Real Estate Listings: Magic Words That Get a Home Sold

House with sold sign in front of it

As a real estate professional it is your job to make a home stand out. That starts with the real estate listing. But do you know which words can grab a buyer’s attention and which words could turn them away?

It’s important to differentiate between dangerous descriptors and magic words that pique a potential buyer’s interest. According to an article by zillow.com, the secret to an effective real estate listing is to know which key words work best. The home’s price range, be it in the bottom, middle, or top-tier, will drive the type of key words to use. For example, a person buying a bottom-tier house would appreciate a “luxurious” or “well-maintained” home but doesn’t want you to remind him a home is budget-friendly or a bargain. A buyer who is spending a half a million dollars or more doesn’t just want a luxurious home, but one that is “captivating.”

Words that Work

Knowing your audience is the first step to writing a solid real estate listing. An analysis published by Zillow.com, concluded that specific key words appeal to bottom, middle, and top-tier buyers. The analysis showed that when the right key words were used, the expected sale price for homes in all three tiers increased. For example, when a bottom-tier home was described as luxurious, the average final sale price increased 8.2 percent above the expected price. That’s a big jump for just one word.

Avoiding Words that Kill a Sale

On the other end, the wrong words can kill a sale. Another article by zillow.com stated that some words or phrases in real estate listings hold hidden meanings or negative connotations that could send buyers running in the opposite direction. If you want to sell a home, do not use words that turn buyers off. In research for their book, Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate, Stan Humphries and Spencer Rascoff found that words such as ‘fixer,’ ‘potential,’ and ‘unique’ are red flags to homebuyers. They found that using the word ‘unique’ to describe a home could result in it selling for 30 to 50 percent less than expected. Another deal-killer word to avoid is ‘investment’ unless, of course, you are marketing to investors as your niche. Finally, according to Humphries and Rascoff, ‘cosmetic’ and ‘nice’ are also words to permanently remove from your real estate listings.

Including Quality and Objective Words

Magic words that get a home sold are words that are objective and denote quality. Some words to use in real estate listings for all three tiers include the following: granite, landscaped, impeccable, stainless, beautiful, gentle, spotless and captivating. For middle-tier homes, using the word ‘pergola’ is better than ‘covered patio.’ If you are selling homes in the bottom-tier range, let potential buyers know about new renovations or extra features like a built-in barbeque or mature trees.

Counting the Number of Words

In addition to counting down the number of days it will take you to sell a particular home, you should also count the number of words you use in a real estate listing. Experts recommend sticking to about 50 words for a bottom-tier home, 63 words for a middle-tier home and 71 words for a top-tier home. Because luxury homebuyers spend more money on a real estate property, they want more details. Don’t waste space, but tell a compelling story about the home. Make sure to include the age of the home and other pertinent facts. Focus on accurate, honest, and clear descriptions to get a home noticed by more potential buyers.

For All Listings

Before writing your listings, think about what you like most about the home. Imagine what you would want in a home if you were buying in a bottom, middle or top-tier price range. By getting into the heads of potential buyers and seeing a listing through their eyes, real estate agents can produce strong, targeted real estate listings that will not only sell quickly, but may even sell for more than expected.

What ‘magic words’ have you used to attract buyers to your listings? Share in the comments below.

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Originally Published June 17, 2015

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