Sellers: What are Those Descriptive Words Worth?

Real Estate Agent with | Savvy + Company Real Estate 228209
What's it Worth to You?
What are Those Descriptive Words WORTH?

What's in a Word?Sellers, what's in a word in the real estate market?  Words used in real estate advertisements were recently evaluated and written by Professor Paul Anglin, University of Guelph, Ontario after examining listings of about 20,000 homes.  Interestingly enough, I've spent alot of time evaluting words to help with my listings and have come up with similar results.  My results, however, are not nearly as detailed as his but, my evaluation is simply a 'poll!'

BeautifulFor example, did you know that the work 'beautiful' is worth about $12,500. in a sale?  'Beautiful'  or 'gorgeous' homes sell about 15% faster than average and for a whopping 5% more!  Conversely, 'move-in-condition' sells 12% faster than average but, has no bearing on the selling price.  

'Must see' has no effect on either the time on the market or the sales price but, does seem to cause sellers and listing agents to think that the value of the home is 4% higher than it really is!  However, if you use the word 'vacant,' the time on the market is neither helped or hindered but, will bring a sales price of about 8% less.

'Starter homes' will sell 9% quicker but, will bring 10% less in price.

Motivated'Motivated' is the REAL shocker!  If you use the word 'motivated,' your time on the market will increase by a whopping 30% and bring a sales price of 8% less.  Rather than writing about how motivated your sellers are, write about how gorgeous the 'landscaping' is; that will decrease your time on the market by 20% and improve your list and sales prices by 5 and 6% respectively!

If you're in a terrible hurry to sell and don't mind a huge slash in sales price, use the term 'handyman special:'  this will sell your listing in HALF the time but, for 30% LESS than it should!

'Rental property' will increase your time on the market by 60%!  Don't advertise your home as being rental property!   When you finally DO sell, your sales price will be reduced by 9%!

I'm headed to evaluate my current listings to see what words are working for me according to Professor Anglin!  

I wonder if I'm correct in thinking that 'turnkey' would probably bring a faster sale with a higher price?  Or if the words 'needs updating' will bring a much extended time on the market and a much lower sales price?

What words are YOU fond of using in your listing descriptions?  

More Seller Tips:

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Dear Seller:

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Seller Tips, Part II (Declutter)
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Debe in Charlotte

About the author:

Debe Maxwell is a Charlotte Residential Real Estate Broker, Certified Neighborhood and Relocation Specialist who can assist you with the purchase and/or sale of real estate in Charlotte NC or any place in the country by connecting you with a relocation professional in your destination of choice. Debe has created a team of professionals throughout the country to ensure that you enjoy a smooth transition to your new area. These professionals are experts in the field of relocation and can serve many purposes beyond a simple home search. The destination service is of no cost to you! Please visit  for your relocation and/or your local needs.

Debe Maxwell- HELEN ADAMS REALTY - 704.491.3310 -

Copyright © 2008 By Debe Maxwell, All Rights Reserved...*Sellers: What are Those Descriptive Words Worth?*


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  1. Leah J. Armstrong 08/15/2008 11:19 PM
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Nestor & Katerina Gasset
International Properties and Investments LLC - Wellington, FL
Realtors, Wellington Florida Homes For Sale

Debe- I am cheering on Michael Phelps while I am reading your post! Great race and great post! It is a great life! Sellers will be wise to choose you as their agent.

Aug 12, 2008 10:28 PM #1
Shannon Lefevre
John R. Wood Properties - Naples, FL
Shannon Lefevre, PA Your Naples Smart Girl

Hey Debe,  what a brilliant post.  Could you please research..."could smell better"..."groovy" and of course my personal favorite...FABULOUS!  HUGS!

Aug 12, 2008 11:58 PM #2
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

Extremely helpful tips.  I have already adjusted some on my terms after reading similar statistics.

Aug 13, 2008 01:48 AM #3
Adam Waldman
Westcott Group Real Estate Company - Hauppauge, NY
Realtor - Long Island

DEBE - Who knew that there was research like this?  It is very interesting, and should give people food for thought when deciding upon their choice of words.  I featured this in the newly named Dedicated Bloggers group (formerly Active Rain Addicts).

Aug 13, 2008 05:05 AM #4
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I agree words make a difference. When I read certain words I  feel like looking at the house.

Aug 13, 2008 06:32 AM #5
Leesa Finley
RED Properties - Wake Forest, NC
RED Properties - Raleigh NC Real Estate

Debe - I received an email a while ago with some other research on key words to use.  I am surprised that someone took the time to do the research but the statistics tell the story, don't they?  Thanks for posting this!

Aug 13, 2008 06:35 AM #6
Don Rogers
Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield - O'Fallon, MO
Realtor, Broker, CDPE, GRI, OnullFallon MO & St Charles County MO homes

Thank you ma'am for the helpful to use and not use.  Like you I am off to check on my word use.  Have a GREAT day.

Aug 13, 2008 07:18 AM #7
Debe Maxwell | Savvy + Company Real Estate - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Katerina:  Thanks so much!  GO CHRIS PHELPS!

Shannon:  LOL!  I LOVE the word 'groovy'!  (Can you tell I'm a 70's girl!)  As for 'fabulous,'  I probably OVERUSE that word!  I'll see what I can find out!!!

Randy:  Thanks!  I had to re-word a couple of mine too! 

Adam:  Well thank you so much!  I've got to go check out the new group when I get a moment! I had no idea that there was such a 'research' project either but, I guess that they'll find anything to research!

Debe in Charlotte

Aug 13, 2008 07:42 AM #8
Debe Maxwell | Savvy + Company Real Estate - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Gita:  You know, I'm the same way and I always try to write my ads to be pleasing to the reader so that they'll want to look too!

Leesa:  You know they'll do research on ANYTHING!  I have often wondered about certain words but, never thought to seek out whether there was any research on it or not!  There's an opinion on everything, isn't there?!!

Don:  HA!  It took me about 1/2 second to get out and check out the words that I use in my ads too!  ANYTHING if it helps!!!

Debe in Charlotte

Aug 13, 2008 09:12 AM #9
Kelly Sibilsky
Licensed Through Referral Connection, LTD. - Lake Zurich, IL

I remember reading this a few months (or was it weeks?) ago and thinking that maybe the "beautiful" home was really beautiful (thus the higher sale price). But of course, that won't explain "motivated" now will it? Smart agents should choose their words wisely! :)

Aug 13, 2008 10:08 AM #10
Mary Strang
Viroqua, WI

I wonder how the study was actually done, as it seems impossible to really get a true answer from most buyers, ooops did I really say that, LOL

Aug 13, 2008 10:13 AM #11
Ilyce Glink
Think Glink Media - Chicago, IL
Best-selling author, award-winning TV/radio host.

So interesting how important these sort of 'buzz words' are. Every word has a conotation for people and it is interesting to look at what price can be put on that connotation. Great post!

Aug 13, 2008 04:37 PM #12
Debe Maxwell | Savvy + Company Real Estate - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Kelly:  Absolutely!  ALWAYS choose your words wisely!! ;-)

Mary:  Same here!  I have no idea how it was done but, you are so right--it's impossible to get a 'good' answer from them sometimes!!

Ilyce:  Thanks!  I'm wondering if we can find out if the word 'beautiful' has the same conotation to men and women!

Debe in Charlotte

Aug 13, 2008 04:54 PM #13
Konnie Mac McCarthy
McLean, VA
Associate Broker - VA & MD

this is brilliant..but how did you gather this data, very cool...I'll think about my "flowery" language next time I post a listing

Aug 19, 2008 08:17 PM #14
Debe Maxwell | Savvy + Company Real Estate - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Konnie:  Thanks!  I found it on MSN after reading an article in our local paper about it.  I checked my listings and I had some of those negative terms in the description that I previously thought would help grab the attention of investors--I don't want low-ball offers on homes that are already priced to sell!!

Debe in Charlotte

Aug 20, 2008 06:36 AM #15
Larry Atkins
State Wide Realty Co. - Farmville, VA

Your post has some great points. I'll definitely be checking my ads for negative terms.

Mar 11, 2010 12:45 PM #16
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