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Getting it write

By Adrian Bo
14 April 2022 | 1 minute read

We agents know all about online advertisements. Or do we?

Like most real estate professionals, I trawl through realestate.com.au and other websites looking for new ideas, things I should start doing and what not to do.

There are some brilliant people in our industry serving property seekers with easy-to-read listings featuring terrific pictures and accurate descriptions.

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Videos keep getting better as we embrace technology and learn how to present the property and create our own digital profile footprint. 

Trouble is online listings do not sell houses. We do.

What an online listing does is attract potential buyers to engage with us so we can work to build rapport with buyers and utilise our sales acumen.

My wonderful wife Megan keeps telling me I am always stating the obvious. She is, of course, quite correct.

We agents know all about online advertisements. Or do we?

What prompted me to write this was a single line in a realestate.com.au listing that was: “Set in the perfect dead end street.” Sure we know what it means, but over the years, I’ve had some dead-end jobs. “Dead end” may have negative connotations for some people. It may seem like a small issue, but perhaps it would be better to say “private cul-de-sac ideal for kids to ride bikes and skateboards”. 

When it comes to potential buyers, it could be the small things that cause people to scroll on to the next listing. 

Are you like me and think we overuse the word “boasting”? (Pedants will note that a house or property is an object and therefore cannot “boast”!) Is every swimming pool “sparkling”? Some others I see that may get into that overuse category are: “spectacular”, “breathtaking”, “amazing”, “to die for”, and “must-see”. 

In most cases, the pictures will show all these things without us having to say them.

I have to confess, I am guilty of using these words in the past, but I am always trying to come up with fresh ways of presenting property. When you next write or brief/approve your copywriter’s work, and are considering using these words, think about how the reader will react to them. If your answer is “with a sigh and scroll on” then it may be worth considering something else.

Do you cringe when you see “much sort after”? This is one of the most common mistakes I see. (Completely off the subject, but you would think a “much sought after” location would have buyers lined up, so why advertise?)

While we are at it, think about spelling. There shouldn’t be any spelling mistakes or incorrect words in our online listing because we have been given spellchecker. Never again should “separate” be “seperate”. This is one of many common examples. My attention to detail has supported my career over three decades, and being forensic when it comes to spelling or even reading through each contract of sale for every property listing has a lot to do with it. 

The really bad news is that spellchecker will not pick up words that sound the same but are spelled differently, like “there” and “their”.  Other words to watch out for include: “except/accept”, “aisle/isle”, “principal/principle”, “by/buy/bye”, and I’m sure you will find many others.

It is a great idea to get someone to check your online listing before you publish them. A new set of eyes can make all the difference between making a clanger or avoiding one. 

In our industry, spelling and grammar are important. Don’t take my word for it.

A few years back, a US poll (Redfin/Grammarly) showed that more than 43 per cent of people surveyed said they would “be much less inclined to tour a home if its online listing contained misspellings or improper grammar”.

The survey also found photos were more important than the home’s description, but a massive 87 per cent said the description was either extremely important or very important. 

Take your time when you write or read your property copywriter’s work. Read other listings. 

Like me, you will make mistakes. It isn’t the end of the world but an opportunity to improve what we do. 

Adrian Bo is a licensed agent and auctioneer, founder of a sales training academy and author.

Getting it write
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