Ad copy could be the tipping point in your luxury real estate market
Here’s a little experiment you can try that may change the way you write copy for your listings. Go to Realtor.com and do a search in your market. I like to do this in the luxury range which in my market starts at about $700K. So my search is between $700K to $5M, which doesn’t leave much out at the high end. Just glance through a few of the listings and then do another similar search in a market you are not familiar with.
When I first started this experiment, the thing that bothered me was that both categories of homes (luxury and median) and both MLS information passed the same information—the unfamiliar market seemed much more “foreign.”
Well, my dad didn’t call me Meathead for nothing. I guess I’m a little slow, but it finally dawned on me that while I know the forest in my market all I get is a peek at a few trees through the MLS data in the other market.
In your home market, you can look at a listing and, because you already know the community, you know exactly where it sits relative to employment centers and shopping, what the schools are like and who built the golf course at the country club.
Without fail on Realtor.com only about one or two in ten listings—even for the luxury homes—does the listing agent write any additional copy at all. The agent relies on ‘what passes from the MLS’ to describe the home.
This means that something as mundane as “ice maker connection” gets as much attention as an in-ground swimming pool.
Worse, there is no “context” for the home. I did this experiment recently and was delighted to see one listing agent who described how the home was in walking distance to some fine restaurants and walking trails. But still, 90% of his description was about the home itself.
In my community there are three relatively large neighborhoods with homes in this price range and a lot of the homes in each are very similar. But they are very different communities with very different charms. You can do the same experiment in almost any price range and you will get similar results.
Most agents, because they never had to write great sales copy in the boom years are at a loss to do anything better. But now there is intense competition for fewer buyers.
We owe it to our listing clients to provide the needed context.
When we talk about the three most important things in real estate being “location, location, location,” what do we mean? What we mean in residential real estate is location relative to employment, schools, jobs, transportation, entertainment, churches, medical services, etc. But this is hardly ever addressed in the copy that is being written, much less how it feels to live in that community.
It’s important to keep in mind that many potential buyers are moving to your market and are in another city looking online. Many websites are trying to provide more and more of this context with reams of statistics. But they can’t do as good a job as someone who has lived, worked and sold houses in that market. That’s a real estate agent. If you’re an agent, that’s you. If you’re a seller, it is one of the things you should expect from your agent, who is really your marketing director.
Potential buyers coming from another market likely don’t know the boundaries of the forest that you as a local take for granted. In the market I just looked at there were 731 homes between $700K and $5M. No buyer is going to look at all of them on line, much less in person.