Descriptive Words!

Real Estate Agent with Blake Rickels Group, Realty Executives 302690

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     First of all, how do you like that title? Good huh???… said with uplifted eyebrows and teeth featuring smile. Well, it is really meant as a test, or I suppose an example, of the power of using certain words and what reactions they evoke.  Which of the words in the title enticed you to read further? Did any of them hold more sway than the others? Did any of them make you skeptical or bring other negative thoughts to mind? They are all listed in the “The 20 top print media adjectives in order of efficacy” on a website about effective advertising words (found here).  I found this when I was simply looking for a creative inspiration for a word to use other than “beautiful”.  That bit of creative drought led me to explore and question my own tendency to get verbally lazy and fall back too often on the same words and phrases.  So this blog is about that search for new inspiration.


     I was thinking about the challenge of constantly finding new ways to describe homes that don’t sound cliché or trite.  As real estate professionals, of course we always want to highlight the positives and frame challenges as possibilities.  This becomes second nature and in my opinion is part of our overall optimistic nature as a group.  The challenge is making the effort to go beyond our “pat” terms and descriptive phrases.  We also need to be cautious of how using certain words can throw up red flags to potential buyers or elicit subconscious reactions from consumers that may be negative.  Thanks to all of the HGTV shows, even words like “charming” or “quaint” now signal SMALL in the reader’s mind.  Although this deciphering may mentally occur, our positive spin and interpretation of features that avoid using negative words will certainly help reframe features in a positive light.  Again, I don’t think this is something to change, just to consider.

     In real estate, though we want to highlight the good aspects of homes, we are also honor bound to maintain a level of truth in advertising.  No matter how shiny and wonderful we make something sound in our descriptions to provoke interest, when the people actually come to see the property, they will see the reality.  In cases that we simply have chosen the most positive synonymous word or phrase, such as “exotic” rather than “multi-colored” or “loudly decorated” can be marked up to interpretation and isn’t harmful to anyone.  If however, we purposefully describe a dilapidated and neglected older home as “historic” …… or when we use the description “storybook” and people are thinking about the quaint, beautifully maintained cottage in a lovely picturesque setting BUT we are thinking of the Evil Witch’s Hut….. THAT may or may not be strictly ethical.


In all, I think we walk a fine line in being creative and positive yet honest enough to stay true to our character and maintain the dignity of our reputations.  As for me, I just needed a little inspiration and to take a fresh look at my language.  I found the “Real Estate” section of the website “Words to Use” was very helpful in getting me out of my rut.  I hope you too will be reinvigorated to add some punch and pizzazz to your advertising! 

Posted by

Blake Rickels, Realtor

The Blake Rickels Group

Knoxville Realtor Blake Rickels 


CLICK HERE TO SEARCH for "Knoxville Homes For Sale"

Each office is independently owned & operated



Comments (33)

Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

You not only need words that sound good, but words that will not get you sued these days.  Some innocent sounding words can be triggers for discrimination..

Jul 06, 2015 04:46 AM
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

Definitely some creative ideas.  We all need that extra inspiration for our marketing. 

Jul 06, 2015 05:23 AM
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

 I think it's often challenging to write descriptions so they don't sound cliche.  I actually bought a book about 15 years ago that is divided into sections such as "historic home," "fixer upper," "homes with views," etc.  Each section has suggestions perfect for that house - and many are phrases not individual words so it's really been a handy guide for me

Plus I use the Thesaurus a lot!

Jul 06, 2015 05:37 AM
John Dotson
Preferred Properties of Highlands, Inc. - Highlands, NC - Highlands, NC
The experience to get you to the other side!

One of the hardest things to do on a daily basis is come up with creative (but legit) ways/words to describe new listings.

Your suggested website does look like it has some good keywords that will draw more attention.  Thanks!

Jul 06, 2015 06:08 AM
Chuck Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

This is a good topic with good resources Blake, thanks.

Jul 06, 2015 07:30 AM
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

Gee, & all this time I was using the online thesaurus?


Jul 06, 2015 08:17 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Thank you Blake!  I have made a note of this site.  Creating the description for MLS is one of my favorite parts of the listing process and I strive to make them different, interesting, not just a 'laundry list'.  This site will help!

Jul 06, 2015 08:57 AM
Mike Kelly,CRS,CIPS
The MJKelly Team - Santa Rosa, CA
"One of Sonoma County's Natural Resources"

Actually I was going to "Flag" the post as spam as the title sounded so much like a sales pitch and contrived. It's what we've grown accustomed to; click here and the never ending scrolling add offering the world and delivering Greece!

Jul 06, 2015 09:03 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

You got me at Free Suggestions and Fresh Advertising!  Sometimes it "feels" old ... I'm always looking for the "New"!  Great Post!

Jul 06, 2015 09:16 AM
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Nothing beats FREE. Great post.

Jul 06, 2015 09:54 AM
Paula McDonald, Ph.D.
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Love this and yes we all need to evaluate those "coined" terms that we can get in a rut using over and over!

Jul 06, 2015 10:15 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

The excessive use of adjectives by realtors is excessive. Often serve absolutely no purpose. We should refrain using words which are coined.


Sam Shueh

Jul 06, 2015 12:09 PM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

 The difference between a doll house and a dump  is significant. Both have 4 characters.

I am sure some realtors will call it the opposite to exaggarate it.

Jul 06, 2015 12:16 PM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

 Blake, your "found here" link isn't working. I loved the list of words for real estate. Thanks!

Jul 06, 2015 12:37 PM
Susan McCall - - Compass Realty Solutions
Compass Realty Solutions - Portland, OR
Listing and Buyer's Agent

Something that is over used around here is "stunning remodel". It is used as a descriptive adjective so much it is almost a cliche.

Jul 06, 2015 01:25 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Blake Rickels - words do make lot of difference in communication! Words to Win With wins the clients for us!

Jul 06, 2015 02:06 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I chuckle when I read subjective words like amazing and beautiful. Describe instead don't opinionate...What you see others will too if you present it

Jul 06, 2015 11:18 PM
Cathy Perry
RedKey Realty Leaders - Wildwood, MO

 As a former English major, I spend much time crafting my description, and I am sure I will find the words-to-use site helpful.  One of my pet peeves are real estate cliches like "must see" and "won't last", especially when the latter describes a property on the market for many months.

Jul 07, 2015 01:21 AM
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

I'm so glad you shared this site.  We must be cautious about the words we choose while highlighting the properties are are describing.

Jul 07, 2015 02:05 PM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Blake,

Describing, what is not clear from the listing is what I shoot for. Two sheds, one with lights? Koi pond? Fully fenced? Lots of space on the driveway? Anything, that may trigger someone's need is good. 

Jul 14, 2015 01:43 PM