Do your property descriptions need upgrading?

I got the idea for this post from an estate agency that shouts quite a lot on its website about the “professional copywriting” on their property descriptions.

The company in question shall remain nameless, and they are to be applauded for at least noticing that property descriptions represent some of the worst writing known to man, and that well written sales particulars are a definite instruction winner. However, from a glance around their site I’d say their idea of professional copywriting is overly long and annoyingly flowery descriptions, written by the member of staff who is the least terrible at writing. In fact, the property descriptions are so long that I couldn’t get to the end of any of them without skipping past great chunks of text.

Stuff like: “And going up the plushly carpeted staircase which connects the two floors…” No!

So, my view is that you probably don’t need a copywriter for every single one of your property descriptions. In fact, you shouldn’t really need a copywriter for ANY of your property descriptions. If you’re making a career out of being an estate agent, then you should really get to grips with being able to write 100 or so words about the property you are being entrusted to market. So here’s a little assistance.

As a starter, what are the two or three most marketable attributes of the property? Jot them down quickly. Next, ask the vendor what made it their number one choice when they bought it. And finally, and just as important, what was your reaction when having a look around? Were you entranced by the high ceilings and lofty character? Did you have to squint because there was so much natural light? Were you transported back to Victorian times with so many original fireplaces and features? These are the things that will make each description different from the last.

Not so important I would say are things like central heating, fitted kitchen, carpets included, etc. If you’re really struggling to find something to say then put them in, but the problem is one of consistency: if you’re including ultimately very mundane stuff on a few descriptions, it will become conspicuous by its absence on the properties where you leave it out. Stuff like that can be handled in conversation or at viewings. It’s the real juice you need to get across on a set of sales particulars and there is always always something to write about. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

That’s it really. Keep it simple, brief, unique and useful.