You're about to discover 5 home selling tips that your real estate agent doesn't know. If you own a house now or plan to own a home in your life, the wisdom in this brief article could be worth thousands of dollars to you because you're going to learn how to sell a house faster and for more money by simply making sure the listing description of your property is optimized for success. Sadly, most real estate agents are unaware of what you're about to read.
Most houses are sold by listing the property on the MLS. Each listing usually contains pictures, property details and a small paragraph or two description. Real estate agents are the ones who are typically in charge of adding properties to the MLS and it is assumed that agents are the experts at deciding what to put on the listing to ensure maximum success. But do they really know what they are doing?
A study was done over a three-year period in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to determine the effects of the words used in the listing description on sales price and time on market (see Real Estate Agent Remarks: Help or Hype? for the full study). The results of this study were absolutely eye opening because it exposed some wisdom that very few agents know anything about. It was discovered that many of the common words or phrases that agents add to their listings actually hurt the seller, by either a lower sales price or a longer time on market, or both. PLUS, a brand new study just came out that also tested how the words in the listings affected the days on market, Impact Public Listing Comments Have on Days on Market. Here are 5 of the more powerful findings from these studies:
1. Motivated Seller:
Agents often put the phrase "motivated seller" in a listing in hopes of generating offers quickly. The study found that listings where the sellers were "motivated" resulted in a 4% lower sales prices and 15% longer time on market. While the intent of "motivated" is to entice buyers, the opposite occurs, hurting the sellers in the end.
2. Good Buy:
When a listing had the phrase "good buy" in the description, the study showed that the home sold for less indicating that simply omitting that word could help get the seller a better price.
When a listing had the word "vacant" in the description, the study showed that the property had a lower selling price indicating, once again, that not having the word in the listing remarks may improve the potential for a slightly higher final sales price.
The study showed that houses that had recently underwent "major repairs" or "recent repairs" sold for less and describing repairs in the remarks was a negative, both for price and time on market. However, using the word "updated" was associated with an increased sales price. It was determined that buyers don't automatically assume a repair is an improvement whereas an update has a more positive tone.
5. Good Location:
The study found little use of the "good location" description, but when used, it was associated with a lesser sales price. Perhaps adding such language reveals an insecurity the agent or the owner has in the value of the location?
How come your agent didn't already know this before they listed your property? They weren't reading this blog 🙂 Can you imagine how much money those common, seemingly innocent words and phrases are costing home sellers? No use crying over spilled milk though. So if those are 5 tips on what not to do, what should your agent do to the listing remarks to improve your chances for success?
Listing Descriptions that Sell Houses
The best listing description is the one that gets the buyer to imagine living in the home. You want to go well beyond features, such as "a big kitchen", and go deep into the benefits as well as evoking emotion. Here's an example of a description that you can truly feel:
"This cozy home is conveniently close to all of the amenities of life. It has been lovingly maintained and cared for over the years. From the beautiful landscaping, to the spacious interior and generous rooms, to the recently updated kitchen, this lovely home is upscale urban at its best. Imagine yourself as the next caretaker of this charming cottage, evoking the style and quality of a bygone era. You are buying a lifestyle, not just a home!"
Although it is not the only factor, having an emotion laden description that omits those words and phrases that have been proven to reduce the sales price and increase the days on market will put you in a better position to sell your house as efficiently as possible.