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Snagging a Home Buyer: Selling Secrets for Writing a Successful Property Listing Ad

ForSaleByOwner August 30, 2023

What’s the secret of selling with an irresistible property listing ad? It’s simply telling the home buyer enough to intrigue and not so much that they are sick of your house already. Your goal is to entice the buyer by making them want to learn more about your property. Most home buyers will immediately want to know three things: the price, the location, and the number of bedrooms in the house.

Keep in mind that you do not want to give so much information that the qualified buyers are immediately able to eliminate your home from consideration (i.e. a selling ad that mentions “needs repairs” will probably be crossed off the list of a potential buyer). Many times, prospective buyers will end up purchasing a property quite different from what they have in mind. Therefore, your selling ad needs to draw them in enough to take a look at what you have to offer!

Get to the Point

The number one rule to writing a good ad is to be direct and to-the-point. Leading with the home’s selling price will immediately attract serious buyers to your ad. In addition to the selling price and terms, this first line should include the home’s location since many home buyers only skim through property listings looking for homes in areas of their liking. Include terms that will appeal to both search engines and knowledgeable neighbors: the zip code; a nearby well-known street or intersection; the nickname of the neighborhood; the name of the historic district, if your house is in one. The key is to get them to come see the house for themselves. Many home sellers are wary of mentioning the desired selling price or area so early in their ad. It is important to remember that, in most circumstances, buyers will only look at houses within their price range and location. Again, you are ensuring that you are attracting only serious buyers.

It’s All in the Details

The next phase of your ad is the descriptive qualities of the house itself. First, you should state how many bedrooms the house has. Next, make note of any garages, a backyard, a fence, or a quiet street. Also be sure to include anything that has been newly renovated or remodeled. This always appeals to potential buyers who like the idea of getting a new kitchen or bathroom, for example. Emphasize other features with wide appeal: fireplaces, patios, grills, finished basements, finished attics, central air conditioning; bay windows, crown molding, vintage details, and organized closets. Downplay features that lack universal appeal: swimming pools; saunas; built-in vaults; built-in coffeemakers; duplicate appliances; whole-house vacuums; and the like.

Streamline the details, focusing on the house itself. Don’t swerve into flowery descriptions or project onto buyers the value that you put on features that they might find high-maintenance. Gardens are a perfect example. You might have installed a perennial garden that you consider easy care, but the next buyer may well prefer lawn in that spot.

Keep It Short and Sweet

The most effective ads are those that are short, simple, and non-threatening. They fulfill the most important job of all-telling the buyer what they want to hear. Here are example of a strong online ad:

$479,000. Located in Chicago’s South Loop. Custom upgraded, high-floor Northeast corner unit, two bedroom w/Den, two bath. Balcony has incredible Lake/Monroe Harbor/Grant park/Navy Pier views. Custom kitchen with granite countertops on huge kitchen island, stainless steel appliances, 42″ custom cherry cabinets, hardwood floors throughout living area, two walk-in closets, floor to ceiling windows. Bathrooms upgraded with marble countertops, double-bowl sinks, separate shower & Jacuzzi tub in master bath. In-unit W/D and window treatments installed. Building amenities include 24 hour doorman, exercise room, party room, access to clubhouse and outdoor pool.

An ad should tell the buyer the necessary information they need, without giving reason to eliminate the home from consideration. The idea is to appeal to serious buyers who will be interested in finding out more about your house.

A great listing ad requires great listing photos. Draw in more buyers with the 8 photos every listing should have.