In the Part 1, I took an ad from a real estate magazine and applied George Orwell’s 6 part test for choosing the best words. The ad went from
Situated well away from the hustle and bustle of Marmion Avenue lies a superb value air-conditioned 3 bedroom modern bathroom home featuring separate lounge, dining opening out into an open plan family, contemporary kitchen and meals area. The large alfresco includes garden plus all weather pergola. Do not delay! Act now! Before it’s too late.
This air-conditioned home is set well away from the traffic noise from Marmion Avenue. It has a lounge, a dining room that opens onto a family room, and a kitchen and meals area. The alfresco includes a garden and an all-weather pergola.
Although the rewritten ad is more efficient it isn’t compelling. What’s missing?
For a start, there’s no protagonist, no hero of the story. So let’s introduce one.
Real estate agents are often tempted to make themselves the protagonist. They become the hero who’s “just listed this magnificent 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom…” You get the idea. But as the hero the ad becomes all about them and their needs. It ignores the needs of the reader – the buyer – and that makes the ad less compelling.
So let’s go ahead and make the buyer the protagonist. To do that, we’ll need to know a few things about them.
What’s happening in their life right now? What big goal do they want to achieve? What obstacles will they face as they try to achieve that goal? How will life look when they’ve overcome those obstacles and conquered their fears?
Because the house was advertised at a price “In the high $500’s” I’m going to take a few educated guesses about the potential buyer – our new protagonist. I’m going to call her Debbie.
Debbie is 25 and has been living with Bob for 3 years. Debbie wants kids. At 25 she knows there’s plenty of time but she wants her first before she’s 30. As a commercial lawyer Debbie works long hours. She’s happy to do this to do her bit to save for their first home.
Debbie and Bob have been renting since they moved in together. John works as a theatre nurse at Joondalup Health Campus. He too works long hours. Although they’d like to buy closer to the city they also want a block with enough room for their yet-to-be born family to play. Living away from the city centre will allow them to have a bigger home on more land and still be within their budget.
Debbie imagines that one day her children will go to university just like her and she worries that, even with the amount they’re saving, they’ll struggle to save enough deposit to buy their first home. She worries about being in so much debt that they won’t be able to afford to go out with their friends.
Debbie and Bob have only recently begun to save seriously. Previously they’ve partied hard, spending large chunks of their now substantial incomes on fine wine, expensive Scotch, and a new Subaru Impreza. They love their car but don’t love that it’s losing value fast.
There’s a lot more I could say about Debbie but this is a good start. We now have a hero – Debbie – who has a goal of buying a home, raising a family and sending her kids to university. She must do all of this knowing that she’ll have stiff competition from other first-time buyers.
Now that we have a protagonist we need a plot.
I’ll develop the plot in tomorrow’s post.