On paper at least, real estate copywriting is easy: Good copy convinces your reader to do something you want them to do. Whether you want them to download your e-book, click on your Facebook ad, or RSVP to your open house, the goal of copywriting never changes. Good copy inspires action.
Although all Realtors think they’re natural-born salespeople, the cold hard truth is that most Realtors struggle with copywriting. That’s why today, I am giving you my seven real estate copywriting rules that professional writers swear by. As a professional writer, I can tell you from experience that these rules are a game-changer for writing persuasive copy.
As a bonus, I am also including a free PDF: 700+ Real Estate Words That Sell Homes.
1. Transform Features Into Benefits
The easiest way to get someone to act is to appeal to their emotional needs or desires. Studies show that most people use emotional arguments to persuade others without even realizing it. When it comes to persuasion, one good emotional argument is worth a thousand facts.
The only problem is that your listings don’t come with ready-made emotional arguments to persuade a buyer to attend your open house. Instead, you get a list of features. Your job as a real estate copywriter is to turn those features into benefits that will appeal to your readers on an emotional level. Here’s how to do it:
First, list all of the features of your subject matter. It could be a listing, an email newsletter, or even your brokerage or personal brand. Next, determine a benefit of each feature—one that appeals to emotional needs or desires. For example, let’s say one feature of your newest listing is that it’s close to major highways. Here are a few ways we can break that down into benefits that appeal to emotion:
|Feature||Benefits with emotional appeal|
|Close to major highways||Spend less time commuting|
|Never be late to work again|
|Enjoy more time with family|
|Have easy access to amenities like supermarkets, gyms, & restaurants|
Now go through your list of benefits and pick the one that you think will have the biggest emotional impact for your reader. Do this for all the best features of your listing, and you’ll have a good rough outline for your copy.
How to Write Creative Real Estate Listing Descriptions (+ Examples)
2. Start With a Pain Point, Then Offer Your Solution
If you’ve ever tried to convince a friend or loved one of something, you know that just stating your side of the story isn’t enough. If you want to have a chance of persuading them, they need to know that you understand their side of the story, too.
This is why most good copywriters start their copy by acknowledging a pain point for their readers before even thinking about presenting their solution to that pain point. Good copy should get your reader to nod along as they read and say to themselves, “This person gets me!” Once you’ve built that bond, then you come in with your pitch.
For example, let’s say you’re writing copy for a landing page to get people to sign up for your email newsletter about off-market listings. Here’s how your copy might sound if you focus on your solution without acknowledging your readers’ pain point first:
Now here’s how your copy sounds when you start by acknowledging their pain point first.
Notice the difference?
5 Clever Real Estate Landing Pages That Actually Convert
3. Write Without Fear, Edit Without Mercy
Every good Realtor knows that the money is in the follow-up. How you got your lead into your customer relationship manager (CRM) doesn’t matter at the closing table. The same is true for copywriting. How you start is way less important than where you finish. This is why all good copywriters write without fear and edit without mercy. Here’s how to do it:
Take your list of benefits and just start writing. No judgment, no editing. Just write. Once you have something down on paper, start editing. For now, don’t worry about grammar or spelling—you can fix that later. Just focus on your goal. Does your copy appeal to your reader’s emotions? Does it address a pain point and offer a solution? If it doesn’t, edit until it does.
If you’re lacking emotional punch, grab a thesaurus and try to find more evocative words to get your point across. Is that garden “nice” or is it a “lush oasis”?
If you want a cheat sheet of descriptive real estate words that appeal to emotion, check out my guide to descriptive real estate words here:
723 Descriptive Real Estate Words Top Listing Agents Use to Sell Homes
4. Write at Least 3 Versions of Your Headline or Subject Line
If you’re writing ad copy, landing page copy, emails, website copy, or any copy with a title, you should always write at least three versions of your title and pick the best of the bunch. Here’s why: If your title doesn’t draw them in, they will never read the rest of your copy. Your email could reveal the location of the fountain of youth, but if your subject line isn’t persuasive enough to get people to click, no one will ever read it!
If you have a hard time coming up with three different versions of your headline, try some of these common headline formulas:
FOMO Headlines (Fear of Missing Out)
- XX Homes Just Sold for $XXXXX Over Ask in [your farm area]!
- Here Are XX Market Indicators That Show Prices Will Explode in [your farm areas]
- Owner Says to Sell Yesterday!
Ask a Scary Question Headlines
- Are We Heading for a Recession?
- Are You Ready to Sell Before Interest Rates Rise?
- When Will the Housing Bubble Pop in [your farm area]?
Expert Advice Headlines
- When XX Economists Think Interest Rates are Going WAY Up
- X Home Stagers Reveal the Best Affordable Couches
- A Lawyer Answers Your Most Common Real Estate Questions
- Experts Say Painting Your Home This Color Will Help It Sell Faster & for More $$$
- Zillow Research Says This Month Is the Best Time to Sell
- The XX Home Renovations That Have the Best ROI
📌 Pro Tip
Write & edit your copy first, and then work on your title.
Writing great titles can quickly drain your creative energy. You might find it helpful to write and edit your copy first, and then tackle your title. As an added benefit, if your copy changes direction as you write it, you won’t be stuck with a headline that no longer fits.
5. Writer Like Ernest & Albert
If you want people to read what you have to say, your copy needs to go down like ice cream. That means simple words, short sentences, and getting to the point as quickly as possible. Anyone can make a great fact-based argument in 20 pages, but great copywriters can do it in 20 words. The best writers can do it in six words.
📌 Pro Tip
Discuss complex issues or write one-liners on Twitter. Your followers will give you instant feedback.
Want to learn to get right to the point without sacrificing emotion? Try discussing complex issues or writing one-liner jokes for your Twitter audience. If you already have followers you’ll get instant feedback on your writing.
Still stuck? Might be time to call in the experts. You can hire an experienced and talented real estate copywriter in Fiverr starting at just five bucks.
6. Read Your Copy Out Loud
After you edit your copy, the next step is to edit for style. This is where even great writers stumble. Editing for style is hard. Like, really hard. You can spend hours editing your copy and end up with something that’s worse than what you started with.
Luckily, there is a trick that professional copywriters use to make editing for style easier: Read your copy out loud. Is it easy to read or did you stumble with some words or sentences? If it’s hard for you to read out loud, chances are it’s even harder for your reader to hear in their head as they read. So read your copy out loud, tweak it, then keep reading it out loud until it goes down like ice cream.
7. A/B Test Whenever You Can
One of the coolest things about writing copy in 2022 is that you have access to tools that would have cost tens of thousands of dollars even 15 years ago. One of the most useful is being able to test different versions of your copy on a real live audience to see how they respond.
In the digital marketing world, this is called A/B testing and it’s as close to a scientific study of how good your copy is as you can get. Remember the three headlines or subject lines I had you write in tip four? Now’s your chance to see which one actually makes your reader take action.
If you want to A/B test your emails or email subject lines, use a CRM or email marketing platform that allows you to A/B test. Mailchimp and LionDesk both have easy-to-use A/B testing features for email campaigns. If you want to A/B test copy for your landing pages, then use a platform like Real Geeks or Unbounce.
Over to You
Want a professional critique of a real estate copywriting project you’re struggling with? Sign up for our email list and I will personally critique your copy for you. All you need to do is sign up and forward the first email you get to me at email@example.com, and I’ll help you with your copy for free.