Classified Ads

Selling secrets for Writing a Successful Classified Ad









What’s the secret of selling with a killer classified ad? It’s simply telling the home buyer what they want to hear. In addition, your goal should be to sell the buyer by carefully making them curious enough to want to learn more about your property. Most home buyers will immediately want to know three things: the price, the location, and the number of bedrooms in the house. Keep in mind that you do not want to give so much information that the qualified buyers are immediately able to eliminate your home from consideration (i.e. a selling ad that mentions “needs repairs” will probably be crossed off the list of a potential buyer). Many times, prospective buyers will end up purchasing a property quite different from what they have in mind. Therefore, your selling ad needs to draw them in enough to take a look at what you have to offer!

A good classified ad is direct and to-the-point. Leading with the home’s selling price will immediately attract serious buyers to your ad. Here is where you would mention if the home selling price is negotiable or if financing is available. The words “Financing Available” will appeal to potential buyers, as this is often a confusing or difficult part of the house buying process. It’s reassuring to know that the seller is already taking steps towards pre-qualifying prospective buyers. If you happen to be working with a lender who is willing to pre-qualify potential buyers (especially one who can get them good rates), make sure to include this information as well. In fact, highlight this point by stating “Excellent Financing” or “Affordable Financing” is available. Everyone wants a deal and they will certainly be interested in good financing options!

Working with a lender is also helpful if you receive phone calls from buyers only interested in low down payment options. You can send them directly to your lender, explaining that you are only showing the home after they have met with the lender. Though some potential buyers may not be willing to do this, it will enable you to work with serious, qualified buyers who are truly ready to purchase your home. For those buyers who claim to have already been pre-qualified, take down the name of their lender and verify it before taking any further steps. Of course, you do not have to include financing options if you do not wish to–your ad will still be effective, attracting a number of interested home buyers.

In addition to the selling price and terms, this first line should include the home’s location. As many home buyers only skim through classified ads, it’s important that you are accurate, yet not too specific in naming your area (the exception to this rule is, of course, those neighborhoods that are so desirable that its name alone will have your phone ringing). For example, if your home is in Avondale Valley, you should just state the location as “Avondale” to appeal to more buyers. You do not want a potential buyer to eliminate your house because they (possibly mistakenly) believe that Avondale Valley is too far from the train station. The key is to get them to come see the house for themselves. Many home sellers are wary of mentioning the desired selling price or area so early in their ad. It is important to remember that, in most circumstances, buyers will only look at houses within their price range and location. Again, you are ensuring that you are attracting only serious buyers.

The next phase of your ad is the descriptive qualities of the house itself. First, you should state how many bedrooms the house has. Next, make note of any garages, a backyard, a fence, or a quiet street. Also be sure to include anything that has been newly renovated or remodeled. This always appeals to potential buyers who like the idea of getting a new kitchen or bathroom, for example. Other nice features to mention are a patio or a fireplace. These amenities will further increase buyer interest in your property.

Do not state every feature you believe is wonderful about your home. What you think is great may not appeal someone else. For example, a home that is close to stores may be great for you, but it might signal a noisy neighborhood to some of your buyers. The last thing you want to do is clutter your ad space with information that will make buyers look past your ad to the next one! Your job is to get them to call. They will see all the fabulous features your home has to offer soon enough.

The most effective ads are those that are short, simple, and non-threatening. They fulfill the most important job of all-telling the buyer what they want to hear. Here are examples of strong classified ads:

$359,900, Jacksonville, affordable financing available, beautiful 4 bedroom home, fireplace, garage, by owner. Call 866-8945 or view listing #XXXXXXXX at
$299,900, Avondale, lovely 3 bedroom house, new kitchen, garage, quiet street, by owner. Call 866-4637 or view listing #XXXXXXXX at
$149,900, Baymeadows, excellent financing available, BEAUTIFUL 3 bedroom home, private backyard, garage, great area, by owner. Call 866-2738 or view listing #XXXXXXXX at

These ads tell the buyer the necessary information they need, without giving reason to eliminate the house from consideration. As the above examples indicate, start with price followed by the location either bolded or in all caps. The idea is to appeal to serious buyers who will be interested in finding out more about your house. Classified ads are effective, and if you follow the advice above, your phone will be ringing off the hook.

Good luck!