5 Home Selling Tips Your Agent Doesn’t Know

Home Selling TipsYou'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.


3. Vacant:


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.


4. Repairs:


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.

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  1. Julie Casil says

    NEW YORK – April 19, 2016 – Home listings that contain “barn door” – a rustic sliding door for rooms – sold for more than 13 percent above the expected value and 57 days faster, according to a new study.

    Words like “shaker cabinet,” “farmhouse sink” and “subway tile” also helped homes to sell faster and for higher values.

    In a new analysis by Zillow, researchers looked at more than 60 keywords used in more than 2 million real estate listings between January 2014 and March 2016 to learn which buzzwords resonated most with homebuyers today. They are:

    Barn door: 13.4% (the percent of homes that sold for above-expected values)
    Shaker cabinet: 9.6%
    Farmhouse sink: 7.9%
    Subway tile: 6.9%
    Quartz: 6%
    Craftsman: 5.4%
    Exposed brick: 4.9%
    Pendant light: 4.6%
    Frameless shower: 4.6%
    Heated floors: 4.3%
    Stainless steel: 4.2%
    Granite: 4.1%
    Backsplash: 4.1%
    Tankless water heater: 4%
    Outdoor kitchen: 3.7%

    Source: “Using These Keywords in Your Listing Could Sell Your Home Faster,” MarketWatch (April 16, 2016)

  2. What do you say if your home needs new carpet and some minor work? I can’t afford to update carpet and kitchen counters.

  3. Fresh Start Properties says

    So what do you say when the home is really in rough shape in a really bad area? How do you make a complete “investor special” sound fluffy? Also, we are huge fans of “cozy” too. Most of our 2bed room 1 bath homes get a “cozy” or “cute” 🙂

  4. keller williams realty says

    That’s truly an awesome blog post, I have never gone through such a good blog before. All the facts about the work usage you have presented here is amazing, even I was also using these sort of words in the MLS listings . Further I will definitely take care of these tips about word usage and going to bookmark your blog 🙂

  5. As a Realtor and investor in th DFW area myself, I think this statement is ludicrous – I list properties for banks and individuals, but and flip homes in dallas and Collin county and can’t imagine even the most ignorant agent not knowing at least 4 of the 5 ” of the tips” ” given I n this blog. -generally, “motivated seller ” is put in the description of a listing it’s because it is a REO that the seller has given 30 days or less marketing, an individual is relocating a has said to drop price or something of the sort and quite possibly property has been on market for a few weeks with little or no activity. The descriptor can be revised throughout theisting so if a study sees this in the description of a property with long DOM – who knows when that verbage was added to the listing description.

    All tips in some situations could be accurate, but none of them are things agents don’t know – if you bring up any of these tips to your agent and he or she looks oblivious …. That is not someone you should trust with $100k of your money…

    • Phil Pustejovsky says

      You think that most agents know that adding “Motivated Seller” to the listing description increases the number of days the property takes to sell, really? Sure, putting “motivated seller” is certainly going to bring lower offers…that’s common sense…but a longer time on market? That defeats the purpose of using the phrase altogether! Why would ANY agent EVER use that phrase, EVER, based on this study? Even for REOs?

      • MerydithEndelman says

        As a Realtor and an investor, when I see the words “motivated seller” in a MLS description I get excited! This usually means that the DOM have exceeded the expectation of the Seller and I have the opportunity of getting a good deal, perhaps even a non traditional deal because the Seller wants out. Retail end buyers know this too.

        Needless to say, seasoned Realtors know these catch phrases well enough to know what they evoke in their market place.

        It might be true that there are just too many Realtors without a lot of experience.Perhaps you are speaking of those Realtors? For the most part, we are a lot smarter than how you portray us here.

        • Phil Pustejovsky says

          The study shows that there is NO upside in adding “Motivated Seller” in the Realtor remarks, whatsoever. Anytime that phrase is being used, it is proving the agent isn’t applying the highest and best use of the listing. If you want to sell quickly, there are other things you can do or say on the listing to help move the property quickly without using that phrase.

  6. Impressive your information your tips are powerfol.

  7. great tips like always

  8. Philip Hooker says

    Yes, thinking verbiage all the way through without going overboard on the time investment is a skill always in need of honing.

  9. Lance Vieau says

    Phil, Excellent counsel as always. Keep up the good work and my best to you and yours. Lance V / TX

  10. Kevin Jameson says

    Thank you, you are one of the few people on the net that understand what the small real estate investor is all about, I wish I was dealing with someone like you for my private mortgage. Everyone else seems to treat you like you are trying to steal something.

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