Real Estate Marketing Ideas

How to Turn Your Listing Description Into a Story

By Lindsay Goebel Last Updated April 1, 2022 3 min read

When you publish a new listing on the MLS and third-party sites, your clients hope and expect their home to generate buyer interest. There are several ways to help your listing stand out on sites like Zillow, including professional real estate images, a 3D virtual tour, and an intriguing listing description. 

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The first thing buyers see when browsing through listings is a thumbnail of the featured listing image. The first image typically highlights the exterior of the home. After a buyer reviews the listing’s thumbnail, pricing, and quick property stats, they will hopefully click through to the listing page. 

The listing page is where your real estate marketing shines. On the main listing page, whether viewed on a third-party listing site or a single listing website, like the Virtuance Marketing Suite, you should include everything that helps convince a serious buyer to schedule a showing. 

While you can, and should, hire a professional photographer for the real estate images and 3d virtual tour, you may need to write the listing description yourself. 

Here are some tips on how to capture buyer attention by turning your listing description into a story: 

Create an intriguing narrative

A good listing description tells a story to help buyers imagine themselves living in the home. For example, if you want to talk about how the kitchen is spacious and has a lot of natural light, create a scenario.

Something like: On Sundays, wake up slowly and enjoy a freshly brewed coffee in your spacious gourmet kitchen. While natural sunlight fills your space through the large floor-to-ceiling windows, imagine making fluffy pancakes on your luxury range.

Use words that sell

If you feel like your description lacks some oomph, try adding scientifically proven words to help sell listings for more money. Zillow’s results from a 2015 listing description study found that the following terms can boost a listing sale by 8.2 percent:

  • Luxurious
  • Stainless
  • Beautiful
  • Landscaping
  • Granite
  • Gourmet
  • Curb appeal
  • Pergola
  • Impeccable
  • Upgraded
  • Remodel
  • Tile
  • Maple

Of course, when you decide to incorporate some of these keywords into your description, make sure they are relevant to the listing. 

Avoid these words

Just as there are perfect buzzwords for your listing description, there are also words that you should stay away from. In the same Zillow study, researchers found that the following words can negatively impact your listing price and DOM:

  • Fixer
  • TLC
  • Nice
  • Investment / Investor
  • Potential
  • Bargain
  • Opportunity

In some circumstances, the words mentioned above may suit your description. Always remember who your audience is and consider running some A/B experiments. It may turn out that “fixer” works for you while it doesn’t work for other real estate agents.

Limit your adjectives

While creating a story-like description is the goal, adding too many adjectives can come back to bite you. You want to paint a picture so people can easily imagine settling in; however, going overboard is a red flag for savvy buyers. When you use too many adjectives in your listing description, readers might assume you’re trying to distract them from reality.

Here is an example of a listing description with way too many adjectives:

This incredibly stunning and renovated mid-century modern home is pristinely upgraded throughout its large and roomy open-concept floor plan.

And here’s how to fix it:

This stunning home is ideal for those that want mid-century modern design elements but also upgraded finishes.

Leave out the basics

Save your limited listing description space for the details that matter. More likely than not, the listing’s number of bathrooms and bedrooms is in plain sight for viewers. The same goes for square footage and lot size.

Add a TL;DR for seasoned buyers

It’s essential to include a section in your listing description that completely cuts out the fluff. While the real estate marketing strategy of creating a story-like listing description can win over several buyers, some buyers and agents only desire the fast facts. For these reasons, you should place a TL;DR (too long didn’t read) segment at the top of the listing description. This part can discuss property statistics, the listing’s layout, and any special features worth mentioning. 

Final thoughts…

The real estate market changes month-to-month from region to region. It is difficult to predict when your market will switch from a seller’s to a buyer’s market and vice versa. For this reason, it is crucial to have a solid real estate marketing toolkit.

Your toolkit should always include a well-written listing description template that tells a story, a professional real estate photography company, an updated listing presentation, and a social media strategy. With these marketing techniques in place, your real estate business benefits.