How to Write a Great Ad

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Expert Advice on Writing a Description of Your Property

 

 

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

Picket Fence is happy to review what you've written. PLEASE use our 24+ years of experience to help you write the best possible description of your property. However, since you know the property best, we ask that you prepare a first draft that we can then work with.

 

Enter a description of your property (you may want to prepare this in a
word processing program beforehand then cut and paste it into the ad).
You can always return later to modify the ad.

These suggestions will help you.

 

1. Sometimes imitation is the best type of flattery.

 

Take a look through other ads on the web site. See how people describe their homes, especially those homes similar to yours. Note the phrasing that generates a good impression on you and that which really hits the nail on the head. Every property is different but once you see a write-up that's appealing, you'll have a model to work from as you compose your ad.

 

2. Remember what you liked about the property when you bought it.

 

Chances are the next owners of your home are going to be just like you, only at a different point in time. If you were attracted to the location, the interior layout, the neighborhood, the school system, the view...whatever it was,  say it. Remember that only one person can buy your property, so don't try to sell it to everyone. It is the individuality of your property as described by you, your answer to 'why did I buy this home?',  that will attract the right buyer in the shortest period of time. You must appreciate that your home will not be right for everyone, but it will be perfect for someone!

 

3. Pictures are worth a thousand words.

 

By far the most effective way to promote the sale of your property is to show photos. Pictures of the exterior are standard and pretty much expected. However, if you show an interior photo (maybe one of your spacious kitchen or the cozy family room) you can give a prospective buyer a taste of the quality of the interior of your home and get them really excited to visit your property first.

 

The flip side is that showing an interior that just doesn't appeal to a particular buyer will discourage them from inspecting your property. THIS IS GOOD. You don't want to waste your time showing your property to someone who is not interested. So, if you want to streamline the process -- ideally show the property to ONE person and have them BUY it -- show interior photos.

 

Can an ad contain too much information?

YES. The goal of an ad is to motivate the buyer to personally visit your property, that is when the emotional response of 'this is home' occurs. No one buys a home just from an ad. The buyer must visit to buy.

 

If you put in too much information (a photo of every room or a virtual tour) the buyer may feel that they have 'seen' your property and move on to visit some other home...most likely the one they will eventually buy! PLUS, the more photos you show the greater the risk that there will be one room that turns off a buyer who might have otherwise loved the house when personally visiting.

 

So there is a happy medium between not providing enough information to interest a buyer and providing too much information such that a buyer might feel 'they've seen it' and not visit or see a photo that turns them off because you just had too many images.

 

 

P.S. This is why, after 24 years of helping people sell by owner, we suggest no more than 8 photos in an ad.
Real estate agents do video tours because they don't want to spend their time showing the property. The video tour appeases the naive homeseller with the 'bells and whistles' of technology, but actually delays or prevents the sale.

 

Specific tips for writing an effective ad for your property (with examples)

DO:


1.  Start with a list of all the features you want to include (be sure to include number of bedrooms and baths)

2.  Now add a few adjectives where appropriate, like "spacious, beautiful, cozy"

3.  Remember what excited you about the house when you bought it (why you bought it)

4.  Include the most important features in the first line -- give an overview of what the property has to offer.  Don't save the best for last -- the reader may lose interest or be distracted before then!

5.  Try to keep inside features together, exterior features together, so the reader doesn't feel like they're going inside, then outside, then inside again!



DON'T:


1.  ...describe your home in terms of all the changes you've made to it.  The buyer only cares about what it has to offer now -- Not what you've done to it!

2. ...try to "sell" someone -- just describe the property and what is special about it.  You might scare buyers away if they think you'll give them the 'hard sell'! (e.g. "You won't find a better deal than this!")

3. ...put in too much detail in the ad, such as the measurements of each room.  Save it for the feature sheet that you hand out at the showing.  Ditto for the brand names of all the expensive appliances and windows.  It acts like a speed bump in the buyers' formulating a general impression of the property, and makes it difficult to get warm, fuzzy feelings of excitement when you have to keep focusing on facts.

4. ... worry about being poetic, creative or using full sentences!  The buyer is scanning for buzz words and features to get a general impression, before slowing down to study your ad. 

5. ... use your ad to disclose everything.  That's what the Sellers' Disclosure form is for.

 

Example 1:


(before): "4 BR, 2.5 BA home with stainless steel appliances, granite counters, hardwood floors, 2 car garage, beautiful landscaping. Marvin windows, newly remodeled Master bath with Jacuzzi, freshly painted, new roof in '09, tiled entry and kitchen in '08. Walk-out basement recently converted to in-law apt. with separate entry.  Only 10 minutes to University ABC and hospital XYZ."

 

(after): "Beautifully landscaped 4 bedroom home on 1 acre with private
in-law apt. in family-oriented neighborhood only 10 min. from University ABC
and hospital XYZ...."

 

-- See how too much upfront can distract a buyer from the home's key selling points. The second (after) example is easier to read, and immediately lets the reader know if this is a house they want to pay attention to or not? The (before) example describes the same beautiful house, but makes the reader work through the details to see the big picture...

Example 2:


(before):  Located on Route 9.  4 bedrooms, 2 -1/2 baths, 1800 sf.  New
roof (2001), new stove, refrigerator and microwave (2009), wired for
generator, bathroom remodeled for handicap access (2007), Water tested by
VTrans (2010) excellent, septic (1000 gal) pumped out (1997, 2000, 2003, 2007,
2010). Wood furnace (Sam Daniels) and chimney installed professionally in
2005.  No development possible behind house (Land Trust), Most windows
replaced (2004), propane stove (2004), new 275 gal fuel tank in basement. Views.


(after):  This well-maintained 1800 sq.ft. 4  bedroom home enjoys views and has 2-1/2 baths, dining room, family room, screened deck and attached 2 car garage.  Carpet and tile flooring. Dry basement. Bathroom recently remodeled for handicap access. Newer roof, propane stove, stove, refrigerator & microwave. Most windows replaced. New 275 gal fuel tank in basement + Wood furnace (Sam Daniels).  Wired for generator. No development possible behind house (Land Trust). Located on Route 9.



-- The before write-up in the Example 2 reads like a disclosure form, not an ad. 
It's distracting, to say the least.

 

Ready?   Start ad online now