It’s safe to assume that most home sellers and buyers don’t know the meaning of “LTV,” they may have never used the word “contingency”, and the word “title” is just a name of a book.
Studies show that the average adult reads at a 9th-grade level and that we actually prefer our reading material to be at a 7th-grade level.
The words you choose to use on your website, in your listing descriptions, and direct mail pieces can make or break the visitor’s or recipient’s experience.
The good news is that writing for an audience of everyday people isn’t at all like what you learned in high school or college. It’s easier, and it’s more fun.
1. Ditch the insider lingo
Unless your audience consists solely of other real estate professionals, using real estate lingo is like writing in a foreign language to an English-only reader. Check out this real-life example:
“If you’re buying a home and apply for a mortgage, one critical factor in
whether you secure financing is your loan-to-value ratio.”
There’s no crime in using normal, everyday American English. So, let’s redo it:
“Something you’ve probably never heard of may stand between you and the interest rate of your dreams: The loan-to-value ratio, or LTV for short. Welcome to the world of real estate, my friend, this is just the beginning of a list of terms you’ll be hearing a lot in the months to come. So, what is the LTV?”
Don’t’ assume that your reader understands commonly-used words and acronyms used in real estate, such as LTV, CMA, contingency, addendum, consideration, and one that we see frequently in the current market, absorption rate.
Take the time to explain them, in plain, friendly English.
2. Why so overly-formal?
“Remember that the basic rule of vocabulary is to use the first word that comes to your mind if it is appropriate and colorful,” author Stephen King cautions in his book “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.”
Let’s take another look at our first example. Check out the formal-yet-clunky vocabulary. “Critical factor” can easily be replaced with “an important factor” and “secure financing” should be changed to “get a loan.”
After all, when one of your clients gets the mortgage he wants, that’s exactly how he describes it: “I got a mortgage,” not “I obtained” “procured” or “secured financing.”
Take off your real estate hat for a minute and imagine that you’re a consumer, wanting to buy a house. You run across this on an agent’s website or a direct mail piece:
“Our agents will apply their extensive community knowledge and professional
resources to find your dream home.”
Is there anything in that sentence that would make you pick up your phone and ask to hire one of their agents? All we can imagine is sitting in a car, hour after hour, with someone who speaks like this.
Consider replacing some of the most common formalities you find in real estate blogs and other written content:
- “Use our services” rather than “utilize” them.
- “Talk about the process” instead of “discussing” it.
- Dare we suggest this one? “home loan” instead of “mortgage.”
- Finally, can we all agree that “real estate” and “properties” are things investors buy and that everyday people buy homes, condos, houses?
An engaging, friendly writing style will help potential clients get to know and like you, and offering them valuable information in an easy-to-understand form gets their trust.
Use the same, short, easy-to-understand sentences you use when speaking with a friend and you’ll be on your way.
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Please reach out to our support team at 866.405.3638 with questions or if there is anything we can do to help you with your success.
PLUS: When you have time…here are some helpful resources we’ve made available to support your success.
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