Words That Sell Houses

Services for Real Estate Pros with myREassistant.com

As a real estate Virtual Assistant, I spend my day creating marketing materials for Realtors. So, you can understand why I was interested in the results of a study conducted by Paul Anglin, a professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada who teaches real estate and housing trends. The study dissected wording of more than 20,000 Canadian home listings from 1997 to 2000.

The study shows consumers to be more interested in style over substance and respond more positively to words about 'curb appeal' and attractiveness than words about value and price.

'Beautiful' homes sold 15 percent faster and for 5 percent higher in price than the average. 'Good value' homes sold for 5 percent less. 

The verbiage 'must see' was about as popular as a telemarketer at dinnertime, but didn't significantly impact the number of days on the market.

Use of the word 'landscaping' related to homes selling 20 percent faster than the average, while homes using 'move-in condition' took 12 percent less time to sell.

When conveying the motivation of the sellers, some words worked better than others. Listings using the word 'moving' sold for 1 percent less in price compared to 8 percent less with the word 'motivated'.

Use of words such as 'foreclosure', 'as-is', 'handyman special' and other terminology relating to a problem related to lower sales prices.

Words highlighting positive features such as 'granite', 'maple', and 'gourmet' were associated with higher prices.

Referring to 'golf', 'lake', 'views' brought increased prices. But, positive comments (new paint, new carpet) relating to condition brought lower ones.

Words that help a listing:
curb appeal, move-in condition, landscaped, granite, gourmet, golf

Words that hurt a listing:
motivated seller, good value, as-is, clean, quiet, new paint

According to the article in The Denver Post telling of Mr Anglin's study, even he was surprised by the results. The use of the word 'quiet' surprised me the most, as I had learned this to be a positive work in a marketing seminar I attended years ago and often used the term 'quiet tree-lines street'. Not any more!!


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John Luongo
Keller Williams - Poughkeepsie, NY
Great Post
Apr 14, 2007 08:52 AM #29
Suzanne Watson ABR SRES
Great information.  I guess I better scratch the new carpet and paint that my sellers are so proud of and go with the move in condition......thank you.
Apr 14, 2007 10:41 AM #30
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Hi Ruth Ann - I had read an article a little while ago, either in Realty Times or RISMedia that sited very similar findings.  I think studies like this are interesting.  I did go in and tweak my remarks on my listings after I read the study the first time.  This is a good reminder to continue to do so - thanks for sharing.


Apr 14, 2007 11:58 AM #31
Desiree Daniels
RE/MAX Tri County - Robbinsville, NJ

Ruth Ann

Thanks and congrats on the feature post....  I am not sure alot of agents understand those "buzz" words.... thanks for the information.  Have a great weekend

Apr 14, 2007 02:18 PM #32
Lisa Kester
Commonwealth LLC Realtors - Collinsville, VA
Thanks for the great information.  I am a common user of the "beautiful" "quiet" and always "new paint and carpet".  I think I may need to spend some time revising my MLS remarks.  Excellent post.
Apr 20, 2007 04:13 PM #33
Gregg Holman

Ruth Ann, this is GREAT STUFF!  I am going to stop using "motivated seller, quiet, and handyman special" in my ads.  Now it's "landscaping, granite and golf".  "As-is" has had a negative connotation around here for yeas and discouraged by listing agents. The buyer always thinks the worst.  Better to disclose and go from there.


Keep this stuff coming!  At last something we can actually USE! 

Apr 21, 2007 01:43 AM #34
Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals
Quiet was a surprise but I'm happy to note that as a home stager I can positively effect a number of the "good" terms
Apr 21, 2007 03:32 AM #35
Michelle Cantlin
Ridgecrest, CA
Great information to know.  Thanks for sharing with us.
Apr 28, 2007 12:17 PM #36
Anthea Click
Fresh Perspectives - www.InsideNashvilleHomes.com - Franklin, TN
Nashville Home Stager - Selling Nashville, TN homes quickly!
This is great to pass onto the agents I work with. Thanks for sharing!
Apr 29, 2007 04:30 AM #37
Barbara Martino-Sliva, Top Producer
Dale Sorensen Real Estate Inc. - Vero Beach, FL
Vero Beach Real Estate Vero Beach Homes for Sale
Very informative.  Thank you.
Apr 30, 2007 10:50 PM #38
waey wyqw
wyq34y - Dell, MT
This is great information. It prompted me do conduct some further research on the topic.
Aug 28, 2007 11:48 PM #39
Courtney Fontenot
Alpha Prosperity Management - Missouri City, TX
NAR Certified REPA, REW
Great post and it makes a lot of sense. How many times has someone driven by a home saying "wow that must be a  great value." Not often. I think the common statement would be "wow, what a beautiful home". Thanks for the reminder to use terms that people get a "good" feeling about.
Sep 06, 2007 12:19 PM #40
Carrie Perez
Elk Rapids, MI
Thank you so much for the information. It seems like a small thing, but all of the small details help!
Oct 14, 2007 10:59 AM #41
Eric Egeland
RE/MAX SUBURBAN - Libertyville, IL

Thanks for the post.


I agree with the results...if all you can say about the home is new paint, you have a problem

Jun 08, 2008 05:59 AM #42
Kristina Leone
Lionheart Home Staging, LLC - Minneapolis, MN

Great information that plays into buyer psychology!

Jun 08, 2008 04:24 PM #43
Kasey Kase
API Network - Mequon, WI
I'm not really a pirate

Wonder if people still care about this topic?   Of course!   Should you be interested, I would be glad to share a copy of a book called Romance The Architecture With Word Marketing.   The target market is mostly to those providing training to agents, but anyone who gets into an ad-copy rut, this book is great to have around.    If you're interested, take a look at the above link.     (if you click on the book image in that page, it will take you to a place where you can preview the first 10 pages)

Why I am doing this:   We are giving away some copies to get some feedback about this newly released version, for use in upcoming promotions.

If you have any questions, drop me an email.

Jan 06, 2010 02:19 AM #44


Please call me at 336-987-8630. I need help with verbage for RealEstate book.



or email

Nov 12, 2010 07:47 AM #45
Lindsay Pendleton
Relocating To Baton Rouge & Surrounding Areas - Baton Rouge, LA
Marketing Agent - Property Management in Baton Rou

Fabulous post, or should I say..."This post has curb appeal"...with the curb. lol Thanks for the info, just what I was looking for!

Jan 28, 2011 07:06 AM #46
JB-South California

Great information. I was about to start working on my monthly farming material and I just found your article. Right on time!!But I have to agree with some of the comments. We need to adapt and modify the verbiage based on the market trend.

Thank you,

Apr 29, 2012 03:59 AM #47
Paulette Parson

If you have a house in a great golf community and house is well built but the inside is cosmetically challenged, what verbiage would be best used if house needs all new flooring and paint but an excellent location.

Jun 22, 2014 05:19 AM #48
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Ruth Ann Macklin

Real Estate Virtual Assistant and CDPE
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