Random thoughts on Real Estate Writing :)

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I recently resigned from my part-time job as a Real Estate Writer with our local community newspaper. Each week I would visit three properties and write an article on each one. I also edited about a dozen small articles written by the real estate sales reps.

Real estate writing has a bad reputation however it isn’t that difficult to write up an honest description of a property with a focus on its positive attributes. Below I will include a copy of a PDF document of words I put together for reference when I was stuck.

Here are few random thoughts from my nearly three years doing the job

  • There is no need to say HUGE 2ha block of land. It is either 2ha or it isn’t!
  • Houses don’t BOAST! They may have a delightful kitchen but they don’t BOAST about it!
  • It is important to vary the first word in each sentence. It is so easy (when under deadline) to find that just about every sentence starts with ‘The’ or ‘It’.
  • Use Word’s thesaurus. It can really ruin an article if every item is described as ‘stylish’ when there are so many other options available.
  • It was useful to read other publications to expand my vocabulary. New words for me included “chic, bespoke, sleek, splashback, pendant lights, skillion roof …”
  • After a some time in the job it took a lot to wow me. A three or four bedroom home could range from around $300,000 to $2million plus. They were still functionally much the same!
  • Some sales representatives attempted humour in their writing – I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are a professional comedian – even then it is questionable!
  • I did a quick (extra) edit to ensure that every sentence ended in a full stop. I used to cut and paste so much it was easy to misplace a full stop.

Here is my handy Real Estate Words List

 

Confidence booster

I developed the tool below to help me in times when I doubt myself.

I think of the word confidence and go through each letter at a time.

Sometimes I can’t remember my original choice of words and then I come up with new ones that reinforce positive thoughts in my mind.

CONFIDENCE IS MADE UP OF MANY SMALLER PARTS

C is for capable. You have the basic knowledge and experience to do the task at hand.

O is for often. When you do something often you become more confident in your ability.

N is for now. It helps if you focus on the task at hand, now, and not try to do tomorrow’s work today.

F is for follow. It may mean following a recipe, some guidance, a style manual, or the instructions in a manual.

I is for interest. If you have a genuine interest in what you are doing, you will feel more confident.

D is for determination. If you aspire to do well – chances are good that you will succeed.

E is for elements. If you understand the basic elements of the task, you can then tackle them one by one until the task is completed.

N is for new. Be always be open to learning something new. It is OK to acknowledge you haven’t done something before, however, be willing to learn new things.

C is for cheerful. If you can approach whatever you are doing with a cheerful attitude, your chances of success are greater.

E is for effort. You need to put in some effort and do the work that is required to the best of your ability.

PV1

I am not making it up …

about ageI recently had my sixtieth birthday and that means I have done a range of things in those six decades. Sometimes I surprise people when I mention some of those things. I guess we all travel our own journeys and we can never be sure where they will take us. A list of some of my adventures follows:

  • I left home in country Victoria at 17 years old to live in Melbourne and I was a bit into the hippie culture at the time
  • I met my first husband in Melbourne and we married when I was 18
  • My three sons were born in my twenties
  • I lived and worked in several remote communities with high Indigenous populations within Australia including Numbulwar in the Northern Territory, Fitzroy Crossing, Derby, Geraldton and Esperance in Western Australia
  • I was the Newman correspondent for the North West Telegraph when I was living in the Pilbara
  • I didn’t complete high school but went on to gain university entrance as an adult and have since achieved separate qualifications in management and professional writing
  • Twice divorced meant some time as a single mother of my three sons
  • I started studying theology at one stage but didn’t see it through plus I was a Church Warden, Synod representative and Pastoral Assistant in the Anglican Church
  • I was a Shire Councillor and Deputy Shire President with the East Pilbara Shire and ran as a candidate for the State Government in 1993
  • During my time working for the government I spent time in Education and Training, Culture and the Arts, Communities and Disability Services
  • I am really interested in computers and social media and love WordPress 🙂

What I find interesting is the diversity of some of my activities but I guess there is some consistency in the overall story. There are a few adventures held back – I don’t want to give everything away!

Any cheese – I mean mobiles?

I want to upgrade my mobile phone. Now that doesn’t sound complicated, does it? I have a pre-paid phone but I am looking at changing over to a contract. I went to the Telstra Store and was approached soon after arriving. He only wanted my name though and told me I was second in the queue. I decided to browse my options and selected three phones that I wanted more information about. I browsed for about ten minutes.

At last I was introduced to a salesperson. I said I was interested in the Nexus – she checked and said they didn’t have any as they were not very popular. OK, I moved on to the Samsung Galaxy 4 Mini – again she said they didn’t have any as they were now outdated with the Galaxy 5 being available. Righto – next I asked about the Nokia – and, you guessed it, they didn’t have any of these either. She went to check on the computer to see if any other Telstra Stores had them. I said, ‘Thanks, but don’t worry as I will go home and order one online!’

I also asked about my pre-paid credit disappearing and if she could check it out for me please. She advised me to ring the Pre-paid Mobile number but assured me I wasn’t alone as a lot of people had complained about losing their credit for unknown reasons!

Who wants to be a housewife?

There isn’t much talk today about being a housewife. In fact, it is often seen to be an offensive label. How can anyone be a wife of a house, after all? There are attempts to change the image to names such as domestic goddess or similar. Is it what we do when we are not in the paid workforce?

But really … most of us live in houses and most of us like them to be clean and livable. Someone has to do the work, and fair enough if it is shared among the family. We want clean bathrooms, washing done, floors swept and the cupboards stocked with food and supplies.

Why is it that I don’t mind doing domestic tasks for someone else but would rather not do them for myself sometimes. Then there is that regular question – what do you do for a living? I can respond with information about the one day I go out to work and skip the details for the other six days of the week.

Scaling back from full-time work has raised these issues with me, surprisingly in a similar way to when I first left the workforce to start a family. There seems to be some fear that being out of the workforce may cause me to disappear into thin air – to stop existing in a way that is recognised in our culture.

I believe our culture needs to value this role more and recognise the contributions, big and small, of people who are not in mainstream, paid work.

What do you think?

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Life is good, but …

I must be the most ungrateful person around. I have just landed a writing job for one day a week. I am really enjoying my studies even though I am feeling under time pressure a little. We are having guests for the weekend and I need to tidy up the house. So if that is all I have to worry about, then I am a very lucky person. A bit of hard work and a little stress in the next few weeks won’t do me any harm at all.

Hard work

Daily prompt: FAQs

In considering this topic I thought about someone interviewing ME and what questions I would like them to ask. I came up with some interesting questions but I will need to take some more personal time-out to think about my responses. In the meantime I thought I would share these searching questions with you 🙂 and the frog!

frog1. Do you have any long-term goals/dreams for the future?

 2. What do you believe to be your strengths?

 3. Do your current strengths support your long-term goals?

 4. Do you need to gain more skills and knowledge to achieve your goals?

 5. Does your personality – who you are as a person – fit nicely with your goals?

 6. Do your goals conflict in any way with your friends or family members? If so, how?

 7. Does your current health status support you in achieving your goals?

 8. What will you do if you do not achieve your goals? Describe your life, as it would be, without any specific aspirations for the future. Can you live comfortably with that?

You can download the questions below and reflect on them at your leisure 🙂

FAQs in Word

Please note that I am NOT a career counselor and I am just sharing my thoughts with you 🙂

Cheers

Lorraine

Job interviews

For some reason, the post below is one of my most read posts. I have even seen it used (via a ping back) by some HR Agencies. I thought I would re-blog it today – partly to remind myself about interviews – and partly to see if it is still a popular post.

I applied for a job yesterday as a Casual Real Estate Writer for our local newspaper. I always follow the real estate market so hopefully I will at least get an interview and see how it goes from there.

Spring in the Village 026 (Copy)Here is the earlier post:

I had a job interview this morning and now I am reflecting on how I could have improved my performance. Below are some of my reflections that may be useful next time.

1. I didn’t have a really good handle on the nuts and bolts of the job. I should have asked a lot more questions when I rang up to ask about the vacancy. I could then be more specific in my responses and be relevant to the job role.

2. I was taken by surprise with one panel member participating via video conference. This made it a little difficult to make eye contact and respond to that panel member.

3. I should have asked how much time they expected the interview to go for. I could have given a lot more information than I did, but I didn’t want to overdo it either. If I knew how much time I had I could have paced myself better.

4. I didn’t refer to any of the information I prepared beforehand, however, it was still worth doing as it made me do more research and think more deeply about my answers.

5. There is a lot to think about – with each response I tried to use relevant examples but I also wanted to use more recent examples. Some of my answers related to jobs I had much earlier in my career. It is a bit like studying for an exam – do I go into great depth on one topic or do I broadly touch on a range of examples?

In summary, I did the best I could with what I know. I will now try to let go and await a phone call or letter in the post. If I am not successful, the experience wasn’t wasted – life (and job interviews) involves ongoing learning and growing 🙂 Nothing is lost!

Weekly photo challenge: Unusual point of view (POV)

It is only two weeks until my first assignment is due. I had planned to work out a time-table today. I got the books out on the table this morning along with a planner to schedule my work so that I can get it in before the due date. But inspiration and inclination are lacking. As I sat looking at the bundle of paperwork I thought of today’s photo challenge.

So at least there was some outcome from my plans for the day. It might be because it is Election Day and I am finding it difficult to focus. Is that a good enough excuse?

The Style Manual is actually a great book. I bought it about four years ago and only opened its covers recently as it is the text for the unit I am studying. When I worked for the West Australian State Government, the Style Guide was the rule book for all written communications. It can be confusing due to English being used differently in various parts of the world (primarily the UK, America and Australia). It is something I am aware of when I am blogging  – that there ARE variations in the way we spell and pronounce different words. It makes life interesting!

I will get some work done tomorrow 🙂

cheers

Lorraine