Market analysts are surprised: Real estate professionals get an average conversion rate of 10 percent with their real estate property descriptions.
Sorry, but that’s FAKE NEWS, so you don’t have to feel bad about the fake 10 percent conversion rate, which, by the way, would be awesome if you did get.
For those who don’t yet get 10 percent or more, this will be quite an important article to read if you would like to unlock the key to better converting real estate property descriptions to increase your sales.
And it is not only addressed to realtors.
You need also property or deal descriptions as a real estate investor or developer when you want to attract other investors or retail buyers to close a deal.
Most of what I have read so far on improving property descriptions for better conversions give good tips but miss two essential things my article will cover.
One of them is confusing features with benefits. The other, I will cover in my next article.
I have seen many different real estate websites in my life and read many different real estate property descriptions.
What did I find?
There are those who think the listing description is just the space you use to enter the basic information of a particular property, so they keep the description short and make it bullet points.
I feel them because they might think most will only look at the pictures or videos anyways and who reads long copy in 2020 anyway?!
And for the picture or video part, they are partially right.
Look at the following statistic I found on this website:
Listings with high-res photos tend to sell about or just above the list price around 44 percent of the time.
Furthermore, 64 percent of the time, those properties will sell within just six months.
And house listings where aerial photographs were made sell 68 percent faster than properties with standard images.
Then there are others who put quite a lot of time and effort into the description, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t convert visitors into leads.
So, time and likely money is wasted.
Imagine putting time and effort into listing descriptions of your properties or projects, and then…crickets.
Imagine you or your team get all the necessary information on a property, spend hours in front of the screen writing descriptions until their fingers hurt, and adding pictures and videos to your website (the videos will probably need to be edited too) and then you get only a very low conversion rate or no conversions at all.
What’s a good conversion rate for the real estate industry?
According to wordstream, across industries, the average landing page conversion rate was 2.35 percent.
Interestingly, the top 25 percent are converting at 5.31 percent or higher.
The top 10 percent convert even at 11.45 percent or higher. (source)
Before Doctoring Your Property Description – Benefits vs. Features
This might be old hat for you, but it’s worth repeating because I have seen it so many times on different real estate websites, in ads and even in some of the articles giving tips about better property descriptions.
Let’s take one of the listing descriptions from the realtor magazine.
“Inspired by the glorious chateaus of France, Chateau Ami is a sophisticated and luxurious retreat that reflects that magical merging of inspiration and architecture.
Created by renowned architect Randall Stofft and Cudmore Builders, the estate is a masterpiece of design and craftsmanship featuring inlaid onyx, hand-planed hickory wood flooring, intricately hand-painted ceilings, hand-carved fireplace by Barbara Tattersfield, exquisite crystal chandeliers, plus an elevator to transport from floor to floor.
Sprawling entertaining spaces flow outside to the outdoor living room past the tennis courts and guest house, to the stunning infinity pool and tranquil lake beyond.
On 2.5 acres of premier lakefront acreage, this French Chateau is the crème de la crème in prestigious Stone Creek Ranch.”
This description is, without a doubt, well-written and a lot of thought was put into describing the features of this particular property.
But can you find any benefits in this text?
That’s right, me neither.
When you want to find benefits in a copywriting text you can apply to all the features, the question “so what?!” and “what’s in it for the potential customer?”
To bring this point home, let me first tell you a little story I got from the book “Competing Against Luck” by Clayton M. Christensen and then dissect the above text and convert the features into benefits.
The Little Story About A Condo Project from Detroit That Couldn’t Sell Their Units
In the above book, the author mentions the example of a real estate development company from the Detroit area that needed to close sales quickly.
They offered condos priced between $120,000 and $200,000 with some high-end touches to provide the feeling of luxury.
The company had calculated the cost-benefit analysis of all the details in each unit but had very little idea what made the difference between attracting a tire-kicker and a serious buyer.
They had poor sales and made all kind of assumptions for this, such as underperforming salespeople, bad weather, the recession, holiday slowdowns, competitors and the condos’ location.
They wondered what else they could add to the condos to make them appeal to buyers. Unfortunately, nothing was working.
They still thought in terms of features.
They hired a consultant by the name of Bob Moesta.
He focuses more on benefits and asked the question, what is the actual job the condominium was hired to do for people who had already bought a unit?
The book makes it clear that very often, what we think a product or service helps the client with is something completely different of what you initially assumed it would be.
So Moesta carried out some interviews with people who had already bought there.
He found out that there wasn’t a definitive set of features in the new home that buyers had valued so much that it tipped their decision.
Surprisingly, these features actually provided an obstacle: it was overwhelming to them to have to pick every single detail of a new home.
But that was not the biggest surprise.
The biggest surprise was that conversations revealed that buyers didn’t want to let go of their former dining room tables, which all had a story to tell.
This was because most of the buyers had to downsize and came from larger properties, so they had to decide what to get rid of to move into the new unit.
And very often, these were things that had profound meaning, such as the dining table not fitting in the new condo.
Moesta first thought they were in the business of new home construction, but he realized that the developer was instead in the business of moving lives.
Thanks to this revelation, several changes in the offer were made, such as more space in the units for a classic dining room table and reducing the space in the second bedroom by 20 percent.
Moreover, they reduced the buyers’ anxiety about the move by offering moving services, two years of storage, and sorting room space.
The latter made it possible for the new owners to take their time making decisions about what to keep and what to discard.
By signaling to their target buyers that they understood their real problem, the company grew their business by 25 percent.
That was in 2007, when sales in the industry were down by 49 percent and the market all around them was plummeting.
So, maybe you can see now what I wanted to tell you with this story about features and benefits.
The benefit is actually the part where you ask yourself, “what is actually in it for the customer?”
“What problem or pain are you solving with your product or service?” or, “What job are you actually being hired to do for the customer?”
So now, let’s dissect the property description example from above.
I don’t know much about the property in question because it was only a text excerpt.
But from the content, we can assume it’s a property in the luxury segment.
We don’t know much about the target group either, which is important to find out to learn the pain points, needs and greeds that can help us find the real benefits and the marketing angle.
So, as you can already assume, researching and maybe interviewing your past buyers or potential buyers is quite important to find out the real job your product or service has to do.
Therefore, let’s assume the target group consists of wealthy individuals who are looking for their third week-end house.
Their needs are, of course, on another level than those buyers who had to downsize in Detroit.
These could be their needs and greeds and the actual job the property needs to do for them:
- Providing social approval and helping them keep up with the Joneses by making them look good in front of their wealthy friends
- To make them feel superior and like winners
- Providing a very exclusive and private location, so they are able to retreat and not be reached very easily, so they can fully re-charge from their busy lives
- Providing above average comfortable living conditions
With that in mind, let’s get back to the text.
“Inspired by the glorious chateaus of France, Chateau Ami is a sophisticated and luxurious retreat that reflects that magical merging of inspiration and architecture.”
“Chateau Ami will be your own sophisticated and luxurious retreat, providing you with everything you need to fully re-charge on an extended weekend.
Because its architecture is inspired by the glorious chateaus of France, your friends will think they are visiting a castle when you invite them over to dinner.”
“Created by renowned architect Randall Stofft and Cudmore Builders, the estate is a masterpiece of design and craftsmanship featuring inlayed onyx, hand-planed hickory wood flooring, intricately hand-painted ceilings, hand-carved fireplace by Barbara Tattersfield, exquisite crystal chandeliers, plus an elevator to transport from floor to floor.”
“Will you have comfort from all angles? Absolutely.
The estate is a masterpiece of design and craftsmanship featuring:
- inlaid onyx
- hand-planed hickory wood flooring
- intricately hand-painted ceilings
- a hand carved fireplace by Barbara Tattersfield
- exquisite crystal chandeliers
- an elevator to transport you from floor to floor.
If you mention the architect’s names in a conversation, you will be met with open ears almost all the time. Why?
Because it’s the well-known Randall Stofft and Cudmore Builders.”
“Sprawling entertaining spaces flow outside to the outdoor living room past the tennis courts and guest house, to the stunning infinity pool and tranquil lake beyond.”
“You will have difficulty avoiding feeling on top of the world when you see the sprawling entertaining space outside to the outdoor living room past the tennis courts and guest house, to the stunning infinity pool and tranquil lake for the first time.”
“On 2.5 acres of premier lakefront acreage, this French Chateau is the crème de la crème in prestigious Stone Creek Ranch.”
“2.5 acres of premier lakefront acreage will give you privacy and exclusivity, making this crème de la crème French Chateau in prestigious Stone Creek Ranch the perfect place to retreat to on weekends.”
Many confuse features with benefits in their property descriptions and what really moves the needle on your conversions is using benefits.
To have a good understanding of the benefits, you need knowledge of the pains, needs and greeds of your target customers, so you know the real job your property must do.
By knowing that, you can create better real estate property descriptions that convert.
But wait, there is a surprising fact: there is something that can move the needle even more than a great description. Stay tuned for my next article…
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