Advertising Words for Home Selling
The Top Attention-Grabbing Words That Sell Homes
Real estate listings usually include a lot of pictures because pictures really are worth a thousand words. But homebuyers routinely tour houses and attend open houses based on the strength of classified ads, too—just some lines of text with no images involved.
The writers of those classified ads chose the right words. Knowing the right ones to use can help you compose an effective advertisement that will set your listing apart and get your home sold.
Brainstorm Words to Describe Your Home
Start by listing all the adjectives and nouns that come to your mind when you think about your house. Let the words and your imagination flow. Don't worry about the order or spelling at this point. Just write them down as they pop into your mind.
Avoid Negative Words
Now review your list and cross off any words that might potentially sound negative or misleading. You might have said:
- Small or tiny: Your home or condo might be cozy, but it is not small. Don't ever use this word unless you're selling a true "tiny home," designed and built and intended to be that way.
- Cramped: Cross "cramped" off your list as well. A house might be comfortable, but it's never cramped. Cramped usually can't be fixed, at least not without boatloads of money poured into renovations and additions.
- Outdated: Outdated implies that a lot of work will be necessary to make the place livable. "Original vintage" is much better. Vintage homes in pristine condition are sought after.
- Oversized: This might sound like a good word, but you'll want to stay away from it, too, unless your home is the largest one in the neighborhood. If so, it's a white elephant and it should be priced accordingly.
- Upside potential: Use this phrase only if you're clearly selling a fixer-upper. Buyers can't normally envision potential, and they'll want to pay less for it, not more.
- Basement: "Basement" condos and co-ops are hard to sell. If you were given a choice between looking at a basement or a penthouse, which would you choose? A better word choice is "lower level."
- Ugly but cute: You might think "ugly but cute" is clever, but odds are that buyers won't get past the "ugly" part. Just do it if you need to replace the carpeting. There's no need to alert buyers to the fact that they'll have to take care of it themselves. Forget that old school of thought that says a buyer wants to pick out his own carpeting. He doesn't.
- Fresh paint: Paint it if the place needs a paint job, but don't advertise the property as having "fresh paint." Buyers tend to be suspicious and wonder why you had to recently paint the home. What are you covering up?
- Leaking roof: As for that "leaking roof," nobody sets out to buy a house with the potential for water splattering on their living room furniture. Most buyers are afraid of roofs that need repair and rightly so. Replace the roof, if possible, and offer a roof certification.
- Near train or bus line: Public transportation might be important to urban buyers, but some homebuyers imagine endless noise and fumes when they see the words "on bus line" or "near train." In fact, properties located by light rail or the train sell for a lot less than homes just a few blocks away, and they take longer to sell. A better word choice is "public transportation available."
- Motivated seller: Stay away from "motivated seller," too. A motivated seller is a desperate seller, and desperate sellers accept much less than market value. Don't wave that flag and label yourself. Use "all offers considered" instead.
Some of these might seem like no-brainers, but you'd be surprised at how often they find their way into classified ads.
Real Estate Advertising Words That Work
Now replace all those words you crossed out with something more affirmative. Accentuate the positive.
Think back to when you bought your home. What made you want it? What single feature made you write an offer? Play up those factors. They might include:
- Beautiful: Every home buyer wants a beautiful home. The word "beautiful" is powerful regardless of where or how it's used.
- Turnkey: Let readers know about it if your property is ready to move into tomorrow. Some agents use the phrase "all the work has been done for you," and this is good, too. Either way, it presents a clear picture of a home ready for occupancy with minimal or no fuss.
- Lovingly maintained: One of the greatest fears of homebuyers is having to pour money into a house after closing. Homes that are well maintained require less initial upkeep, so you might want to mention that yours has been "lovingly maintained."
- Spacious: Buyers envision buying a home that's large enough for their needs. You might use other words that describe a big space as well, such as huge or enormous, but don't say it if it isn't true.
- Backyard paradise: These two words speak volumes. A big and welcoming backyard can be the main selling feature for some buyers, especially those with children, pets, or who are buying in warmer climates.
- Open floor plan: A great floor plan can overcome many other objections, including the overall size of the house. Good flow can maximize space. Most homebuyers want an open floor plan.
- Redeemed to perfection: Let buyers know if you've made updates that enhance the home, but don't say it was "completely remodeled" unless the home was literally torn down to the studs. This could get you sued. Say "remodeled to perfection" instead.
- Suite: The term "suite" lets buyers know the master bedroom has its own bath, and this is a desirable feature. It's always good to mention a "huge master suite" or "retreat." Picture the mom and dad who just put their kids to bed. Do they want to retreat somewhere private and comfortable? Count on it.
"Sell the sizzle, not the steak" is an old adage that is particularly true when it comes to writing real estate classified ads.
Choose Short Descriptive Headlines
Decide which of your revised word list speaks volumes, and choose one to describe your house. If it's location, style, size, or updates, use these features to write an attention-grabbing headline.
Read other ads to see how those agents describe homes in or near your neighborhood. Go ahead and steal the best modifiers, like these:
- Stunning Classic
- Magnificent Mediterranean
- Prestigious Location
- Finest Street In (name of the neighborhood)
- Entertainer's Delight
- Charming Cottage
- Sparkling Pool and Private Spa
- Beautiful Bungalow
- Fabulous Water Views
- Skyline View
- Secret Gardens
- Upscale Urban
Keep in mind that these are the first words a reader will see when noticing your ad. Tell them what's most important—in the best possible terms, of course.
Your Closing Statement
Tell readers how they can learn more now that you've sparked their interest. Your call-to-action in a closing statement is just as important, if not more important, than any other part of your classified ad. Let potential buyers know what's in this for them.
Here's where you'll mention that you'll consider all offers. Yes, you're probably inviting a low-ball offer or two or more, but so what? You can always come down on price if you absolutely have to. Include clear contact information for you, your agent, or both.
Fair Housing Compliance
And then there's the law. The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disabilities, or familial status. You don't want to say anything in your ad that even alludes to these issues.
Ask your real estate agent or attorney, if you have one, to review your ad. Make sure that it complies with federal fair housing laws before you publish it.
The Journal of Transport and Land Use. "The Effect of Light Rail Transit Service On Nearby Property Values: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Seattle," Page 403. Accessed Feb. 11, 2020.
Trulia. "How to Deal With Motivated Sellers - 1. The Desperate Seller." Accessed Feb. 11, 2020.
Department of Housing and Urban Development. "Housing Discrimination Under the Fair Housing Act." Accessed Feb. 11, 2020.