Real Estate Copy Writing

55 Chevy BelAir

by Jay Zenner on February 22, 2010

How would you write a movie review?

There are other posts here about copy writing in real estate but there are a lot of points that bear repeating and expansion.  Recently I wrote a post for another blog that focuses on luxury real estate. The basic theme was that what you are trying to do when you write copy is not sell as much as tease.

This is based on the premise that very few properties are sold…speculative investors notwithstanding…without a showing. The goal then of most real estate copy writing is to get showings scheduled for qualified buyers.

Another contributor to that luxury site is Karen Crystal who is a successful luxury property marketer in Southern California. Karen provided a comment to my post that took the idea to another level. She likened good real estate copy writing to a good movie preview. Of course!

My immediate reaction was “Why didn’t I think of that?” Like Karen,  I enjoy the 20 minutes or so of previews that usually precede the main attraction in movie theaters around here. I’ll also watch the “trailers” of any movie that I’m considering online.  Some movies I can quickly eliminate this way but I also often find myself considering movies of a different genre than those I normally gravitate to.

Home buyers are no more rational than other consumers in this way.

We are often barely aware of the emotions that make us fall in love with a movie, a person,  a place or a home. Too much information…even pictures… especially without any emotional content, can often provide the reason not to go see a home. In a buyers’ market with lots of choices, this happens more often than you would expect.

In writing copy for your listings become the “director” and think of the preview or trailer you would create for the home and adjust your copy accordingly. Listen to  your own emotional antennae to pick up clues on what might work.  Look for the clues that you can convey that will not only attract more showings but the right showings.

A couple of weeks ago I showed a home that my buyer clients had identified because of its proximity to where they both work.  It wasn’t their cup of tea, but I loved it. It was built in the 50’s and hadn’t really had much done to it since then except to turn a large garage into an awkward master bedroom.

My feedback to the listing agents  got a laugh out of them because I described how I could imagine my first car…a 1955 turquoise and creme Chevrolet Bel Air in the circular driveway with Wally and Beaver Cleaver shooting baskets behind it.

In fact, it reminded me of the home of some very good childhood friends, right down to the swimming pool,  backyard greenhouse and large rooms all on one level.  Come to think of it, my folks actually bought that Chevy for my brother and I from those friends.  If cars could tell stories…

My clients were probably too young to relate to any of this but there are buyers out there who would.   To be honest the place needed a lot of work. An accurate and more detailed description would have left anyone cold.  Let the nostalgia flow.  There are few homes that you will list that don’t have some characteristic that can provide an emotional hook to get those showings from the right buyers.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Roger Ewing February 23, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Thanks for this interesting approach to an often very dry subject, Jay. Indeed, the power of YouTube video is where the opportunity lies in “teasing” buyers to become engaged in the purchase process. Karen Crystal is correct, a good property video is very much like a movie trailer. Promoting luxury homes is a very finite pursuit. Appealing to lifestyles and egos is part and parcel of the process.

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