A property listing is often the first encounter a potential buyer has with a property and can be the difference between a successful sale and a “pass!” Listings might seem tedious to write, but think of them as your sales pitch – this is a buyer’s gateway to working with you, so it’s important to make a great first impression for both you and the property.

A well-written listing is the first step to enticing a prospective buyer.

For example, check out this sample listing by Century 21 agent Emma Smith:

A rare minimalist concept in quiet location.

Opulent, seductive, and meticulously detailed, this lush chinoiserie-themed condo home is a prized Byward Market find. Floor to ceiling windows bring in soft northern and westerly light. Spaces are crafted by a refined and highly practical floor plan. A sweeping 90 foot balcony invites amazing entertaining, and offers privileged direct access to swimming, sun patios, and fitness. Set the stage for a show-stopping urban lifestyle. The superb market location brims with steps-away shopping, dining, and doing.

Note how that sample listing includes details about the property and the neighborhood. The language Emma uses appeals to a high-end buyer who will respond well to the features and lifestyle established in the listing.

Not sure where to start? Here are three easy steps to producing an effective listing.

1. Use the “Five Senses” Method

Even the most creative agents experience writer’s block! When you’re not sure where to start, use the “five senses” method to determine which details you should include in the listing. Each sense is linked to something tangible that you can add to the description. Go through each of the senses and make a brief note that corresponds with each. This outline can serve as a first draft or as talking points for you.

Sight: This one is easy. What does the house look like? Does it have lots of windows and natural light? What style or color is the home?

Smell: Use this to establish atmosphere. You don’t have to actually include the “aroma” of the neighborhood, but use it as a prompt for your description. What do you smell when you visit the property? If it smells like freshly-mown grass, note that the property has a lush lawn. If you smell flowers or specific types of trees, include those details (“property is home to a large eucalyptus tree”). These are the details that really paint a picture for the buyer.

Sound: This ties in closely with smell in the sense (no pun intended) that it helps you identify interesting details that you may have overlooked. What do you hear when you’re at the property? Do you hear the laughter of children playing at a nearby park? Is there a busy road with lots of traffic that may be a deterrent to buyers? If so, is there another positive feature that may balance out that downside? Simply listening to the sounds around the property helps you point out the details that make it unique.

Touch: Use “touch” to help you explain the materials and texture found in the home. Are there sleek, cool granite countertops? Hand-scraped wooden floors? Plush carpet? Original brick or brand-new siding?

Taste: Of all the senses, this is the hardest one to apply to a property, but it might help to take a more literal approach. Tie this into what the buyer may expect to “taste”: are local restaurants or cafes abundant in this area of town? Is there space in the back yard for a large garden? Is the kitchen designed for chefs? Do large apple trees line the street? It might seem silly, but it’s amazing how much this sense is connected to lifestyle and the features buyers value.

2. Include Details About the Market and Location

When you’re selling a property, it’s not just the home itself you’re selling – it’s the lifestyle that comes with it. The listing should include a few sentences about the location (example: is the property in a brand new development or a more established neighborhood?) Use the market to further entice buyers; if the market is hot and the house is in a coveted neighborhood, highlight that! However, don’t be too flowery with your language to where you end up distorting details or misleading buyers. It’s important that your listing is truthful and honest, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sell it as much as possible! Highlight the best features of the home without making claims of “perfection.”

3. Edit, Edit, Edit!

Typos and misused punctuation is a big deterrent for buyers. Not only can it infringe on their understanding of the home, but it makes you look unprofessional. Agents need to be detail oriented, especially when dealing with numbers and contracts, so make an effort to produce a clean, well-written listing.

If you don’t have the means to outsource editing, use these tips:

• Read the listing aloud. When we read our work aloud, our eyes are forced to move slowly so that the brain can relay the information to the vocal cords. This is an easy way to catch those small details.

• Use a free tool like Grammarly. Grammarly is a free online tool that helps you revise and improve your writing. This is a more sophisticated version of spell check and well worth using in your day-to-day life!

• Have a friend or colleague read it. If they get stuck on anything, this gives you a chance to fix it before it goes out into the world. If your friend isn’t a fellow agent, this is even better, because they’ll read from the perspective of someone who doesn’t know the industry like you do.

Property listings are often treated as an afterthought because they can be time-intensive, but they are a huge value proposition for potential customers. Put in a little bit of effort to win big.

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