4 Words Real Estate Agents Hate Seeing in Listings (and 5 They Think You Should Use More Often)

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The time has come to put your house on the market, but drafting the listing has you feeling stuck. Should you call it spacious? Quaint? Does the term “original details” entice or turn off buyers? To start, there are a handful of words you should absolutely leave out, according to two realtors in the know. Here are their no-no’s, along with a few terms you might want to incorporate.

4 Words to Never Use in a Listing

Your goal may be to showcase your home’s warmth and comfort, but to a prospective buyer, cozy has the potential to read “small.” In addition, it’s simply not specific enough. For example, if your kitchen is modern and sleek, you want to say that versus choosing a vague term, says Kerry Melcher, Opendoor’s in-house real estate expert. And if the bedroom is small, don’t beat around the bush by calling it cozy. Instead, talk about the qualities that make it great (ample sun, original moldings) and let prospective buyers draw their own conclusions about the size.

This word can only read one way: You’re looking to make a sale quick. “If you don’t want to negotiate the price of your home, you should stay far away from this word,” says Lexie Holbert, home and lifestyle expert at “But if your goal is a speedy home sale and you don’t mind knocking some money off the price, this word could help you attract the right type of buyer.”

If you don’t want to alienate a buyer, stay far away from phrases that have the potential to eliminate folks who don’t identify a certain way. For example, “great for young married couples” or “traditional neighborhood” have implications that carry a hint of discrimination for anyone that doesn’t view their lifestyle like that. It’s better to state the facts about the property and let the buyer fill in the gaps.

With the pandemic limiting in-person visits, it’s more important than ever to describe, in detail, every single one of your home’s features. “I’ve seen listings that include general notes like ‘the home has a ton of perks,’ which isn’t helpful at all,” Melcher says. ‘Instead, it’s better to use descriptors that are specific like ‘brand new carpet,’ ‘move-in ready,’ or ‘large office space.’”

5 Words to Always Include

This is a selling point for any home, but it’s also descriptive, explains Melcher. You want to do what you can to play it up in your listing. Does the natural light illuminate the living room at sunset? Or make the kitchen glow during the breakfast hour? Talk about that. Alternatively, if your home doesn’t have a lot of natural light, you can still find clever ways to talk more specifically about it. “Maybe you have a favorite spot for morning light or you can see the sunset from your window,” Melcher adds.

Blame the pandemic, but given that buyers are spending so much time cooking at home, the most desirable quality is a kitchen that’s move-in ready. If you’ve made any updates—new sub-zero fridge, marble countertops--mention them, says Holbert. (And don’t be shy with the photos, of course.)

If your home has a pool, a waterfront location…heck, a 15-minute walk to a waterfront location, spell that out loud and clear in your listing. Per Holbert, “pool” and “waterfront” show up in 65 percent of searches, so it’s the fastest way to increase views of your home.

Anything that speaks to the size of your space is a must-include, says Melcher. It’s simple, but also enticing to a future buyer. It gives the vibe of a blank canvas and one that will have ample room for all of your needs.

Materials matter. When describing your home in a listing, go overboard calling out details that truly paint a picture of the interior of your home, explains Melcher. “Terms such as ‘glossy white marble countertops’ or ‘rich mahogany wood flooring’ really sing on the page,” she says.

11 Things Real Estate Agents Would Never Have in Their Own Home

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