In this week’s blog, we explore the art of creating well-written and compelling listings that help sell properties quickly. We had a chat to copywriter, Katharine McPhee, from ‘The Property Writers’ who is an expert in writing property listings and real estate marketing.

Our job at AG Photography is to create photos that tell a story and evoke emotions, but a well thought out property listing with a strong headline and compelling opening statement is what will really grab the buyer’s attention.

From photos to the property description, when it comes to property marketing, first impressions are crucial. Would you say that professionally written listings are a major factor in captivating buyers?

A: Absolutely. Having a professionally written listing really helps establish credibility for the real estate agent/agency, and also the vendor. It indicates that they are putting their best feet forward for the marketing of their home and ensuring that the key information is put out there for buyers to easily decipher. It means prospective buyers who have been wading through a lot of property listings and attending many opens can come across fresh, engaging and enjoyable information about a property. At The Property Writers, we don’t rely on over-used and clichéd terminology. Instead, we paint a picture with words on what buyers can expect from a property. Our clients find this really refreshing, and we get fantastic feedback from buyers too, who were drawn to attending an open because of our words.

As a real estate photographer, my job is to tell visually tell a story. I take practical photos, but mix in some life style shots, which for me is like providing a little bit of ‘theatre’ or ‘entertainment’. When writing a listing, is story-telling or appealing to the buyer’s emotions just as important?

A: Yes, we totally agree with you that storytelling through a combination of photos and text are integral to adding warmth to a marketing campaign. By showcasing a property’s merits, through both photography and a write-up in our case at The Property Writers, we are appealing to emotions. We are assisting buyers in ascertaining whether or not the property is worthy of their time in terms of phoning an agent and attending an open. We help them envision themselves in the location, the street and the unique surrounds through our words. This form of storytelling, as you rightly put it, is a really personal way to assist buyers in establishing if they are a right fit for a home, while always making sure that we are honest in our depiction of a property.

When looking through listings online, we commonly see listing titles like “Spacious House”, “Rare Opportunity” or “Location! Location!”. How important is it to have a title that captures the homes best characteristics and geographical location?

A: At The Property Writers, we promise our clients (and deliver on this promise!) that our title suggestions, which we provide with every listing, are an incredibly important part of the marketing. As you say, we do tend to see overused titles. Buyers can be time-poor and very savvy when it comes to narrowing down their searches while property shopping. A title that captures both the merits of a home and its wins in terms of geography can be the difference between a click and a pass when it comes to searching for properties online.

 What are some (if any) of the critical mistakes that you see with real estate listings?

A: We do often come across mistakes that are quite easy to avoid in our opinion, at The Property Writers. We do see spelling errors, including misspelt suburbs and promises that verge on being unethical. These aren’t necessarily due to an intentional agenda on an agent’s part. In many cases, real estate agents are very time-poor and operate in a high-pressure environment. When they rush writing up a listing it does tend to show. We see outsourcing writing up the actual text for properties for sale as an investment on either the agent or vendor’s part, in the same way that photography and staging is outsourced. It does mean that mistakes are avoided and peace of mind is obtained!

Finally, for any real estate agents interested in your services, what is the process to have a professionally-written listing done by The Property Writers?

A: We pride ourselves on our fuss-free, easy process. Essentially, an agent, agency or even a vendor contacts us and advises us that they have a property/properties that they would like marketing text provided for. We await the photographs and a floor plan and like to have any brand-specific information or other key information, i.e. a recently renovated bathroom advised. These can be sent via email or cloud storage, or even text! We then commit to having the text written and returned to the client within 24 hours, for their final approval. The copy is theirs to use online and in print for their campaigns. If the property is within metropolitan Adelaide, we also offer on-site visits, in which we attend the property, as arranged by the agent, sometimes to coincide with the photographer. We can then view the property and write the listing and return it to the client in an even quicker fashion, as we are not awaiting photographs. We are flexible, personal and approachable. The way we operate makes our service appealing to busy clients, who really see our value.

We hope that you enjoy this interview as much as we did and wish to thank The Property Writers for taking time out from this busy time of year to answer our questions.