Having a career in content writing has manifested quite a bit over the years. People unfamiliar with it tend to understand that the job only really exists in magazines, print material, and marketing. Because of this, a career in content writing has a faux narrative around it: “You can only work in the field if you move to a big, thriving city.” Places like Toronto, Vancouver, New York, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, Paris, etc. What we forget is that every business requires someone to write material. It could be writing copy, blog posts, articles, policies, web content, coding, etc. When I graduated with my English degree, I never imagined I would be a content writer for a real estate brokerage. Even I, someone who spent 5 years learning about literature and careers in writing, assumed it would be a long shot to land a gig like this. Not only that, but I never pegged real estate for a business that would need a writer.
I had a very general and broad understanding of the real estate industry. When I was hired as the content writer and creator for Realty Unleashed, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. As I said, I had minimal comprehension of real estate. And because of this, I was worried that I would perhaps be more of a liability than anything else. There was a lot of learning that happened at the beginning. I had to become fluent in real estate lingo and aware of legalities with certain terminology. I remember going to Google and looking for an article that would assist me in this new chapter of my life. I found next to nothing. Sure, there were plenty of articles about real estate, but nothing about working at a brokerage whilst not being an agent. So, out has come my inspiration to provide this resource for someone who might be looking for it like I had once been.
You’re a writer, not a REALTOR®, and that’s alright.
If you’ve found yourself reading this article, odds are you are not a real estate professional. Well, me neither! I had a lot to learn, and I’m sure you do, too. Whoever hired you understands that you aren’t a REALTOR®. They are likely prepared to inform and teach you all you need to know about the industry. With that said, the one thing I encourage you to do is really pay attention to what they are talking about in the office. You might tend to zone out when you hear things like “We’re about to close,” or “Our client is non-waiving.” I know I did. But, most of the time, you can learn a lot just from listening and observing. Don’t be scared to pop in to ask questions or for clarification if you need. You’ll be glad you did later when you don’t need to ask a co-worker what a Real Property Report is for the third time.
Readable material is best.
One of the first pieces of constructive criticism that I got from my boss, Jen, was that I was writing too intellectually. This was, of course, out of habit. Having spent the last 5 years writing essays and other scholarly pieces, it was only natural to use more complex terminology. But that piece of criticism really helped put things into perspective going forward. And like any new job, you have to be open to doing things differently, even if you aren’t used to it.
Because of Jen’s piece of advice early on, I then had a better consciousness of my job. And further, how I wasn’t writing for myself but our clients and readers. If you’re writing for real estate, you’re going to learn to throw complex dialects out the window. It helps to use accessible, readable and welcoming language. It’s great to maintain professionalism and ensure your work is grammatically correct, but you aren’t writing a reflective analysis on Sense and Sensibility. Get comfortable with more casual writing and have fun with it!
Learn learn learn.
While the Internet may be seriously lacking in articles about real estate writing, it does not lack REALTOR® content. Something to always keep in mind is that there are different rules for real estate professionals based on where they are located. It’s a good idea to look into your province’s rules. If you’re in Alberta, refer to RECA. During my first few weeks on the job, I was taught some technicalities that I needed to be aware of before publishing articles. For example, whenever I’m writing a piece and using the word REALTOR®, I always have to include the registered trademark afterwards. I had no idea this was something I needed to do until I was told. I also have to keep in mind when writing that I can never claim Realty Unleashed is “the best real estate in Edmonton,” nor other claims that can’t be empirically substantiated. These are just a couple of items that I’ve become privy to, so here is your sign to be open to learning!
The bottom line.
If you’ve been employed by a real estate brokerage, they’re ready to teach you what you need to know! You were hired as the content writer because you’re a great writer and that’s what they need. No one is expecting you to know everything about the industry, but surely you will wind up learning anyway. I hope these very brief but necessary tips ended up being helpful to you in this new, exciting endeavour. All the best!