How to Write Descriptions for Houses You’ve Never Seen

As the real estate administrative assistant, is one of your duties to write the description of the listings that go into the MLS? How can you do that without seeing the house? And why would you want to?

Driving to the house, meeting with the sellers, and making notes about each room takes time. You are a busy assistant, and you already have a lot on your plate. So this customer service touch is something you can trade off if you are a solo admin. While it is good customer service to go out to the house and meet the clients in person, there are only so many hours in your day. And to make the most out of every hour in your day, sometimes it’s necessary to streamline things.

Here’s what I recommend…

First – Have a professional photographer shoot the house. The pictures are the first thing buyers want. If the photos are mediocre, you’ve already lost the sale. Even if you are a good photographer and know about lighting and post-processing, it’s more important to leverage your time by having a professional do it. Plus, clients perceive it as a value when choosing a listing agent.

Second – After notifying the sellers of the photographer’s appointment day and time, send this email to the sellers:

Subject: Question about your home…

Body: Would you mind helping me market your property appropriately by answer the following question for me? Being the buyer, what 5 features would most excite me about this property?

Third – Once you’ve received the photos and the response from the seller, you can write the description of the home.

Our MLS allows only 520 characters in the Remarks area and 300 characters in the Additional Remarks area. The Remarks area is the only one that syndicates to all the other real estate websites. That’s why I like to point out things in the description that can’t be seen in the photos. Additionally, our MLS allows only 25 photos. So each one has to be perfect.

For example, here are 25 photos of a home I put on the market:

House Photos

And here is the list of five things I received back from the seller:

1. Updated kitchen with granite countertops, backsplash and stainless steel appliances

2. New carpet throughout home

3. Great fenced backyard and upgraded deck good for entertaining

4. Safe neighborhood that is within walking distance to Kellybrook Elementary School and access to a heated neighborhood pool

5. Close to Quik Trip, Home Depot, multiple grocery stores and easy highway access including 18 minutes door to door to the airport

I combine what I see in the photos with the seller’s list and my knowledge about the home, neighborhood, and area to write this description in the Remarks area of my MLS which again, only allows me 520 characters:

Freshly updated just for you! Modern kitchen displays granite countertops, cool backsplash, and stainless steel appliances. Easy-care laminate flooring throughout the living room and kitchen. The fireplace and vaulted ceiling draw you into the inviting living room. Master suite includes walk-in closet plus cornet jet tub. New carpet in the bedrooms and family room too! Great fenced backyard and upgraded deck perfect for entertaining. Enjoy the neighborhood’s heated pool. Short drive to shopping and grocery stores.

Now, it’s a bit generic, but this is a cookie-cutter house. There are many just like it all around the city. But, I have called out the details that are most important to buyers: the granite counters, stainless appliances, new carpet, neighborhood pool, and fenced backyard.

Fourth – Send a copy of the MLS listing to the seller for review. Here’s the beauty of using the seller’s words when writing the description—they won’t have much to complain about because you are using their words. Now obviously, if they say something that violates HUD regulations, you can’t use that. For instance, I left out “within walking distance to Kellybrook Elementary School”. Children are a protected class and while this statement might not be necessarily be a violation, I’m not going to take that chance. Besides, being within walking distance of an elementary school might be a turn-off to some people. Perhaps they should see the house, maybe fall in love with it, and decide that the proximity to the school is not that big a deal. But by leaving it out, I eliminate the possibility that they write the house off and not even consider it.

I put this home on the market on a Friday morning. By Friday night I had 16 showing requests and two offers already submitted. I’d call that a marketing job well done!


Got any additional tips for us? Let us know in the comments! And if you’d like to ask me any questions, I’m at egilbert AT kw DOT com.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *