9 Ways to Craft Captivating and Effective Real Estate Email Subject Lines

Last Updated December 21st, 2018

9 Ways to Craft Captivating and Effective Real Estate Email Subject Lines


It’s not easy to coax potential customers to click on an email – the internet has shortened attention spans, filled our inboxes with clutter, and taught us all about the power of skepticism.

Still, if you’re looking to increase your clientele and get your message out there, you’re going to have to make sure you’re using the best real estate email subject lines you can.


1. Keep It Simple, Keep it Short

Did you know that 40% of emails are being read on cell phones and mobile devices? And it’s not unlikely this trend will only increase as time goes on.

Desktops and large monitors may be great for work and leisure, but most of your customers are getting your mailers right to their pockets.

While that may seem like a good thing, the screen on a mobile device is tiny, offering them only 4 to 7 words of your subject line before it falls out of sight.

What does this mean?

Well, it means that your subject lines have to be punchy and straight to the point.

People are more likely to click on a short, evocative subject line than a complete sentence.

You’re not trying to write them a novel: you want to hit them with a quick jab. Instead of “The real estate listings you need to see right now,” trying something like “Don’t miss these listings” or “Make house-hunting easier.”


2. Don’t Be Afraid of a Little Mystery

It turns out that while customers have been inoculated to common sales pitches in their mailbox, everyone loves a good mystery.

When deciding on your email subject lines for real estate, don’t be afraid to think outside the box and offer your future customers an enticing hook.  It creates a curiosity gap.

A subject line is, after all, just the cover of a book. The sign over the door. The carnival barker outside the tent.

The only job of a subject line is to get the reader to open the email.

So, try taking an oblique angle on your approach.

A subject line like “Let’s get right to it” creates an itch in the mind – one, a reader can’t help but scratch. You could also go for “It’s been awhile” or “I can’t believe I forgot,” anything that asks a question of the reader.

One we’ve used that works great is starting with “Something happened and…”.

A subject line like this compels the mind to bridge the information gap. We can’t help but wonder what did actually happen, and what that means for us.

It’s very important the email subject lines that use this curiosity mechanism to lead to an email that truly delivers on the initial message, or you’ll cause your reader to lose confidence and trust in you.

It’s not about tricking your customers, it’s about giving them the chance to learn about the truly amazing listings, service and offers you have for them.

Writing subject lines like this gives you a much better opportunity to get your message in front of someone it can serve.


3. Do a Little Research

You’ve already taken your first step – why reinvent the wheel when you can see what the professionals have been doing?

Find out which tactics work, which tactics don’t, and use this wisdom to improve your click-through rate.

There are tools out there that you let you look up keywords to see how they’re performing. The Email Subject Line Grader, for instance, allows you type in a subject line and gives you a score of 1-100 based on the words it contains, word and character count.

Image credit: http://emailsubjectlinegrader.com/

You could also try SubjectLine, a free service that scores your subject line on a 1-100 basis, and even tells you why you lost and points and how to do better.

There are also a handful of great blog posts out there that give effective subject line formulas you can use to write some great ones yourself.  There’s nothing new under the sun, and one of the most efficient ways you can write subject lines is to start with a tested and tried formula.

4. Cultivate a Sense of Urgency

Much like how people crave mystery, your potential customers can also be unmotivated to click if there isn’t a reason for them to do it right now.

While the promise of expert real estate advice should get them in the door, the fact is, sometimes you’re going to need to light a fire under them. A sense of urgency creates a sense of momentum, a sense of need, and can offer a boost to their interest.

Here are a few real estate email subject lines examples that use a feeling of urgency to promise a one-time deal:

  • “One more day on the market!”
  • “Don’t miss this open house”
  • “Last chance for your dream home”

5. Be Honest!

While the subtle approach can sometimes pay dividends, don’t be afraid to experiment with blunt honesty.

For one, it’s refreshing, a welcome break from the sneaky language of sales that potential customers shy away from.

Secondly, honesty can make the reader laugh, which creates an intimacy and opens the door to feeling good about the person on the other end of the email.

Thirdly, people don’t expect it, and if you surprise your reader makes you become memorable.

Try shaking loose and trying something like…

“Yet another real estate email,” or

“House hunting sucks! If only you could make someone else do it for you.”

Honesty is indeed the best policy for a reason, and using it in your email subject lines can build trust and credibility with your prospects, clients and readers.


6. The Power of Threats

Wait a minute…not “I’m gonna throw a toaster in your bathtub” type of threats, don’t get carried away, now. Slow down.

I’m talking about a little bit of impending doom in the forecast.

People are motivated more by avoiding pain and fear than they are by moving towards a benefit or better future.

That’s because they’re already in pain, and they want to get out of it.

Realize that while selling the benefit of action can be great, selling the downside of not acting can be just as, if not more motivating.

Lots of people could be motivated by a bowl of ice cream, but even more will get off the couch if the house is on fire.

“Don’t fall into this home buying trap,” plants a seed of doubt in the reader’s mind, questioning their own abilities and making them wonder if they’re doing something wrong.

And, do you notice anything else this subject line does?

You’re right!  It creates a curiosity gap.

“7 mistakes buyers make” invokes both mystery and a sense of fear they may be making the same mistake as these buyers.

And this type of subject line is sure to get you opens.

Suggesting a problem or possible problem and promising a solution is as old as advertising itself, and can work wonders on any email subject line.


7. Personal Interest

When thinking about email subject lines for real estate, consider the fact that your reader is only interested in themselves.

They don’t want to feel like another face in the crowd or an email address on a mailing list somewhere.

While it’s easier to mass-produce generic newsletters and fire them into the ether, it rarely works, and you’ll get unsubscribes aplenty with that approach.

But, if you use the tools in your mailing list program or website to personalize your message, you increase the odds of a reader opening that email with anticipation of what’s in it for them.

Consider segmenting your mailing list into region, going as granular as you’re able to with the information you have.

Counties are good, cities are better, and neighborhoods are the best if you have that kind of intel. The bulk of the message can stay the same, but simply change the subject line and use local real estate listings.

It’s more work to do it this way, but you want the great results right?

A tailored email feels more like a conversation, and is well worth the extra bit of effort.

Try “Buying a home in [LOCATION]?” or “[LOCATION] homes getting scooped up fast”.

Subject lines like these are more likely to catch the eye of a reader than generic ones.


8. Avoid These Words

Not every email subject line is created equal, and not every subject line has the same shot at greatness. When writing a subject line, try not to think of it as a label.

Many people use the subject line as a title, which has been shown to immediately turn-off readers. For instance, there is a 18.7% decrease in click rates when the word “newsletter” is included.


Because no one wants to read a newsletter.

Now, people do read newsletters all the time, but not because their called newsletters in the subject line.

The other side of the coin is to think of the automated side of the process – the dreaded spam filter.

Spam filters are a constantly shifting target, so it’s important to search for “words to avoid in email subject lines” every six months or so to stay abreast of the changing requirements.

Here are a few of the words and phrases you currently want to avoid to not get hit by the spam hammer:

  • Once in a lifetime
  • Don’t delete
  • Bonus
  • Congratulations
  • Certified
  • Free quote
  • Act Now
  • Best price
  • Big bucks
  • Credit
  • Free Consultation
  • Income

There are more, plenty more, which is why it’s a good idea to frequently check on what words throw up red flags.


8.1. One word you should use

We did a study of 15,000,000 email sends from BombBomb in January of 2016, and found that emails with the word “video” in the subject line got

  • An 8.3% higher open rate, and…
  • A 32.8% higher play rate of the video in the email


That is a significant increase in open rate from only including one word.

And you obviously have to have a video in your email if you want to put that in the subject line.

That’s one of the ways that BombBomb helps business professionals get more email opens and more replies and responses.

In addition to the increased open rate, there’s no better way to communicate your message so you connect with your audience or reader in an impactful way.

If your reader is compelled by the subject line enough to click that email and open it, seeing a smiling face in that email is going to make a much better impression than plan old typed-out-text. 

You can give BombBomb a try for free for 14 days and see for yourself.

[CLICK HERE TO GIVE BOMBBOMB A TRY FOR FREE FOR 14 DAYS] AND NOT ONLY WILL YOU GET ACCESS TO THE SOFTWARE, But you’ll get an action plan fully customized to your specific business needs and goals and personal coaching to help you get there and get results from BombBomb in your free trial.

9. Question Everything

A question dares an answer, even if the reader doesn’t end up saying it out loud. A question tucked into your subject line triggers an innate human response to find or provide an answer.

That means that by asking a question in your subject line, your recipient is psychologically already engaged with your content before they’ve clicked on the email.

A question like “Why isn’t your home selling?” drops an obvious answer in your reader’s mind: “Well, I don’t know.”

Even if it’s just in their head, they’ve recognized a potential shortcoming in themselves, and you’ve tossed them a life preserver, all in one swoop.

Try “How can your real estate agent do better?” to thrust the reader into a conversation they didn’t even know they were having.

Right away, they feel like they want to be helpful.

They want to improve both themselves and their relationship with their real estate agent.

They’re curious about the tips you have to offer to make their real estate experience easier and more fruitful. They want to know more.

Research, Personalization, and Engagement

Writing an email subject line is its own art form, one you can master and profit by. A little time and research will not only save you wasted effort, but can increase your leads over time. Buying or selling a home is a stressful experience, and the people on your mailing list do want help. Sometimes they just need a little hook to get them reading, to get them listening, and to get them clicking.

Aaron Colby

Aaron Colby | About The Author

Copywriting, blogging, marketing. A storyteller with a passion for creating results through words. Background in advertising and broadcasting. Lead Writer, BombBomb. BA, Western State Colorado University. Loves to play in the mountains.