Real estate can be an exhilarating profession.
But because it’s a transaction-based industry, it requires significant investment in lead generation.
Effective sales and commercial real estate marketing are critical to any real estate company’s success.
There are two ways to successfully find real estate leads:
1. Traditional real estate advertising focuses on outbound leads, which involves targeted prospecting. This method allows you to hone in probable leads, which increases the likelihood of success.
2. These days, more companies invest in inbound marketing strategies, using tools that bring leads directly to you.
If you’re more inclined to try in inbound marketing strategy, one of the most effective tools in an effective property description.
Here, we’re showing you how to write a dynamic and effective property description with confidence.
At first glance, it may seem obvious: finding real estate leads requires you to write high-quality property descriptions.
It also seems easy.
Simply write a few statements about the real estate that you’re trying to advertise. But truth be told, so many people get the property description wrong.
Why? Let’s start with the basics.
What’s the purpose of a property description?
A property description is the written portion of a real estate listing that describes the real estate for sale or lease.
Nowadays, most buyers begin their property search online. Therefore, real estate descriptions are your best chance to sway buyers and sellers.
A typical property description has three components:
1. Basic details about the property (e.g., property size, square footage, location).
2. A description of the property (this is where you can get the most creative).
Collectively, you should use these three components to woo your audience.
Even if a client isn’t ready to purchase or sell a property, simply seeing your name on a dynamic property description is enough to help generate future leads.
Someone who is impressed with your listing may contact you about a purchase or sale opportunity when they are ready to make a deal.
Remember: when you’re writing a property description, it’s not only to influence existing buyers and sellers. High-quality property descriptions can also help generate new real estate leads in the future.
How to Write a Property Description
Even when you’ve secured a client, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll keep that client until the deal closes. Typically, you’ll structure your contract with the client for a set period of time.
If you don’t deliver results during that time, the client is free to engage another company moving forward.
That’s why it’s so important to put together a rock-solid marketing package from day one. Writing an effective property description is a critical component of that strategy.
Your property description should not only convince buyers to engage in a deal but should also impress your client.
An effective property description should contain the following:
Headline / Title
The headline is the attention-grabber. Many people searching for real estate will just skim the headlines of a listing. Therefore, you have about one line and three seconds to grab their attention.
The best way to grab a buyer’s attention is to use action-based, captivating words that encourage further engagement.
Let’s look at a few examples:
Example 1: Philadelphia-Style Two-Family for Sale in Davis Square with Patio & Off-Street Parking
Example 2: 7,500 SF Mixed-Use Income Property in Malden for Sale at 8% Cap Rate
Example 3: Ten Unit Building for Sale
Example 4: Land for Sale, Call Today!
If you were skimming these headlines, which would you be drawn to? The first two examples are obviously more detailed.
Being specific and detail-driven helps you identify and target qualified buyers. Someone interested in owner-occupying a two-family home will be drawn to the first property description, but not the second. Therefore, you’re more likely to target the right buyers for your property.
Serious investors will appreciate how specific you’ve been in the headline of Example 2.
Examples 3 and 4 are a missed opportunity to showcase your listings. These headlines lack details, locations, and other important information that would help them stand out.
In fact, Example 4 is so vague that it really doesn’t tell you anything about the listing.
From the headline alone, we have no idea whether this is a residential or commercial opportunity – perhaps it’s neither!
We don’t know the land’s size or its development potential. It comes across as an ad written by a novice real estate broker or even the actual property owner, someone who may have no real experience selling property at all.
They say that first impressions are everything. The headline is your chance to make a great first impression.
Be sure to craft titles that are specific, powerful, and accurate if you want to generate serious real estate leads.
After the headline, you’ll want to include relevant details about the property. This section, known as “property information,” is a list of facts about the listing. There really isn’t much subjectivity in this section.
At a minimum, this section should include the property type and property facts.
- Property type: This is your chance to describe the property starting with type: Residential, Office, Retail, Industrial, etc. You can also further clarify by stating the condition of the property by qualifying that type as “Class A” (the highest-end category) or Class B or C . These classifications are standard terms used to describe a type of commercial real estate. For residential real estate, you’ll want to specify whether the property type is single-family, a duplex, a multifamily, or land zoned for residential development.
- Property facts: This section will give an overview of the building measurements, such as square footage, number of units, and acreage. It should also state what year the property was built, the assessed value, and the tax rate. If it’s an income-producing property, be sure to list net and gross income in this section, as well as operating expenses and perhaps even an overview of the rent roll. These are all figures that serious investors will want to know before moving forward.
Think of the body of a property description like a narrative. When done properly, it should be written like a love letter about the listing.
The Property Details section is where you tell the “story” of the property, focusing on all of the good aspects of the property and downplaying—but not ignoring—the property’s pitfalls.
For example, you might point out that this is a meticulously maintained home that has been in the same family for generations. It has been lovingly cared for, with lush gardens and spot-free interior.
If this seems like a great family home, you might point out multiple bedrooms for children, space for entertaining, and the backyard that is perfect for summer BBQs.
But say the kitchen hasn’t been touched in 41 years. Do you point that out? Possibly, but do so subtly. Talk about the home having value-add potential: “Oversized kitchen awaits your inspiration and personal touches!” is one way of saying that the kitchen needs renovation.
The property details should also include information about the property style (e.g., Victorian, craftsman, bungalow), the neighborhood and nearby attractions, recent renovations (if any), and the surrounding environment.
Remember: an effective property description isn’t just about selling a piece of property.
It’s about selling an entire lifestyle. Highlighting the neighborhood and surrounding areas is critical. Be sure to point out local landmarks, transit access, proximity to major highways, nearby parks and playgrounds, and retail destinations. All of these features matter to the discerning buyer.
We hate to sound cliché, but it’s true: a picture is worth a thousand words. The photos you include in your property description can have a major impact on generating real estate leads.
Photos help give an additional perspective about a property. In residential real estate, photos help the potential buyer imagine everyday life in the property. In commercial real estate, photos help buyers understand the marketability of the space when trying to lure tenants.
In any event, photos make deep impressions on property description viewers – so take your photos seriously.
Typically, we recommend hiring a real estate photographer. It’s a relatively small investment (usually only a few hundred dollars) that can easily be recaptured if it helps a property sell for thousands of dollars more.
A real estate photographer will know how to capture the space in the best light, highlighting the property’s most desirable features. Not only should these photographs be highlighted in the property description, but should also feature prominently in print materials when advertising the listing in newspapers, magazines, and in brochures handed out during open houses.
Increasingly, in addition to property photos, we’re seeing brokers use 3D property tours to generate real estate leads. Advances in virtual and augmented reality have made it easier than ever to bring a property to life.
Uploading these tours to the property description, usually following the property photos, will allow viewers to navigate the interior of a property as though they were there in real-time.
Call to Action
No property description is complete without a thoughtful call to action. How do you want the prospect to follow up? Is it by attending an open house? Or would you prefer them to contact you, the listing agent? Whatever the case may be, be specific with your call to action. This is critical to lead generation for real estate property.
Property Description Examples
Let’s take a look at a few different commercial property descriptions by way of example. Both are properties formerly on the market in Oakland, California. See if you can spot some major differences between the two listings.
Property Description #1:
Property Description #2:
Both of these properties are multifamily properties listed for sale. The listings are intended to generate real estate leads, most likely in the form of more sophisticated real estate investors.
But right off the bat, we notice a few differences between these listings.
A Bad Property Description
The first property description, for the project called “The Echo”, is missing significant amounts of information.
It shows a beautiful rendering of a potential mixed-use project, which is somewhat misleading to buyers.
What is for sale? Is it land only? Or has this project been permitted already? The property description is silent on the issue.
In fact, this listing lacks a property description altogether. Had it not been for the pretty image, we probably would have skipped over this listing completely. (See, images do matter!).
But once we get into the meat of the listing, we see that there’s no real information about the property, and there aren’t any additional images to tell more of the story.
The attached flyer contains much more pertinent information, such as a property summary and comments about the project (e.g., the project is approved for a 5-story multifamily/commercial building with garage parking for 46 cars).
Yet, we wouldn’t have known that if we didn’t peruse the attachment. Those details should have been included IN the property description, leading readers to download the flyer for more information.
Compare this to Property Description #2, which has significantly more information.
A Good Property Description
The property description for 376 Staten Ave. is much more useful. Right off the bat, we know that this is a 12-unit multifamily property for sale in Oakland’s Adams Point neighborhood.
The property is fully occupied, with a 16.1 gross rent multiplier and a 4.11% cap rate. These details are critical when trying to generate new leads among real estate investors.
As you can see, the property information section contains all the basic information about the property.
We also see clear and concise property details. The property description outlines the mix of units (four studios, seven one-bedroom units, and one two-bedroom unit).
The listing also reveals that the property has extensive remodeling throughout, which reflects “the pride of ownership quality.” We know what amenities are included on-site, and can see that the property is professionally managed by a third party company.
In addition to attaching a general flyer about the property, the broker also included a copy of the rent roll and 2017 P&L – two documents that will help generate qualified real estate leads.
This type of information allows a prospect to do his initial due diligence before contacting the broker. Doing so means those who do contact the broker are more likely to be serious buyers.
At the end of Property Description #2, the agent includes a direct call to action: “CALL FOR OFFER,” he writes, with his phone number below.
The second property description hit all the major highlights, from leading with an engaging headline to including multiple photos, to offering up a robust description of the property.
This is a great example of how to prepare your property descriptions if you’re looking to generate new real estate leads.
A little preparation can go a long way when it comes to writing a property description.
To create a dynamic and successful property description, you’ll need to track down accurate data about the property for lease or for sale. The Reonomy website can be a great tool when writing property descriptions and generating real estate leads.