As a marketer (yes, we are, or should be), it is important to understand the impact of words in your listings so you may create the desired impression, convey essential information accurately, and encourage the reader to take action and come see the house.
The impact you create from words can be either positive or negative, and might NOT be what you intend. So a careful review of what is written, and an objective focus on the impact that may be created, will let you know if the desired effect is likely to be achieved.
THINGS TO DO:
- Appealing to the emotions of the reader (in our case as listing agent, the buyer) is essential, as opposed to focusing purely on facts, numbers (bedrooms, baths, square footage) and other "dry" information. It will have a greater impact. Buyers buy with emotions and justify with logic, in general. And since so many listings focus on "the facts" why not go one better and focus on words that convey the joys and comforts of homeownership.
- Certainly one must convey important information about a property that buyers will want to know, or should know. And this must be done accurately, so use the right words. But if you don't know or are not sure, either don't say it or check first. Make sure you are not implying a fact when it is not
SOME THINGS NOT TO DO:
- If your spelling is poor, and there are typos, you can well imagine the potential negative impact this might have on the reader. Spelling errors are rampant in MLS listings, and no matter how much is said they seem to continue. Some are truly laughable ("walking closets" for example). And embarrassing for you, the writer, and perhaps also the client. And they distract the reader from the content. Will someone not tour a home for this reason? Unlikely, but still, aren't you supposed to be doing a good job for your client?
- Certain words seem to get misspelled or misused, and do not convey a positive impact - their instead of there, hear instead of here, its instead of it's (it is), to name a few.
- Puffery and exaggeration may be used with the intent to create impact, or to draw attention away from other less positive qualities of the listing, but I dare say they often don't work. It is likely obvious what the writer is doing, and it's deceptive and a tad bit dishonest. Expressing an opinion about a property that is not factual, or exaggeration, could be misrepresentation, especially if believed by the buyer.
A few words that drive me nuts:
Yes, it's my personal opinion, but perhaps they bother others too.
- "Doll house" and "cute as a button" (never got that one), for example. Says miniscule to me...how about you?
- "Priced to sell"...hmmm, really? I suppose that IS the objective, so why restate it. But when the price says something else, I really am perplexed
- "Won't last" is one of the best. Why say it at all? But it really looks dumb when 6 months later it still says "won't last." And those seem to be the only homes where this is said - the ones that didn't last didn't need it said, for obvious reasons
- "Sold as is" conveys all sorts of things, some good and some not so good
- "Must see to appreciate" always cracks me up - your pictures suck, in other words. Somehow this always makes me suspicious of what I am going to find
- "Bring all offers" - I don't get this one either. Hmmm, are they saying the house is WAY overpriced so they know they need to encourage lower offers, if they get any at all?
Any favorite ones that irk YOU?
So what kind of impact do YOUR words make in your listings?