Words matter. Wars have started over them; people are propelled to act because of them. And it appears that the marketing-time of houses might be determined by them, too. At least in part...
As listings grow old, and frustrated sellers are jostling for an edge, perhaps it is time to review the language we use to describe our "products". I regularly read other agents' descriptions of homes closely for that flair with words that would make me want to see the house. If what I read pleases me, it will also please the potential buyer. I want to learn to write like that agent.
A Canadian study found that homes where the seller was "motivated" actually took 15 percent longer to sell, while houses listed as "handyman specials" flew off the market in half the average time. (Paul Angelin teaches real estate and housing trends at the University of Guelph in Ontario. The study dissected the wording of more than 20,000 Canadian home listings from 97 to 2000)
The study found that words that denoted general attractiveness helped sell a property faster than those that spoke of "value" and "price." "Beautiful" beats "good-value", "must see" is a total dead-beat and does nothing to impact days on the market, "Landscaping" and "move-in ready" brought buyers faster, but "move-in ready" had no impact on the sales price, and neither did "clean" or "quiet". "New paint" is an often listen comment which leaves buyers cold.
Words that Help Words that Can Hurt
- handyman special, motivated seller
- curb appeal good value
- move-in condition as-is
- landscaping clean
- granite quiet
- gourmet new paint
- golf, park, trails playgound
Where would you place "needs repairs?" Other suggestions from your experience?