Save Some Time, Learn the Real Estate Lingo

Real estate ads are all about marketing. They are all about putting a positive spin on whatever it is that you have to deal with–but then again, that’s just the definition of marketing anything. Crafting an appealing real estate ad is a real art. You can certainly spot a good one and a bad one is just as easy to find. However, there’s also a little bit of science to it also. First and foremost, there’s setting the appropriate sales price to maximize the seller’s gain while at the same attracting potential buyers, there’s taking and selecting appealing photos to list on the ad, and then there’s the wordsmithing of a sexy ad that will capture the attention of potential buyers.

A Chicago study found that certain terms like granite, maple, state-of-the-art, gourmet, and Corian have all been associated with higher prices, while other terms like fantastic, spacious, great neighborhood, and charming have all been associated with lower prices. Then of course, there’s the usual double-speak that’s associated with real estate descriptions. Take for example, this ad, which your lips read as:

Charming, 3 bedroom home in a desireable neighborhood, conveniently located to shopping centers and freeway access.  Distinctive decorator touches are a rare find in this family-friendly neighborhood.

If you’re a real estate newbie, this might sound just fine and dandy to you, but if you’re a seasoned real estate vegeteran, your lips read one thing, but your brain hears something entirely different: 

Old 3-bedroom house in an overpriced neighborhood, with lots of traffic and noise. Ugly decor stands out in this kid and dog infested neighborhood.

So next time you find yourself perusing those real estate listings, start with the listing stats and the photos, then take a critical eye to the description, and see how fast you can translate from marketing speak to just plain English.


  • Helen

    Good work! This is lovely and had a good laugh out of it! :)

  • Katrina Munsell

    Thanks! For the most part, it’s so true, isn’t it!?