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Copy Clinics: ‘It’s time agents stopped using ‘well appointed’ and other clichés’

Industry figure and former letting agent Neil Whitfield is offering to help agents make their blurb work harder.

Nigel Lewis

neil whitfield property listing estate agency

A leading estate agency figure says he wants to help agents improve their listings copy and sell more homes.

Neil Whitfield, who wrote the industry guide The Ultimate Property Listing says he’s keen to stop agents using some of the more well-worn phrases and clichés used by some listers.

This includes ‘well appointed’, ‘well presented’, ‘accommodation briefly compromises’ and ‘the property boasts’, all of which can lead to eye-rolling among potential buyers and tenants.

He says his Copy Clinics will show agents both why not to use these kinds of phrases and a better way to get potential buyers and tenants to engage.

Whitfield says he’s often told by agents that ‘no one reads the description copy’ but counters that it’s because so many property details are full of clichés and jargon and that consequently buyers and tenants have been conditioned to ignore it.

Estate agency

“This means the barrier is very low for those that choose to do it better to really stand out,” Whitfield – who is a former Belvoir franchisee – tells The Negotiator.

The clinics are taking place once a month on Zoom and combine Whitfield’s experiences as a letting agent over a 10 year period with the techniques learned in his earlier successful direct marketing career.

The Copy Clinics are aimed at open-minded agents looking to make improvements to their property listings copy that can have a big impact on the number of clicks and conversions.

“People buy or rent a property for emotional reasons, yet most UK property adverts don’t tap into this powerful motivator at all,” he adds.

“The typical listing are all facts, room sizes and how many radiators the property has got – nothing at all about how the property can bring pleasure to a buyer or remove a problem for a tenant.”

Read more about writing property copy.

January 25, 2022

One comment

  1. Writing property descriptions isn’t marketing – it’s art. It’s expression, feelings, emotion, tone and style.
    Here’s the difficulty most agencies face – they don’t have the level of self-awareness for their brand to have a distinctive voice. They assume that a string of adjectives, carefully sewn together and worn like a new suit will do the job.
    This bland and boring narrative does the exact opposite of what is intended. It won’t turn anyone off, but it will most certainly fail to win hearts and minds.
    In the same way that an agency seeks to differentiate through the colour of their branding, so should they differentiate through the style of words they use. Those of a certain age will recall the Roy Brooks agency and their distinctive property descriptions.
    Without a refined and precise tone of voice, you’re just peddling words – hoping they speak for you.
    Agencies hire copywriters for one of two reasons. They don’t have the time, or they don’t have the skill. The best, like Neil, take the rambling mess of words and turn them into something that creates emotion and from that results.

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