyers’ attention, explain why they should be interested, highlight the main benefit of the property, and entice buyers to read your description to find out more.
And it needs to do all of this while staying short and punchy (up to 150 characters for realestate.com.au).
The Editorial/Features Description
The editorial is the meat of your copy. It is where you get to be creative, describing the benefits of the home and painting a lifestyle picture potential buyers might enjoy living in the property.
Advantages of the editorial piece include:
- Can be more creative, and you can personalise the text to reflect the home’s benefits and point of difference
- Generally is less generic than bullet points, reflecting more effort on Agent’s part
- Prospects must read the copy to find out about the home, increasing the chance of selling your message.
The Editorial Structure
Real estate agents can use many proven copywriting structures to craft a property description. For example, AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action) is a tried and true copywriting formula.
Whatever structure you use, they all have a hook (first paragraph), the main description, and a call to action at the end.
The first paragraph
If the headline’s purpose is to entice the buyers to start reading your copy, the purpose of the first paragraph is to hold their attention, so they keep reading to the end.
The first paragraph speaks to a target market, sets the scene, and highlights the unique selling proposition (USP or main benefit(s) of the property).
The body of your editorial
Here’s where you talk about the interesting details about the property and create desire. Depending on the home, you might want to talk about the following:
- Outdoor space
- Location and nearby amenities
- Standout features worth noting
Copywriters create desire by storyselling benefits. For example, a dishwasher is a feature, and the benefit is being able to put your feet up after a meal instead of washing dishes. For more information about benefits, check out our article about how to write a good real estate description.
The Call to Action
Your copy should end with a call to action. Don’t leave your readers hanging; tell them the next step in the process.
If there’s an open house coming up, add the date. Or direct readers to book an inspection. If it’s a hot market, you might recommend they put in an offer straight away. Your call to action should convey a sense of urgency – why the potential buyer should act immediately.
The call to action paragraph is also where you can summarise the key benefit, reminding readers what this house offers.
Use Bullet Points In Your Real Estate Listing
Why add bullet points if you’ve taken the time to craft a compelling narrative?
When people read online, they don’t read every word; they scroll and skim. Bullet points make skimming easier, so readers can quickly get the details they need.
- are easy to read quickly and digest
- summarise the main benefits clearly
- are easy to write quickly and publish
For bullet points to be effective, they need to be short. If each bullet point goes over more than one line, you’re defeating the purpose of short, easy-to-read points.
Bullet points complement your editorial by succinctly listing a property’s main features, keeping the skimmers happy. If their attention is piqued, they will go back and read your main description for more information.
When it comes to formatting, keep it simple. Realestate.com.au strips out any bolding or italicised formatting, so don’t rely on them to get your point across.
Capitalised words are often interpreted as shouting, so it’s best to use them sparingly.
While realestate.com.au has a huge character limit for the description (up to 65,535 characters), that doesn’t mean you should write the next War and Peace. Online viewers rarely read long copy, so save time and write short copy.
Because we scan read, it’s important to write short sentences and paragraphs, with plenty of white space (paragraph breaks) in between to give eyes a rest. You want to make your copy as easy to read as possible.
Speaking of easy to read, most people read at a 7th-grade level, and English is not everyone’s first language. So it’s essential to use plain, direct language and make your writing accessible and grammatically correct – your purpose is to sell homes, not dazzle people with poetic flourishes. Descriptions are an opportunity to tell stories creatively, but stories are best conveyed with easy-to-understand language.
There’s a good reason successful copywriters use a tried and true structure – it works! Using a basic form also makes writing easier.
Even with a good structure, writing copy takes time, time you could be prospecting. Outsourcing can shift some of the burden so you can spend more time bringing in sales.
We’ve helped sell thousands of homes over the years writing real estate listings using this structure, so we know it works (but we can write using your in-house style, too!). And don’t worry, we don’t write formulaic listings. We don’t write formulaic listings. Every description is individually written so that the unique benefits of the property are brought to light.