Writing to sell: even in a busy market, there’s a wrong way to write property descriptions.

We’ve all seen them. Listings that make REALTORS cringe. You know the ones where the best thing that can be said is that the agent sure must have a nice car, because she obviously didn’t bother getting out of it when she took that listing photo? Those. Yeah. We probably can’t help them with a blog post. Let’s just admit it.

But you’re not like that agent, are you? You actually care about your client, your business, and your reputation. You want what’s best for everyone. You want to make the most out of the 720 characters you’re allowed on NTREIS. So let’s get to work.

First of all, let’s want to lay down a couple of ground rules here. If you’re the type who is really, really enthusiastic about every listing, you might not like what’s coming, but here goes. Do not! Do NOT!! DO NOT!!! overuse capitalization and exclamation points. No really. I mean it.

Buyers are looking at hundreds, if not thousands of listings. They’re not fooled into thinking that Every! Single! Feature! in a house is exciting. And if you’re visually screaming at them, they’re not going to read or absorb very much of what you’re trying to say anyway. Stay calm, my friends. Use your words to describe what’s really going on. You’ll attract more of the right type of buyers for that property from the start.

The next most important thing is to remember the audience. If you’re selling an executive home, then emphasize the bespoke cabinetry, the exclusivity of the neighborhood, the one-of-a-kind features that no one else has. You don’t need to list every detail, but a few key highlights will go a long way to piquing the interest of a qualified buyer. The photos and specifications will tell them enough of the rest of the story to get them in the door. For other listings, you’ll want to use the words that attract buyers in that area. If you’ve got a Mid-Century Modern charmer, you don’t want to go all bland with the standard “beautiful granite island kitchen, stainless, steel blah blah blah,” you want to sell the aesthetic of the house and the neighborhood by playing up the vintage appeal. Buyers in that market will be looking for that appeal. If you’ve got a suburban standard, then maybe you want to accentuate the conveniences, a big backyard, or that island kitchen. Maybe you have one that’s pretty much the same as three others already on the market. Chances are pretty good that buyers will be looking at all of the listings, so set yours apart. Does it have a backyard with a shady northern facing lot? That can be a big deal in the heat of the summer. Or maybe the paint colors are just that much more on trend. Throw in brand names if you can, and emphasize pride of ownership by listing updates and improvements. Don’t be repetitive or parrot the other listings. Tell the buyers why your listing is the best of the bunch. There are people looking for every type of house, and it’s your job to talk to them specifically.

There are some terms to avoid, if you can. Studies have shown that “motivated seller” and “great value” tend to have a negative impact on sales price and time on market. And buyers tend to disagree when homes are labelled “Move-in ready” and turn their noses up at “Clean” and “Quiet.” Maybe it makes them wonder why you need to point that out. They’re also suspicious of “New Paint,” “New Carpet” and “Vacant.”

Start the property description with something fun or eye-catching if you can. Try a listing with something brooding on clickbait and see how it goes, like “8 reasons you must see this house today” or “The top 10 things you’ll love about this property.” It’s a different approach and it just might catch more eyes than the standard MOTIVATED SELLER! 3-2-2 NEW PAINT! NEW CARPET! CLEAN! WON’T LAST! (Oh, but it will.)