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Real Estate Marketing - Tips for Writing your MLS Listing

This article was first featured on www.quantum23.com.

The first place potential home-buyers go to find homes for sale is online. With both buyers and other agents checking MLS websites for new properties or updates, it’s important to remember your MLS listing is what you are sending out to the world to attract enquiries. For property agents, making sure descriptions capture attention is key and you have about 7 seconds to engage potential buyers.

What is MLS data and why is it important?

When it comes to Real Estate marketing, creating an MLS listing is more than data entry and agents should spend more time strategically looking at the way their listings are formatted. You need to be recognised as the primary source of information for a property so your description should hold all the information about your listing including keywords, search terms and features that buyers and other agents use to figure out if they want to look at the property.

With 1150 real estate agents in Marbella alone, there’s some tough competition along the Costa del Sol and you quickly gain a reputation between other agents whether your properties are the ones to share or the ones to avoid.

Pro Tip: Photos get the buyer’s attention, but descriptions get them in the door

The most common mistakes when writing an MLS listing

  • Distracting punctuation!!!
  • Poor grammar
  • CAPS LOCK
  • A list of features
  • Selling the features instead of the benefits of the features
  • Cliches such as “Selling Fast!”
  • Failure to sell the area
  • 99 pricing gimmick
  • Poor quality photos

Here’s a real MLS listing for a property in Spain:

Luxurious Beach Front Villa Often referred to as the most luxurious Villa on Spain##39;s Costa del Sol, Villa Moana is truly a jewel nestled in the heart of paradise. Enjoying 180 degree ocean views this 2,250 sqm built home sits ideally amongst 7,000 sqm of beautifully landscaped gardens. Conveniently situated just off the main N.340 motorway to Malaga, Villa Moana was designed with practicality, peace and privacy in mind. The large gardens offer many quiet areas where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the sounds of the Mediterranean Sea gently lapping against the 2 km of shore line and direct beach access that Villa Moana enjoys. In the past Villa Moana and its team of staff have had the pleasure of welcoming Royalty, Presidents,Billionaires, Sheiks and Superstars. Some of whom return year after year and others that tell us that they will #quot;treasure the memories of their stay at Moana forever#quot;. Even the world famous #quot;One Direction#quot; gave their début performance here in the X factor #quot;judges homes#quot; screening. Click here to watch the Video. All bedrooms are en Suite and enjoy fantastic sea views towards Africa

Let’s break it down...

The first thing that stands out here is poor grammar, punctuation and no link - the text has probably been cut and pasted from elsewhere. This particular listing is priced at €40.000.000 (yes, I did say €40.000.000), so you would think a little more care might have been taken when formatting the property overview.

  • No headline to grab a buyer's attention.
  • The general description is vague with no information about the area.
  • Conversion of punctuation to character codes - cut and pasting is a no no.
  • If you were spending 40 million on a villa, would you want it just off a motorway?
  • No link to click on for the video.

How to write a more compelling MLS description?

Let’s think about the target audience first. We are going to be targeting a very niche group of buyers here so even if you can’t pinpoint your exact demographic, you can at least narrow your focus. There are probably few buyers who could purchase a property in this price bracket and those that can will likely be looking for luxury, privacy, discretion and security.


Exclusive Spanish sanctuary with panoramic views of the Mediterranean and Africa

For the most discerning of buyers, Villa Moana is renowned as being one of the most luxurious beachfront villas in Spain. Currently used as an exclusive Boutique Hotel catering for a high end international market including Royalty, Presidents, Sheiks and Superstars, this beachside estate close to Mijas on the Costa del Sol, has featured in the music video of British dance act Supafly and was used as an X Factor judges house for the 2010 auditions with One Direction.

Decorated throughout to the highest standard, the property boasts many features including a vaulted entrance leading to east and west wings. With sweeping staircases, moulded ceilings, exquisite trompe l’oeil walls, sumptuous antique furnishings and inlaid marble floors, no detail has been spared in creating intimate living spaces with stylish comfort.

The magnificent 12 bedroom villa has 9 guest suites leading to private terraces. With canopied beds, private dressing rooms, French antiques and Persian rugs, each guest suite enjoys undisturbed 180 degree ocean views.

Villa Moana’s main kitchen is a splendid recreation of 18th century France with French antique cabinetry, Languedoc marble basins and work surfaces. With a fully stocked wine cellar, walk-in cold storage, lift and a full array of restaurant-quality equipment, this is the place to create Mediterranean masterpieces. There is also a second fully appointed family kitchen in another wing of the house.

This 2,250 sqm built home sits amongst 7,000 sqm of beautifully landscaped gardens with private terraces featuring tropical flowers, topiary and elegant fountains. With a vast sundeck and gentle swaying palms, there are many quiet areas to sit back and relax. The tennis court doubles as a helipad and the villa has direct access to 2km of unspoiled shoreline allowing for total privacy, security and exclusivity.

Situated just 30 minutes from Malaga International Airport, close by amenities include several international schools, world class golf, yachting, scuba diving, hiking, jeep and quad safaris, seasonal skiing, horse racing and for motorsport enthusiast, the spectacular Ascari race track is just an hour away. A short drive to Puerto Banús offers luxury shopping for exclusive brands such as Gucci, Chloe, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, Dolce & Gabbana and Agent Provocateur.

Property Overview:
  • 2 Reception Halls
  • 2 Sitting Rooms
  • 1 Drawing Room
  • 10 well-appointed bedrooms each with en-suite bathroom
  • 6 further guest bathrooms
  • Bar
  • Study
  • Dining Room
  • Dedicated Cinema featuring Dolby THX 360 degrees surround sound and leather reclining armchairs
  • 1 Family Kitchen
  • 1 Main Kitchen
  • Numerous Storerooms
  • Laundry Room
  • Games room
  • Indoor wave pool and Spa
  • Outdoor pool
  • 2 Turkish Baths
  • 2 Saunas
  • Gym with state-of-the-art fitness equipment
  • Jacuzzi
  • Hairdressing Salon
  • 2 Massage/Treatment Rooms
  • Lift and Service Lift
  • Butlers Pantry
  • Walk-in Cold Room

The new description offers much more information both about the property and the area. Based on the search terms used to find such a property, your listing is more likely to be found because the unique content and better use of keywords. And if you had 40 million euros to spare, which MLS description is more compelling, more professional and better reflects the true splendour of the listing?

But what happens if the property is not listed by you, but by another agent? In fact, in Spain, it could be listed by many agents. And if the listing has been exported to Property Portals, it could be displayed thousands of times worldwide - none of which have unique descriptions.

If you’re a QRES client, you already know this is not a problem. Quantum Real Estate Solutions allows you to augment property descriptions for unique and better quality content. Our QRES administration software lets you isolate only the listing description so you can ‘rewrite’ the description for better quality and unique content. Your website will continue to consume your XML feed on a daily basis and the listing description on your website will not be overwritten.

You can create two or three versions of each listing description, highlighting certain features to appeal to different buyers. And if the agent has not added a description a language you require, just add your own. Changing your description on a weekly basis can also keep it fresh so you can target your different target audiences.

QRES software gives you a competitive edge over other agents with the same feed data, displaying the same properties.