Don’t sell the house, sell the home.
Real estate copywriting isn’t unlike the cookie-cutter suburbs you’ll find nestled in various pockets around the United States — everything looks the same (or reads the same, rather).
Having grown up raised by a parent who sold homes for a living in Southern Indiana, I’m somewhat privy to the world of real estate.
And, something I’ve noticed about real estate marketing — specifically where it concerns real estate copywriting — is the dullness (and in some cases, cheesiness) of it.
This presents a real opportunity for real estate agents willing to go the extra mile and write listings that aren’t a bore to read.
Being that I’m a copywriter that makes a living writing pretty words, this article will focus primarily on copywriting.
How to sell more *homes with better copywriting.
I was talking with my aunt over the holidays. She and her partner had recently moved into a new house. I asked her how she liked it and she answered…
“You know, it’s okay, it just doesn’t feel like home.”
I found her words interesting. I still do.
It made me realize that while many people owned a “house”, few owned a “home”.
So much of creating compelling real estate copywriting is about understanding the fundamental difference between houses and homes.
The pair have two wildly different definitions.
A house is defined as being…
“A building for human habitation”.
Whereas, a home is…
“A place where one lives”.
The latter is much warmer and describes both a place and perhaps even a feeling… a feeling people are willing to pay some serious dough for.
Nobody spends hundreds of thousands of dollars buying a building or a house, but plenty will spend that kind of money buying a home.
So, I think much of real estate copywriting is about selling the home not the house …
How to describe a home.
As some of you may know, I currently live in Chicago.
Just the other day I saw a listing for a $45 million mansion in Lincoln Park, one of the cities most sought after neighborhoods.
(Be sure to hold onto your jaw before you take a look at this beauty).
Anyway, for how mystifying the great big monstrosity is, if you read the copy on the listing you can’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed.
It reads as follows…
“Unprecedented urban estate. 25,000 square foot masterpiece on Lincoln Park’s finest street. Sited on an enormous 177' x 149' parcel totaling more than eight city lots, every step has been taken to provide complete privacy and tranquility…”
It drones on like that for another dozen sentences and by the end of it — even if you had the money — you don’t feel compelled to enquire further.
It’s clear whoever wrote the copy was describing a “house” and not a “home”.
If I were writing the copy for the above listing, it would read something as follows…
“At first glance — and perhaps glance two because it’s nearly impossible to take just one — this towering mansion in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood looks like just that, a mansion.
However, once you open the rod iron gates that line the property like stoic guardians, you’ll realize it is much much more.
That it is a home.
It’s been home to the Smith’s who made their fortunes in oil. It’s been home to the Patterson’s who operated the largest trucking business North America has ever seen.
And, now, it very well may be home to you.
While it appears to be completely and totally perfect from the photographs, I must confess one blemish. On the north facing wall of the wine cellar, you’ll find a succession of blue, red and yellow marks made from a sharpie that documented the growth spurts of The Patterson boys. The Patterson boys have grown older and now have homes of their own and they said they’d be more than happy to paint them over and perhaps provide a fresh canvas for you to do your own documenting…”
While this certainly isn’t perfect (I whipped it up in 5 minutes, after all)… it does a much better job of describing a home rather than a house.
Writing compelling copy comes down to telling stories, describing feelings and shedding light on opportunity.
When writing real estate copywriting, this happens by writing about the people who lived there, describing the feelings they felt and the feelings future owners could feel too. It comes down to writing about a home.
If you find yourself interested in learning more about the tactical aspects of copywriting, I highly recommend you take a look at my copywriting guide.
It’ll get you writing in the right direction.
By Cole Schafer.
You gotta check this out — Sticky Notes is my email list reserved strictly for entrepreneurs and creatives looking to sell like a Florida Snow Cone Vendor on the hottest day of the year.