Top Terms to Employ in Your Listing for a Faster Sale

Effective Real Estate Listings


Talk isn’t cheap, not when it comes to picking the right words to describe the house you are selling. Paul Anglin, an economics professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, analyzed the language of 20,000 listings to see which terms correlated with higher prices and faster sales—and which terms worked against sellers.

‘Beautiful’ and ‘landscaping’ are the all-around winners, each adding about 5% to the sale price while speeding the transaction.

The top terms for selling faster are:
• Handyman special
• Starter home
• Motivated
• Move-in

But take care to use ‘handyman special’ and ‘motivated’ with caution. You’ll sell faster but for a lot less money; these terms cut the selling price by 30% and 8%, respectively.

It’s no secret why these words work. Buyers who would like to buy a ‘beautiful’ house in ‘move-in’ condition with ‘landscaping’ are willing to pay for it. Those looking for a bargain hone in on language like ‘handyman special’ and ‘motivated’, then press hard for a rock-bottom price.

Price and condition are the two factors that buyers, especially first-time buyers, are most likely to compromise on, according to National Association of Realtors research. That’s consistent with the priorities Anglin unearthed in his listing language analysis.

Lesson of the listing: choose your words carefully. You’re describing not just the property, but also the type of buyer and offer you expect to attract.

For last week’s Money Matters Monday column, “Words to Sell By”, click here.

For more on buying and selling homes, consider:

Maximize Your Remodeling Dollar
Fee for All: How to Keep More Equity
Quick Tip: Why Home Staging Works