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DIY - Sell Your House Yourself - How To Write Real Estate Copy That Sells - Part 2

Updated on April 24, 2012

You can do it, you can sell your house yourself!

In the first part of this article, we listed all the rooms on the main floor of your house, along with their most important features. Now you will move to the bedrooms, wherever they are located; in most cases this means going upstairs. Staircases, by the way, are a feature that has great emotional content, as do front doors, fireplaces, kitchens and baths. The mental image we all carry of what “home” looks like often includes a particular type of staircase, so describe any in your house with extra care as you write your ad.

List bedrooms beginning with the main one (real estate ads have increasingly moved away from gender-specific vocabulary, so “main bedroom” has replaced “master bedrooms” and the same holds true for baths).

List the baths, then ancillary rooms: playrooms, office, sewing room, etc. However, if a bath or dressing room or playroom is directly connected to any of the bedrooms, it should be noted along with that bedroom in the ad, for example, “spacious main bedroom with gorgeous tile bath,” or “large bedroom with playroom/dressing room.”

After you are finished with bedrooms, baths and other rooms on the main floors, it’s time to continue either up—if your house has three floors of living space—or down—if your house has a finished or partially finished basement. You will now list any rooms located in those areas, being sure to describe any details that make those rooms special.

In all starts with a sign on your front yard - here is the one that sold my house!


A finished basement deserves a place in your ad, whether it's a great room or an exercise space. And an unfinished basement can still be a very useful storage a

A gorgeous basement Great Room
A gorgeous basement Great Room
A brag-worthy basement gym
A brag-worthy basement gym
This fabulous workshop & storage area would deserve to be included in your ad
This fabulous workshop & storage area would deserve to be included in your ad

Describing your basement in a real estate ad

Basement rooms can present challenges when writing your ad, especially if part of the space is finished—meaning it has walls and ceilings covering the foundation and floor joists—and part is not. Questions such as whether or not a basement laundry room constitutes living space (and is therefore added to the total square footage of your house) can only be answered on a case-by-case basis. And what about a workshop, or an exercise room—do they count toward the total area of the house, or not?

The general rule is that to qualify as living space, a room must have finished floors and ceilings as well as heat or air conditioning; thus an enclosed, unheated porch would not count toward the total square footage of a house. Most often basement rooms are not added to the total area of the house even if they are heated and/or cooled (heated in northern regions, cooled in the south) unless there is also a ground level, walk out entrance to those rooms. If you can enter and exit your basement without going up a flight of stairs, your basement is a walk out and any finished, heated and/or cooled rooms in your basement should be counted as living space.

However, even if your basement does not qualify as living space, it may contain brag-worthy features. Newer heating or cooling systems, well-designed workshops, large laundry areas and easy-access utility areas all deserve a place on your list. (In the next article in this series I will give you a list of other features about which you should brag.)

Lots of legible signs were key in the sale of my house

In an upcoming article in this series I will explain how to place signs for the maximum exposure--to get your house sold fast!
In an upcoming article in this series I will explain how to place signs for the maximum exposure--to get your house sold fast! | Source

Barns, fences & gardens all deserve mention

A barn in good condition can add a lot of value to your property
A barn in good condition can add a lot of value to your property
Fences can be beautiful as well as practical
Fences can be beautiful as well as practical
Gardens, arbors and other special features can set your listing apart from others
Gardens, arbors and other special features can set your listing apart from others

Storage areas, and your great outdoor living space

So describe your basement as carefully as the rest of your house, and then you are nearly done this part of the project, because only the attic remains to be discussed. Does your attic provide storage? If so, to what degree is that space finished—meaning walls and ceilings. The more finished it is, the more you can brag about it, but remember that an attic that provides terrific storage does not qualify as living space; just as is the case with basements, the test is fully finished space that is also heated and/or cooled. One big plus, however, is a walk up attic—meaning there are stairs going up to it—and an attic with pull-down stairs is a close second; both are worthy of inclusion on your list.

Once you have listed all the rooms, utility and storage areas of your house, it’s time to move outdoors. You already described your front yard, so what about the back yard? Decks, patios and gardens all should be added to your list, as well as detached garages (be sure to note how many cars it can hold) as well as barns, lawn sheds, ponds, arbors, fences or other yard structures. Obviously, the newer or better maintained these are, the more value they have. When we get to writing the actual ad I’ll help you deal with problem features, such as old, dilapidated out-buildings or fences, but for now list only the positive parts of your property.

(One note regarding barns and fences: If your property is a farm, whether a working business or a “gentleman’s farm,” your barns and fences may have much greater value and may therefore appear earlier in your ad than if you live in an urban or suburban setting. I have seen ad copy for ranches and farms that begin with the barn, in fact, and in many parts of the country that is a completely appropriate way to begin your ad.)

This is the sign you really want to see at the end of your driveway!


The most important feature of my house is:

See results

We have now listed every part of your property, and quite an extensive list it is! Don’t worry, in the next article in this series I will guide you in crafting a well-written, productive ad based on your list.

But first let’s summarize:

The Ten Rules for Writing Real Estate Ad Copy That Sells:

  1. Use correct grammar and avoid abbreviations
  2. Use adjectives to describe each feature
  3. Describe the front exterior of your house first
  4. Describe the public areas of your house next
  5. Then move to the kitchen, great room, home office or any other room on the main floor
  6. Move upstairs (if your home has a second floor) and describe each room, beginning with bedrooms
  7. Describe a third floor next, or move to the basement
  8. Attic next
  9. Do not neglect to list useful storage space
  10. Then go outside and describe decks, patios, detached garages, barns, fences and sheds

(I am an artist and the author of the Suburban Sprawl series of novels as well as two nonfiction books. Find out more about my work at

Copyright © Roberta Lee 2012. All rights reserved.


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    • Doodlehead profile image


      3 years ago from Northern California

      What about where to list the house? Also, what about us condo owners? I was going to do but figured out no realtors would show the house. As one who used to be a California broker for 8 years, ( no more) my opinion is that in order to get the exposure needed, the MLS is almost all there is. Fact is houses sell faster and at higher prices on the MLS. I do not work for the MLS. As mentioned above I am not a licensed agent or broker, but I feel knowledgeable enough to express this opinion. Oh were that it were not the case.

    • DIYmyOmy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      It's the same with my current house--the Great Room and the kitchen are the parts everyone loves, although for me it's the classic 50's bathrooms that I adore the most. They are what made me fall in love with this house, which no one believes but it's true.

    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      The best feature of our house is definitely the great room. It's what sold us on the house, and it's the room everyone always comments on when they visit for the first time.

    • DIYmyOmy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      What is the single most special feature of YOUR house?


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