Troy Palmquist is an indie broker in California with more than a decade of experience. His regular column, which covers a range of helpful tips for agents and op-eds on industry happenings, publishes Thursdays on Inman.
Nothing is more important than capturing a buyer’s attention with great listing copy. Some browse property photos first, others skim the specs to see if it’s a good fit, but more often than not, buyers — and their real estate agents — dive right into the property descriptions to find out exactly what a home’s top selling points are.
At my firm, we take an indie approach and offer description writing services for every single listing. This not only helps us present a polished image across all listings, but it also helps busy agents stay on track with other important aspects of the job — i.e. selling, marketing, showing, networking.
So what constitutes a great listing description? You could refer to this handy Inman article that decodes commonly used listing phrases to reveal what they really mean. However today, I offer you a handful of listing descriptions, each with varying price points and locales, that are prime examples of great property writing — including one from my very own real estate writer.
1. Oceanfront stunner in Newport Beach
Beachfront bliss on the Newport Beach Peninsula with awing views of the coastline, Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island! This exquisitely crafted brand new construction 3-bedroom, 4.5-bath estate is almost ethereal, with a peaceful, quiet location and expanses of glass that capitalize on spectacular views of the sand, blue sky and water.
Designed for quintessential indoor-outdoor living, every floor connects to outdoor space via frameless glass folding doors, to experience unobstructed vistas and serenity. An elevator stops on all three levels of this modern masterpiece with every detail considered for style and comfort and the finest finishes optimizing luxury.
Soft contemporary white and grey tones and chic recessed lighting are complemented by brilliant natural light that pours into expansive living space. Entertain in the fabulous great room with a fireplace, served by a sleek open chef’s kitchen with a work-of-art marble backsplash and premium Thermador appliances.
Dine at the huge marble-top table or on the zen beach-facing patio. Other highlights include a first-floor guest bedroom, dual master suites with barn doors, spa-like baths, generous storage including two master walk-in closets, smart features, wiring for sound and dual-zone HVAC.
The phenomenal rooftop deck with a custom outdoor fireplace and built-in BBQ area is a true oasis. Southern California coastal living doesn’t get much better than this, near the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Balboa Fun Zone, dining, shopping and water activities.
Why it’s good
One look at 614 W. Oceanfront in Newport Beach and it’s clear this property deserves your attention. It even has its own website, which is why I brought in a professional copywriter, who specializes in luxury real estate, to do the job.
The minute you start reading it you can’t stop. The language dances through each selling point with ease.
Special attention is paid to the views, location, lifestyle and design elements. These are the essential components of great listing copy that will compel a potential buyer to act.
2. Greenhouse condominium steps from Central Park
Superbly designed 4-bedroom, 4.5-bath apartment on the 32nd floor of the spectacular One57 condominium tower, on the prized 57th Street corridor, steps from Central Park!
This expansive light-bathed home in the sky offers awe-inspiring sweeping vista views through walls of glass and impeccable finishes at every turn. The massive great room composed of a dramatic living room, open dining area and gourmet kitchen is indescribably stunning, as if you were living and entertaining in a glass-encased greenhouse with brilliant sunlight pouring in.
Imagine the nighttime vistas as well, with the city lights sparkling around you. The striking views and floor-to-ceiling glass continue in the top-of-the-line open chef’s kitchen appointed with the finest custom cabinetry, quality materials and professional-grade stainless steel appliances.
The serene master suite features a spacious, sunny bedroom brightened by a window wall, a dressing room/walk-in closet, additional custom-outfitted closets and a sleek, luxurious bath that likens an upscale spa.
A large second bedroom suite with an elegant full bath and a powder room complete the fabulous main level. Upstairs awaits two more private bedroom suites, set apart from one another by a stairway hall, and a washer-dryer for in-home laundry convenience.
Developed by Extell, architected by the Pritzker Prize-winning Christian de Portzamparc and interior designed by Thomas Juul-Hansen, One57 epitomizes refined luxury living. Residents enjoy unparalleled, extensive amenities that include a 24-hour doorman/concierge, private dining and function room, full catering kitchen, library with billiards room and 24-foot aquarium, arts and crafts atelier room, screening and performance room, private fitness center and yoga studio, discreet additional 58th Street entrance, onsite garage and pet wash room.
You’ll also have access to all the services of the Park Hyatt Hotel, with direct elevator entry to its triple-height indoor swimming pool, spa, steam rooms, custom-designed Jacuzzi and spa portico and 5th-floor restaurant and bar.
Why it’s good
This impressive listing calls for a hint of drama, sophistication and intrigue — and the copy captures all this and more.
Special attention is paid to area landmarks, from Central Park to the Park Hyatt Hotel, and key words and phrases like “light-bathed home in the sky” or “city lights sparkling around you” help buyers envision what life is like from the $17.5 million residence perched atop Midtown Manhattan.
Coupled by references to the famed architect, interior designer and building amenities, an interested buyer is armed with everything they need to pick up the phone and schedule a showing.
3. Mountain-view charmer in the outskirts of Denver
Picture-perfect mountain view home in Villages of Candelas backing to Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge! Exquisite two-story, 4-bed, 3-bath has countless designer upgrades, oversized windows framing the majestic Flatirons, plus a warm and inviting floor plan built to entertain.
Nothing beats grilling out on the patio, enjoying sunsets on the deck or cozying up to the great room’s stone fireplace to soak up million-dollar views. Chef’s kitchen has exposed brick, [stainless steel] appliances, 48-inch built-in JennAir fridge and gas range.
Custom maple Ravenwood cabinets and breakfast bar take it to the next level. Luxurious master has spa-like bath with deep soaking tub and walk-in shower. Bonus loft for kids or office. Energy efficient solar panels, dual climate control, 3-car garage.
Neighborhood parks, trails, pools, clubhouse, tennis courts, great schools! Live life wide open in a home that takes full advantage of Colorado’s big skies with endless views of the Rockies. What are you waiting for?
Why it’s good
The property located at 15739 West 95th Place in Arvada, Colorado is a typical mountain contemporary you might find in any number of Denver area suburbs, but what makes it really stand out? The description.
It’s succinct, specific and paints a picture of how the homeowner actually lives. Sure it’s all about the views and the open space, but the description takes it a step further to give you the goods — the finishes, the custom appointments, the neighborhood amenities.
It even ends with a sense of urgency. Much like California, in Colorado, you’re buying a lifestyle, and this property capitalizes on that in just 155 words.
4. Spectacular waterfront penthouse in Portland
Spectacular Atwater Place Penthouse. This one-of-a-kind home features breathtaking views of the Willamette River, Mt. Hood, and West Hills.
Enjoy outdoor living on the two large terraces where you can watch sunrise and sunset. High-end Penthouse finishes, 10-foot ceilings, fireplace, two single parking spaces and large oversized storage unit make this truly an exceptional South Waterfront home. Come experience the best of Atwater Place.
Why it’s good
Sometimes, shorter is better. Such is the case in Portland where this waterfront penthouse sells us on the views, the finishes and the lifestyle in just 371 characters.
Word choice is key when your copy needs to meet a limited character count, which is precisely why this description makes use of eye-catching terms like penthouse, one-of-a-kind, breathtaking, waterfront, exceptional and oversized.
It also points out major river and mountain views for sense of place right away. Concise verbiage combined with incredible images results in one compelling listing message.
5. Cost-effective custom home shines in the Midwest
Few homes compare to this award-winning custom home on nearly a half-acre lot in family-friendly Andover! Lushly landscaped with new iron fence and sprinklers, you’ll be blown away by the meticulous attention to detail and countless upgrades in this lovingly maintained home.
Soaring beamed ceilings, exposed brick and gorgeous hardwood floors welcome you inside where a story of contemporary design unfolds. Light and airy, the open-concept floor plan was built to entertain with walls of windows flooding the home with natural light.
Magazine-quality kitchen comes well-appointed with slab granite counters, center island, breakfast bar seating, stainless steel appliances and huge walk-in pantry! Stunning herringbone backsplash, custom range hood and pendant lighting add to the design.
Sip morning coffee in the breakfast nook overlooking the private backyard, or cozy up to the fireplace in the gracious living area. There’s no shortage of elegant spaces to unwind.
Generous finished basement with custom home bar and fireplace allow you to host crowds with ease, perfect for watching the big game! Outdoors an expansive covered deck is ideal for grilling out and taking in those breathtaking sunset views.
For a luxurious retreat, head to the tranquil master and indulge in the spa-like bath marked by a sleek double sink vanity, marble-style shower and oversized walk-in closet with convenient access to the laundry room.
Privately nestled on a premiere tree-lined street, you’ll enjoy the peace and quiet of small town living with big city amenities just a short drive away. Exemplary schools, walking paths, neighborhood pool and playground make this Andover’s best address!
Call now to experience the beauty and lifestyle firsthand, and see why this newly built gem was named “Pick of Parade!”
Why it’s good
What does it take to sell a property in middle America? The same techniques required in the big flashy markets of New York and San Francisco — great photos and excellent listing copy — and this property’s description is a cut above the rest.
Not only does the description play up the fact that the home is an award-winning custom build, it outlines the top-selling points that will certainly appeal to its perfect buyer — a sizable lot, magazine-quality finishes and small-town living near big-city amenities, plus it ends with a great call to action.
6. Timeless treasure in Dallas’ University Park
Perfectly nestled on “The Fairway” of University Park sits this exquisite brick custom home, ideally located minutes from Hyer Elementary and chock full of designer upgrades.
A canopy of mature trees, stately circle drive and beautiful blue door welcome you home. Inside you’ll find gorgeous refinished hardwood floors, timeless crown moldings, wooden staircase and a bright and airy floor plan inviting guests to come in and stay awhile.
The gracious entry is flanked by a formal dining area with charming bay window to the left, met by a spacious living room with fireplace to the right, offering plenty of space to entertain at the holidays! And the family room is just as cozy, with floor-to-ceiling brick fireplace, backlit built-in bookcases and French doors leading to a lovely sunroom with access outdoors.
Cooking and serving is a breeze from the remodeled gourmet kitchen with double Sub-Zero refrigeration units, a standalone ice maker and ample custom cabinetry. Sip morning coffee in the breakfast nook, or head to the nearby home office.
After a long day, nothing compares to the luxurious master suite with sitting area and en suite bath featuring an elongated double sink vanity, deep soaking tub and glass walk-in shower. A master closet with custom shelving allows you to store your wardrobe with ease.
Guests will love the comfortable beds and baths, which are equally impressive and well-appointed. A new fence, lush landscaping and patio offer plenty of space to enjoy the outdoors in a private secluded setting.
Additional upgrades include a mosquito system in the backyard, whole house solar screened windows, a newly installed control panel security system with radio transmitter for University Park police monitoring, new carpeting upstairs, plus new HVAC and thermostats with separate zone in master.
Clearly no detail is left unturned in this lovingly maintained home with renowned Hyer Elementary and HPISD schools. You can’t afford to miss this University Park gem.
Why it’s good
This stately home in one of Dallas’ premiere neighborhoods is the perfect example of how great copywriting can bring an older listing to life. With the use of key terms and phrases like “timeless,” “stately” and “lovingly maintained” the writer speaks to what appeals to Dallas buyers the most, especially those looking in this neighborhood and price point.
The description also hits on the important selling points right away, such as the exemplary schools and designer upgrades. Without the description, it might very well look like every other listing on the block, but with the right copy, the buyer gets a sense of the home’s lasting beauty and potential.
Putting it all together
There is fine line between embellishing a listing and accurately representing a property’s features to get it sold. Great property descriptions capture the reader’s attention right away and touch on the top selling points such as views, location, lifestyle and design.
They have verbiage that remains neat and crisp, yet romances the buyer regardless of price point. And lastly, they ensure the lifestyle and neighborhood amenities are clearly defined. Top that off with a call to action or sense of urgency, and you are well on your way to mastering the art of great property writing.