Headlines and Listings

One of the greatest skills you can possess in the real estate business is the ability to create compelling listings that sell properties quickly.

Unfortunately, the idea of “selling” is something that scares a lot of people out of the real estate business.

I used to HATE being a pushy “real estate salesman” and all its negative connotations.

When I finally realized that selling is a MUST for any successful real estate investor, I had to face the issue rather than run from it.

To my surprise, I eventually found that selling real estate was a lot of fun!

After selling several properties in my first year, I realized I had grossly misinterpreted what it meant to promote listings and get properties sold. What I assumed would be an awkward, intimidating process turned out to be a GREAT way to develop my inner skills as a writer.

In my experience, most properties are quite capable of selling themselves—but ONLY IF you've priced it rightpromoted it adequately, and created a listing that communicates clearly. It conveys why your property is the deal of a lifetime—why your buyers would be crazy not to take advantage of the opportunity.

Stop Imitating Everyone Else

Most of us have a lot of preconceived notions about what a property listing should look like. We’ve all browsed through plenty of other listings and subconsciously thought to ourselves:

“Well… I guess that’s what my listing is supposed to look like too.”

Let me shatter this illusion for you right now. You don’t need to write ads that look like everyone else's.

Looking like everyone else is one of the worst things you can do if your goal is to get noticed. People will ignore you if you create listings that blend in with the crowd. Looking “average” is precisely how NOT to be seen.

That being said, I’ll be the first to admit, it isn’t easy to think outside the box and be original!

For most of us, it’s not intuitive to be different and creative. That's why so many listings are so boring and uninspiring.

To show you how to write listings well, we need to hit the “RESET” button and start from square one.

red reset button

RELATED: 5 Proven Fundamentals That Sell Real Estate FAST

Every Good Listing Has a Good Structure

Like a well-written college paper and well-designed real estate website, a good listing must follow a certain order and have the right “flow.”

I usually lay out mine like this:

perfect real estate listing

Let's talk about each component that lives inside a great listing.

1. Headline

When posting your property for sale on a website like Craigslist, Facebook, or Zillow, your ad will have to compete with thousands of other listings. Therefore, it's imperative that your listing has an eye-catching headline. It should look different.

Your headline is an extremely important part of your listing. Sometimes, this is your only shot at getting a buyer to notice you! So you'd better find a way to stand out from the crowd.

Remember, you have a split second to catch someone’s attention and get them to click on your listing, so this first impression is EVERYTHING. I’m not kidding!

It doesn't matter what the rest of your listing says if people aren't compelled to click and read more in the first place.

What are the positives and negatives of the property you’re trying to sell? Can you make it funny? Will you say something that will make people look twice? Can you make your headline stick out like a sore thumb among all the other boring listings in your market?

Take a look at how this listing of mine sticks out on Craigslist:

Noticable Headline1

What do you think? Does my headline look different enough to catch your attention? Does it stand out from the other headlines above and below it?

How to Catch Someone's Attention

As you can see, it’s not rocket science. You just have to use your brain for a few extra seconds. Try to be just obnoxious enough to get noticed.

You don’t need to lie, exaggerate, or price it at 50% of market value. You just need to get people’s attention. How? By giving them a reason to click on your listing (even if it’s out of sheer curiosity).

It doesn’t hurt to include a great picture (which will be displayed as a thumbnail) and a good price point for your headline. On other websites like Facebook and Zillow, the picture is displayed in a VERY prominent position, so depending on the platform, the picture is worth carefully thinking about to some extent.

RELATED: 50 Websites to Post Your Real Estate Listings for FREE

2. Opening Statement

The first sentence of my listing explains what the property is about. The idea is to immediately inform my readers about what they’re looking at. In this first section, I might say something like:

You’ll love this oversized camping lot in the charming town of Paradise, just a half-mile from the shores of Lake Superior.


Come see this charming ranch with an open floor plan and breathtaking panoramic views of Cedar Springs!

As you can see, I'm simply answering the reader’s most pressing initial question: “What am I looking at?” I'm giving them a reason to keep reading.

3. Narrative Description of Features

This is where the real fun begins. The idea in this section is to do two things:

I. Talk about the primary features of the property, such as:

  • The number of bedrooms/bathrooms.
  • Square footage of the building.
  • Size of the property (typically in acres).
  • Location/neighborhood/schools.
  • Garage (if any), number of stalls.
  • Outdoor extras, e.g., pool, patio, yard, deck, fire pits, etc.
  • Recent updates or renovations, e.g., windows, doors, appliances.
  • Unique characteristics, e.g., scenic overlook, basketball court, lakefront lot, etc.

II. Describe the property in a compelling and inspiring way.

Words can do an AMAZING job of selling real estate (or anything else, for that matter). Some copywriters get paid over $150,000 to write one piece of sales copy!

There is SERIOUS VALUE in your ability to write well, so don't lose sight of the fact that your words can be extremely powerful when used correctly. And this is your opportunity to use them to your advantage.

For example, I'd like you to compare and contrast these two property listings:

Example 1: Typical Listing

new furnace, air conditioning unit. all appliances includes. Huge deck off back of home. walk out in basement to back yard which is fenced in. Lots of updates done. 1 stall attached garage with finished breezeway.

Example 2: Well-Written Listing

You’ll love this charming, two-story cottage with spectacular panoramic views of Otter Lake. This three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a two-stall garage will give you 1,700 sq. ft. of generous space to move about (without losing that quaint, cozy atmosphere when it's time to cuddle up by the fireplace with a good book).

Wake up each morning to awe-inspiring sunrises and drift off to sleep each night with the tranquil sounds of nature. It's situated in a friendly community, with an award-winning school system on the outskirts of Allegan County, just thirty minutes from the magnificent City of Grand Ledge.

Communicating Clearly Sells Well

As you can probably see, these two examples are not equal.
Seth Godin selling

It takes real effort to be creative and think of descriptive words that will make your property sound appealing. Most people don’t have the patience (or just don’t care enough) to go the extra mile in this area, but putting forth this extra effort can make a HUGE difference in how buyers perceive your property.

Some people will find that they naturally excel at this kind of “creative writing.” Others will find that it’s a struggle. Not everyone is gifted with the same ability to find words that create amazing mental imagery like this, so if you aren't gifted in this area, don’t worry.

At the bottom of this blog post, you'll have a chance to get your hands on a TON of my marketing materials that will make this process much easier, so keep reading!

4. Special Promotion

This won’t always apply to your listing. But if you want to sell a property FAST, this is your opportunity to give buyers an extra little “nudge” toward taking action.

I always envision the typical buyer looking at my listing. In many cases, they're interested, but they need a good reason to pick up the phone and call me. This is where a special promotion can be useful.

Some examples of a “special promotion” could be any of the following:

  • Offering seller financing on the property.
  • For a limited time, offering to pay for 100% of the buyer’s closing costs.
  • Offering to sell the property in the form of a lease-purchase or rent-to-own.
  • Temporarily offering a small discount from the listed price.

Feel free to add whatever incentives you think will open the door to more potential buyers and get people to take action. Get creative with it—just keep it legal!

One of the many reasons special promotions are so effective is because they give the listing a sense of scarcity by conveying that this opportunity won't be around forever (and it probably won't last through the end of the week). If people don't take action now, they'll wish they had!

Just to give you a quick example, whenever I offer seller financing on my properties, I’ll say something like this:

Please note that this property is also available with optional seller financing. For a small down payment and monthly installments, you can own this property WITHOUT talking to a bank!

This particular example doesn't highlight scarcity per se. Still, it does notify buyers that financing doesn't need to be an obstacle for them to buy the property. And with vacant land properties, this is a MAJOR benefit because most conventional banks won't finance vacant land deals.

5. Closing Statement and Call to Action

This is where you wrap it up and tell your readers what to do.

Don't be afraid to ratchet up the sense of urgency and remind them of the real possibility that this is the last chance they'll ever have to buy this property.

call to action

Here's an example:

This property is only available to the buyer who acts NOW. Stop reading and start calling: ***-***-****.

Why are you still reading this?? CALL NOW BEFORE THIS PROPERTY IS SOLD!

… But Don't Hype

While writing the perfect listing, I realize it's easy to creep into the territory of over-promising and painting an unrealistic picture of what the subject property can deliver.

There is a fine line between painting a positive word picture about a property and overselling a property. The goal here is the portray the property in its best possible light without overstating its “greatness.”

The fact is, most people know BS when they see it. If you come blasting out of the gate with claims about your property that are clearly embellished or outright false, you’re not going to fool anyone. At best, you’ll seriously tarnish your reputation in your market. Worse, you might even create some new enemies along the way!

The trick to selling is not to “trick” anyone. The goal is to clarify why your property is an amazing opportunity. And if your asking price is in line with the market, you can help many people “connect the dots” and realize that your property is exactly what they need.

Using AI to Write Property Listings

If you're still at a loss for what to say or how to say it, you are in luck.

There are all kinds of free AI tools that can be a BIG help in getting this job done. I'll explain some ideas on how to use them in the video below.

Check out Chat GPT if you haven't already!

The most successful salespeople know how to convey this information seamlessly and effectively, all while catering to the emotional needs of their buyers. You don't need to oversell it or make it into something it’s not. Just describe your property and its features to help buyers see its potential usefulness and how it fits in with their dreams of property ownership.

Help them to picture themselves in your property and come to their own conclusion as to why it's the right property for them.

RELATED: HELP! What To Do When Your Property Just Won't Sell…

Want to See the Exact Listings I Use?

As I explained above, I have no doubt that you are FULLY CAPABLE of creating your own listings that will make your properties get noticed and sound amazing. I've tried to outline my process for you above (and include some small excerpts throughout), so you can get a feel for how I approach this.

At the same time, I completely understand that we weren't all born with the “creative gene” to effortlessly whip up these listings in 60 seconds. While we're all capable, this kind of thing doesn't always come easy, and some of us just don't care enough to go the extra mile here. I get it—I really do. With this in mind, I've taken the time to put together a fast and easy solution for those who need ideas and inspiration that you can easily implement into your listings.

Here's what I want to give you:

  • 50 attention-grabbing headlines carefully engineered to get noticed.
  • 20 property description templates designed to make properties sound irresistible.
  • 200 powerful adjectives that will boost the desirability of your property.
  • Brief video tutorial on how to write an effective property listing.
  • A short guide on how to use these tools to sell properties fast.

If you want to see an example of how I use the Headlines & Listings Pack, you can watch as I integrate it into this property listing through Zillow:

Again, there's nothing particularly “magical” about these resources or the words I use. I've just invested a lot of time and energy into creating listings that blow my competition out of the water. And I want YOU to do the same thing.

If you think this material would be helpful as you're creating your future property listings—I want to make this FULL package available to you right here, right now. This little arsenal of proven ad copy has the power to transform your real estate ads and give your sales efforts a MAJOR boost over the long haul.

If you're serious about getting properties sold sooner rather than later, I encourage you to make this small investment (which is easily worth 50x the price tag shown below—no exaggeration). Feel free to copy or edit each sample listing to fit your needs or just use it as inspiration to create your own masterpieces.

If you're ready to take your real estate listings to the next level, you can get started right now:

headlines and listings pack couponNote: when you sign up as an REtipster email subscriber, I'll give you instant access to this item (along with a truckload of other cool stuff) for FREE.

About the author

Seth Williams is the Founder of REtipster.com - an online community that offers real-world guidance for real estate investors.

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