Update 2019: To see the most popular home description words from 2019 and how they have changed since 2012, check out our new analysis of the terms and phrases most used by real estate agents in listing descriptions this year.
A Study on 300,000 Listings Reveals What Words US Agents Use the Most
“Your dream home,” “gleaming hardwood floors,” “soaking tub” or maybe “Sub Zero” and “wall of windows”— are you using the most powerful word combination to make your property stand out?
Our analysis shows that the “tried and tested” phrases like “beautiful,” “spacious” or “must-see” are still commonly used by US agents nationwide when advertising their listings. Nevertheless, judging by how high they ranked in our list of the most frequently used real estate listing words in 2012, certain keywords referring to desirable home attributes or upgrades seem to carry a special weight with people who look for a home.
Do you already have a special, ka-ching! combination of words for advertising a home? If you’re still looking to develop one, the findings below might prove to be just what you need.
Most Popular Real Estate Buzzwords in 2012
“Beautiful” has been considered the queen of real estate buzzwords for quite a while, but we wanted to have solid proofs for this. Thus, we analyzed 300,000 listings active in 2012 in order to see what the most popular words used to describe them are. The results confirmed that “beautiful” is still the #1 most frequently used word in real estate listings. Findings show that other common phrases like “great room,” “your dream home” or “must see” were still widely used by agents in 2012.
However, keywords referring to specific features like “hardwood floors” and “stainless steel appliances” ranked quite high in our list, too — “hardwood floors” is # 2 and “stainless steel” is #3 on our top 10.
Are You Being Geographically-Sensitive When Marketing Your Home?
Most home buyers are looking for something specific in a home, based on their needs and taste. So when crafting a listing ad, it’s always wise to ask yourself what kind of home buyers you’re targeting.
To help you understand the pool of home buyers better, our analysis indicates that the choice of words used in listings varies between regions as well. In other words, it seems that home buyers in one area may be looking for things that are of less concern to buyers elsewhere, judging from the very localized popularity of certain specific keywords.
For example, West Coast home buyers seem to be looking particularly for “beautiful” homes with “mountain or ocean views” and for homes in “gated communities.” Across the continent, on the East Coast, it’s more important for the home to be ready to “move right in” to be “renovated” and to have “gleaming hardwood floors.”
This may make some wonder: how much does this reveal about the type of home buyers existing in different regions in the US?
Check out the map below for more listing keywords specific to each of the four US regions:
Words Sell …Is this true?
“Proven,” “You,” “Free” – there’s almost an entire science dedicated to the discovery of Words That Sell. But are there any real estate-industry specific words that help you sell a home faster?
We gave this a test as well. We analyzed listing descriptions for homes in NYC that sold faster than the 180-day average and identified the top 100 most used words. The same study was done for all listings in NYC.
While there was a certain degree of overlap between the two sets, there were more than 50 words which were present only in the first category. “Closet space,” “city views,” “soaking tub,” “sunny,” “open kitchen,” “oversized windows,” and “elegant” – all were among the top word choices of agents who sold homes faster, but not among the average home description.
Is this just clever wording or does it simply indicate a high demand for homes that feature certain desirable characteristics such as an open kitchen or the presence of a storage room?
We wanted to have an expert answer this for us, and who better to ask than someone with a proven record of selling homes fast. Real estate agent Elaine Clayman, a senior vice president and managing director with Brown Harris Stevens gave our question a thought and told us that, based on her experience, it’s not only the features you include in the ad that may help a home sell faster, but how you describe them as well. “Soaking tub is more inviting than bath tub, for example. Private storage is also more compelling than public storage,” she pointed out.
Here is a visual display of the top-20 words that sold NYC homes in 2012:
“Privacy” Lures Wealthy Home Buyers
Should an ad describing a $500,000 home and one marketing a $5 million home sound the same?
A price segmentation of all the listings analyzed helped us notice that while “beautiful” appeals to the average home buyer, the wealthy ones seem to be more attracted to homes listed as “private.”
Moreover, a look at the top-10 most popular words used to describe listings in the luxury ($1-$5 million) and mega-luxury ($5 million and over) segments seems to back up the idea that agents commonly use references to home attributes to attract home buyers’ interest. For example, most homes in the $5 million and over segment were advertised as being “private,” but also as having “a guest house,” “a wall of windows,” or “a wood burning fireplace.”
Let’s take a look at how much specific keywords vary for each price segment:
$1 million and under: Wondering how to phrase a memorable listing description for a typical home? Looks like most agents use references to a “well maintained” home with “lots of storage,” and a “covered front porch” to attract potential home buyers.
$1-$5 million: Home buyers in the $1-$5 million range had, obviously, higher demands. Many homes listed in this category were advertised as having “ocean views,” a “guest house,” and a “media room.”
$5 million and over: The wealthiest buyers seem to be hooked by “a pool house,” “a wine room,” and “a home theater” in a home facing the ocean, if possible. Yes, please!
Click on the slideshow below to see these words come to life:
Brand Names Do Matter
If we agree that home attributes are important to buyers, and to the wealthy ones in particular, the question to answer next is what brand names were used more frequently when listing luxury homes?
Number one on our list is Sub Zero— their refrigerators appear to be the hottest (and some of the priciest) appliances these days.
Words, price, or pictures?
Several agents we’ve talked to told us that words may sell, but few buyers can resist an attractive price, even when the ad or the pictures don’t look that great.
So, is it the price that makes or breaks a deal or does the visual aspect (words and pictures) carry the most weight when selling a home? Share your experience with others by leaving a comment below.
Free Full Lists of Listing Keywords that Sell and Most Popular Listing Words Ready to Download
If you would like to have access to complete lists of listing keywords for each of the categories above, you can access and download for free our Top-100 Most Popular Real Estate Listing Keywords (PDF), tested by thousands of US agents and brokers in 2012!