In the age of the internet, writing a high-quality listing for your vacant property could make all the difference in the world. According to the National Association of Realtors, online listings are the first place prospective buyers and renters look when searching for a new home. Having the perfect listing could make your property the one they stop on, rather than just scrolling past.
It can be difficult to write a great listing, though, especially if English wasn’t your best subject in school. With your listing, you want to incite interest in renters through creative imagery and descriptions, but you also want to provide a realistic depiction of the unit. It can be tricky to balance both objectives.
To help you create the perfect listing every time, we’ve put together a list of 6 easy steps. This way, you’ll know you’re doing everything you can to appeal to renters. The last thing you want is to scare away prospective tenants with lackluster listings.
List Features to Highlight
The best way to begin is with a cheatsheet. Start by laying out all of the property’s features you’ll want to highlight in the listing. This should be anything that sets the property apart from other similar units. It could be general things like size, price, location, and appliances or more specific aspects like a pool, garage space, landscaping services, and more.
Regardless of what your list contains, you should keep it next to you throughout the entire writing process. It’s your goal to set your property apart from the rest, and highlighting its best features will do just that.
Accurately Describe the Property
Of course you want to make the property sound amazing, it just might not be. It’s okay to put a little spin in the listing, but you should describe the property as accurately as possible. Renters will be furious if they come to a showing only to find that you lied about everything but the price.
For example, if you say, “The master bedroom is fit for a king — and a king-size bed!” but the only thing that will fit in the room is a small dresser and a full, renters won’t be very impressed.
It’s better not to create false expectations. If you’re upfront about some of the property’s drawbacks, but spin them in a positive way, renters are more likely to be accepting of the flaws.
You’d be better off saying, “The master bedroom has plenty of windows to let in ample lighting, and it provides access to its own private bathroom.” Here, you’re still highlighting its best qualities without being dishonest.
Use Adjectives Carefully
The listing is your chance to paint a picture in the renter’s mind about what the property has to offer. Including an excessive amount of adjectives will distract the renter from the picture you’re trying to paint.
Using too many adjectives like “amazing,” “beautiful,” and “impressive” will feel tacky and overwhelming. If you go overboard, renters will likely think your over-zealous description is compensating for something that the property lacks.
You should try to only use adjectives that actually add something to the description. Saying the property has a “spacious fenced-in yard” will interest the renter a lot more than saying it has “beautiful doorways.”
If you’re worried about cutting out adjectives that you feel spice up your listing, don’t fret; there are other ways to incorporate personality in your listing.
Pay Attention to Punctuation
You don’t have to have every comma in just the right place, know when to use colons vs. em dashes, or even include any semicolons at all — but your listing does have to make sense.
The biggest mistake you want to avoid is using too many exclamation points! Nothing’s exciting if everything is! It’s okay to use a few, but you should choose your placement wisely.
You do want to make sure you’re using enough punctuation, though. Too many long, run-on sentences will confuse the reader. Once you’re done writing, you should go back through and break up any sentences that seem too long.
Last but not least, write in complete sentences. Renters don’t have to be grammar-nazis to appreciate the effort you put in to making a professional listing. If you need a little help, send your listing to your most qualified friend and ask them to proofread it.
Include High-Quality Photos
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. We’re naturally drawn to content that includes images, so including high-quality photos of the property in your listing can do a lot to draw the attention of renters.
You don’t have to be a professional or have a thousand-dollar camera to get good photos. Today, most smartphones have cameras that will do the trick. Just take your time, make sure you take pictures when the lighting’s nice, and look up inspiration photos if you need a little more guidance. It’s best to stage your rental for photos the same way you would for a showing.
Cut out Unnecessary Information
We said early to accurately describe the property, but this doesn’t mean you should include every tiny detail about the space. Some things renters will just have to come see for themselves. If you make the listing too long, renters will be overwhelmed and move on quickly.
You also shouldn’t repeat information that can be found elsewhere on your page. This includes info like number of beds, baths, and stories. Your phone number or contact info shouldn’t be included in the listing either if it’s mentioned elsewhere.
The perfect listing can be the difference between an instant switch from one tenant to another and a month-long vacancy. With those stakes on the line, you can’t afford to have a less than perfect listing. Hopefully these 6 tips and tricks have made you feel confident in your ability to write a great listing.