There have been a couple articles circling lately about the value of words in real estate listings. Quick, which of the following words will help sell your home?
- motivated seller
- good value
- new paint
If you guessed all of the above, keep reading. Bottom line: words matter and none of these will help your home sell faster or for more money. Real-estate listings, not unlike personal ads, are crafted to minimize blemishes and maximize perceived selling points.
Deciphering home marketing-speak shouldn’t be complicated, but sometimes we need a decoder ring to help us read between the lines.
Dos and don’ts:
- Don’t use an overabundance of exclamation points (note buyers: they can show a sign of desperation and an openness to a lower offer).
- Do use descriptive words about price and location. Last year’s top words were: “flow,” “embassy-style,” “enormous” and “lazy.” Supposedly these words connote a lifestyle of to-the-manner-born comfort, mint juleps on porches and drawing-room cocktails.
- Don’t make a plea of “must see!” This is received about as enthusiastically as a dinner-time telemarketing call.
- If you can’t find anything better to say than “new paint,” perhaps it’s best to say nothing at all.
- Sellers would be best served by a listing with “just the facts, ma’am.”
- Homes where the seller was “motivated” took 15 percent longer to sell
- Houses listed as “handyman specials” flew off the market in half the average time.
- Words that denoted “curb appeal” or general attractiveness helped a property sell faster than those that spoke of “value” and “price.”
- Homes described as “beautiful” moved 15 percent faster and for 5 percent more in price than the benchmark.
- “Good-value” homes sold for 5 percent less than average.
and unusual descriptions … that worked!:
- “FAMISHED FOR A FABULOUS FLATFRONT ON A FAMOUS BLOCK? Come feast your eyes on this femme fatale! Even the finicky will find her fetching while fledgling families and canine fanciers will contrive to fraternize.”
- … “pixie perfect, proudly self-possessed and peerlessly positioned for easy access to senate, judiciary.” [HUH?]
Our San Francisco blog has a few examples of real listings we put through the decoder ring.
Decoder ring picture credit: Heather McKinnon, The Seattle Times