When it comes to writing an effective listing description, the picture you’re painting with certain words can be worth thousands of dollars. So don’t hold back and if you’ve got it, flaunt it!
Why do some homes sell for a premium? Timing, for starters. Also listing descriptions which contain certain keywords tend to sell for more, while including other words can negatively impact the price your home fetches.
For example bottom-tier homes described as luxurious tend to beat their expected sale price by a whopping 8.2%. Top-tier homes described as captivating tend to beat theirs by 6.5%. That means, if your home’s estimated value is $110,000, but your listing includes the key word ‘luxurious,’ you could pocket an extra $8,965.
If one of the following words accurately describes your home, you might want to consider adding it to your listing.
As mentioned above, lower-priced listings with the word “luxurious” sold for 8.2% more on average than expected. “Luxurious” signals that a home’s finishes and amenities are high-end. This is a huge selling point, particularly in this price range.
Top-tier listings described as “captivating” sold for 6.5% more on average than expected. Unlike the word “nice,” “captivating” provides a richer, more enticing description for buyers. Plus, it’s less open to interpretation. Anything can be seen as “nice,” but “captivating” sets a high bar.
On average, listings in the bottom tier with the word “impeccable” sold for 5.9% more than expected. Like “captivating,” “impeccable” is a rich adjective. It also implies something about the quality of a home: The features are desirable and the home is move-in ready.
“Stainless” is typically used to describe kitchens with “stainless steel appliances.” It’s in your favor to talk up these features in your listing — especially if your home is in the bottom price tier. In our analysis, lower-priced homes with the word “stainless” sold for 5% more on average than expected.
It’s just as valuable to describe your yard as your house. In all price tiers, listings with the word “landscaped” sold for more than expected on average. The biggest premium was seen among lower-priced listings, which on average sold for 4.2% more than expected.
In the same vein as “stainless,” “granite” is typically used to describe countertops or another high-end home feature. Listings with the word “granite” sold, on average, for 1 to 4% more than expected across all price tiers.
Not only should you include high-end home features in your listing description, you should also mention features not found in every home. They’ll help your listing stand out, especially if buyers are searching for homes online by keyword. The data shows mid-priced listings with the word “pergola” sold for 4% more on average than expected.
Was your home recently remodeled? It may be worth mentioning. On average, bottom-tier listings with the word “remodel” sold for 2.9% more, middle-tier homes for 1.8% more and top-tier homes for 1.7% more than expected.
While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, a beautiful feature like a view may be worth noting. Lower-priced listings with the word “beautiful” sold for 2.3% more on average than expected.
“Gentle” may seem like a weird adjective to have in a listing description. It’s typically used to describe “gentle rolling hills” or something about a home’s location. Top-tier listings with the word “gentle” sold for 2.3% more, on average, than expected.
You may think all homes are spotless when a buyer moves in, so it’s not worth mentioning in a listing. But when it comes to lower-priced homes, cleanliness isn’t always a given. In this price range, listings described as “spotless” sold for 2% more on average than expected.
Much like “stainless” and “granite,” “tile” is a great word when it comes to describing the features of your home. A newly tiled backsplash or updated bathroom tile not only indicates a home’s aesthetic value but also sends a message to buyers that the home’s been well cared for by the current owners. Bottom-tier homes with the word “tile” in the listing sold for 2% more on average than expected.
On average, lower-priced listings with the word “upgraded” sold for 1.8% more than expected. Most buyers will agree that upgrades are a selling point. They indicate a home not only looks nice but also functions well. Spelling out which features have been updated is a good approach, so buyers have the right expectations when they see your home.
“Updated” sends a similar message to “upgraded.” But in addition to speaking to the quality of a home, it signals that something old has been replaced with something new. This is a great fact to communicate to potential buyers, as evidenced by the data. Mid-priced homes with “updated” in the listing sold for 0.8% more on average than expected.
Check out the nine most dangerous listing descriptors below.
The word “fixer” implies “fixer-upper.” While a fixer-upper may not seem out of place among lower-priced homes, most buyers expect mid- and high-priced homes to be move-in ready. The numbers back this up. On average, listings in the mid-price range with the word “fixer” sold for 11.1% percent less than expected.
“TLC” falls in the same camp as “fixer.” However in this case, both low- and high-priced homes took a hit when they were described as needing tender loving care. Listings in the bottom tier that mentioned “TLC” sold for 4.2% less, and homes in the top tier mentioning “TLC” sold for 8.7% less on average than expected.
While you may think you’re putting a positive spin on “needs work” by saying a home needs “a few cosmetic updates,” a buyer likely doesn’t want to hear this. On average, high-priced listings with the word “cosmetic” sold for 7.5% less than expected.
While someone looking to buy an investment property might like to see the word “investment,” for the majority of home buyers it signals a home has seen better days. Low-priced listings described as an “investment” sold for 6.6% less on average than expected.
Like “investment,” “investor” is a great word for attracting someone who is looking to flip or rent out a property. But for home buyers, it can imply a home is rundown and cheap. For high-priced homes, this might make buyers think there is room to negotiate. And data shows top-tier listings with the word “investor” sold for 6.6% less on average than expected.
You might see a home described as “having potential,” but this signals it isn’t a finished product. You don’t want to communicate this to buyers looking for a move-in ready home. In fact, lower-priced homes with “potential” in the listing description sold for 4.3% less on average than expected.
As soon as we hear “bargain,” we’re unfortunately wired to think the opposite. If you think your home is a great deal, a good rule of thumb is to let the price speak for itself. Mid-priced homes described as a bargain sold for 3.5% less on average than expected.
While high-priced homes may be described as an “opportunity to live on the water” or an “opportunity to live like royalty,” the context isn’t typically so positive in listing descriptions for low-priced homes. In this case, you might expect to see “house-flipping opportunity” or “investment opportunity,” which can have negative connotations for buyers. Listings in this price tier with the word “opportunity” sold for 2% less on average than expected.
Like “opportunity,” the word “nice” typically has a positive meaning in listings for high-priced homes — “nice view” or “nice wine cellar,” for example. But for low- and mid-priced homes, “nice” is highly subjective, especially if it’s used generally to say “a nice home.” The buyer is left to interpret what “nice” means. Likely because of this ambiguity, low- and mid-priced listings with the word “nice” sold for about 1% less on average than expected.
Bonus… Here are a few phrases that, when written in the property descriptions of online home listings, were associated with faster sales:
- Fenced backyard.
- Open concept.
- Natural light.
- Updated kitchen.
People who sell homes with these attributes “should make sure to ask their listing agent to include these words and phrases in the property description. Other phrases that hastened sales included “finished basement,” “vaulted ceilings,” “single-story,” “move-in ready” and “new stainless appliances.”
If you, or someone you know is considering Buying or Selling a Home in Columbus, Ohio please contact The Opland Group. We offer professional real estate advice and look forward to helping you achieve your real estate goals!
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