When you think about real estate, you probably envision topics like finance, negotiations, or property management – but not writing. In fact, writing is often an overlooked or underrated aspect of any industry. But the ability to paint pictures, tell stories, and evoke warm and fuzzy feelings are critical skills in one of the highest-priced consumer sales and service industries. Buying or selling a home is a pivotal decision for most, and the art of writing can either make someone feel more comfortable or deter them entirely.
If you are in the real estate business in any capacity and have never thought about how quality writing can be an advantage, let’s break down the top five ways it can make a positive impact and set you apart from the competition:
Believe it or not, real estate does not sell itself. Most people are not willing to invest a lot of time going from house to house without knowing upfront whether or not a particular choice will meet their needs. Sure, some people have nothing better to do and will spend their weekends jumping from one open house to the next, but those are the ones who usually have no intention of buying anything. Detailed and captivating home descriptions will ensure potential buyers are aware of what the house has to offer and reduce the time an agent needs to spend answering questions.
Property descriptions should tell a story. Buying a home is a very personal and expensive experience. The more vividly you can paint the picture of what life will be like for the new owner, the more traffic you will bring through the doors. Increasing the number of people who come for a tour increases the odds of finding an interested buyer. This can’t be accomplished with a two or three-sentence generic description where the property feels like nothing more than four walls and a roof.
How well you write is a testament to your character. When your writing comes across as rushed, riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, or boilerplate you will not leave a lasting impression on potential clients. As of November 2022, there were over 3 million licensed real estate agents in the United States. Of those, approximately 1.6 million hold the Realtor® designation to differentiate themselves as someone who takes what they do seriously enough to join the National Association of Realtors. But if you are one of the 1.6 million who took this step, that still leaves an awful lot of competition.
Fortunately for ambitious agents, there are many ways to use the written word to further stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, too many agents do not take writing seriously or don’t even realize they are showing up poorly. That’s not to say you need a degree in English to have a successful career, but taking the time to craft your words carefully will not go unnoticed. This is the same reason companies of all sizes pay big money for marketing and advertising firms to craft their branding and messaging.
Even though real estate agents do not have a boss in the traditional sense and generally do not employ a staff of their own, real estate is not a solitary endeavor, and clear, concise communication is integral to ensuring all transactions move smoothly. On any given transaction, you will likely need to communicate with your client, potential team members, and the numerous professionals involved, each of whom may require a slightly different communication style.
So much of the communication in a real estate transaction is via email and text messaging that it can be a nightmare to work with someone who is unable to express themselves clearly.
Lawyers are probably the least forgiving of those involved in a transaction. They will not waste their time going back and forth with you for clarification, which will undoubtedly delay the process. Then there is the mortgage officer, title company, cooperating agent, home inspector, and appraiser. Each of these professionals relies on the assistance of another to get their job done, and you are the point person for ensuring it happens in your client’s best interest.
Persuade New Business
We briefly touched on advertising and marketing in the personal branding element, but generating new business is the culmination of a successful effort. Just think about how many real estate advertisements you see in any given month. Between billboards, postcards, social media advertisements, and door hangers – the inundation is real. Now think about how many of those stand out in your mind as being memorable in any way. Chances are you glance at it for a few seconds and either throw it in the trash or scroll right past it.
Getting your ideal prospect to spend an extra second or two on your marketing material than on the competition puts you a step closer to being the agent they call when a need arises. Contrary to popular belief, eye-catching visuals with “sold signs” or pictures of the homes you have sold in the past do nothing to impress prospective clients. Real estate agents sell homes, so proving you have sold a few puts you on par with thousands of other agents. People want to feel a connection. We do business with people we know, like, and trust – and writing is one of, if not the best way, of conveying that.
Fortune is in the Follow-up
It is impossible to quantify how much business is lost in real estate because of follow-up. It has been proven that we live in an age where the average consumer needs to be “touched,” or contacted, twenty times before they decide which product or service to purchase. Those touches can consist of phone calls, text messages, emails, social media posts, and snail mail. Notice only one of those options does not require the written word? It is also the option fewer people than ever are using as their preferred method of communication.
When touching someone for the first time or following up in writing, you need to stand out from the dozens of other agents also trying to get their twenty touches in. Sending messages to the effect of “Are you ready to sell your home” or “I am here for all your real estate needs” sounds robotic and sale-sy – just like every other agent. Take the time to craft meaningful messages to your prospective clients. Remember the key things you have spoken about in the past and leverage them in your correspondence. Do what no one else is doing.
If you still think this is crazy, I have been and will continue to be successful in real estate without writing – you might not be wrong. But I would challenge you to ask a better question. How much more successful could you be if you put more of a focus on the quality of your writing in all aspects of your business? And if you are struggling in this highly competitive industry where you are only as good as your last transaction, can it really hurt to elevate your writing game? Writing is not for everyone, but that is why there are professionals like us who can do the leg work for you in most areas while you sit back and take the credit!