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The Commonwealth Blog

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

5 Things Not To Do in Your Listing Descriptions

You’ve taken magazine-worthy photos of your client’s property and written a couple of lines about their home’s features. That should be enough for the MLS, right?

The high-quality listing photos are a good start, but your work isn’t done. Your clients will expect you, as their Realtor, to write a concise but compelling listing description that makes home buyers want to see the property in person. And the first step towards writing a good listing description is recognizing what not to do.

Here are five things that you should keep out of your listing descriptions.

Use Vague or Subjective Phrases

What kind of images come to mind when you hear that a home has “a beautiful outdoor space?” And what do you think when you hear that a property is “a real gem?” Your idea of a beautiful outdoor space might involve a colorful garden, while another person’s idea might involve lots of flat, open space to set up a child’s play structure. And phrases like “a real gem” are so vague that home buyers could interpret them in countless ways.

To avoid falling back on clichés that are open to interpretation, focus on specific features. For example, that “beautiful outdoor space” might be a fenced-in yard lined with shade trees—and potential buyers will want to know that.

Choose Boring Descriptors

Just as you shouldn’t be vague, you also shouldn’t be boring. Avoid descriptors that don’t add value, like “move-in condition,” “clean,” and “massive.” Buyers expect that the home will be clean and move-in ready (unless otherwise specified), and “massive” does nothing to convey the actual size of the rooms or property.

Instead of using bland and unnecessary words, look for opportunities to incorporate words that have been proven to help homes sell, such as “granite,” “stainless,” and “landscaped.”

Write in All Caps

RESIST THE URGE TO KEEP CAPS LOCK ON. All-caps text can be hard to read, and buyers will feel like you’re yelling at them. Relying too heavily on all-caps text can be a crutch—instead of using a gimmick, you should write descriptions that draw buyers in by describing the features that matter most to them.

Fall Back on Real Estate Jargon

We know you’re trying to convey a lot of information in a small amount of space, but you still need to steer clear of abbreviations that home buyers might not understand. While your Realtor friends might recognize that MIL means mother-in-law plan and FDR stands for formal dining room, the average home buyer might wonder why you’re talking about millimeters or Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Make sure your descriptions are easy to read for people without a background in real estate.

Repeat Basic Data

The MLS will already include basic data about a property, such as the square footage and number of beds and baths. There’s no sense wasting space in the property description by repeating information that will already be right in front of the buyer. Instead, use your space to talk about the appealing features that might not be obvious from the data or photos, such as a property’s smart home technology or the distance to the nearest T stop.

Still worried that mistakes are slipping into your listing descriptions? Don’t forget to have a colleague or assistant review your sales copy. Getting a second set of eyes on your writing can help you catch things you might not have noticed at first, and that ultimately means your clients will get more powerful listing descriptions for their properties.

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