A well-written listing can elevate your home above competing properties, enticing buyer interest and well-priced bids. Though you could leave the writing of your home's listing to your real estate agent, it's wise to get involved, offering to spruce up your home's description with some key words and descriptions. A quality real estate agent will welcome your input, and together you'll craft a listing that stands out.
According to a study by the University of Windsor and researchers from Canada Mortgage and Housing, certain phrasings can affect home sale prices and the amount of time it takes to close on a listing. For instance, listings with the words "beautiful" or "gorgeous" sold a home 15 percent faster than listings without those descriptions, and often at a higher price. Landscaping references landed sales 20 percent more quickly. In contrast, the term "must-see" had virtually no effect on a listing's success. The words "motivated" and "must sell" actually hurt a home's sale, slowing it down by 30 percent.
Here are your guidelines to participating in your home's listing so you can ensure that you have the perfect wording to boost your home's selling price as quickly as possible:
1) Speak to your real estate agent as soon as possible, ideally upon first meeting, so that he or she knows of your wishes to help write the listing.
2) Learn the magic words and phrases of the industry. Jim Remley, author of "Selling Your Home in Any Market," says to avoid the terms "fixer-upper" and "needs sweat equity," which can turn off a buyer who would rather buy a property in move-in condition. The magic word for such a ready-to-move-in property is "turnkey."
Avoiding words that make prospective buyers fear a future of expensive fixes is wise, unless your home is actually a "teardown" in disrepair and your target market is developers looking for property to demolish and rebuild. "Cozy" makes a buyer think rooms are small, even if you're describing your roomy master bedroom. The wrong descriptive word that's considered a negative buzzword will hurt your home's presence on the market.
3) Brainstorm what's new. While the listing itself describes all rooms by dimensions, as well as the presence of central air, a fireplace and other facts about your home's attractions, add in the comments or description section such attention-getters as "new fireplace in the master bedroom" or "new bamboo flooring in the den and bedrooms." If you've chosen eco-friendly paint for your home, add "VOC-free paint in all rooms," which will please buyers who value green living. What else is new within the past several years? New lighting fixtures? New landscaping and stonework in the spacious backyard? Add those selling details to your listing.
4) Make lifestyle and entertainment a focus. Again, the dimensions of your living room and dining room don't get a buyer imagining what it would be like hosting holiday dinners there. So add "ideal entertaining space for more than 70 guests, with indoor and outdoor celebration areas, including French doors opening out to our new stone terrace and built-in Weber grill and wet bar." Buyers will then imagine their 70 guests enjoying margaritas and filet mignons on that terrace. Your description paints a picture of magical get-togethers that make them popular hosts.
5) Play up comfort. No one knows your home like you do, so mention your Energy Star windows and new insulation, creating a warm home in winter and cool home in summer. When you convey how buyers would feel in your home, your listing again rises above the competition.
6) Describe organizing space. If your closets feature professionally designed organizing systems, make that a must in your listing. Mention that your basement, garage and attic provide organizing areas, and your kitchen pantries have been designed by a professional for optimal order.
7) Note your permits. Buyers want to be sure your fixes and additions have been done to code, so note if each of your indoor and outdoor features were completed with permits, by reputable professionals. The buyer will see that you operated with integrity and that you cared enough to hire experts for your home projects.
8) Show luxury. The National Bureau of Economic Research says that homes listed with specifics such as "granite" kitchen counters and "maple" closets tend to garner higher home sales. Think like your buyer. Which words say "luxury"? A spa-style master bathroom? Golf course location?
9) Seek truth. Everything in a home listing must be truthful, so if your floor is actually a softwood such as fir, do not list it as hardwood, even if you refer to it as such in conversation. A large closet described as a walk-in when it is not is a misleading element.
10) Avoid vague descriptions. "Contemporary" might not mean the same to a buyer as it does to you.
In addition to your descriptions, take at least a dozen well-lit, high-resolution photos of your home's details, including indoor and outdoor spaces, for inclusion in your media gallery.