Top 5 Worst Words in a Home for Sale Listing

Worst words in a home for sale listing

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Last week I discussed the most powerful words to use in a home for sale listing. This week, I will address the five worst words to use in a home for sale listing.

Writing a home for sale listing is not an easy task, especially for those who are doing it for the first time, but if you can manage to avoid the worst words in a home for sale listing, rest assured that you will be one step closer to selling your home in a timely manner.

According to Paul Anglin, a professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario Canada and a real estate economist, the results of a study in Ontario showed that real estate ad phrasing had a strong effect on the sales price and a home’s time on market.

Here, now, are the worst words in a home for sale listing – so take note and make sure you avoid them.

Worst words in a home for sale listing #1

When it comes to homes where the seller describes themselves as a “motivated” seller, Anglin admitted that homes using that word took about 30% longer to sell. While you might expect a word like “motivated” to imply that the homeowner is willing to negotiate on price, seems this word has the opposite effect.

To start, how many sellers aren’t motivated – it sort of goes with the territory. But it may be more beneficial for the seller to focus more on the listing and less on describing themselves.

Worst words in a home for sale listing #2

Must sell
Unfortunately, the use of “must sell” denotes a sense that the home seller is desperate and that there must be something wrong with the place. This, in turn, leaves the home for sale on the market for longer than it would otherwise be.

According to Anglin, emphasizing the price point or your willingness to unload the home tells the home buyer that there is something wrong with the home or that you overvalued it to begin with.

It is useful to note, however, that if a home seller uses “must sell” with a valid reason like “due to health reasons,” then this is okay, according to Anglin, and would not affect the length of time it would take a home seller to unload the home.

Worst words in a home for sale listing #3

Good value
Words that speak to the general attractiveness of a property helped it sell faster than those that spoke to “value” and “price.” When home sellers use the term “good value,” it typically results in sales that are 5% lower than average.

In layman’s terms, using “good value” in your home for sale listing translates into “not much to look at but a bargain for the price I’m asking.” Unless you really believe that your home isn’t worth very much and isn’t much to look at, steer clear of this phrase.

Worst words in a home for sale listing #4

Starter home
When a potential home buyer sees the words “starter home” on a home for sale listing, they immediately imagine a teeny tiny little home made for 1.5 people. Even if your home is small, that is not the first impression that you would ideally push onto people.

It is preferable to add the square footage of your home in your listing rather than use the words “starter home,” as they have a negative connotation to them.

Worst words in a home for sale listing #5

Freshly painted
You invested a couple hundred bucks to paint your home and prepare it for sale and you think it looks pretty damn good. Unfortunately, however, if you add that to your home for sale listing without boasting about any other renovations, this could put your listing in a negative light.

If you put the promise of a house is ‘freshly painted,’ potential home buyers might wonder if that’s the only thing the place has going for it, so make sure your renovations include more than just paint.

Avoid the worst words in a home for sale listing and this…

Growing up, I was always annoyed when people wrote notes and email with tons of exclamation marks, and it seems I am not alone. When you are writing a home listing, try to keep exclamation marks to a minimum. I get that you are trying to stir excitement in potential buyers but it is having the opposite effect.

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  1. Darren says:

    Thank you so much for this. We recently listed with ComFree and were excited to find this article. Great advice. You guys really do offer it all!

  2. Jignes says:

    Perfect post… let’s just hope that all home sellers are reading this and updating their listings.

  3. Rosy,
    Thanks for the interesting data. I wouldn’t have guessed that these phrases would make it on the worst list. In Gilbert, these are the five most commonly used phrases in listings, I believe. Thanks again! -Aaron

  4. Meredith says:

    I have to agree with these “worst words” but I would say, above all, is proof read your listing. It really does tend to turn buyers away when there are blatant misspellings in a description that is intended to stir excitement and a desire to purchase.

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