Whether your reading real estate ads because you’re shopping for a new house or if you’re selling your current home, the words realtors use are often a clue to what the house is really like. A recent study found that some words that Realtors use are powerfully correlated to the final selling price and may even send signals to potential buyers to bid high or low.
For example, “well maintained” suggests that the house is old and the décor is out of date. “Great neighborhood” implies that the house is not as nice as the neighbors. “Charming” sounds small. “Spacious” sounds dilapidated. And, “fantastic” is simply too vague to have any meaning. Other vague words that signal that there isn’t anything special about the house include words like “immaculate” (clean) and “wonderful” (good). If you see an exclamation mark in the advertisement, that should be a signal that the Realtor is at a loss for words to describe the place.
Conversely, advertisements that use very descriptive words tend to be attached to houses that sell for higher prices. “Corian”, “granite”, “maple” are what they are. We wouldn’t expect to find them in a “handyman special” (needs lots of work). Just as “new”, “state-of-the-art” and “gourmet” conjure images of a great house for entertaining our young and modern friends, the words create images and are clues to whether the house is a good one or not.
Read every word.