6 Steps to Writing Good Property Listings that Sell Themselves

By Tamiera Vandegrift on April 20, 2018

Before you begin to write property listings, it’s important to keep in mind that you will always be competing with hundreds of other property listings at all times. With so much competition, you will be constantly fighting to keep your property listing in the spotlight for potential applicants and tenants to see.

The search for a living space can be a chaotic and frustrating one for potential applicants and tenants, so it is up to you to write property listings that will show everything that is stellar about your properties.

Think of your property listings as a resume. They will be the first impression that potential applicants have before actually setting foot on the property for a tour. The property listing can also determine whether or not a potential applicant will want to set foot on the property at all. Property listings with little to no descriptions, few pictures, and no character are less likely to do well than property listings that offer the opposite. After all, all potential applicants want to be as informed as possible before making such a huge leap and commitment that will affect both their future and their day-to-day living.

Pictures with excellent quality will do very well to snatch a potential applicant’s eye, but you need to write property listings that shine to get them through the door and their signature on a lease. In order to be successful and beat the hundreds of other property listings to the punch, you will definitely need to keep this in mind. It might seem like it’s easier said than done to write such A+ property listings, but don’t feel intimidated. This article will be your guide. Keep reading to learn how to write property listings that will sell themselves!

infographic, property listings, writing good property listings

Infographic via Canva by Tamiera Vandegrift

Step One: Create a Catchy Headline

The headline is the most important part of your property listing. You might think that the description and pictures will be the selling point as you write property listings, but actually, it’s the headline that will guarantee whether or not viewers will even read the listing for more information. It is definitely the most critical component of the entire operation. After all, would you want to read a book or see a movie if the title didn’t represent anything you were interested in?

The headline doesn’t have to be a knee-slapper or something a crafty wordsmith would come up with. The headline does not have to be the ultimate creative masterpiece. It simply has to be enough to indicate that it is that picture perfect match that every tenant is seeking. A good headline is some form of a simple formula created by Rentalutions:

(Rent cost $$) – Number of Bedrooms/Number of bathrooms, type of living space (house, apartment, townhome, etc.), in (strong adjective) (location) with (insert an eye-catching feature here)

A headline like this will give a tenant all of the details they’re looking for to help them determine whether or not your property listing is the dream space they’ve always been looking for, or even worth a read. Here is an example of a headline:

$500 per month – two bedrooms/one bathroom apartment in downtown Atlanta, GA with easy transportation to all nearby college campuses

Creating a good, informative headline is pretty simple and without a doubt the most important facet of writing good property listings.

Step Two: Keep it Brief, but Bountiful Too

It might seem like keeping a property listing brief yet full of detail is an impossibility but if you’re smart with word limits and descriptions, anything is possible. Before you sit down to write property listings, you will first need to sit down and compile a list of all of the property’s features and amenities. Come up with a few good, but succinct descriptive phrases to describe your property space. Is it close to college campuses? Does it have a beautiful view? Is it in a quiet, safe area? Use the space to paint a picture in the viewers’ eyes, but in very few words. For instance:

Gorgeous View, Remote and Peaceful, Close to Campuses, etc.

Without bogging the viewers down with an essay, you will be able to provide all of the information they need in a few short sentences. By painting a verbal picture for your viewers, you will be able to give your viewer a perspective no one else can: the ability to vicariously live through the descriptions. Viewers can read these easy, brief descriptions and determine whether or not they can envision themselves looking out of the property’s windows to see a pretty location or scurrying to the bus stop outside to make it to classes. It’s the little things that make a big difference. The next thing to include in these brief descriptions as you write property listings is the basic amenities your property offers. Are the utilities included? Is the property fully furnished? Is the property reserved for students only or can anyone apply to live there? This second round of details will help viewers and potential applicants narrow down their list of potential locations. Here is an example:

Utilities Included, Walk-in Closets, Internet Included, etc.

Next, you will have to include any and all important information that you need your tenants to know before they sign a lease. These details will filter out any undesirable tenants and save your time in the end. Will you allow pets? Is smoking allowed? Will you allow your tenants to sublease the space? What is the security deposit amount? Will you charge for the first month of rent right away? These little details will help both you and any potential applicants save time in the end, so they are definitely worthwhile additions to include when it’s time to write property listings:

Affordable Rent, Pet-Friendly, No Smoking, No Subletting, etc.

Finally, to put the cherry on top of a beautiful property listing dessert, you will need to add one final buzz word and exciting detail. This will be the final selling point to help potential applicants determine whether or not your property is a bore, or worth a tour. Add an exciting detail to make your property seem better than the rest, or at least among the top tier selection of local residences. Here are some examples:

Large and Private Backyard, Pool, Fitness Center, Park, etc. 

Using brief, but detailed descriptions is an excellent way to market everything that’s wonderful about your complex in very few words.

Image via: www.pexels.com

Step Three: Highlight the Good Things…and the Bad Things

This segment is not as much of a step, as it is a tip. When you’re about to write property listings, you might consider only blowing up the great things about the property and leaving out anything that might turn potential tenants away. This is the wrong move for a variety of reasons. First, you will make your tenant feel deceived and this will put a damper on a positive renter/tenant relationship very early in the process. Second, your property will definitely be the subject of negative reviews online and complaints within your tenants’ social circles. While this might not sound too threatening, remember that word spreads fast and if people reach out to your tenants’ for location recommendations, your property will not be on the list.

Instead of sweeping undesirable characteristics under the rug, embrace them and find creative ways, to be honest. If your property lacks parking space, market the property’s close proximity to public transportation. If one of the bedrooms is super tiny, describe the space as a potential office or entertainment center. Doing so will make lemonade out of lemons and your honesty will definitely make tenants happy, which is the most important part.

Step Four: Make it Picture Perfect

With the vast amount of property listings out there, it’s important to remember that the listings without any pictures or with very few pictures will typically be the first ones to be crossed off. Don’t write property listings without pictures. Don’t put yourself on this list. A property listing without many pictures could give the potential tenants the impression that the property managers are trying to hide something, or that there is something wrong with the property. At the same time, potential tenants also want a visual to keep in mind while they are searching for living spaces. Some tenants even filter out listings without pictures to save time! All of the pretty words and descriptions you’ve created will not suffice in lieu of photographs. Before you start taking pictures, make sure you are taking all of the right steps and precautions.

First, make sure that you get at least two photos of every room in the property, including all parts of the exterior. If your property has any special features, be sure to capture images of those too, especially if you have listed a special feature of any kind in the property description. Second, show the best parts of every room. Make sure that the lighting is perfect and flattering in every shot. The space should be clean and presentable in pictures to be appealing to your potential tenants. If you want to go the extra mile, have professional photographs taken. Someone with a creative eye and a knack for visual storytelling will be able to highlight all of the most beautiful aspects of your property that you might not have considered yourself. Use angles and lighting to your advantage to give your property the best appearance possible. Finally, there is no such thing as too many pictures. The more, the merrier. Include pictures of the yards and landscaping, the public pools or recreation centers, the exterior of the complex or development, and more. Give your viewers a taste of what it would be like to live at your property before they decide to go and see it in person. A series of excellent pictures can definitely make all of the difference.

Image via: www.pexels.com

Step Five: Factor in an FAQ

No matter how many details your property listing includes, viewers are bound to have more questions. In order to avoid having your telephone and email inbox blowing up with the same questions over and over, it would be a helpful step to include a Frequently Asked Questions section on your listing. To do so, take a look at your property listing draft and see if there are any questions you would have after reviewing the listing yourself. This would also be a great chance to include any remaining information that couldn’t be summed up in a few words like the rest of the details listed earlier. Check out a few examples of questions potential tenants might have listed here:

What does rent include? Are there any discounts available? How can I pay rent? Can guests stay overnight? Do you allow roommate selection or is there a roommate matching program?

Including a Frequently Asked Questions section in your property listing certainly is not a necessity, but it is definitely a helpful feature for both you and potential tenants and applicants in the long run. It will make their searches easier and your inboxes lighter. It’s a win-win situation any way you slice it.

Step Six: Avoid these Property Listing Pitfalls

Before you sit down to write property listings or publish your listing, make sure that you have avoided all property listing no-nos. First, proofread for any grammar and spelling errors. Don’t include any real estate acronyms or jargon that your viewers won’t understand. Never use all capital letters or excessive punctuation marks. This will make your property listing look tacky and unprofessional, two adjectives you definitely don’t want your listing to be attached to. To make sure your property listing is perfect before you upload or publish it, have a second pair of eyes check it out. Avoiding these pitfalls will attract more traffic to your property listing and more tenants into your property.

Following these steps will ensure that your property listing will be successful in the market. Now, sit back, relax, and watch those applications flood your inboxes. Good luck!

By Tamiera Vandegrift

Uloop Writer
Florida State University
Tamiera is an alumna of Florida State University, having earned a BA in Editing, Writing & Media and a BA in Digital Media Production. Tamiera is an aspiring novelist and screenwriter, inspired by the works of Lars von Trier, David Fincher, and Darren Aronofsky. Tamiera has previously written for the FSView and Florida Flambeau, College Magazine, and more. She has recently published a creative thesis containing short stories based on mental illnesses in the media. In the future, Tamiera aspires to win "Best Original Screenplay" or "Best Pictures" at the Academy Awards with one of her film projects. Besides writing and storytelling, Tamiera enjoys cooking, traveling, spending time with friends, and geeking out over movie trivia.

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