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Real Estate Advertising: Golden Words Bring Higher Prices

Golden words create higher home pricesIf you like money and real estate you need to know that words count. When it comes to real estate advertising the right words can mean more money for home sellers while the wrong words can depress home prices.

How much more? A new paper suggests that a single right word can increase selling prices by .9 percent. Use 10 of the right words and the value of a home is likely to increase by 9 percent, according to The Wall Street Journal.

This is a big deal. The difference between a $200,000 home and a property which sells for $218,000 may not be bricks or mortar but just the words used to market the property.

That’s the conclusion of a new paper by three professors: Kimberly R. Goodwin with the Department of Finance, Real Estate, and Legal Studies at the University of Southern Mississippi; Bennie D. Waller with the Department of Accounting, Economics, Finance, and Real Estate at Longwood University in Farmville, VA; and H. Shelton Weeks with the Department of Economics & Finance at Florida Gulf Coast University. Each author holds a Ph.D.

The trio looked at the real estate ads for 16,383 homes listed with the south central Virginia multiple listing service (MLS), including 10,890 homes that sold and 5,493 that didn’t.

According to their paper, The Impact of Broker Vernacular in Residential Real Estate, what you say can increase selling prices — or drive them down. The Journal of Housing Research has accepted the paper for publication.

Real Estate Advertising Words of Gold

Essentially the idea is that the more factually verifiable property characteristics shown in the listing remarks result in a higher selling price.

Translation: Some words are pure gold and the authors have the statistics to back up such an assertion.


When real estate brokers enter a home into a local MLS they’re required to fully describe the home in terms of features such as bedrooms and baths and they can add descriptions in “remarks” areas.

If you have more property characteristics you can not only get a higher sale price but also the likelihood of a sale improves, say the authors, at least in the case of single-family homes. However, the same results do not apply to condo and townhouse marketing.

Why does the use of positive opinion words have less impact with condos and townhouses than with single-family homes? Perhaps, speculate the authors, because such properties have a basic sameness.

The catch is that you can’t just pepper a listing with lots and lots of positive words in an effort to rack up higher prices. In fact, more property description words can produce longer selling times. There comes a point where too many words reduce the probability of a sale.

The reason that wordiness hurts, say the authors, is that each new descriptor may set off an additional opportunity for buyer worries and objections.

Motivation Works

Many real estate ads these days contain such action terms as bring offer or motivated seller. The authors conclude that such terms can often produce higher selling prices because they reflect the willingness of the owner to sell rather than any concerns regarding the condition of the property.

Positive Words

Song writer Pharrell Williams tells us that “happiness is the truth” and there’s something to this notion with real estate advertising. The three professors say the inclusion of positive opinion words can often lead to higher prices.

Incidentally, I’m about to sell an terrific house with four bedrooms set on a stunning lot. This impressive house backs up to the quiet and historic Little Antietam Creek. You’ll love this roomy home situated on a calm and secure cul-de-sac so bring your offer today….

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