One of the most common requests I get from Realtors is to write their real estate listing descriptions for them. Since I rarely have the time (or energy) for freelance writing these days, I decided to put together this step-by-step guide to writing creative listing descriptions.
First, I tackled the four crucial elements of a killer listing description and how to create them. After the guide, I included nine tips for better writing (including how artificial intelligence can help you), and then wrapped up with some examples of my favorite creative listing descriptions.
4 Elements of Great Listing Descriptions: A Step-by-Step Guide
1. ‘Brand’ Your Listing With a Short Title
Length: One sentence
The most creative listing descriptions start with a one-sentence-or-less title. Taking the time to write a catchy “brand” for your listing will draw people in and help them see it as a home, not just pictures on the internet. It will also help you focus your description around a central theme, so that it feels cohesive. If you want to attract certain buyers, a slogan is a way to zero in on that target market. Here are some examples of great branding one-liners from Coldwell Banker Warburg agent Jeanne Byers from our example listing descriptions below:
- Millionaire details. Miser maintenance.
- Artsy, techie, picky? Welcome home.
- Prewar. Shaken and stirred.
2. Pitch Your Audience on the Home’s Best Features
Length: Two to three sentences
After your title, the next section of your listing description should be a two- or three-sentence pitch of the home’s best features. This should be a narrative description, not just a list of features, or, God forbid, a bulleted list!
Here’s another example from Jeanne. Note how she hits all the apartment’s best features in a narrative format.
With its 14-foot beamed ceiling and massive south-facing picture windows, 4J pairs the beautiful bones of its 1913 Beaux-Arts origins with an extensive and impeccable renovation. Converted to condos in 2008, the interiors at 254 Park Avenue South were designed with a modern aesthetic, high-quality finishes and appliances, and a unifying sense of space.
3. Pitch the Benefits of the Location & Neighborhood
Length: One or two sentences
After you’ve highlighted the home’s best features, pitch the benefits of the home’s location and neighborhood. If these elements aren’t great, try to find a silver lining. For example, if the home is located on a noisy street with lots of bars that are open late, talk up the access to nightlife. If it’s in a not-so-great neighborhood but on a pretty block or in a great school district, mention those perks instead. Here’s a continuation of Jeanne’s example from above:
254 Park Avenue South is a full-service luxury condominium with a 24-hour concierge, live-in resident manager, gym, and lounge. Ideally situated in Flatiron, the building is located blocks from Union Square, Gramercy Park, and Madison Square Park—it is central to Manhattan’s most vibrant and sought-after neighborhoods, shopping, and now—outdoor dining experiences.
4. Finish With Caveats That Are Important for the Buyer
Length: One or two sentences
While I never suggest agents write a “warts and all” listing description, you should still alert potential buyers to any important information. A house hunter might forgive you for not mentioning the noisy street or less-than-perfect driveway, but they likely won’t forgive you if you don’t mention that it’s in a senior’s-only development. Here’s Jeanne again:
Please note 50% financing. Pied-a-terres welcome. Buyer pays 2% flip tax—showings by appointment.
9 Real Estate Listing Description Writing Tips From a Professional Writer
1. Sell Benefits, Not Features
This is one of the first rules of copywriting. Every famous copywriter, from David Ogilvy to Joseph Sugarman, agrees.
What does this mean for your listing description? Simple. Instead of telling your audience the listing has a big backyard, tell them how much fun they could have playing touch football with their family in the yard or the privacy that it offers.
Here’s Warburg listing agent Steven Gottlieb on selling benefits, rather than features, in your real estate listing descriptions: “If there’s a balcony or terrace, maybe the description mentions enjoying coffee and the morning paper al fresco before a busy day or sipping a glass of prosecco in the evening air.”
2. Research the Proper Architectural & Design Terms Before You Write
If you earned a listing, the very least you can do is learn the proper architectural and design terms to describe it. Describing herringbone floors as “beautiful zig-zag wood floors” is going to mark you as unsophisticated at the very least. But it also telegraphs to your sellers that you aren’t willing to take the time to research the property they entrusted you to sell.
If you need a crash course in architectural styles and features, check out our guide: An Agent’s Guide to Home Styles, Architecture & Design.
3. Make Your Real Estate Listing Description Concise, but Precise
Despite all of our hard work and clever content flourishes, the sad reality is that most people skim content online these days. Very few will take the time to read every word you write, even for a relatively short property description. So make sure to hit the key selling points of your listing early on and avoid overly lengthy, wordy descriptions.
4. Avoid a List of Features or Details
While too-long real estate listing descriptions are an issue, don’t think you can just get away with a bullet-point list of features either. The user experience of portals like Zillow are already designed to present data relevant to the buyer. So the number of bedrooms, square footage, and so forth are already shown to your buyer in a neater, more digestible format by the portals. A bulleted list of the same features is redundant and a wasted marketing opportunity.
5. Write Without Fear, Edit Without Mercy
One of the biggest mistakes that new writers make is laboring over every sentence, word, and punctuation mark. Not only is this exhausting, but it’s also actually counterproductive to the writing process. Instead, when you start any writing project, just sit down and write. Don’t sweat grammar, punctuation, or spelling—just write.
Once you have a draft done, read it out loud. If you find yourself stumbling over your own words, chances are your copy needs some work. Start by working on paragraphs to make sure they all have a clear subject, then drill down to sentence structure, word choice, and finally grammar. The key to editing well is to be merciless. If it doesn’t work, delete it. Period. Yes, you worked hard on your copy. But don’t cling to a mistake just because you took a long time making it!
6. Use Tools to Check for Mistakes
There is no excuse for grammar or spelling mistakes in your listing descriptions. Luckily, you no longer need to hire an editor or bug your old high school English teacher to check your copy for errors. It’s not perfect, but Grammarly is free and will find errors that you and a regular spell check might miss.
7. Include Creative Adjectives That Sell
The words (and phrases) you use matter. Powerful, descriptive, creative, unexpected words make a reader pause and want to learn more—and can even drive them to action. The right words can inspire someone to immediately call their agent and schedule a showing.
To help zero in on the right words to use, we put together a list of 723 creative words top agents use in their listing descriptions. Here’s a sneak peek:
|Won’t last |
Catch this opportunity quickly!
So much potential
An absolute must-see!
Not to be missed!
Deal of a lifetime
A rare opportunity
A remarkable find
Ready for the next owners’ touches
Call now for your private tour!
|Come and get it! |
Your chance to join
You will never want to leave home
Don't miss this classic beauty
For 701 more, click on over here:
723 Descriptive Real Estate Words Top Listing Agents Use to Sell Homes
8. Use AI to Improve (or Write) Your Listing Descriptions
Everyone is talking about AI and wondering how it can benefit our industry. Spoiler alert: This is how it can (and is!) benefitting our industry. AI can write listing descriptions for you, which saves you time and effort, and lets you focus on selling the property that can now be beautifully described in only a few seconds.
But just asking ChatGPT to rattle off a stellar listing description isn’t going to cut it, not at this point anyway. Unless you have developed your own flawless prompts and have the time to tweak, edit, and look for hallucinations in the copy, you need an intermediary to “talk” to the AI for you. Brilliant minds who saw AI coming on the horizon have created tools to tackle this very use case, which make sure AI does all the heavy lifting. For a real deep dive, check out Jodie Cordell’s in-depth guide to the best AI tools in real estate.
To see the height of AI’s real estate writing sophistication, take a look at Addressable’s Listing Architect. You input a dozen or so features, select the tone and length of the output, and the clever AI spits out a well-crafted property description. Seriously, they’re so good, you may never have to write a listing description again!
Addressable Review: Are Robots & AI the Future of Direct Mail?
9. Always Get Another Set of Eyes on Your Copy, Ideally a Professional
One of the trickiest parts of writing anything is getting out of your own head. It’s just too easy to fall in love with your writing or miss your own errors. You need distance from your work to judge it objectively.
That’s why we suggest working with a professional whenever possible. Send your copy over to your marketing team or a few members of your brokerage for their opinion before you publish.
Creative Real Estate Listing Description Examples
Since the best way to learn anything is by example, here are a few examples of effective listing descriptions from Jeanne Byers of Warburg Realty in Manhattan, one-half of Manhattan luxury team Case+Byers, a couple of listings from Charleston, South Carolina, and one that put Addressable’s AI through its paces.
165 East 72nd Street, Apt 2H, New York, NY
I love a listing that not only shines a light on the interior, but also the views of the exterior. Who can resist a north-facing tree-lined street?
Millionaire details. Miser maintenance.
Every inch of this 530-square-foot studio has been meticulously planned and renovated using the highest-quality materials, craftsmanship, and interior design aesthetic. The dramatic foyer is lined in Phillip Jeffries grasscloth wallpaper and flanked by a 9-foot-wide wall of closets with floor-to-ceiling mirrored French doors. The walls and the ceiling have been skim coated, and custom hardwood floors installed throughout. You’ll find impeccable millwork on display in every door, molding, trim, and built-in cabinet. A computer workspace/home office has been integrated into the kitchen, which features Carrera marble countertops, white lacquered cabinetry, and appliances by Wolf, Miele, and Liebherr.
The well-proportioned living space has a north-facing, tree-lined view of 73rd Street through a bank of windows with custom window treatments. The expansive bathroom is outfitted with Waterworks fixtures, a deep soaking tub with shower, basketweave marble floor, and a linen closet. 2H is wired with smart-home technology, including high-speed internet in all rooms, Lutron lighting, and discreet speakers in the living room and bathroom.
Located west of Third Avenue, 165 East 72nd Street is a premier full-service cooperative boasting a knockout lobby and staff, live-in resident manager, stellar financials, gym, and famously low monthlies. At $677/month, 2H is a triple-mint home or pied-a-terre that won’t cost a mint.
Please note 50% financing. Pied-a-terres welcome. Buyer pays 2% flip tax—showings by appointment.
333 East 53rd Street, Apt 12H, New York, NY
Even though this one is pretty feature-heavy, the pithy headline sets the tone for a fun, compelling read.
Prewar. Shaken and stirred.
The architects blew the doors and the walls off this prewar, retaining the beautiful proportions of its 1930s bones while energizing the space. The galley kitchen was opened to the living room, maximizing the light and views from south-facing windows.
With its BlueStar range, Miele dishwasher, Wolf microwave, Sub-Zero refrigerator, and custom cabinetry, the kitchen was designed to integrate seamlessly with the main room. A bespoke dining table tucks under the storage island to reduce its footprint for daily use.
A recessed projection screen and ceiling-mounted projector are perfect for movie night or online exercise classes. A windowed bathroom with Duravit and Grohe fixtures and a glass-enclosed bath/shower is a serene and spa-like retreat.
12H has all-new plumbing, electrical, hardwood floors, custom doors with hidden hardware, ample storage, and exquisite skim-coated walls, beams, and ceilings. An entrance foyer and hallway between the living room and bedroom maintain the graceful separation of living spaces the original architect intended.
333 East 53rd Street is an elegant full-service building, centrally located, with solid financials. It features a gorgeous planted roof deck with spectacular views, a live-in super, central laundry, and gym. Pets are welcome (dogs under 30 lbs).
Electric is included in the maintenance. Showings are by appointment with 24 hrs notice required.
27 Lamboll St, Charleston, SC 29401
Cassina Real Estate Group’s listing description might be a little long, but it gets full marks for describing benefits rather than features and helping the reader imagine their life in this could-be-yours home:
Welcome to the Richard Reynolds House, a magnificent South of Broad gem that beautifully blends rich heritage with modern luxury. Originally built in the 1850s, the home underwent an extensive renovation in 2017 and offers the perfect fusion of historic charm and contemporary sophistication.
Located on the prestigious corner of Legare and Lamboll Streets, this remarkable residence is within walking distance of Charleston’s most sought-after attractions, including White Point Garden, The Battery, art galleries, renowned local restaurants, museums, and more. As you step inside, you’ll be captivated by the spacious interior, meticulously adorned with artfully preserved historic details, upscale finishes, and an abundance of natural light. From generous formal rooms to sunlit bedroom suites, every space exudes an undeniable sense of grandeur.
The stunning spiral staircase, adorned with custom chandeliers, gracefully leads you to all floors. Notable interior features include tall ceilings, designer light fixtures, crown molding, ornate door frames, custom wallpaper, wide-plank hardwood floors, and an elevator. The main floor presents light-filled formal rooms that effortlessly connect with the covered piazza, allowing for seamless indoor-outdoor entertaining. The central hall, featuring a coffered ceiling, guides you to the formal dining room and living room, adorned with wainscoting, original fireplaces, ornate ceiling medallions, and contemporary light fixtures, effortlessly blending the old and the new.
The light-filled eat-in kitchen is a chef’s dream, with custom cabinets, marble counters and backsplash, high-end stainless appliances, a custom range hood, a center island, a built-in bench, and French doors that open to a delightful piazza, perfect for enjoying breakfasts al fresco. This home offers four exquisite bedroom suites, each with access to an outdoor living space. The primary bedroom suite is a true escape, featuring piazza access, a cozy fireplace, a walk-in closet with custom shelving, and an elegantly appointed en suite bathroom with marble floors, a soaking tub, and a marble shower. There is also a handsome office (fourth bedroom) with mahogany built-ins, a coffered ceiling, a fireplace, and an en suite bathroom. The third floor houses two additional bedroom suites, each offering access to a deck overlooking the enchanting city skyline. The ground floor of the home features spacious living areas, thoughtfully separated into a media room, dining area, and sitting room. Exposed brick, restored beams, fireplaces, ornate mantels, and extensive built-in bookshelves add character and warmth, while multiple French doors seamlessly connect the interior with the outdoor living spaces and the private backyard. Entertain with style in the custom bar room, featuring tiled walls, granite counters, and custom cabinets with two wine refrigerators, offering the perfect setting for crafting poolside drinks. A full bathroom and a mudroom with custom cabinets, including a full refrigerator, complete the ground floor.
Recent owner improvements, including refinished hardwood floors, exterior and interior painting, and thorough maintenance of all systems, ensure that this historic home is in impeccable condition and ready to be cherished by its new owners.
1 Water St. Charleston, SC 29401
William Means’ listing description does a good job of telling a story of flooding, storms, and house-elevation, one that is extremely relevant to homebuyers in Charleston, SC:
This handsome 1857 Italianate style home marks a new era in modern preservation. Two years ago, 1 Water Street became the first historic brick property in Charleston to be elevated eight feet off the ground. The foundation was engineered to the highest level by Morris Construction, offering the next owners confidence and peace of mind in its forward-thinking design.
After Charleston’s most recent storm, the interior and mechanicals of the home were securely protected from flood risk and the remainder of the property required minimal cleanup. Its structure also provides the added benefit of lowered insurance costs.
1 Water Street is set in the most desirable location in Charleston—just steps away from the harbor and all the charm of the city’s most notable architecture. Built with a side-hall entryway, the home has expansive double-gallery rooms opening onto the western piazzas, perfect for entertaining and gatherings. The rear of the home features a gourmet kitchen that opens into the comfortable family room with a back porch. On the second floor you will find the expansive primary suite complete with a spacious walk-in closet, sprawling bathroom and glimpses of the harbor. A generous guest bedroom faces Water Street and is complete with an en suite bath and custom closet.
There are two additional bedrooms on the third floor with beautiful city rooftop views. Looking off the side piazzas, you will see the two-car driveway and beautifully landscaped garden designed by Glen Gardner. Venture beneath the home where you will find room to store your golf cart and install a future elevator should one need it. Complete with historic details, and built to last, this property is waiting for its next owners to call it home.
An Example From Addressable’s AI Tool, Listing Architect
While the listing description for this made-up property needed a few tiny tweaks, even the most experienced copywriter would be impressed:
Welcome to the ultimate retreat in luxury living, located at 2136 Boat Rd. on Johns Island, SC. This stunning 4-bedroom home boasts a thoughtfully designed 3,779 square foot floor plan complete with 10’ ceilings and ample natural light throughout. Enjoy an unrivaled lifestyle surrounded by peaceful privacy and wildlife views on half an acre of land overlooking the water.
The grand entrance leads you into a substantial library and chef’s kitchen featuring Thermador appliances that will make cooking for friends and family easy and enjoyable. The open main level is complete with a wine cellar, mudroom, media room, and ground-level loggia with outdoor kitchen perfect for entertaining guests all year round—from barbecues to movie nights!
On the upper level lies your luxurious master suite with balconies from which you can enjoy beautiful sunsets over the horizon or take some time off to meditate amidst nature’s beauty. An additional three bedrooms are accompanied by smart-home technology along with a yoga/home gym studio; making this space ideal for any active lifestyle enthusiast while ensuring everyone has their own private sanctuary within their own walls!
This property provides everything one could want out of modern luxury living: tranquil surroundings enhanced by stunning views plus thoughtful design elements that combine comfort and convenience that will exceed even your highest expectations! To experience this unparalleled residence firsthand, schedule your showing today!
Bringing It All Together
Have any examples of effective creative real estate listing descriptions or tips to write them? Let us know in the comment section.