If you’ve decided to take a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) approach to selling your home, one of your most valuable assets will be the compelling home description you create to attract buyers for true FSBO success.

The idea of “selling” your home can be intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. Great listing copy is a must for any successful home marketing campaign; your detailed description of your home is critical, and writing it can and should be fun.

Most likely, your home is quite capable of selling itself provided you have priced it right, promoted it adequately, and created a listing that clearly communicates why buyers would be crazy not to jump at the opportunity to buy your little slice of heaven.

Start by shedding any preconceived notions of what a property listing should look like. You really don’t need to model your listing after anyone else’s, and you shouldn’t want to—unless you don’t mind if your own listing blends in with the crowd, offering no reason for buyers to stop and read it. Think outside the box and write a listing using they key components outlined below to structure your listing to sell.

Elements of an Effective Home Listing for FSBO success

Headline

Begin with an attention-grabbing headline that stands out. Your headline is an extremely important part of the listing because most people only read the headline, and if it doesn’t catch their eye, they simply move on to the next one. Remember, you only have a second to capture the reader’s attention and encourage them to stick around and read more. First impressions really are everything.

Ask yourself, what are the positives and negative of the home you want to sell? Can you make it humorous, or say something that will make people do a double-take? Here’s an excellent example of a listing headline that caught a lot of attention:

“$350,000 Six-Car Garage — Attached House is Free.”

Simply craft your headline in a way that gets people’s attention and encourages them to keep reading.

Opening Statement

Use the first sentence of your listing to get to the point—that is, to immediately inform readers of what you’re offering. You can write something like:

You’ll love this stately 2-story home located just 2 blocks from JFK Elementary School in downtown Pasadena,

or

You must see this charming Craftsman style 4-bedroom bungalow with an open floor plan and stunning, panoramic views of Puget Sound.

The first sentence of your listing gets right to the point of what your home listing is about, and immediately tells readers what they’re going to see, giving them a reason to continue reading.

Define your home’s features

Narrative Description of the home’s features

First, talk about the home/property’s primary features:

  • Number of bedrooms/bathrooms
  • Square footage of the home
  • Size of the property (lot size or acres)
  • Location/neighborhood schools, town center, nearby shopping
  • Garage (if any), (number of cars)
  • Extras such as pool, patio, yard, deck, fireplace, etc.
  • Any recent updates or renovations, such as windows, updated kitchen, new appliances
  • Any unique characteristics such as loft, waterfront, breakfast nook, wrap-around porch

Second, describe the home and property in a compelling and inspiring way:

Your words can do an amazing job of selling your home. Try to avoid the typical language used in home sale listings, like:
…new furnace, air conditioning unit. all appliances includes. Huge deck off back of home. walk out in basement to back yard which is fenced in.

Instead, try to go for something more personal like:

…Your family will love coming home to this quaint, 2-story cottage with spectacular views of Primrose Lake. With 4 bedrooms and 2 full baths and a two-car garage, there is plenty of room for everyone in its 1,700 square foot interior. The large front porch is the perfect place to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, or a glass of wine in the evening. Curl up in front of the massive living room fireplace with a good book for ultimate coziness. Enjoy spectacular sunrises in the eastern-facing master bedroom, and drift off to sleep at night with the soothing sounds of nature surrounding you. Situated in a friendly community with a sought-after, award-winning school system on the outskirts of Hillsborough County, just 30 minutes from the Rocky Mountain National Park.

As you can see, it takes real effort to be creative and think of the right descriptive words to make your property appeal to home buyers. By putting in the extra effort, you can make a huge difference in how (and if) people respond to your listing.

If you have any special offers or seller incentives to promote, such as seller financing, seller-paid closing costs or lease-purchase option, this is your opportunity to give buyers an extra nudge.

Many times, buyers are interested in a home but need an added incentive to reach out to the seller. Get creative with this portion of your listing too, and add any incentive you can think of to attract potential buyers. For example, if you’re offering seller financing, you can say something like:

Please note that this property is also available to purchase with optional Seller Financing. For a small down payment and monthly installments of approximately  $___, you can own this property without talking to a bank!

Wrap up your listing with a call to action that motivates buyers

Closing Statement & Call To Action
At this point you can wrap it up and give your readers further instructions to contact you for an appointment or to invite them to an open house. Provide your contact information and tell them to CALL NOW!

Avoid Hype

There is a fine line between creating a positive picture of your property and overselling/hyping your property. While I’m encouraging you to tell readers how great your property is, avoid the temptation to overstate it’s greatness. Most people can spot hype a mile away, and if your claims about the home and property are clearly embellished or even outright false, you’re going to have trouble. The goal should be to present a clear picture of why your property is amazing, and communicate that message in a way that tells readers that you have exactly what they need.

Don’t make it into something it’s not by over-selling, but simply describe your home and its features in a way that will help buyers see themselves living there.