WHO SAYS real estate writing isn’t as exciting as the next Harry Potteresque novel? Real estate is filled with political intrigue, ancient and new laws, old buildings full of history, mindboggling maps, secret rooms and magic in making a small room look large. You just have to dig deep and be a creative thinker. The subject is wide-ranging from buying and selling all types of properties—residential single-family or condominiums/townhomes, multifamily, luxury, commercial, land, industrial—to lending, leasing, design, architecture, building and home living. The more interesting the topics, the more editors will lap them up and consumers will relish them.
Breaking into this specialty
National real estate writing and editing has been my specialty for nearly 10 years, but I have years of experience as a real estate agent and property manager that made a complete package for editors and content managers. I have written an ebook and hundreds of blogs for different companies, interviewed and written profiles about top agents for a magazine, published feature articles and a weekly newsprint column and even been on local television as a real estate expert. Topics are far ranging from tax-deferred exchanges to decorating a small room and housing trends in a specific area.
While the trade magazines prefer writers with industry experience or expertise, consumer magazines are easier to break into. However, you must still show knowledge of the topic proposed. If you don’t have some kind of real estate base, create one.
Real estate (such as laws, zoning, contracts, taking title) is different in every state with some nuances for city and county properties. Read trade and consumer publications to keep up with current topics in your state, follow interest rates, understand new or revised laws, and know the local market. Develop relationships with those in the profession and their affiliates—agents, brokers, lenders, escrow officers, attorneys—to use as subject matter experts. Join ActiveRain—a real estate social networking site and blogging platform with over 320,000 members—to read about and discuss real estate issues with those in the know and make connections.
If you have a WordPress site, website or other blog, create three to four pieces of varying lengths on some popular real estate topics to show what you know and how you write. Real estate is serious business, so do your research well. Adding a few expert quotes will further your reputation and make you more credible. Create catchy headlines and taglines to catch the attention of readers and potential editors. Promote the pieces on all your social networking sites, including ActiveRain, to gather momentum for your work.
Hot topics in real estate
Keep writing and posting on real estate topics to build up your links. Topics of interest change with the times based on market analysis, economy, tax incentives or increases, new or revised laws, ease of lending and many other factors. Use these current hot topics to help generate article ideas:
- Homes on the market with interesting history
- Home design and architectural trends
- How to go from renting to home owning (e.g., breaking leases, down payment information)
- Tips for homeownership
- Green homes and green living
- Market trends in laypersons terms
Publications to query
Now, it’s time to query digital or print editors. Contact local editors first. Does your town newspaper or business journal have a real estate writer? Put a query together to write a recurring column or a feature article citing or with links to your posted work. Perhaps local brokers or agents want some original content on their blog or website and will pay you to ghostwrite for them. Even area magazines that just post various company listings sometimes want an article written to help their publication stay on consumers’ tables longer.
Try pitching a story to your city or state magazine with a unique home history or architectural travel tour that really showcases the city or state. Come up with a real-estate-concept article with a city or statewide twist. For instance, an avid golfer may write about pros and cons of area golf communities to help the consumer decide where to purchase. Study various real estate, design, architecture, home and garden and even women’s magazines to see what article types they accept and learn how to pitch to them keeping a broad or specific real estate slant, depending on the publication. Always keep your audience in mind—local, regional, national—and gear your pitch accordingly.
Here are some national and regional magazines to get you started as a real estate writer. Many publications have different content on their website, so query the digital editor too. Search online for publications in your state. Peruse your library’s (or big-name bookseller’s) magazine racks for titles. You will usually find the current editor’s name and contributor details on their website.
Chesapeake Home + Living
( www.chesapeakehome.com )
(upscale modern design and architecture)
( www.dwell.com )
Mother Earth Living
(formerly Natural Home & Garden)
(design, architecture, real estate)
Phoenix Home & Garden
( www.phgmag.com )
( www.portlandspaces.com )
(homes and interiors)
Reposition your article
Study other publications and craft home-related queries that would fit different formats. Remember that golfing community article mentioned above? Repositioned, it may be a good fit for a golfing or sports magazine. Pinpoint trends with female home buyers for a women’s magazine or 55 and over housing preferences for a senior-living magazine. Lists or top five of anything are always popular if backed up with statistics and detail, such as an article on the top five reasons to buy a home now.
By using your creativity, you can write real estate articles for a wide range of audiences and publications. There is no limit to consumer’s interest in the American dream of homeownership.
About the author:
A graduate of Rutgers University, Elizabeth R. Elstien is a published author with over 25 years of writing, editing, research and marketing experience. As a former professional archaeologist credited with numerous academic publications and lectures to botanical medicine, business and real estate, Elizabeth’s writing credentials are wide ranging. Skilled in writing stellar business plans, bios/profiles and reports, Elizabeth also knows how to craft a slogan or marketing piece that gets results. A member of the Nonfiction Writers Association, Elizabeth is always eager to travel, learn and educate through exceptional wordcrafting. View www.Eelstien.com or contact her at Eelstien@Eelstien.com.
Also by Elizabeth R. Elstien:
1. 5 Strategies to Sell Yourself to Sell More Writing Services! (article)
2. How to Find Great Subject-Matter Experts for Your Articles (article)