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How to sell your home for more money

The magic words you need to consider in your real estate listing.

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Last updated: July 12, 2022 |

Article published: September 29, 2021

Anyone selling a house wants to receive an offer that comes in quickly – at or above the asking price. How successful you are can depend on many factors, but there’s one strategy that doesn’t get enough credit in helping you sell your home for more money: choosing the right words to describe your property in the real estate listing.

Thoughtful use of certain words can lead to receiving a premium over your asking price, according to Zillow. And which words to choose may depend on which price range your property falls into – and what the expectations of potential buyers might be.

Here are some examples for how to sell your home for more money:

For houses in a lower tier, listings using the word “luxurious” had offers a whopping 8.2% above the expected amount. “Impeccable” led to a 5.9% premium, while “remodeled” or “upgraded” and “spotless” were shown to be beneficial as well. With lower-tier properties, anything that suggests the home is move-in ready can add value.

In the middle tier, these words are also effective, according to Zillow’s study. Additionally, emphasizing the added features of the home led to higher offers. Including words such as “tile” or “landscaped” can bring the amenities of the property to the next level, as can highlighting “stainless steel” appliances or “granite” worktops.

For homes in the highest tier, in addition to the above suggestions, anything that makes the home stand out from the crowd can have a big impact. Adding special features in the listing can help when potential buyers are searching for specific keywords – maybe there’s a pool, dock access or a pergola? Be sure to highlight them. And don’t be afraid to get a bit poetic – Zillow’s study showed that words like “beautiful” and “captivating” helped lift offers above the expected levels.

What not to do

Don’t overdo it. Too much descriptive language can be off-putting, and you want your listing to be enticing so that potential buyers will get in touch with your agent.

Likewise, avoiding certain words can be just as important. Zillow’s analysis showed that the word “opportunity” played well in higher-tier properties (“the opportunity to live on the water”) but for low- and middle-tier listings, “opportunity” had more negative connotations, implying that the property is more of a fixer-upper. The same principle applied to “nice,” which in higher-tier homes would refer to a specific feature, but in many other cases seemed too open to interpretation and actually knocked 1% off the expected price.

Be sure to speak with your real estate agent about the wording used in the listing before it gets published – after all, it’s mutually beneficial for both you and the agent to sell your home for more money. You just might find that the right words could translate directly into cash in your pocket.

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