Tips for effective Online and Print Classified Ads

Well written classified newspaper ads and short descriptions for online internet ads can attract potential buyers to your home. Remember that you are competing with hundreds if not thousands of other internet and classified ads for the attention and interest of qualified buyers looking for the home of their dreams.

1. Learn how to attract interested buyers to your Online FSBO ad.

Most buyers will want to know three things right away:

  • the asking PRICE,
  • the LOCATION , and
  • the number of BEDROOMs

Give home buyers what they want and need. The top ten items that buyers want to learn about are.


Remember, your ad is now local to global. Define the location of the home as much as possible by city, neighborhood, subdivision, colloquial name, and with mapping features if at all possible. Putting the address of the home will encourage the buyer to drive by - something you want the prospect to do since driving around is the leading source of information obtained by home buyers.


The one qualifying and eliminating tool that buyers can understand is price, particularly when you break price down into down payment and monthly payments. That they can understand.

Picture of the Home

The more the better! With today's digital cameras, streaming video there is no need to limit the views that your buyer can see of your listing.

Virtual tour of the home

Ads with virtual tours attract more buyer. Internet home shoppers are busy people. That's why they're looking for a new home online instead of driving the neighborhoods looking for "For Sale by Owner" signs. Virtual tours save time for the buyer by letting them view the features of your home from the comfort of theirs and save time for the seller by reducing the number of unproductive home showings. Virtual tours also let sellers showcase the attractive features of their home in a way that a written description wouldn't accomplish.

Total Number of Rooms

Knowing the number of rooms helps readers understand the layout better and increases the likelihood that they will call.

Number of Bedrooms and Bathrooms

number of bedrooms is second only to price as a reason buyers choose a particular home.

Size of Lot/Square Feet of the Home

As you know, appraisers base many of their calculations on what homes are selling for in a comparable area. Since lenders will only loan so much on a home in a given area, price per square foot becomes an important pricing tool for the buyer. Again, without seeing the home, knowing the square feet means they can envision the size of each room and the home without setting foot in it.

Details of the Community and Neighborhood

Be sure your descriptions are in compliance with Fair Housing regulations, or you could simply link to community information.

Amenities and Features

Even though your online ad may feature pictures, the viewer may not realize the value or importance of what they are looking at. So, put captions on each picture, even it they appear self-explanatory. A swimming pool becomes more alluring if the caption reads, "Custom-designed heated diving pool with imported tile and computerized controls, installed Spring 98." As you can see, each word is chosen to convey vital pieces of information - the buyer knows without asking that the pool is one year old, not original to the home, that it is deep enough for diving (families with children may take appropriate precautions,) that it is easy to operate and maintain, and that it is a luxurious amenity. Isn't that much better than saying "Gorgeous Pool!!" or Custom Pool?

Phone number

This really needs to be updated to contact information. One phone number, one email address.

A Word About Your Listing

Always remember that in any online ad, you are presenting to the buyer, not other agents, so try to write for them.

Expand your vocabulary. Use words that define, rather than modify. It is easy to make blunders while writing advertising text, particularly by using emphatic words that scream at the reader. Don't hype instead of sell. "New! Charming! Won't last!" are exclamations which are especially overwrought and amateurish when captioning the photo of a mediocre home.

The same "charming" house could be succinctly described by the following sentence - "Affordable 3 bedroom bungalow near shopping and schools offers original tile baths, wood floors and "shabby chic" decor."

2. Learn how to attract interested buyers to your Print FSBO ad.

Want to use the print classified ad to take the buyer to the Internet where s/he can get more information about your listings and other services? So, how would you rewrite the same ad to maximize the potential of the Internet? There are numerous possibilities, depending on your personal style.

Here are some helpful hints on how to write a great classified ad that works!

1. Merchandise to Sell

Listing the item on the first line ensures your ad's placement in the correct category in the Classifieds. Bold letters draw attention to the ad, making it highly visible to prospects looking for your type of merchandise.

2. Description

List plenty of details about your merchandise. Color, components and materials are important factors prospects consider.

3. Price

All prospects have a price range they are able to afford. Listing your price attracts qualified buyers.

4. Contact Procedure

Include phone number. Specify the contact procedure you prefer. Make the ad easy to respond to.

Ad Space is Limited and Valuable

Not only must you attract the attention of your potential buyers, but you must do it in a very limited amount of space and with few words, so it's important to choose your words with care. Your ad text should not exceed 250 characters - (that's characters, not words!) so every word counts.

Divide your ad into Three Parts

  • Headline
  • Best Features
  • Closing

Grab Attention with a Catchy Headline

Remember the salesman's adage: "You're not selling the steak, you're selling the sizzle". Write a headline that grabs the buyer's imagination or offers fulfillment of a dream or a wish.

Mention Your Home's Best Features

Consider your probable buyers and focus on your home's features most attractive to that market group rather than the general public. For example, is your home suited to a family with young children? Are schools nearby? Retirees? Close to golf courses or senior activities? Working couples? Easy commute...close to shopping?

Remember what attracted you to your home? Was it the view, the large kitchen, finished basement, proximity to schools or shopping? Chances are what attracted you will attract someone else. But remember, your ad space is limited so pick the most unique and best features to list. You can always go in to great detail in your online ad listing and actually list dozens of great features.

Close with a Reason for Buyers to Call

Close your ad with a reason for buyers to call and schedule an appointment to see your home. Use a phrase to create a sense of urgency, such as "bound to sell quickly". Or capitalize on the buyer's desire to own a home such as you've described..."be the proud owner". You can always close the ad with an investment related phrase such as "a bargain at this price".

Pull out all the stops

Use both printed classified ads and internet listings for their unique advantages. By listing your house online you have an opportunity that classified ad space won't allow, a venue to display pictures, a virtual tour with all the features and benefits of the lovely home you're offering for sale.

Use your classified ad to attract local buyers and direct them to your online listing for all the details and photos. Your online listing can become a virtual open house, eliminating shoppers who are not really interested in purchasing your type of home.

To sum it up:

Your ad needs to get them interested enough to take a more in depth look at your offer. Don't give so much information that buyers are immediately able to eliminate your home from consideration. For example, if your property needs repairs, leave that information out of the classified as its inclusion will often result in your listing being crossed off the potential buyer's list even though they would be interested if they were actually shown the property in person.

Be direct and to-the-point. Remember the old marketing adage "KISS " (Keep it simple stupid). What you think is good about your property does not always appeal to everyone. For example, a property close to the local mall may be convenient for you but others may associate it with noise and high-traffic surroundings. You certainly don't want to clutter your classified ad with details that will make shoppers lose interest! Just focus on getting them to call you. They'll see all the amazing things about your property soon enough.

Effective ads serve one primary purpose: Telling the prospect what they want to hear about your real estate for sale.

They should be short, simple, and to-the-point.


$349,000, Miami, FL. Affordable financing available.
4 bedroom home, 2 fireplaces, attached-garage, FSBO.

Call 585 2675474 or visit

Listing ID 123555666

$325,000, Kendall, Florida, 33196, FULLY RENOVATED
3 bedroom home, no backyard neighbors.

FSBO. Call 363-416-1234 or visit

Listing ID 123555666

Need more info? Contact us at and we'll be happy to advise you as best we can.