The ‘Write’ Way to Sell Your Home – Descriptions that Sell Houses

The ‘write’ way to sell your home – descriptions that sell houses blogpost by AshdownJones estate agents in the Lakes and Dales

Your home deserves to be described in the best way. With the right words. Words that are evocative, beautiful and compelling.

Typically, estate agents don’t use the right words. They aren’t known for their eloquence. They prefer to use words that describe things without elaboration, like ‘detached’ and ‘features’. They use phrases never otherwise encountered: ‘dual aspect’, ‘briefly comprises’ and ‘viewing highly recommended’.

When a house is described in dull words and phrases, it sounds dull. The reader doesn’t get excited. They don’t feel compelled to view, or even to read to the end.

The right words can turn on a light for a buyer. It can lift the home off the page, or screen, and call ‘View me!’ in a voice that seduces and beguiles.

A house is not just bricks and mortar, to the buyer, nor to the seller. It’s a home; a family; a dream.  It’s full of memories for the seller, and hopes for the buyer.

Look at this example:

“The XYZ Estate Agency is proud to offer this REALISTICALLY PRICED opportunity for sale.” 

That’s the way one of our homes was previously described in its headline on Rightmove.

After a few months of little (no) interest, the owner asked us to re-market the apartment. Here’s our headline:

“Is this the best location on Windermere?”

Which one would you click on?

You see, the best property descriptions are not always flowery and verbose. Sometimes, getting straight to the point works best.

When we do flowery though, we do it like this:

“Rustling up a picnic for a day out on the water? Ripe plums, lemonade and lashings of ginger beer might have sufficed for Julian and co., but if your gastro tastes are a little more demanding, the effortlessly modern kitchen dining room will provide the perfect setting for your epicurean escapades. Brimming with natural light from the many stately sash windows, treat yourself to a lazy morning in your PJs munching toast and reading the Sunday papers in this blissfully open family living room.”

Here’s how another agent described one of our property’s outdoor space:

“There is private parking and a lovely sunny garden area and sunken south facing patio.” 

Whereas we described it like this:

“The garden is a treasure-trove of seating areas, sunken patios, hidden paths and bespoke planters, cleverly arranged to create a true haven for birds, butterflies and of course, you. Watch the sun set over the far-reaching views as the sausages sizzle on the barbeque and you share a bottle of wine next to the chiminea with friends.”

Not everyone likes the effusive prose we favour. And that’s ok. Our clients – both buyers and sellers – adore it.

Here’s another juxtaposition:

Or this? ‘Wandering past the glorious roses in full bloom, and on through the Japanese and Italian gardens, Ian and his wife Sophie soak up the wonderful tranquility of their rambling English country home.
The property is overflowing with delightful features that include intricate plasterwork and open fireplaces, while the fabulous grounds incorporate a tennis court and a number of outbuildings, including converted stables, as well as a semi-walled garden with pond, and an arboretum.’

Which house sounds more appealing to you?

We like the second. Actually, we love it.

5 ways to make your property description stand out

Beautiful prose and evocative words can capture a reader’s imagination.  If your estate agent doesn’t agree, you may need to help them with your property description. Try our five ways to make yours stand head and shoulders above the crowd:

1. Create a headline with impact‘Executive five bed home with luxury fittings and well-maintained gardens’ isn’t enough to get anyone excited.  ‘Are these the best views in Ambleside?’ will get your property noticed for all the right reasons.

2. Supercharge your adjectives.  Is your copy sprinkled with adjectives that evoke homely warmth and comfort?  Words like cosy and welcoming are very appealing to buyers, and will pull at their emotional buying strings.

3. Ban all agent-speak.  Scour your description for words that are clichéd and typical of the worst kind of property description. Remove drab phrases like ‘double aspect’ or ‘benefitting from’ and eliminate any mention of power points, telephone points and radiators.

4. Room-by-room descriptions are old hat.  Much better is a well-written opening paragraph, followed by a ‘tour’ of the house, including the garden, and peppered with pretty quotes from you, the owners.

5. Dimensions belong in floorplans; not in the written description.  They interrupt the flow of the story, and are very difficult to understand when taken out of context.  As part of the floorplan they are useful because they make sense.

Persuading your estate agent to add such imaginative and attractive style to your written description won’t be easy, but persevere; even a few inspired words and phrases will make all the difference.

Copy that crackles with emotion

I recently holidayed in beautiful and windswept Northumberland. I stayed in a cosy retreat of a cottage, having bought totally into the description that had included the words “squishy sofas”, “great jazz cd collection”, and  “secret garden”.

The brochure was peppered with atmospheric images of the log-burner, candlelit bath and wild, dramatic scenery.  I was captivated, and I booked.

Sitting in front of the fire, I browsed some property brochures I’d collected from local agents.  Their descriptions made a stark contrast from that of my little cottage:

“A 3 bed semi-detached house located in the heart of the village with coastal views to the front.”

“An attractive three bedroom detached bungalow occupying an enviable position on Harbour Road, enjoying superb views to the sea.”

These both leave me cold.

Whereas the lilting romance of sentences like these allow me to lose myself in the pictures they paint:

“When the sun melts into the dramatic ocean, the awe-inspiring landscape provides the backdrop for the real stars, as millions of them pinprick the velvety blanket of dark night sky. “


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 If you’d like to talk about how we could bring your home to life using the right words, email us on

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