What makes a good real estate ad?

Most sellers have a pretty firm idea of what they want from a real estate ad. Many would say they disagree with ads that exaggerate a property’s features; yet agents often report that some vendors want to ‘oversell’ their property. What does this mean?

The most common form of ‘overselling’ is an insistence by sellers that every feature of their home is highlighted in every ad.

Sadly, this attitude basically misses the point of what property advertising is supposed to do. It is designed to do no more and no less than to make potential purchasers want to look at the property. As long as purchasers are stimulated to look at the property, the ad has done its job. As such it is better to say less rather than more. Buyers are frequently buying a lifestyle and rather than listing all the features of the property, it is more effective to evoke the kind of life they might be able to live as owners of, and dwellers in, this particular home.

Underselling works better than overselling. There should be a buildup of desire and excitement that reaches its peak by the time people set foot in the property. Buyers should be delighted to find that the property is everything the ad said it was – and more. If they feel disappointment rather than excitement when they walk through, they are unlikely to make an offer.

Secondly, too much information can actually make people decide not to inspect the property at all. To the inexperienced, this seems an unlikely situation. How could an ad that highlights the property’s desirability actually go against it in the long run? They don’t realise that potential purchasers may decide without seeing the house that it would not suit them. Some sellers may decide that this is good riddance – if they weren’t going to buy the property anyway, it’s a good job they didn’t waste everyone’s time on an inspection. This approach is a short-sighted one, however, as it overlooks the very real potential for the house to sell to someone who falls in love with it even though it doesn’t outwardly meet all the criteria on their wish list.

Remember, most buyers have to compromise on some features, and the home may meet their needs so well in some particular way that is special to them that they overlook the glaring lack or supply of something else they thought they needed.