Help! How can I write good real estate ads that will work for my new business?

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Dear HTWB Agony Columns

I run an independent estate agency in the UK (North Americans would call it a real estate brokerage, I think?) and much as I’m no writer, I’m appalled at the awful way British property sales people write their ad copy which is full of grammatical and other mistakes.

How can I improve on it? Before I started my own business I was indoctrinated with all this bad writing in my earlier estate agency jobs, but I want to do better than that now.

What would you suggest?

Yours floundering in Manchester, England

Tracey

Hi Tracey

Oh, I do feel your pain – but am delighted, in a non-sadistic way, to know that you feel it too.

That’s because you obviously recognize how terrible so many real estate ads are in the UK that not only use incorrect English, but more importantly because they’re so badly written they obscure the sales process by making potential buyers wonder just what on earth the sellers are talking about … with their bizarre and erroneous text!

You might find it entertaining to read my rather bitchy article on real estate ads which was published here over two years ago – but which sadly hasn’t triggered much if any improvement on what people write in estate agents’ property ads.

Advertising property whether in newspapers or online, or both, is an expensive exercise. Plus, because you’re likely to have a number of properties to include and space is going to be limited, you don’t have time or space to wax lyrical in words about a home’s delights.

So what can you do?

real estate ads,property,homes,house hunting,estate agentsEach week when I look through the real estate ads section of my local newspaper here in the UK I wince at the multi-property ads within a whole branded page, in which the first couple of lines … for each property out of 20 or so … reads ” Bloggs and Co Ltd is pleased to offer for sale the following property…” followed by a choppy description of the place. What a waste of expensive space – not only because of the ludicrous repetition, but also because readers couldn’t give a hoot whether Bloggs and Co Ltd is pleased to offer the place for sale or not. Use every word to sell the property, not the corporate ego.

Clients being what clients are, words are of little interest unless they provide information that pictures can’t. And to be fair, one person’s opinions on the benefits of a particular property are not necessarily the next person’s.

So for once, your text needs to be more features-led, as opposed to benefits-led.

That’s because when you’re house hunting, so much of your choice depends on the features – or the facts, if you like – of the property like location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, etc., rather than how cosy the fireplace is or how relaxing it is to look out over the garden.

Stick to the facts – in plain English, please

      • Allow sufficient time each week to write the ad copy: it deserves that time, because it’s your main “shop window”
      • Get your basic grammar, syntax, capitalization and punctuation right to avoid laughable mistakes (think about this: “You need to go help your Uncle Jack off the horse.” Now write it all in lower case. See?)
      • Learn that it’s either “consists of” or “comprises” – never “comprises of”
      • Avoid using pompous terms like “residence” “viewing recommended,” bespoke” etc. – they’re old-fashioned
      • Avoid clichés like “boasting,” “well presented,” etc – use a thesaurus if you can’t think of other words
      • If you use abbreviations (e.g. 3 bds, 2 bth, fam rm, etc.) make sure you have a line somewhere in your ad or website that translates what they all mean
      • Even if space is very limited, try to identify the property’s location as far as possible: it’s really important to most potential buyers
      • Use brief lead-in headings to suggest benefits (e.g. “ideal for 1st time buyer” … “walking distance to 2 good schools” …
      • Get some training with your camera so your photos do each property the maximum justice: good photos can suggest the benefits of a home or retail premises without wasting precious words (e.g. pretty garden, retail shop on busy street with passing trade, fireplace with a real fire burning in it, etc.)

blogging,writing,blog writing,business,newsletter,HowToWriteBetter.net,How To Write Better,Suzan St Maur

What does everyone else think? What advice would you have for Tracey?

While you’re here, stop by my Bookshop…books and eBooks to help you write better – and to give to friends and family …

photo credit: Diana Parkhouse via photopin cc

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  1. Wow nice Tricks , this is awesome and i want to follow this tricks for ads to our company. really nice blog thanks

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