FIND THE REAL STORY IN REAL ES­TATE COPY

Elite Agent - - CONTENTS - Kylie Dul­hunty

PULCHRITUDINOUS is a word I’ll al­ways re­mem­ber for all of the wrong rea­sons. For the past 11 years it’s been a con­stant source of amuse­ment, and a re­minder to me to think out­side the square but to keep things sim­ple. For a while I even had it printed out and taped to the wall at my desk at the news­pa­per where I was work­ing as a real es­tate jour­nal­ist when I first saw the word. Pulchritudinous. It means ‘beau­ti­ful’. Rather than read­ing it in a Jane Austen

PROP­ERTY ED­I­TO­RI­ALS don’t have to be bor­ing, says Kylie Dul­hunty. Prop­er­ties have per­son­al­i­ties, and those come as much from the peo­ple who lived there as the bricks and mor­tar fea­tures them­selves.

novel, I came across it as I was edit­ing a real es­tate agent’s prose on a ren­o­vated pe­riod home about to hit the mar­ket.

The home was in­deed ‘beau­ti­ful’ but, given most of the word­smiths work­ing along­side me didn’t know what pulchritudinous meant, I doubted read­ers of the news­pa­per would ei­ther. If they did, I have lit­tle doubt they’d scoff and put its use down to an agent try­ing to over­sell the prop­erty. Af­ter a few laughs it was cut out. Now, more than a decade later, I have writ­ten thou­sands of real es­tate ed­i­to­ri­als for news­pa­pers and real es­tate agen­cies them­selves. It wasn’t un­til I worked for agents that I un­der­stood why a word such as pulchritudinous had crept into Agent X’s copy all those years ago.

They wanted to be dif­fer­ent. They wanted this home to stand out amongst all the other ed­i­to­ri­als in the pa­per that day, as well as on­line. The use of the word pulchritudinous was their at­tempt at the big sell.

That’s an agent’s lot – they have to present a home in a glow­ing light. They have ven­dors to please and a sale to make. How do you bal­ance the need to de­tail a home’s

fea­tures and sell the prop­erty with the need to pro­vide use­ful yet in­spir­ing con­tent that buy­ers, par­tic­u­larly scep­ti­cal buy­ers, will love?

With real es­tate also a hot topic for fans of the in­dus­try, re­gard­less of whether they are buy­ing or sell­ing, con­tent needs to be en­gag­ing, not smarmy.

So how do you stand out in the real es­tate copy­writ­ing crowd?

FIND THE LIFE

Call me crazy, but I firmly be­lieve ev­ery prop­erty, be it a pe­riod home brim­ming with her­itage fea­tures or a sleek new apart­ment, has an aura.

Prop­er­ties have per­son­al­i­ties, and those char­ac­ter­is­tics come as much from the peo­ple who have called those four walls home as the bricks and mor­tar fea­tures them­selves.

So, in­stead of im­me­di­ately launch­ing into the spiel about how many bed­rooms and bath­rooms the prop­erty has, why not let buy­ers know the ven­dor’s great-great­grand­mother was born by the cast iron fire­place in the front liv­ing room, or the piece of tim­ber lin­ing the kitchen bench­top came from a dis­man­tled wharf 300km away?

Over the years I’ve writ­ten about a house the own­ers painted black and an­other with ev­ery room painted a dif­fer­ent colour in the bright­est hues pos­si­ble. In­stead of gloss­ing over those de­tails or ig­nor­ing them they be­came the ‘hooks’ for the ed­i­to­ri­als, as each had a per­sonal story that showed how much the ven­dors had loved the prop­erty.

If some­thing is dif­fer­ent con­sider cel­e­brat­ing it, not hid­ing it, as it just might be the story be­hind the fea­ture that gets the sale.

STOCK YOUR TOOL KIT

They say a pic­ture is worth a thou­sand words, and to­day we also have video, vir­tual re­al­ity, floor plans and in­ter­ac­tive floor plans, among a host of other tools, to use to sell the fea­tures of a prop­erty. It’s of­ten a com­bi­na­tion of these el­e­ments that work the best.

How­ever, if you want to stick to the writ­ten word there’s a lot you can in­cor­po­rate when telling a home’s story that goes far be­yond just a long-winded spiel. Fea­tures listed in dot point for­mat are ef­fec­tive, but that’s not ex­actly unique.

With to­day’s time-stretched buyer look­ing for cold, hard facts fast, why not use a time­line to de­tail the home’s jour­ney from build­ing, through ren­o­vat­ing all the way to auc­tion date?

High­light­ing items such as ‘Novem­ber 2001, held Sarah’s 21st in the new Queens­land room’ is a cre­ative way to list the prop­erty’s fea­tures as well as paint a pic­ture of how the home was and can be lived in.

An­other way to stand out from the crowd is to turn the old-fash­ioned real es­tate flyer, filled with para­graphs of copy, into a suc­cinct post­card high­light­ing just one stand­out fea­ture in a quirky way.

A quote from the owner on how they adore re­lax­ing in the en­suite’s free­stand­ing bath­tub with a glass of wine and a good book will have peo­ple pic­tur­ing them­selves do­ing the same.

That’s what you want to cre­ate – po­ten­tial buy­ers imag­in­ing them­selves in the home.

FOR­GET THE HYPERBOLE

When you write real es­tate copy day in and day out, it’s easy to use the same tired phrases over and over and over again. If you’re bored writ­ing about ‘quaint front porches’ and ‘sun-drenched en­ter­tain­ing decks’ so too will be the reader.

Plus, I don’t think it’s a big se­cret that many take real es­tate copy with a grain of salt. Peo­ple ex­pect clichés and ex­ag­ger­a­tion, so when they read some­thing fresh and new it re­ally stands out.

One of the things I try and in­still in my clients is to play things with a straight bat.

That cup­board un­der the stairs is not a study or po­ten­tial fourth bed­room (un­less you’re Harry Pot­ter, of course) and as for the Juliet bal­cony where you can en­joy a lazy Sun­day brunch, don’t be silly; ev­ery­one knows you can barely fit one foot on one of those bal­conies.

In­stead, for­get the clichés and hyperbole and paint an ac­cu­rate pic­ture. You don’t have to in­clude ev­ery el­e­ment of the prop­erty in an editorial, so if it’s not a sell­ing point don’t ex­ag­ger­ate it to be­come one; just leave it out. • KYLIE DUL­HUNTY

An agent has to present a home in a glow­ing light. They have ven­dors to please and a sale to make.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.