• When it comes to marketing a home, the ability to write well is just as important as phenomenal photography.

SAN FRANCISCO — We all have that one thing that drives us crazy. Maybe it’s a stubborn buyer. Maybe it’s the car blocking your right turn at a red light. Maybe it’s waiting for the internet to load on a bad Wi-Fi connection.

For Winston Welborn, chief design officer at Hawaii Life, it’s poor design and language in the real estate industry that drive him up the wall.

When it comes to the intricate details of properly marketing a home, the ability to write well is just as important as phenomenal photography, said Welborn in a presentation at Inman Connect San Francisco.

Avoiding ‘nontent’

Remember the power of concision, he said, and choose your language carefully when marketing. Agents should create content that truly says something, that’s meaningful, that’s content — not “nontent,” he said.

Make your emails simple, avoid the obvious and keep descriptions after your name to a minimum, Welborn advised. Nobody wants to know how great you are; they can find out about you if they want to.

He urged agents to keep away from using terms and phrases like:

  • “Luxury”
  • “All of your dreams”
  • “Breathtaking”
  • “Opportunity”
  • “Shangri-La”
  • “This home boasts”

These are are particular bugbears for Welborn, who studied English literature in college.

Also, avoid clichés like the plague, he quipped. And, yes, comparisons are just as bad as clichés, he added. Write words, not superlatives, and let consumers come up with their own conclusions.

Welborn, who heads an in-house “Create” team at Hawaii Life, is working on a number of well-worded “for sale” signs that will give consumers the power to make up their own mind. They give more billboard-type messages, which communicate more than the usual property description.

A beachfront home, for instance, might call for a sign that says: “Like living on a boat. Without the rocking.”

Or, “What is this home worth? What is swimming every day at Hanalei worth?”

And a hard-hitting one that touches on a truly unique selling point and a hot topic in Hawaii: “Tsunami. The rest of Haena is in a tsunami flood zone. This half acre is not.”

Welborn — who dreams of designing a Hawaii Life house — thinks you can say more with signs, and he is coming up with a number of humorous, catchy ideas.

Email Gill South.

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription