By Yvonne Dick
There are ways of listing properties, and then there are ways of listing properties that can derail your potential buyer’s interest.
For example, when reading through the listing of a property, it is easy to become distracted by the little things such as spelling mistakes. As you create the text for your listing, make sure that you check it for spelling. You can purchase spell checking programs and most word processing software includes a spell check. Don’t get caught out by the differences between American and Canadian spelling. A free program called Grammarly can be added to your web browser or purchased for use offline. Grammarly is one of the very few programs where you can stipulate if you want the spelling to be in American or British English.
Grammar checking is also a good idea. While the Hemmingway App is also free (available offline too), it offers a more complex look at your grammar. You can gauge your words against reading scores. For everyday use such as listings, you will want a lower number simply because that means the text is easy to read. The program allows you to copy and paste or write into the web browser. It isn’t always necessary to correct each highlighted area in the grammar software, but it will give you a nice overview when you may be adding in words that give extra points in Scrabble but are less appealing for everyday use.
Read your writing out loud to see if you can spot obvious mistakes. Then do not be afraid to ask a friend or colleague who will be honest with you to give your listing a critique.
Misuse of words can be another problem area for listings. An example of a commonly misused word is complement instead of compliment. Complement is a word you would use when various aspects of a room go together well. A compliment is when you say something nice to or about someone.
Phrases can also be overstated to your listing’s detriment. “Turn of the century” can apply to houses built in the late 1990s just as easily as those built in the early 1900s. Be specific. If your property is Georgian style, for instance, stating this will be far more descriptive for potential buyers who wish to know how old it is and how it may be designed.
Geography is important too. Make sure that you are accurate if listing nearby attractions for potential buyers. While six blocks may sound like it is “just moments away”, this doesn’t convey accurate amounts of time. One salesperson’s “moments away” is another’s “two minutes by car”. In the same line of reasoning, stating that “local shops are nearby” is another way of saying that shops nearby are located nearby. Local shops by definition refer to those in close proximity. It is okay to simply say, for example, “near to shops and school” or whatever attractions are close at hand.
Put thought into what you are writing. While it may be a matter of only a few sentences, knowing how to maximize their impact can give you a definite edge on the competition. How many listings have you read stating things such as “functional kitchen” or “working furnace?” When selling a property, all items are expected to be in working order. It should not be necessary to state that they are in working order. It is not a selling point that the kitchen in a pre-existing house is actually usable.
What you most want to convey to those who are looking at your listings is the facts in a straightforward and pleasing manner. Do not use a lot of fancy words to describe ordinary things.
For instance, a 1950s style kitchen is probably not elegant, timeless or classy. It is a turn-off to a reader/buyer when flaws of a property are described as though they are jewels. Are you selling them a silk purse or a sow’s ear? It can cause doubt about valid features of the home when its detriments are looked upon in a loving manner by an over-zealous salesperson.
Stick with reasonable and accurate descriptions. Your no-nonsense, easy to understand style will bring you more readers for your listing than one that tries to convey a fantasy world or fast deal.