How to Write Effective Real Estate Email Subject Lines

Email is one of the most direct ways to connect with your audience. However, every other real estate agent and business out there knows that. That’s why the average person receives, on average, 88 emails every single day. It’s mind-blowing how many content subscribers have to wade through.

Your real estate email subject lines need to stand out. They’re the first thing subscribers see so your subject lines have to be punchy and unique to pique interest and get people to stop scrolling.

Here’s what to keep in mind as you write your subject lines.

1. Clarify the goal of each email you send

Every email you send to subscribers has a goal. The goal might be to increase foot traffic to an upcoming open house, to rustle up some attention for older listings, or get subscribers to list their homes with you. Whatever it is, your subject line has to tie back to your goal.

With all the emails to compete within an inbox, you only have a few seconds to get subscriber attention before they scroll past your email. Subscribers want to have an idea of what to expect before they click so use your subject line to address an audience pain point. This way, the value the email offers is immediately apparent to subscribers.

Let’s look at an example. Here’s a sample email you might send to leads who are interested in selling their home:

real estate email subject lines


The goal of this email is to move leads closer to the point where they’re ready to list their home. The subject line in this example makes it clear what’s included in the email — downloadable eBooks to help prep a home for sale.

If you launch a campaign with five emails in the sequence, even if the main goal of each email is the same, adjust each subject line. It should still match the goal but be different enough to make subscribers curious. If your campaign is to promote a real estate event you’re attending, a few ideas of the types of real estate email subject lines to use include:

  • A question – Have you got your ticket yet?
  • Capitalized words, but use sparingly – THIS SATURDAY I’ll be at the Home & Garden Show
  • Personalization with subscriber names – Jane, I’m saving you a seat!
  • A special offer – Win free tickets to the Home & Garden Show
  • A sense of urgency – Time’s running out to get early bird tickets

This variety helps your emails stand out in an inbox and improve open rates. For example:

Avoid using the same subject line for every email in your campaign. These emails might have value, but they don’t tell your subscribers anything new subscribers are more likely to ignore these emails. Plus, these subject lines look kind of boring:

real estate email subject lines


Even if your real estate email campaigns have the same goal, each subject line should be different and reinforce the main message.

2. Limit the number of characters used

There isn’t a standard length for subject lines, but several recent studies seem to agree that the sweet spot is between 17-24 characters, which is the equivalent of 3-5 words. At this point, email open rates tend to be highest:

real estate email subject lines


When you start drafting your subject line, consider these factors:

  • Device email will be read on. As cell phone use becomes more widespread, more people read their emails on them. For example, at least 50% of emails are open on mobile devices. Subject lines should be short enough to appear completely on desktop and mobile. A helpful tip is to send test emails to yourself to see how your emails look across devices.
  • Historical open rate. Look at past email campaigns to see what types of emails have performed the best. How long were their subject lines? Depending on what you find, reuse the same style, tone, and overall length to catch subscribers attention in future campaigns.

Length is important because you want to avoid cutting off any part of your subject line. When this happens, the meaning of your email is lost and likely to get passed over. Or the most important information is lost.

real estate email subject lines


Keeping shorter subject lines in mind, get to the point by putting the most important words first. For example, if you’re offering an incentive to sellers who choose you as their listing agent, start your email with something like, “Win a Free Gift Card When You List Your Home.” Even if this subject line gets cut off, the fact that you led with “free gift card” is enticing to the reader.

Also, just like blog and social posts, your real estate subject lines should have a conversational tone. Slight tweaks in capitalization can affect your tone. Sentence case — when only the first word in the sentence is capitalized — is seen as more casual and personable than lower and title case:

real estate email subject lines


Based on the data above, 60% of marketing experts advocate for using sentence case in subject lines.

Finally, even though you’re going to aim for shorter subject lines, you can incorporate emojis to help convey emotions. Kim Courvoisier, former Director of Content Marketing and Social Media at Campaign Monitor, explains using emojis this way, “Emojis are an engaging way to triple charge your subject line. Brands that are using emojis have seen a 56% increase in their unique open rates.” She continues, “We’re really seeing an increase in emojis, and you can use them as a brand appropriately, and they do add a nice little bit of flare and attention-getting in the inbox.”

Emoji use depends on the segments you’ve created. Some subscribers will be more receptive than others with this approach, so test emoji subject lines within each segment and use the open rates results to determine whether you continue to use emoji.

Remember, when it comes to length, and how you construct your subject lines, what works for another real estate agent might not work for you. Experiment to find which subject lines get you the best results.

3. A/B test different versions to find the sweet spot

Just like every other marketing campaign, you run for your real estate business, test your subject lines. Most email marketing tools let you test two versions of the same email and track stats like open and click-through rate.

For example, Campaign Monitor lets you test subject lines:

real estate email subject lines


Simply input the two subject lines you want to test:

real estate email subject lines


Then choose how large a sample to use for your A/B test:

real estate email subject lines


For best results, test several different types of subject lines. For example, if you prefer asking questions, test whether open-ended or yes-or-no (closed-ended) questions have a higher open rate. From a psychological standpoint, closed-ended questions may be much more effective because they cater to the fear of missing out.

In addition to testing subject line types and phrases, also test keywords. Incorporate keywords into your subject line based on what you know about your audience. For example, if a particular segment of your audience is interested in buying condos, use a subject line like “Your dream condo awaits you.” This way, you speak to the exact need of this audience and encourage them to click to find out more.

Test different variations of where keywords appear in your subject line — early, middle, or at the end — to see which emails get the most opens.

By incorporating keywords into your subject line, you can confirm whether or not you’ve touched on a pain point. Subscribers seeking out solutions to this pain point will be more receptive to your email. For example, you might find that one of your segments searches for “how to maintain a pool” a lot on Google. So:

  • You write an email geared towards people looking for a family home and talk about new listings with pools.
  • Then, use a subject line like, “The pool of your dreams is a click away.”

You’re bound to get more opens on this kind of targeted email, since this content is what your audience is looking for.

Improve campaign performance with real estate email subject lines

It takes time to figure out the right combination of subject line options to use. The best thing to do is test as much as possible until you find what works for you. What gets one agent’s subscribers to open emails won’t necessarily work for you. Your subscribers have unique needs and experiences, so take some time to figure out which real estate email subject lines will get them to take action. Once you figure this out, you’ll be in good shape to write subject lines that are more engaging and informative.

About Aaron Kardell

Founder and CEO of HomeSpotter

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