Abby VasekTexas REALTORS® educator Abby Vasek teaches the course Writing Listing Descriptions and is the founder of the real estate school Elevate Your Real Estate. She owns Abby Vasek Interiors in Wimberly and is a designer and influencer. She offers a listing description worksheet for agents through her Elevate Your Real Estate Facebook group.

Put yourself in the shoes of potential buyers. Which listing description sounds better to you?

“Wood floors. Open floor plan.” Or…

“Wide planked pine floors expand throughout the open floor plan and provide a warm, solid surface for you and your furry friends to enjoy.”

The second description shines because it tells a story. It connects features to benefits in a way that helps buyers imagine what it’s like to live in the house you’re trying to sell them.

It is worth your time to improve your listing descriptions—even if your properties already sell quickly, says real estate educator Abby Vasek. You will attract more serious offers and more buyers who are a better match for the property.

Listing descriptions also speak volumes about you, your expertise, and the quality of service you provide. What does it say if your descriptions are lackluster? “If we lower our standards just because the market is doing well, we’d be doing ourselves a great disservice,” she says.

Here are some ways to stop writing dull lists of features and start writing engaging narratives.

Be Concise

Keep it short: Research says buyers prefer listing descriptions that are 50 words or less, according to Vasek. Remember that your goal isn’t to say everything, just to entice readers to learn more. “Most car commercials don’t talk about cup holders or seat belts or the number of square feet in the trunk. They tease me into action,” she observes.

Remember: Standard of Practice 10-3 of the Code of Ethics prohibits REALTOR® advertisements from indicating preference, limitation, or discrimination based on the protected classes.

Keep Your Language Inclusive

You run the risk of using less inclusive language when you start describing who might enjoy a property’s features. Instead, make the property feature the subject of the sentence. “For example, I might say the solar heated pool offers year-round fun and entertainment. These shade trees provide hours of cool play in the summertime.”

Connect Descriptive Features to Benefits

If a feature is worth mentioning, it is worth connecting to a benefit. In the example with the wood floors, tell the reader more. What do the wide planked pine floors do? They might expand throughout the open floor plan, a second feature. Then you could connect them to the benefit of providing a warm, solid surface for you and your furry friends to enjoy.

Avoid These Terms

Don’t use generic terms like charming or spacious. They don’t add anything. “Stop masking what is there and start representing in its best light what you are trying to sell,” Vasek notes. There are buyers looking for every type of property, even teardowns and fixer uppers. If the house is small, say it’s small.

Vasek also recommends not using abbreviations in your listing descriptions. Your readers will stop imagining the house and start trying to decipher the abbreviations. Then you’ve taken the reader out of the story.

Don’t sound desperate, either. Priced to sell and will move quickly can extend the days on market and lower your sale price.

Vasek says buyers are tired of the overuse of exclamation points. She limits herself to a single exclamation point per listing description.

End with a Call to Action

Now that you have readers’ attention, invite them to take that next step. “I remind our agents that we need to remember to keep these narrative descriptions very human and happy. And don’t be afraid to use a little humor. One of my calls to action is: ‘View at your own caution: you will fall in love.’”

Write the Headline Last

Listings need titles, just like stories. Short and sweet titles like Sweetheart Starter Home and Urban Loft Life act as headlines that establish the tone and setting. “That headline is where we capture everyone’s attention in a crowded market,” she says. So spend time perfecting it.

Learn What Success Looks Like

You’ll know you’ve succeeded if your narrative listing description makes you feel something. The description should evoke an image in your mind. You should be able to picture yourself in the house and imagine what it’s like to live there.

It will get easier to write listing descriptions when you start thinking of them like stories, Vasek says. It will be less stressful and frustrating. You’ll also hear positive feedback from other agents and your seller clients. “Homeowners will say, ‘Our property sounds amazing and looks amazing.’ That’s another way that you know,” Vasek says.

Lastly, you’ll know your descriptions are working when they resonate with buyers. Humans are hardwired to understand and respond to stories, according to Vasek. “Our job is to appeal to buyers’ hearts as well as their minds.”