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Real Estate Ads, words that sell and words that fail

Updated on July 1, 2016

Selling a house? What single word in your ad can add thousands of dollars to the selling price? Do you know which words work best? Do you know that some commonly used real estate ad words can backfire and harm your sale opportunities?

There are a lot of standard phrases used in real estate ads. Just because you see a phrase used a lot doesn't make it a winner. Some of those common phrases, like "motivated seller" can work against you!

Are you a FSBO? That translates to "For Sale By Owner", pronounced "fizz-bo". Do you use a real estate agent? Either way, you need to pay attention to how your home is marketed. The words chosen for your ad and flyer's can lure in prospects or can turn them off!

A real estate agent's experience can be valuable in marketing your house. But how about adding a little scientific research?

Paul Anglin, a professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario Canada is also a real estate economist. Professor Anglin led a study in two counties in Ontario to study the effect of real estate ad phrasing on sales price and time on market. The results showed that some common words had a demonstrably positive effect on selling price, and shortening the time to sell. The surprise, to me, was that some commonly used words can get in the way and cost you money!

What's the magic word?

One of the words that can put more money in your pocket is "beautiful". The study showed that using the word beautiful scored an additional 5% in the resulting sales price. That works out to $15,000 on a $300,000 house. I don't know about you, but my house is beautiful!

What are some of the other words that scored positively and negatively in the study?

___________________Words that sell____________________

Some words strike a positive note with today's buyer. Here are some words that have shown a positive effect:

  • Curb appeal
  • Move-in condition
  • Landscaping
  • Granite
  • Gourmet
  • Golf
  • must see


__________________Words that can fail__________________

Some good sounding words can double-cross you! Here are some commonly used ad words and how they can be misinterpreted:

  • Motivated seller - loosely translated as "I'll take less money so low ball your bid"
  • Good Value - loosely translated as "It may not be much, but it's a bargain."
  • As-is - loosely translated as "It's a mess and we can't do anything with it, are you dumb enough to try?"

Other words and phrases that can work against you:

  • must sell
  • good value
  • starter home
  • vacant
  • handyman special
  • motivated


__________________A note of caution___________________

It should go with out saying that the words you use must be honest choices. If it's a dump, then the word "beautiful" will get a snicker, not a sale. If you use "curb appeal" then the house better look good as the prospect drives up and gets their second impression. You ad is their first impression; and it should be as good as you can make it!

What words work for you in real estate ads?

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    • profile image

      FSBO 5 years ago

      Great article - I used it as inspiration in a blog post here: and of course linked back. I'll be following your hub, excellent work!

    • profile image

      john 5 years ago

      like to see a layout on how to format the listing on paper do's and dont's wording

    • profile image

      Michelle 5 years ago

      I find it interesting that you are giving people advice about writing ads that sell - yet apparently you don't proof your articles for errors! Check the fourth paragraph.

    • profile image

      masha 5 years ago

    • st lucia for sale profile image

      st lucia for sale 6 years ago from St Lucia

      Really useful hub, thanks for the tips, it'll definitely help with my real estate blogging!

    • manilenio profile image

      manilenio 6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      This is an excellent hub. I'm about to write ad copy for a flyer for a developer I'll be marketing for, and I needed to find what kind of words will appeal to class A prospects. I'll keep these in mind as I craft the copy. Thanks very much.

    • Tom Bukacek profile image

      Tom Bukacek 6 years ago from Austin, TX

      Nice hub; there's a couple of words on the don't list that I use too frequently.

    • profile image

      Richard Asajar 6 years ago

      good article.. learned a lot.. ^^ thanks!

    • profile image

      B^2 6 years ago

      Also look at the pics. No inside pics? Warning! House cluttered? Might also be in disrepair or agent is not motivated enough on this property to have seller clean up.

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 6 years ago

      Thanks. I needed this advice and shall use it wisely.

    • profile image

      nasrin 6 years ago

      Greate article-very helpful thank you

    • jbgnet profile image

      jbgnet 6 years ago

      Very informative. Thanks a lot

    • profile image

      spruce squad the best realtor 6 years ago

      Thanks for great Info. The information is complete and very organized.


    • profile image

      miami 6 years ago

      thanks for comment. Keep commenting

    • profile image

      sprucesquad 6 years ago

      Thank you for the great comment!

      It is always nice to get real feedback from real people

    • profile image

      miami 6 years ago

      Thanks everyone for your comments – much appreciated!

    • profile image

      maisy 6 years ago

      Nice article! What I find to be important is when we list the updates on the home. Lots of these folks out there don't want to fix a new roof, or spend extra money on new windows. These factors tend to draw in more buyers.

    • profile image

      Mel F 6 years ago

      Am I the only one that can see the flaw in the study? Of course houses that advertise "handyman special" will sell for less than those that say "beautiful". pretty houses sell for more BECAUSE they ARE pretty not cuz they SAY it.

    • mailxpress profile image

      Michelle Cesare 6 years ago from New York

      Hi J,

      I came across this Hub of yours. I enjoyed the read. Thanks.

    • profile image

      real estate investing 6 years ago

      No wonder copy writers are so expensive. I really believe that copy makes all the difference in conveying what the buyer wants to hear


    Professor Anglin's study was covered in a news release that found it's way into several major newspaper articles. I saw the study result first in an article written by Ann Brenoff in the LA Times and reprinted in the Arizona Republic.

    Other interesting articles on real estate sales

    The Cheating Realtor: Shady Real Estate Agents is a very controversial article; be sure to read the comments.

    How To Stage a Home For Sale

    How To Prepare Your Home For Sale: A Guide to Staging

    OPEN HOUSE!....Risky for Sellers & Agents

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