Advertising Words for Home Selling
The Top Attention-Grabbing Words That Sell Homes
Real estate MLS listings always include a lot of pictures because pictures are worth a thousand words. But homebuyers routinely make decisions to tour homes and to attend open houses based on the strength of classified ads, too, and these are just some lines of text with no photos involved.
Knowing the right words to use can help you compose an effective ad that will get your home sold. Make your words worth a thousand pictures.
Brainstorm Words to Describe Your Home
Start writing your classified ad by listing all the adjectives and nouns that come to your mind when you're asked to describe your home. 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 sound negative or misleading. Replace them with something more positive.
Did you say "small" or "tiny?" Your home or condo might be cozy, but it is not small. Unless it's a true tiny home, designed and built that way, don't use this word. Cross "cramped" off your list as well. A home might be comfortable, but it's never cramped. Cramped can't usually be fixed, at least not without boatloads of money poured into renovations additions.
"Outdated" is bad. It implies that a lot of work will be necessary to make it livable. "Original vintage" is much better. Vintage homes in pristine condition are sought after.
Stay away from "oversized," 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" is another phrase that you might want to stay away from. 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 if they can.
"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."
You might think "ugly but cute" is clever, but odds are that buyers won't get past the "ugly" part. If you need to replace the carpeting, just do it. There's no need to alert buyers to the fact that they'll have to do this themselves. Forget that old school of thought that says a buyer wants to pick out his own carpeting and pay for it. He doesn't.
Likewise, If the place needs a paint job, paint it—but don't advertise the home as having "fresh paint." Buyers tend to be suspicious and wonder why you had to recently paint the home.
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.
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, homes located by light rail or the train sell for a lot less than homes a few blocks away and take longer to sell. A better word choice is "public transportation available."
Stay away from "motivated seller," too. A motivated seller is a desperate seller, and desperate sellers sell for much less than market value. Don't wave that flag. Use "all offers considered" instead.
Words That Sell Homes
"Sell the sizzle, not the steak" is an adage that is particularly true when it comes to writing real estate classified ads. 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.
"Beautiful" is good. Every home buyer wants a beautiful home. Studies have shown that the word "beautiful" is very powerful, regardless of where or how it is used.
"Turnkey" is another good choice. If your home is ready to move into tomorrow, you can say so. Some agents use the phrase "all the work has been done for you." Either way, it presents a clear picture of a home ready for occupancy.
One of the greatest fears of homebuyers is having to pour money into a home after closing. Homes that are well maintained require less initial upkeep so you might want to mention that yours has been "lovingly maintained."
If your house is "spacious," tell your readers. 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 is if it isn't true.
"Backyard paradise" speaks volumes. A big and welcoming backyard can be the main selling feature, especially in warmer climates.
"Open floor plan" is another good phrase to use...if it's true. A great floor plan can overcome many other objections, including the overall size of the home. Good flow can maximize space. Most home buyers want an open floor plan.
Let buyers know if you've made updates that enhance the home, but don't say it was "completely remodeled" unless the home was torn down to the studs. This could get you sued. Say "remodeled to perfection" instead.
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 comfortable? Count on it.
Choose Short Descriptive Headlines
If you could choose one word to describe your home, which of your revised list speaks volumes? What's the best thing about your home? If it's location, style, size, or updates, use those 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 swipe 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
In this case, superlatives are the god.
Fair Housing Compliance
And then there's the law. You'll want to stay on top of this, too. The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, handicaps, disabilities, or familial status. You don't want to say anything in your ad that even alludes to these issues.
If you have a real estate agent or attorney, ask him to review your ad to be sure that it complies with federal fair housing laws before you publish it.
At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, CalBRE #00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.