Are Your Descriptive Words Working FOR Your Sellers or Against Them?

Real Estate Agent with | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 228209
Are Your Descriptive Words Working FOR Your Sellers or Against Them?

What's in a word?
What's in a word
 in the real estate world?


Words used in real estate marketing were 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 and my evaluation is simply a personal 'poll!'


Did you know that the word, '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 impact 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, share 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% LESSthan 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%!

We should all evaluate our current listings to see what words are working for us (and which ones are working AGAINST us), 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?

Agents, what words are YOU fond of using in your listing descriptions?  

More Seller Tips:

What Can You do if Your Home Does Not Appraise?

Dear Seller:

Seller Tips, Part I (Pricing)

Seller Tips, Part II (Declutter)

© Debe Maxwell | The Maxwell House Group | | Are Your Descriptive Words Working FOR Your Sellers or Against Them?


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Thom Abbott 12/21/2016 07:24 PM
  2. Anna Hatridge 12/22/2016 08:19 AM
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
North Carolina Mecklenburg County Charlotte
North Carolina Real Estate
The Art Of Marketing You
Out Of The Box!
Charlotte North Carolina Area
Advice for Sellers
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Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Damon Botticelli - thought provoking comment, for sure!  Definitely something to address with Professor Paul Anklin who did the study. It would be interesting to see what his baseline & subjects were.

Dec 21, 2016 09:25 PM #82
Jon Quist
Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996

Thanks. Great article. Some real eye openers. Love to see the numbers verified, though.

Dec 21, 2016 11:06 PM #83
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Here's one of the links with information from his study, Jon Quist.  Happy Thursday!

Dec 22, 2016 05:51 AM #84
Eileen Burns
Trans State Commercial RE Ft. Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beach - Fort Lauderdale, FL
FL Probate Agent, Hotel & Land Specialist

Debe Maxwell what a thoughful post to share with our #Active Rain community.  Appreciate you and wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from sunny Fort Lauderdale, FL

Dec 22, 2016 06:26 AM #85
Mitch Muller - Charlotte NC Real Estate
ProStead Realty Charlotte, NC CRS CDPE - Charlotte, NC
Certified Residential Specialist

Thanks for these tips Debe! I'm always leary of words like stunning, motivated, handyman special and of course "needs some TLC". Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Dec 22, 2016 06:48 AM #86
Anna Hatridge
Goodson Realty - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with Goodson Realty

What a great post!  Thank you so much for the information.  You have confirmed what I have long suspected. 

Dec 22, 2016 08:13 AM #87
Steven Beam
RE/MAX Alliance - Parker Colorado Real Estate. - Parker, CO
Parker Colorado Real Estate

Kiss of death. I hate when sellers want me to use the word "motivated. It seemed to hit its peak use in 2011. Everyone was "motivated." Now I have ammo to tell them they actually may not be 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

Dec 22, 2016 08:57 AM #88
Robin Hobbs
Front Gate Realty - Madison, MS

Eye opening post! I need to go scour through my remarks NOW hee hee;)

Dec 22, 2016 11:29 AM #89
Bandele Oguntomilade
Bogun Realty and Luxury Homes - Woodland Hills, CA
Your Woodland Hills Real Estate Agent 818-825-6996

Very interesting observations.  Will certyainly incorporate in our marketing strategies.  Thanks for a very informative blog.

Dec 22, 2016 12:02 PM #90
Derrick Guevremont
Counselor Realty of Rochester - Rochester, MN
Rochester MN Homes for Sale

I think the homes referred to as "beautiful" or "gorgeous" sell faster because they actually are nicer.  I've certainly had listings that don't deserve to be called "gorgeous" or "stunning" and I would never mislead buyers or other agents with that.  I like to know that it's a "handyman special" if it is priced low and we are driving any distance to look at homes.  If my buyers don't want to do a lot of work this saves us time and we wouldn't have been interested in the home if we would have seen it anyway.  I would say accurate descriptions are a good thing and am not suggesting downgrading the property.  Quality is generally directly reflected in price.  If it seems like too good of a deal, there's probably a reason for the price.

Dec 22, 2016 12:29 PM #91
Diane Allan
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Farmington, UT

Great tips for agents to use and share with those sellers who insist on certain words!

Dec 22, 2016 03:14 PM #92
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Very interesting . . . I'll remember that when I see homes with these words.  I might want to search for "motivated" 

Dec 22, 2016 03:49 PM #93
Chuck Hill
Team Hill Properties - Paso Robles, CA
Paso Robles Realtor looking to make a difference!

Good stuff Debe....thanks for posting!

Dec 22, 2016 05:18 PM #94
Jeanne Dufort
Coldwell Banker Lake Country - Madison, GA
Madison and Lake Oconee GA

Very timely post for me, as I prepare to write the story (copy) for my newest listing.  Must build in some of your great suggestions.

Dec 22, 2016 05:34 PM #95
Janis Borgueta
Key Properties of the Hudson Valley - Newburgh, NY
LIC RE Salesperson

It is all in the presentation. Words and photos matter! 

Dec 23, 2016 05:29 AM #96
Karen Gray Plaisted
Design Solutions KGP~ Home Staging and Interior Decor - Warwick, NY
Staging Spaces, Renewing Places, NY

The presentation of a property is so vital to the marketing. If it is 'beautiful' with great 'curb appeal' buyers see the value. It's like any product, if it's damaged or run down would you pay top dollar?

Dec 23, 2016 05:59 AM #97
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Debe, last year some time, Marte Cliff wrote a post called something like "Kill All the Adjectives!"  She would advise doing what you do with your listings.  You don't even have to say beautiful - just let the photo show them!   

Dec 23, 2016 08:21 PM #98
Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC - Rockledge, FL
... a small office, delivering big service!

Good information here...words have real dollars assigned to them. Charming, quaint, retro....none sound too appealing!

Jan 13, 2017 05:56 AM #99
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC - when I personally see charming or quaint, it's a red flag for TINY!  Happy Friday, Gary!

Jan 13, 2017 06:02 AM #100
Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, ePRO, CRS, RCS-D
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Wow! this was quite interesting. I love that there are stats on our adjectives. Some were no surprise while others definitely raised my eyebrow. Book marked and off to change some MLS lingo !!! on my listings

Jan 18, 2017 08:12 PM #101
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Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods
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