Words Matter: Sales and the Art of Describing Your Home

by Rana WaxmanSeptember 21, 2017

The Power of Words

In today’s digitally-driven world, marketing a house must be done with the precision it takes to write a catching 140-character tweet. Buyers are word-savvy and since they may be skim-readers, the words you choose to describe your home may make a difference to potential buyers. In fact, the right words might attract a potential buyer to your next open house. Moreover, certain words might help you get a better price for it.

In a recent analysis by CoreLogic, it was found that with respect to location, condition, and design, properties that were described with positives performed better. They had more market appeal and gleaned higher-than anticipated closing prices by the sellers and realtors. Interestingly, in this article, the author states that “properties with key words related to great locations such as overlook, step (e.g., steps to the beach,) hill and park, on average, sell higher, relative to the final list price than those without these positive location attributes.”

Aren’t Pictures Worth a Thousand Words?

Female Hands Holding Smart Phone Displaying Photo of Kitchen Beh
If words have so much value, where does that leave pictures? Sherrie Boyer, a PA licensed realtor with Coldwell Banker Preferred Center City says, “Pictures are truly worth a thousand words – they intrigue us – and only then – do most folks read the description…” Okay, so how much reading do buyers want to do? As in the fairy tale, Goldie-Locks and the Three Bears, when is the description ‘just right?!’

Boyer explains that details do matter, especially when it comes to functionality. Phrases that describe walkability to stores, restaurants, and parks are important. “Descriptions that accurately detail room sizes and locations and measurements–these count–especially if you are looking for wall space to fit art or a big bureau,” Boyer says.

Love is in The Details

Use words that could help prospective buyers visualize the experiences they might have in their new home. Whether this means cuddling by a roaring fire, sitting on a sun-dappled porch, or making a cup of coffee in a spacious remodeled kitchen. In fact, if you have special memories aligned with specific features – like family get-togethers in a ‘sprawling’ living room, play that up. Love is in the details.

Walk Them Through a Floor Plan

Three people reviewing a floor plan
In Boyer’s experiences, many listings do not include measurements of the rooms. She says that this is a disservice since most people care about space. Her tips are to outline things like closet spaces, the location of washer/dryer units and bathrooms. Also, spelling out where the powder room is as opposed to saying 2.5 baths looks better. The floor plan can be a “wonderful asset” when done right.

Honesty is the Best Policy

Most importantly, Boyer has found that buyers in Philadelphia want the truth. She stresses that no one wants to be duped into finding your ‘cozy living room with lots of entertainment potential’ is a dark and dreary 8 by 10 room with a tiny window. Find a way to be honest while concise and positive.

The Staging Game

Young bearded man hanging picture on wall at home
Can’t figure out how to spin that dark room? Get someone to help you stage your home first, then describe it later to reflect the changes. Maybe that small dreary room needs a stylish coat of fresh paint, accessories like a potted plant, and better lighting. You don’t have to break the bank. Grace Ingravallo, of Provident Legacy Real Estate Services, is a firm believer in staging. “Staging and making a home feel like you are stepping into the perfect space is a huge plus when it comes to marketing a luxury home,” she says.

Describe to Visualize

Ingravallo’s tip is to sell the experience of the home, not just the square footage and location. “When a buyer walks into a home the emotion that they feel is an instant reaction”. Think of what you want your buyers to feel, and try to convey that with your words.

“When a buyer walks into a home the emotion that they feel is an instant reaction,” she says. Think of what you want your buyers to feel, and try to convey that with your words. For instance, change the phrase ‘bath tub’ to ‘soaking tub.’

The “It-List”: What Words Matter Most

When marketing a home to attract buyers in Hoboken or Jersey City, Ingravallo says there are seven key phrases:

  1. Commuters dream with fantastic train access
  2. Luxury or luxurious
  3. Sun-filled
  4. A floor plan that offers functionality
  5. Attention to detail
  6. Charming
  7. Top of the line anything… whether it be any type of building material, appliances, etc.

Caren Waxman, a prominent home decorator in Bergen County, New Jersey agrees. “People want to feel everything is at its best and won’t need work. They also want to feel that the decor will last at least ten years,” she says.

Call to Action

It’s Marketing 101 to leave your prospective buyer with a call to action. Help the reader/buyer to feel why they need to close on your house right now. After all, it is a beautiful home, perfectly priced, and a must-see!

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About The Author
Rana Waxman
Rana Waxman parlays years of work experience in several fields into web content creation aligned with client needs. Rana's versatile voice is supported by a zest for research, a passion for photography, and desire to provide clients with a purposeful presence online. In her non-writing hours, Rana is a happy yogini, constant walker, avid reader, and sometimes swimmer.