Once the photographs have been taken your real estate agent will prepare a “listing script”. This is the wording that will be used for the online advertising, on printed material, and in newspaper advertising.
Agents vary in their ability to write a good listing script, so before you choose your agent, make sure you read some of their listing advertisements. In the worst examples you’ll find typos, poor expression and poorly targeted generic statements about the property, probably copied from somewhere else.
To prepare a good listing script involves two steps:
- The agent should ask you what you love about your property, to get ideas that can be used for the listing script. I give my sellers a short questionnaire to help with ideas:
SELLER INPUT – WHAT DO I LIKE ABOUT MY HOME?
- Think back to when you bought your home…what were the things about the home that most appealed to you, and influenced you to buy it?
- What are the BEST features of your home?
- What do your friends or family members comment about your home that they like?
- What are the lifestyle advantages in living in your home (including the location)?
- Other features or benefits that you think buyers should know about.
- The agent should discuss with you who are the likely target buyers, and who the advertising should be written to appeal to. While we don’t know who the final buyer will be and don’t want to constrain the breadth of appeal, there are some obvious features that will make your property more appealing to some buyers over others. For example:
- A property with a big backyard and pool will appeal more to a family with children than an older couple.
- A three bedroom house with one living room will be unlikely to appeal to a family with four or five children.
- A house with side access will attract buyers with a boat and/or caravan.
- A lowset house will appeal more to older buyers who don’t want to climb stairs.
- A two bedroom apartment will appeal less to families with children than to couples without children.
- A house with good offstreet parking will appeal to a family with teenagers of driving age.
Language and Structure of the Listing Script
In the old days agents would write three to four paragraphs of flowery text using as many emotive adjectives and adverbs as possible:
“Reconnect with family and friends in this romantic old-world ambience that richly and vibrantly creates unsurpassed elegance and sophisticated versatility, recreating the gracious lines of Victorian-era colonial lifestyle…”
That might sound impressive and even heartwarming, but it doesn’t tell us much about whether this is a house for us. These days, online browsing is fast and furious, and buyers might read the first paragraph and filter from there.
After the first paragraph we need to set out the features in a series of dot points for easy reading. It is clear who the advertisement below is targeted at, although the property would still have appeal to a wide audience:
“Positioned in a quiet cul-de-sac, this contemporary home on 900m2 has everything for the extended family. The custom-built design includes a two-bedroom lowset unit with its own secure entrance. Perfect for elderly parents or adult children, or could be rented out to provide an income stream.
- three open plan living areas
- six bedrooms (two with ensuites)
- three bathrooms
- pool with spa
- two alfresco entertainment areas
- views of the city skyline
- side access for a boat or caravan”
Timing of the Campaign
DECISION #5 WHAT DATE WILL THE CAMPAIGN START?
Now that we have our agent selected and our property looking amazing, the photos taken and the script prepared, we are ready to begin selling. The decision on timing may be made early on, but sometimes it takes longer to get a house ready than was anticipated. Don’t launch the campaign when your property is not fully ready.
The importance of timing with the launch is because we want to maximize the number of buyers who are likely to be attracted to your listing. If, for example, you are targeting families with schoolchildren because your house is located close to a primary school, then you probably don’t launch the campaign just when school holidays are about to commence and potential buyers might be away. Remember, most of the buyers will look at your listing in the first two weeks. This is why it is important to target the right buyers early on, to not list at an excessively high price, and to get the listing script right.