Al and Cal Homes and Community: A Question about Real Estate Descriptions What Do You Think?

A Question about Real Estate Descriptions What Do You Think?

A Question about Real Estate Descriptions  What Do You Think?

As many of you know, I have been in the Real Estate business for 25 years.   Effective ad writing is an important part of our business.    Of course we are always looking at who is going to buy a property and why they should want this particular one.     I have always prided my self on paying attention to this and writing an emotional description of my listings.   In fact, I do remember years ago a Buyer saying to me after reading a listing description, "I knew it was yours Carol Ann!".   

I took great pride in that, and thought that I was doing a good job.man writing

Until recently that is when I have begun to question using a narrative description.      I took a techie class with a thirty something young man who told the class that he has been looking for an apartment in the Boston area.    How the conversation turned to the descriptions of listings in MLS and in advertisements, I do not know, but it did.   

His opinion was that the narratives that we have been using for years are not effective on folks looking for homes today and we would be better served by using a bullet format to highlight features.

His thoughts got me to thinking that maybe he is right.   I myself do tend to skim quickly over things.  I've noticed this lately even when reading a good book.  

So, My question is this.

What is more attractive?  Narrative or Bullet or something else?   

What do others think is more attractive and effective in reaching a potential Buyer in a Real Estate listing?   


Are Narrative descriptions the way of the past or are they still what folks expect?


Does the emotional draw of the narrative description still have appeal or are we actually losing the reader with them?   

If you care to weigh in, I am all ears!

Carol-Ann Palmieri

Al and Cal Realty Group

Remax Executive Realty

www.AlandCal.com

 

Cal@AlandCal.com

 

508-494-9061

 

Comment balloon 53 commentsCarol-Ann Palmieri • May 13 2012 05:54AM

Comments

People are people and they will always be people. Young People look at pictures and don't really read the narrative. Older folks read the narrative. I don't know which approach is best so switch it up, I guess

Posted by Doug Dawes, Your Personal Realtor® (Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA) over 6 years ago

Good morning, Carol Ann....I think the narrative format is the most worthwhile and you get the greatest bang for the buck..... the bullet format is certainly easy to read..... if you bold the important words in the narrative, the words that you would put into a bullet format, then you have accomplished writing a post that's worthy of describing your listing..... bullet format for newspaper ads only.

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 6 years ago
Well we write bogs with plenty of white space and hear the readers like bullets and shorter paragraphs. How about a short narrative with a couple of sentences and then the bullet list? I am going to try this, thanks.
Posted by Brin Realty Associates Team At Bean Group, Amherst NH homes and Southern NH real estate (Bean Group | Brin Realty Associates) over 6 years ago

Hi Doug.   Thanks for your thoughts.    It probably is generational.   I guess I have to look at Who.

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 6 years ago

I like and use a combination of both, narrative and bullets.  Conformation of an article is important and far too often the wall of words is hard to read.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Hi Barbara.    I love writing descriptions about my homes.    Maybe that compromise using bold in the text is the perfect win.  Thanks for your opinion.   

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Carol, writing is something I wish I could do better, but really lack the description that others can articulate. That being said, it depends what age group your property is targeting. The 50+ which I'm in I would say like both. The senior class like the flowery, and the below 40 crowd like the quick hits. That is just one mans opinion. 

Posted by Winston Heverly, GRI, ABR, SFR, CDPE, CIAS, PA (Winston Realty, Inc.) over 6 years ago

That's a good question, Carol.  I'm just listing a new property.  I'll try to the bullet format and see what it looks like and how it's received.  I've always used the narrative format.  This will be interesting.

Posted by Mike Cooper, Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 6 years ago
Carol, I'm guessing that most MLS systems don't do bullets. Whatever the format, it's still important to make the best use of it.
Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Carol Ann, just like posts that are too wordy, people have a tendency to skip over them. Bullets are probably more effect to get people to read the information. Lately, I've been writing a narrative and summarizing with bullets.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 6 years ago

Good morning Carol Ann - You bring up a valuable question. I believe variety is the key. Switch it up, and try to keep it fresh. :)

Jeff

Posted by Jeffrey Funk, Broker Associate | Team Leader (eXp Realty) over 6 years ago

A narrative that is too long will turn many folks away Cal, Barbara's idea sounds like the best approach for you.

Posted by Al Raymondi, Ormond By The Sea Florida - Home and Condo Sales (Ocean View Realty Group in Ormond By The Sea Florida) over 6 years ago

Very interesting question that I had never thought about.  I guess if the home would be more of a draw to the younger crowd, perhaps bulletted and bolded words (Barbara's comment) may work best.  For the slightly older than younger crowd (lol), a narrative.  Honestly though, I hadn't thought about it.  I have used mostly narrative comments to describe my listings.  

Posted by Brenda Mullen, Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!! (RE/MAX Access) over 6 years ago

Hi Rene.   Good idea.   I am going to try that too.

 

Hi Lenn.   Seems like the combination is the way to go.   Our MLS doesn't give us the opportunity to use bold.  I wish it did.

 

Hi Winston.    I think I might try paying attention to the "who" and then taking it from there.

 

Hi Mike.  I have always used the narrative too.   I like the idea of narrative with bold.   Interesting to see others thoughts.

 

Hi Pat.   Yes, our MLS format doesn't let us bullet or bold and some many sites pick it up off of there.  That's what had me wondering.

 

Thank you all for weighing in.   I appreciate your opinions.

 

 

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Hi Michael.  I guess I have never been accused of being too wordy. haha, right!    Seems to be the general opinion.

 

Hi Jeff.   Everything changes, right?

 

Hi Al.   I agree.  I wish our MLS had more of an option.   I will definitely go that way with other formats.

 

Hi Brenda.   Me too, and never would have if this didn't come up in that discussion.   I have to start thinking more about how the different generations look at things.   

 

Thank you all for you comments and thoughts.   Appreciated!

 

 

 

 

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Carol Ann: Using both might be the most effective solution.  Personally, I like to write shorter statements so bullets are easiest for me.

Posted by Anita Clark, Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA (ColdwellBanker SSK Realtors ~ 478.960.8055) over 6 years ago

Personally, I have learned to use bullet style writing format because of my business background. Just pick a style and run with it.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) over 6 years ago

Hi Carol Ann, good question.  I like using both narrative and bullets depending on the property type location of the property.

Posted by Adrian Willanger, Profit from my two decades of experience (206 909-7536 AdrianWillanger-broker.com) over 6 years ago

good awareness discussion and subject. I have done both and separate always pleased with the results too

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 6 years ago

Tough one Carol Ann...our mls does not allow bullet points buy realbird does...i like to do a combination of both sometimes but have actually gotten away from it...may reconsider...Happy Mother's Day!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Well,

This is a hard one. Personally I like bullet points, I am the type of person that has to have all the information so I can go over it, over and over. But! the narative is more personal and all the purchases that I have made in my life have been from an emotional level.

I just use all the information to justify the purchase to myself and others. So in the end it is the narative.

Wait. No it is the bullet points.

Can you do both?

Posted by Vinny over 6 years ago

Well,

This is a hard one. Personally I like bullet points, I am the type of person that has to have all the information so I can go over it, over and over. But! the narative is more personal and all the purchases that I have made in my life have been from an emotional level.

I just use all the information to justify the purchase to myself and others. So in the end it is the narative.

Wait. No it is the bullet points.

Can you do both?

Posted by Vinny over 6 years ago

I think that it is important that anything your write be easy on the eyes. Bulleted lists are generally easier on the eyes, but they are only appropriate in certain situations.

Posted by Melissa Zavala, Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County (Broadpoint Properties) over 6 years ago

I use both on and off, but really prefer narative as a reader of a blog.  I also think men probably like the bullet point style better.

Posted by Debbie Cook, Silver Spring and Takoma Park Maryland Real Estate (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc) over 6 years ago

I agree with Brenda (#13) although I have not thought about this until your post.  I am going to try "bullet points" for my listings for younger clientele. . . Thanks!

Posted by Joy Daniels (Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd.) over 6 years ago

In my opinion, more people appreciate the bullet style over the narrative style. Thanks for posting!

 

Posted by Kevin Sembrat (Diversified RCS Inc; http://www.ManhattanPropertiesGroup.com) over 6 years ago

Carol Ann, our MLS only allows 250 characters. Not much space to do anything. We can't use bullet points there. Obviously, my blogging is a descriptive narrative. My single-property websites include both narrative and bullet points.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 6 years ago
Carol Ann...interesting question. There are a couple of agents whose descriptions I can pick out. I like to guess and see if I am right. In my opinion, those are usually the best descriptions. I like the narrative but I am not young,LOL. But either way I guess I would say to try not to be too wordy. But don't edit too much...I hate those ones that say "Nice house. Close to highway."
Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com) over 6 years ago

Hi Carol - I usually use the bullet point method on flyers to list important points, but add a short - very short - paragraph of narrative if I can.  Another agent in our area uses long, beautiful narratives, but no one reads them and they simply call to ask a bunch of questions that are answered in that narrative that they didn't read.

Posted by Susan Neal, Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker (RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks) over 6 years ago

Personally I like bullet points. Forget the narrative at this point.

 

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) over 6 years ago

I agree with Erica Ramus. Buttlet Points are always much easier to read, and gets the point across much better!

Posted by Donald Reich (Prudential Centennial) over 6 years ago

I think I like a hybrid.. some narrative and the some bullets.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 6 years ago

If I had to choose only one format, it would be Bullet Points.  But there is room for both.  Narrative is probably best for a home that has a lot of unique features.  If it a cookie cutter home, then the narrative is probably going to be fairly cookie cutter too, unless the writer is very creative. Since there have been many stories in the media about the buzz words Realtors use, I think the public nowadays reads narrative with a big pinch of salt!

Posted by Kevin O'Rourke - Keller Williams Miami Beach Realtor, CDPE Miami Short Sale Agent 305-520-9436 (Keller Williams Miami Beach Realty) over 6 years ago

Carol-Ann - I think bullets are easier to read, but our MLS doesn't allow for that.  I can't even create separate paragraphs.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) over 6 years ago

Hi Everyone.  Thanks for jumping in and weighing in on my question.

Looks like most feel that a combo of styles work best after that leaning towards the lean and mean bullet points.    I appreciate your thoughts and am going to take action and rework some of my listings to see if I get different results.    This format is wonderful, because it allows us to get so many professional opinions that we might not otherwise be able to seek out. 

Thank you!  

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Carol Ann...

I'm a bullet person myself. Get the facts out there in a plain and obvious way as fast as you can!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 6 years ago

I too like bullets.  Our MLS won't allow that format so it is still rather boxy looking and difficult to read.  On marketing materials however, that is a different story!  Great post.

Posted by Paula McDonald, Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury) over 6 years ago

Carol Ann, if you judge your audience by the way you describe in your post that you skim, then bullets are the way to go. I try to use a combination of both in the description because very few people actually read the listing thoroughly.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 6 years ago

Carol Ann -- If you did a study on readability factor, the bullets would definitely win. Today's busy reader likes to get information quickly.  We have to deliver the info in the most easy to read format.    You can use narratives in online marketing sites effectively by bolding the key points.

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Congrats on the feature Carol Ann, I use both for flyers, etc...but use a narrative in the RMLS. Perhaps, I will ponder that decision a bit more.

Hope you had a great Mother's Day.

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) over 6 years ago

I think the young man in your class is on to something:  think of today's young people using tech devices.  Everything is done in short, abbreviated words (IMHO, LOL) and they probably don't read as many books as previous generations.  Bullets would work well for them.

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Carol Ann,

Congrats on going feartured with your blog. I will be interested to hear the outcome of your question.  I am use to the point by point presentation as I use to write a lot of stuff for big companies and during my corpoarate days. That type of writing should not have any fluff but just facts. I sometimes forget when I am writing a blog and use that style. It is very easy for me to use but do consumers want this? Recently my buyers have told me they just want the main facts without all the BS when they read a home descrition.

I was glad to hear you all could spend time with your mom on Mother Day. I hope she is feeling better.

Posted by Robert Bob Gilbert, Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties) over 6 years ago

Carol Ann, Very short narratiive in MLS, bullets on flyers/postcards. If the description is too long, I don't read it myself and I'm assuming most would not either. I like to learn as much about the property as I can in short sentences without visiting the house. Great Topic!!

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) over 6 years ago

Agree with many here - narrative for a brief description and longer descriptions maybe best with a combination of narrative and bullets making it much easier to read and on the eyes. Thanks, Dave

Posted by David Grbich, Orange County Real Estate - 949-500-0484 (Realty One Group - www.FindCARealEstate.com) over 6 years ago

Hi All.   Thank you for your thoughts.    I hope to grab a new listing today and after listening to you all, am going to start out with the bullet points.    When I post it in a blog, I think I will try the combo of both and see how that works.   

  • Thank you!
  • Appreciated!

 

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Bullet lists are cold and will not appeal to everyone.  The nice narrative is still effective but should be combined with a bullet list so that you cover both audiences.

Posted by Bryan Robertson, Broker, Author, Speaker (Intero Real Estate) over 6 years ago

I like the bullet list with bolded important words. Too many younger people just skim for the main details and you only have about 6 seconds to grab them. Then below that have a short narrative for the older set.

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) over 6 years ago

Hi Carol, we think that a lot of this depends on your affinity for writing. If you're comfortable with writing a more narrative format, with rich descriptors and interesting copy that flows well, then you should stick with it. It's important not to make things too long, but a well-written narrative ad copy will still be incredibly effective, and buyers will respond.

If you're not a strong writer, bullets provide a better option because you can point out the important features and describe the features you feel most comfortable writing about. You don't have to worry about how things flow or how certain phrases go together. It's just more straightforward. This is also effective.

We think you should go with what you feel comfortable with based on your skillset. As virtual assistants, we have clients that use both approaches, and both are very effective.

Posted by RealSupport, Inc., - Virtual Real Estate Marketing (RealSupport Inc.) over 6 years ago
I agree with most of the comments. I think narrative is good in the MLS especially when you are enticing the agents to recommend your listing to their buyers based on the information that cannot be seen through the photos. Bullet points are great for postcards and sometimes other print advertising especially for emphasis. I use a combination of text descriptions below pictures, narrative blocks and bullet points in my marketing and blogging. It makes it more interesting to read when you break it up a little.
Posted by Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group) over 6 years ago

Carol,

 

Ok So what is the conclusion of this fine board of advisers? Bullet or narrative?

Posted by Robert Bob Gilbert, Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties) over 6 years ago

Hi Bob.  It seems to me that many choose both, but if you had to choose only one format then the bullets win out.    I have just tried the narrative and bolding out my important points.   After reading the opinions of these fine agents though, I am going to switch to bullets for awhile and see how that is received.    Thanks for checking in.  I hope you have a wonderful Sunday! 

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Hi Carol,

Thanks for the summary of your excellent question. A combination of both for a listing woiuld seem to make a cvertain amount of sense.

I had my identity stolen last week and it was a real pain. We are leaving on vacation tomorrow morning very early for about 1.5 weeks. See you we we get back and take care. how is your mom?

Posted by Robert Bob Gilbert, Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties) over 6 years ago
Carol, I do both - start with a narrative then move to the features in a list. Our MLS doesn't allow bullets, so we just list the features. Narrative draws them in, features get them in the door.
Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) about 6 years ago

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