Thursday, February 28, 2008

Real Estate Copywriting: The Lighter Side.

(WILL and GRACE are eating lunch, while reading the apartment ads.)

WILL: $2,900 for a loft in Noho. $2,300 for a loft in Soho.

GRACE: It's too much to pay for any... 'ho.

WILL: Ok, here: "Charming one bedroom, Chelsea adjacent, well-maintained, $1,500." Sounds great.

GRACE: Ok, let me decode: "Charming"? Tiny. "Chelsea adjacent"? New Jersey. "Well-maintained"? Super washes blood off sidewalk daily.

I giggled to myself as I watched this scene from television’s Will and Grace last night.

What does the public really think we mean when we write our advertisements?

Check out this “decoding” from:
Very quiet interior: You can barely hear the freeway with the windows shut.
Convenient to shopping: Next to a strip mall.
Convenient to freeway: Next to the on ramp.
2+ bedrooms: The room in the basement isn't a legal bedroom but, well, you know.
Seller has left you to your own imagination: Hasn't been updated since 1940.
Great bones: You'll need to tear it down to the studs.
Build some sweat equity: See "great bones."
Charming: Small.
Cozy: Tiny.
Cute: Small and fussy.
Dollhouse, adorable: Nauseatingly cute.
Turnkey: Just overhauled, complete with granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances.
Unique: Remodeled by someone on acid.
Handyman special: Bring boots.
Walk to Fremont: Fremont's 20 blocks away.
Motivated seller: They need to sell before they default on their mortgage.
Dirty, ugly, smelly: Dirty, ugly, smelly.
And Barbara Corcoran has her say here about the most misleading words in real estate (and what they really mean)
1. Cozy (too small)
2. Charming (too old)
3. Original condition (appliances are 50 years old)
4. Needs TLC (it’s a dump)
5. Conveniently located (noisy)
6. Desirable neighborhood (this little house has been way overpriced because the neighborhood has some snob appeal)
7. Efficient kitchen (too small to fit two adults)
8. One-car garage (you can drive your Chevy in, but can’t get out)
9. Peek at the park/river/mountains (if you angle your mirror just so)
10. Useable land (no trees)
11. Beachfront steal (no hurricane insurance available at any price)
12. Country living (too far from anywhere to drive to work)
13. Must see inside (outside is ugly)
14. Unique (hard to sell)
15. Just available (previous owner just died on the premises, hope you don’t mind)
(read the full article here:

New real estate copywriting website has some interesting alternatives to over-used clich├ęs with heading suggestions such as:

• A better position than you’ll find in the karma sutra
• Dress Circle Locale (but with a mini skirt price!)
• Penguins love the cold – but you don’t have to!
• Grand Old Dame (the house, not the real estate agent)
• Yesterday, let me introduce you to today
• Very Viewtiful!
• Nature is your Neighbour
• Calling Winona Ryder (‘cos this one’s a steal!)

(To try out for yourself – head to the website, take the 3 minute tour and sign up for a free trial.)

The next time you go to put pen to paper, I invite you to take a moment to chuckle about what the public might think you really mean! Life’s too short to write bad advertisements!

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments


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