The words that real estate professionals choose to describe a property in listing ads could potentially result in the home selling for a premium, suggests an analysis that looks at listing descriptions and their effect on sales price and probability of sale. For example, property descriptor words in listing ads, like granite countertops and wood-burning fireplace, can help net higher sales prices.
Researcher Bennie Waller, a professor of finance and real estate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., found that each property characteristic mentioned in a listing increases the sale price by just under 1 percent and it’s probability of selling by, on average, 9.2 percent.
“That means a listing with 15 additional property characteristics sells for roughly a 13.5 percent price premium,” says Waller, who excluded standard features in his analysis, such as bedrooms. Waller and his co-authors examined more than 16,300 transactions between March 2000 and February 2009 from a south central Virginia MLS.
The study also found positive opinion words can also help boost the sales price. For example, words such as “beautiful” or “fabulous” could help increase the price by 0.9 percent, the study suggests. In other words, 10 positive words could bump up the sales price by potentially 9 percent, according to the study.
“You have one or two seconds to capture the buyer or buyer’s agent’s attention, and you need to sell [your home] as effectively and efficiently as possible,” Waller says. “You need to carefully choose your vernacular, but at the same time, not become verbose. There can be some puffing, but too much of it will encourage the buyer to look elsewhere.”
Source: “What’s a Word Worth?” The Wall Street Journal (April 10, 2014)