Vendors: Your Pre-Sale Prep Time is Money in your Pocket; MLS Listing Descriptions are too!!!

Home Stager with House to Home ReDesigns & Real Estate Staging Vancouver B.C.

The right words pay off in speed and money*

Home staging is a two-part process:

1.  Make a house move-in ready:  Houses described as being in "move-in condition" sell 12% faster than average (see results of study in chart below).

Time & cash-strapped buyers want to immediately get on with their lives in their newly purchased home.  Inheriting a "to-do list" or painfully out-of-date decor will not attract the majority of prospective buyers.  Repair, update decor and deep clean for greater buyer interest and a faster sale.  Consult with a professional home stager in order to maximize your investment dollar before beginning any work.  Remember, to be truly successful, decor changes must appeal to the taste of your prospective buyer demographic (not neccessarily to you).

2.  Showcase the house:  Homes described (truthfully) as "beautiful" sell 15% faster than average, and for 5% more.   The word "vacant" brings a sales price of about 8% less than average. 

Edit possessions to increase the sense of space and minimize visual distractions.  Position furnishings and accessories to focus attention on the selling features of each room.  Entrust your visual presentation to the unbiased and creative eye of a design professional experienced in home staging techniques and knowledgeable about the theory behind those techniques, to sell quicker and for the most money possible.


Effect on time until sale

Effect on list price

Effect on selling price





Move-in condition




Good value




Must see




Starter home








Rental property




Handyman special
















Source: "House Prices and Time-till-sale in Windsor," Professor Paul Anglin, University of Guelph, Ontario

*The study examined roughly 20,000 listings in Windsor and Essex counties, Ontario, from between 1997 and early 2000. The effects shown are averages; wide variations appeared within categories.

Source of chart:


By Leah J. Armstrong House to Home ReDesigns Port Moody, B.C. 604.469.9324   email:

Copyright 2008 Leah J. Armstrong, All Rights Reserved "Vendors:  Your Pre-Sale Prep Time is Money in your Pocket; MLS Descriptions are Too!!!"

The above was inspired by the following,written by Debe Maxwell, reposted with her blanket consent to readers. - Leah


Original content by Debe Maxwell, CRS 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:

What Can You do if Your Home Does Not Appraise?

Dear Seller:

Seller Tips, Part I (Pricing)

Seller Tips, Part II (Declutter)
Signature and author descriptio?
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?*

Comments (7)

Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Great re-blog Leah!  Thanks for the kudos and what a great post for staging! 

Debe in Charlotte

Aug 16, 2008 12:32 PM
Peg Prather
Vancouver, WA
Vancouver, WA

This is my first time seeing this blog.  Amazing the power of words. Some of these surprise me, so thank you for the education!

Aug 16, 2008 04:12 PM
Kym Tarr
Prep This House Interiors Inc. - Kelowna, BC
Its all in the details!

Great to know!  Amazing what impact the written or spoken word can have.



Aug 16, 2008 04:20 PM
Leah J. Armstrong
House to Home ReDesigns & Real Estate Staging Vancouver B.C. - Port Moody, BC
Home Staging Port Moody B.C.

Debe - I was so happy to see your blog.  I had read that study some time ago, and couldn't find it again, and wouldn't trust my memory to quote it with reverifying.

Peg & Kym - The power of words is amazing, and if we can speed a sale with them, then they are words we all need to know!

Aug 27, 2008 08:14 AM
j r
International, IT

woow this is very interesting thanks for sharing Leah

Sep 26, 2008 03:20 PM
The Trumm Team Omaha Homes for Sale, Real Estate
Keller Williams Greater Omaha - Omaha, NE

Welcome to ActiveRain!

If you would like a few tips on getting the most out of ActiveRain, please visit my blog Welcome to Active Rain.  It has a few simple steps of what to do now that you have joined.

If you ever have any questions, just let me know.

Troy Trumm


Nov 02, 2008 12:39 PM

Kai - I am confused as to why you are making an enquiring of me re online bachelor desgrees.  Google is a better bet.  All the best in your search, Leah 

Jul 16, 2009 04:17 PM