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How to write a perfect property listing

Photo: Historic Arrowtown Otago NZ by Bernard Spragg. NZ

When it comes to advertising properties, some landlords miss the opportunity to bring more people to the door, assuming that location and price are all potential tenants are interested in. Using great photos and a good description could mean your place is leased in days, not weeks. Photos and words matter a lot, actually.

Putting an ad together seems easy. Throw a few decent photos together, write a short description and you’re done. Unfortunately, you’re forgetting that you’re competing with dozens and sometimes hundreds of other listings for quality tenant attention. To help you create a good listing that stands out, we’ve put together some tips. If you follow them, it should make all the difference.

The photos

Once their search criteria is narrowed down to a suburb, size and price range, the next thing people will see and judge properties on are the photos.

  • Always, always include photos

On many sites tenants can skip listings with no photos. So, no matter how good your description is, it means nothing if you don’t have photos attached to your listing, and lots of them.

  • Clean the place

To nail your photos, give your place a quick clean, make sure your rooms are tidy, staged with no clutter laying around. If you have a garden, make sure your lawns are mowed and the garden's looking fresh.

  • Let there be light

For best results, fill your space with light. Open blinds and curtains, turn all the lights on. Try to use as much natural light as possible and avoid using the flash.

  • Take photos like a pro

To make rooms appear more spacious, take photos from the corner of the room to get the widest angle you can. If possible try to include the window as part of the shot.

  • Include as many photos as you can

There should be a at least one photo of all major rooms – living room, kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms. If your property has a unique feature - large balcony, water views, grassy backyard, secure garage, then don’t forget to include it also. This could be the winning shot that makes your property stand out from the crowd.

Listing title

Your listing headline is one of the most crucial components of your ad. Together with photos, these few words should demonstrate to your prospective tenants why your place is what they’ve been looking for.

Some listing portals like Realestate.co.nz, Homes.co.nz and OneRoof will showcase your headline in the search results right next to your photos, whereas other portals like Trade Me will display it when you go to the property page. No matter what, the headline will be the first thing someone will read about your property.

Don’t mention the price or the address, as these details are already displayed and highlighted on the ad. Instead think of highlighting your best property feature – ocean views, pool, brand new kitchen, walk-in wardrobes, private backyard, pet friendly. Something like "Large family home with the pool" or "Ready to move in fully-furnished unit".

Description

Now you have a great listing title, it's time to write a brilliant description of the property you’re renting. Try to follow your listing headline with more narrative - mention other features to capture people’s attention! There should be a continuous balance between highlighting features and providing information. Your listing description should list all the amenities your tenants are expecting to see in a rental property, but should also be used as an opportunity to win over tenants by flaunting unique features that might not be visible in photos.

  • Put yourself in your tenant’s shoes

You should have a good idea of what kind of tenant you’re looking for, or the type most suited for your house. So, before you begin writing your listing, think about who is going to be living in your property – it could be a specific group or a few different ones. Focus your content on what matters to them. If you’re targeting students, they will be interested in very different features to a young family.

  • Be original

If you’ve ever been a tenant yourself, you know what it’s like to search for a perfect rental. After a while, all the ads start to look and sound the same. So, it is very important to avoid clichés and generalisations (like ‘convenient location’) to stand out from the pack. Be sure to highlight interesting and in-demand features of your property like marble bench tops, subway tiles, extra-large garage, fire place etc.

  • Be specific

It’s more effective to be specific than to be vague. Instead of saying “apartment is in convenient location”, say it’s close to a train station, or school, or local bars.

  • Paint the picture

There is no harm in using a few descriptive words like charming, warm, spacious, traditional, modern, newly renovated, so people could imagine your place better. Instead of saying “a large backyard”, why not say “a fully fenced garden with plenty of space for your dog to run around”.

  • Compliment the photos

A picture is worth a thousand words, but it doesn’t tell the full story. It’s important to describe aspects of your property that your photos don’t show like extra storage space, a security system, internal laundry or updated appliances.

  • Good listing is a short one

The idea is to give as much information as possible in as few words as you can muster. You need to lure people in and create an emotional attachment with a few opening statements; but also make sure your listing is a box ticker. Nothing beats bullet points when you are trying to cover all the important but less exciting features like A/C, heating, built-in wardrobes etc.

  • Mention nearby attractions

Your property is always close to something. Whether it’s parks, beaches, schools, shops, or train stations, mention it to demonstrate the convenience of your location.

  • Double check your spelling

Get someone to proofread your listing. Try to avoid unnecessary punctuation like multiple exclamation points, using all caps or not using capitals at all. A well written professional listing is a big selling point.

  • Don’t forget your closing statement

This is your final chance to leave a lasting impression and the final opportunity for engage with potential tenants. You can finish with something like “This place could be your home. Inspect this weekend and move in straight away.”

Do not include your personal contact details (phone number, email, etc). All enquiries are sent via email.

Final thoughts

Remember you’re writing the ad to capture people’s attention, to tell the story and to paint the picture. So, it’s important to take your time and do it right. No matter what you write, keep it simple, try to highlight your favourite features, and most importantly be genuine.

You can advertise your property with myRent for just $75 across 6 major sites - Trade Me, realestate.co.nz, OneRoof, Homes.co.nz, Facebook and myRent. Your rental is listed until rented and can be edited anytime. For $75 you would be silly not to try it

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