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By Tara-Nicholle Nelson | Broker in San Francisco, CA

10 Secretly Powerful Word Bombs to Drop Into Your Home’s Listing

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” the age-old adage goes.  And this is particularly true in real estate, which is why it’s so critical for sellers to make sure their agents post polished photos that tell an accurate story about their home, while showing it in its best light. That said, in most listing systems and property flyers, you don’t have the opportunity to post a thousand words’ worth of text describing your home: you might get 100 words, at best - and many systems limit you to just a couple of hundred characters in total.

To market your home like a pro, you’ve got to make sure that every single one of these precious characters counts, adding something powerful to the picture that your home’s listing photos have already created.  Here’s a double-digit list of words, phrases and word families that you and your listing agent can use to craft a vivid listing description of your home - and the lifestyle you want buyers to visualize living in it.

1.  “Walkable to. . .”  Listen, I’m aware that some people feel the phrase “walk to” is fraught with political correctness pitfalls, from possible insensitivities to our friends and relatives who cannot walk due to a physical disability to vagaries and confusion presented by wide variances in what you and I might consider “walkable.”  But the concept is valid: home buyers have a soft spot in their hearts for homes that are highly accessible to the shops, parks, cafes and cultural amenities they want to make a part of their everyday lives.  

The results of a study by Walkscore.com bears this out: buyers are simply willing to pay more for homes with high “walkability” rankings, compared with homes in sprawling neighborhoods where cars are necessary to get to and from essentials.

Accordingly, if your home is within walking distance or otherwise well-located vis-a-vis nearby conveniences, you should shout it from the rooftops.  I mean, include it in your listing description.

To do this, you might actually include the hot spots and major employers your home is “walkable to” if you and your agent agree that it’s the best way to paint the picture of your home’s proximity to desirable amenities and community resources. Alternatively, consider strategies like giving a precise distance,  number of blocks or length of the drive (at the legal speed limit) it would take to get from your home to the target amenities, on average.

2.  Feel, floor plan and flow. Words which indicate that a home is characterized by stretches of clean, clear space, light, flow and openness of floor plan are generally attractive to buyers, and can trigger their interest in coming to see your home. However, what is even more important in a listing description is that you avoid the temptation to flat-out manipulate buyers/readers by inaccurately describing your home in an effort to get them there at any cost!  

If your home has a darker, more compartmentalized floor plan, don’t say it’s bright and open - instead, reference it as offering a more formal style of living, or leave the ‘flow’ descriptions out entirely and let the pictures do that work instead.

3.  Lifestyle upgrades for first-time buyers. If your home is in an area, a price range or has other characteristics that are treasured by first-time buyers, you can get major bang out of every listing description word by simply mentioning the ways in which life in your home would represent a big lifestyle upgrade compared to living in an apartment or a rental. For example, dropping verbal clues that your home has ample storage spaces, offers exceptional privacy and quiet, or has uniquely usable furnished or otherwise ready-to-enjoy outdoor living spaces are all mentions that can capture the attention of even the most bargain-hungry first-time buyers.

4.  Materials. If your home’s finishes include materials that your agent feels are particularly desired by buyers in your area, you might want to call those materials out in your home’s listing. In fact, in their 2005 book Freakonomics, economists Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner ran some numbers and found five words which, when present in listings, were positively correlated with higher purchase prices - and three of the five were finish materials: granite, Corian and maple. (The other two? State-of-the-art and gourmet.)

As you explore whether you should be calling out your home’s finish materials in your listing description, keep in mind two things: (1) what buyers prefer changes over time, and (2) different buyers prefer different materials.  So, while granite counters and hardwood floors were the materials du jour a couple of years back, buyers are increasingly responsive to mentions of more avant garde materials like concrete countertops and cork floors.

5.  Brand names. Describing your home’s style or design aesthetic with reference to brand names is a pithy, yet power-packed, way to communicate a great deal of information and paint a contextual and stylistic picture, with very few words.  For example, describing a home as Pottery Barn chic sparks images of family-style living spaces that are well-coordinated and comfortable. While declaring that your home’s decor or fittings are styled after a Restoration Hardware aesthetic creates images of upscale, polished and modern takes on vintage-inspired looks.  You’d better believe that people in the market for homes are also in the market for designs and furnishings, a truth you can use to create a quick mental image of your home by evoking any brand with a particularly strong aesthetic, from Crate and Barrel to Neiman Marcus.

Another way brand names can be powerfully included in your home’s listing is joint with #1, by indicating the popular stores and shopping corridors that are conveniently accessible from the property. Mentioning the home’s proximity to “shopping and dining” is good; detailing that it is less than a half-mile from Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and the Elmwood shops is great.

And, of course, if your kitchen appliances are Wolf, Viking or Miele, your closets were custom-designed by California Closets or your home has other name-brand built-ins or items you’re including in the sale that are valuable and sought-after, drop those brand names, too!

6.  Neighborhood names.
If your home is in a desirable or up-and-coming neighborhood, don’t just assume that buyers are going to find it by searching for listings on a map, within a certain radius or within a particular zip code.  Including the actual name of your district or neighborhood allows your home’s listing to become searchable for that term.

In particular, if your home typifies a style of home for which your area is well-known, dropping the names of both the neighborhood and the style can pack a one-two punch with just a couple of words, e.g. Westbrook Victorian, Broadmoor Tudor and Rockridge Craftsman.  

7.  “Built-in” or “custom.”  Caveat: throwing a custom hot rod tricycle, bonsai tree trimming workshop or other arcane “value-adds” into the deal is not necessarily a compelling proposition for buyers.  But if you have had custom features with wide appeal built into your home, you should definitely consider mentioning them.  

Some that fit the bill include:
    •    Custom desks and bookcases
    •    Built-in closet organizers and garage storage systems
    •    Customized recycling centers or backyard composters
    •    Custom, artisan-built wood doors, windows and cabinetry
    •    Built-in furniture like breakfast nook banquettes and window seats.

8. On trend features.  I’m not suggesting that you stage or change your home to make it line up with short-lived trends, but I am suggesting that you work with your agent to keep your finger on the pulse of current shifts in what buyers like and make sure to trigger those preferences with mentions of your home’s features that map to buyer’s wish lists.  

For example, urban farming is hot right now - if you have a kitchen garden, a chicken coop or an in-ground composter, make mention of them in your listing.  In the same vein, buyers are looking for home with features that are both environmentally and financially responsible, so if your home has solar panels, dual-paned windows, low-flow shower heads or was recently remodeled with low-VOC paints and no-emission/sustainable flooring, these green features should also be considered for inclusion in your home’s listing description.

9.  Little kitchen luxuries.  Buyers like food prep space, plentiful counter space, professional-grade appliances and - that Holy Grail of kitchen features: islands. Other mention-worthy kitchen features that can change a buyer from indifferent to interested in a viewing include breakfast nooks, vegetable sinks and pot-fillers (a plumbed-in faucet right over the stove) and stoves that run on gas (vs. electric).

10.  Differentiators from the competition.
 Think of your home’s listing description as a luxury chauffeur that escorts prospective buyers right to the very best features of your home. Don’t make buyers have to hunt around for the reasons why they should see your home instead of the one across the street! If your home is on a premium lot, or has an extra bathroom or a mother-in-law unit compared to the others for sale in your subdivision or town at the same price range - mention it.  And same goes for pricing, condition or incentives you’re offering, like prepaid HOA dues or closing cost credits: whatever your home has going for it that others lack should be front and center in your listing.

ALL:  What words have you seen in listings that you found particularly powerful - or powerless?

P.S.: You should follow Trulia and Tara on Facebook!

Comments

By Corinne Martinez,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 09:41
Thank you for your use of words it is much appreciated. I always enjoy reading your posts!

Corinne Martinez
Coastal Influence Design Homes
Costa Mesa CA. 92626
By David Perry,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 09:48
“Walkable to. . .” violates NY State housing discrimination laws. Use at your own risk.

David E. Perry
Brown Harris Stevens
New York, NY
By Nikki Patnoe Group,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 09:50
Nice tibbits always can pulll something useful
By Steve Miller, Broker,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 09:51
I suggest wrting a "hook and not a book." I agree with Hena, Little is MORE.
By Thomas Sadler,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 09:54
Some good stuff but in the states of NJ and PA we cannot use 'walkable'. Actually I'm surprised it isn't a violation in other states.
Tom Sadler
Parke Place Realty/CitySpace
NJ/PA
By Dan W. Croft,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 09:55
I somewhat agree with Hena and Steve. I think you should put words in that may generate curiosity-which will make people want to see your listing. The home should then sell itself.
By Lisa,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 09:56
I like bullet points and to the point.
By Elizabeth Lovenberg,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 09:59
Great information as always! Along with a vivid listing description, agents need to post professional photos. No listing should be accompanied by photos taken by the listing agent. It makes such a difference, especially these days with most buyers looking on the internet by themselves.
By According To Hoyle Group,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 10:05
David Perry,
This is a federal code.....you are absolutely right...cant use
By Dorothy Carter,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 10:10
love the tips!! Thanks for sharing
By Chris Bertrand, MBA,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 10:10
As a real estate marketing professiona for fifteen years, a Realtor before that, and a writer of a weekly column on homes and gardens in a Pasadena area newspaper, Mountain Views News http://(www.MtnViewsNews.com), your analysis is completely and succinctly on track. I'll be sending your article to all my Realtor clients!

Thanks!
By Donna Hamaker,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 10:17
I think the takeaway here is to be sure to capitalize on the best features of the property. We certainly don't need to say everything about everything, however, pick some of the best features and make it interesting. Too many listings sound alike. What a great marketing opportunity to differentiate your listing! Also, if a property is close to a subway station, shopping or restaurants, just state how many blocks to those amenities.
By Danette Marie Roberts,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 10:20
Great tips! I use the book "Words that Sell" helps with the content of a flyer and website for my listing.
Thanks for sharing. Danette Roberts, Alain Pinel Realtors - Carmel, CA
By John Bredin,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 10:23
This is a wonderful, very useful article. As a writer and English professor, in addition to being a real estate agent, I understand the vital, magic power of the right specific word.
By Desertrat,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 10:24
I'm amazed at some of the comments, especially from the "professionals." Of all the "buzz words," the most important to me is "walkable." If I had children I'd want to know if they could safely walk to school, or to the store. I can walk for several miles, but if it's "walkable" then it's also less than a 10-minute drive. (Also, if it's not "walkable" then it's definitely not handicap friendly.) So I have options. It's good to know and use "buzzwords" in an ad, in addition to photos. I'm thinking of selling one of my rentals and I won't be using an agent; or, if I do use an agent I won't be paying 6%. I don't see the "ad valorum" of an agent when the escrow and title companies do most of the work. In addition, I can "undercut" the market by at least six to 10% by not using an agent.
By Heather C Martinez,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 10:30
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” the age-old adage goes. And this is particularly true in real estate,"...it is so true!!! Great article Tara!

...It makes me think of these online dating sites lol...its all about "Storytelling"... the Most attractive polished profile pic gets the instant attention that leads the reader to look for those "right words" which ultimately makes a Big difference, when people are trying to make educated important life decisions such as about who they want to date...& possibly Marry???.... *When it comes to choosing and Buying a Home it is an even BIGGER committment candidate!!! ***Emotions Matter!!! ...They need to "fall in love" with the Lifestyle & Dream of living in that Picture!
*A properly marketed home should be composed with a touch of synergy and romance! ...Its a known factor that presentation counts and Home Staging is the key to capturing & communicating online first with the Buyers, and saying All the "right words" to accompany that "right picture" will sell that DREAM and LIFESTYLE instantly!!!!

Thank you for saying so many things that so many need to hear in order to see what they are looking for! I always enjoy your articles, because they are so informative & helpful too!
Hope your having a Fantastic 2013!!!

Sincerely,
Heather C Martinez
HSR Certified Professional
Owner of HCMdesigns
HCMdesigns@aol.com
HCMdesigns.com
347-856-6578
347-631-0338 cell
By Laura Stansfield,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 10:33
While your article was very well written and thought through, I think most agents were expecting a list of 10 words, not paragraph ideas describing a list of words they have to look up themselves. I am a former Silicon Valley Marketing and Public Relations Professional now CA Realtor and I would've specifically used YOUR list of 10 words in my own listing ads to test your advice's workability....not "walkab-ility"....tehe...I love humor and levity in my daily work routine....thanks for the input Tara!
By Osiris,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 10:36
First Time buyers are getting smarter, so you need to place yourself ahead of the game!! Thank you for your Great Info!!
By James Tiernan,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 10:47
Good stuff here. All buyers are smarter, but they all also need good realtors that provide unbiased customer service. Use it or don't, but it is good helpful information.
By Doug Brand,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 10:50
Walk-a- bility. The last fair housing seminar I attended opened with a VERY STRONG deterent to using this term.
By Ken Allen,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 10:59
Old and valuable wrting rule: Less is more.
By Mike Grogan,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 11:02
You are trying to cover wayyyy too many bases. Pick a couple of nice features in the home, hook them, then reel them in. Give them too much and they may weed out the home without ever scheduling a showing.
By Flavia Brown,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 11:04
Great list of words. I'm so glad "stunning" wasn't on your list. Agents have beaten that one to death. It's like they don't have a thesaurus.
By Becky Jones,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 11:09
Walking distance - not legal in California either but as the author points out, there are other ways to communicate the distance to shops, restaurants, etc. I do find that buyers (and their agents) don't always READ; pictures can be the most valuable listing asset. Have them professionally taken so buyers can get a good idea of the assets the property provides.
By Frsir,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 11:09
How important is it to "update" such things as carpet..take off panel walls and paint..change draperies..change kitchen flooring..yes..some of these are in need of changing but what if we put in one color carpet/paint and the "lookers" dont like it and want a different design? We no doubt will have to "bargain" with a buyer anyway!!..we have a big home with 3 bedrooms with complete bath upstairs.. plus a master bedroom with it's own bath on main floor....1 half bath in finished basement and 1 half bath on main floor in laundry room..new roof..6yr old furnace..great location.price is decent according to realtors...and no lookers..whats wrong??.. thanks Frank
By Seatrice Foster,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 11:11
Thank you! Very helpful information.
By Karen Trimble,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 11:20
You need words that hit the hot buttons of buyers. Buyers have got to feel the emotion while they are reading about the house. It's kinda like pulling into the drive way. If there is no curb appeal why get out of the car? Most buyers buy from emotions. Jazz it up, but also make sure your seller understands curb appeal, and impressive when you open the front door! Thanks for the article, but it does need to be shorter and agents be careful with some of the buzz words mentioned above.
By Laura Ross,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 11:22
What can we use instead of "walkable to"? How about within "walking distance of"? Suggestions please. Thanks.
By Jody27,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 11:24
who needs Realtors ? Sale By owner the way to go for the savvy seller .....save those commisions...
By Angel Tucker,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 11:31
This article contains some good info., but there are other things to consider. As an Expert Personality Profiler - I have trained 10's of thousands of Realtors on writing ads that draw ALL personality types to call. This involves using key words and phrases that appeal to both types. Also keep in mind the purpose of the ad is to make the phone ring, not to sell that particular home. Less than 1% of homes sell from their ad. When ad writing, make sure to include words or phrases that appeal to both "status and prestige" and "safety and security" to attract all personality types! Realtors tend to subconsciously write ads that appeal to only their personality. For example - "status and prestige" would include words/phrases such as Custom Built, Bigger is Better, You Can Have it All. Examples of "safety and security" would be peaceful, relax, built to last, etc.
By James Rosenberg,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 11:31
Thank you; this was an indepth and timely article for me! Jmichael
By Karen 'karo' Hilton,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 11:34
Parks, shops, school (etc.) within walking distance can be succintly used for "walkability", no? I, too, am put-off by the negative comments of the "pros" when the sole purpose of writing this article was, I believe, to serve as a guideline and inspiration to ALL homesellers. I really don't think its the author's job to furnish a thesaurus---that's what your brain and creativity is for---use it, and save your negative comments, please...the article was excellent and on point. As a former realtor, I know its better to use every home's advantages (read: Wolf stove, gourmet kitchen) in your listing. However, buyer's who see that a listing and pics have been amped up to a fantasy soon lose confidence that the writer's (meaning: listing agent) cannot be trusted to give a 100% honest representation of a property's desirability. Sooo...be careful, folks. Some properties need help, and simply: "fixer" will do, but if its in a desirable location, "investment" and 'location, location, location' are great words to use. Keep up the great work...
By Juliana,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 11:42
As a buyer, 'move-in ready' is top of my list.
By johanna gyuro,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 11:46
An excellent article and very on target with much needed info. Thanks for all the stunning words. I will keep this one on file. Thanks, Tara

Johanna Gyuro Lic. Real Etate Broker, Brooklyn, NY.
By Vesparider2,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 11:48
As a person looking to buy a house, I'd find all of this overwhelming, so I have to assume you don't intend to put all of these things in the same listing description. Also, if there are too many buzzwords, it comes off as insincere and uninteresting. Honestly, if I saw "Pottery Barn design with ABC brand stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, thermopane windows, sustainable flooring, adorable built-in banquette and custom-designed California Closets" the seller comes off as a combination of desperate and snobby. The photos speak to style and condition, and a listing touting a compost heap and low-VOC paint isn't the part of the ad that's going to get me to look at the house. They might become interesting details as I decide to purchase, but not when I decide to look.
By LOVETHISWEATHER2,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 11:53
As an educated seasoned person presently looking for my 'last' retirement house, I have viewed hundreds of houses in the area where I have chosen. If I find a short, message, I consider that the house has little to offer! For me, details mean a lot and save me from a lot of road work. But please don't use lovely, tastefully decorated, artistic - too judgmental. and individualistic. Just saw a kitchen island done in "lovely" mosaics. Hideous to me! Location is not good for everyone. I hate traffic! Don't want to be near shopping!
By Mary Ann Varner,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 11:54
Tara....You are the Best....always have some great tips to share. thank you
By Jeff,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 11:58
" walkable" "This is a federal code.....you are absolutely right...cant use " Which exemplifies how totally insane our country (politicians/attorneys) have become........ the biggest reason our economy and housing will continue to decline. You'll need all the superlatives you can find in the future.....
By Arlene Eskin,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 12:00
Mmm. I'm going to have to check to see if "walkable", or "walkabilty" is legal in Washington. I honestly don't understand why it wouldn't be. For a family type of home being within walking distant of a school is an important feature. Why can't we say that?
By Amanda,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 12:01
Can someone explain to me how "walkable" or "walking distance" verbiage is against fair housing laws? I'm not trying to be contrary here, I just honestly don't get it. Does it have to do with inferred discrimination against the handicapped?
By Erin.mcneely,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 12:08
Thanks, Amanda...I too can't see what is wrong with walking distance or "walkable" unless it's just so subjective that it's misleading. What is walkable...maybe for me 5-7 blocks...maybe for someone else 1-2 miles. Is that why?
By kristina,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 12:22
As a future home-buyer spoon feeding me everything in advance, pictures, video, key words, etc. is what is going to get me out and come and see the property. Also, being honest as to including pics that are right & left of the property are helpful. I do use Google for sure, but still. I do mind if the property is next to an auto body shop and if I take my time to see the property and have not been told this, you will lose credibility with me. Share the plus' with me and the minus'.
By LRS,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 12:28
A big turn-off to me is the word "STARTER." As in, "Starter Home." My retired husband and I are looking to down-size. We've bought many houses in our life time. When I see the word "starter" in an ad I think, "We're not starting, we're finishing." Which isn't a happy thought, either!
By Jane Ekbatani,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 12:29
I too was a bit disappointed that the list of 10 words turned into a drawn out explanation. The world works in sound bites today and less is certainly more when trying to hold someone's attention. I think we are all smart enough to get the big picture without a lengthy explanation. But good advice to choose your "sizzle words" to present a verbal picture. Remember the old marketing advice to "sell the sizzle, not the steak"?
Instead of walk-ability I would think simply stating that the property is only 3 or 4 blocks to shopping, etc. would convey the same message without discriminating against the handicapped.
By Linda Rossi - Listing Broker,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 12:40
"Walkable to" is not do-able in Oregon. Posting a "walking score" is, however (I believe) and gives even more good information than just saying that it is so.
Linda Rossi, Broker, Portland, Oregon
By Mary Constante,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 12:46
Thanks for your great "Bombs"! I agree. Excellent photos and words sell real estate. Thanks to everyone who commented. Interesting to see the critiques. Here's to a great selling year!
By Shannon M Thomas,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 12:47
Love the ideas you put forth. Love the possibilities
By marlies,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 12:50
You must not have a Walking Score in your MLS then on the west coast?
By Theresa Taraborelli,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 13:06
Great thoughts, but use "close proximity" or something other than "walkable" which is not allowed.
By teagan clive,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 13:14
How about "just steps away from...", or "just two blocks away from..."? Would that
be legal in NY?
By Sonya Davis,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 13:15
Great photos do tell the story ~ people are more visual and if the home looks good in photos ... they'll come if it's what they are looking for. I think sometimes when the description is to long buyers lose interest and would rather see the basic description with exceptionally chosen words and great photos to describe the home. Thanks for some of the words that you have presented had to write them down.

Sonya Davis
Realtor
850-384-2497
Main Street Properties Inc.
Pensacola Fl. 32504
By Reddoorholding,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 13:26
I completely disagree with realtors and agents saying this is too much information. As a real estate investor and multiple home owner, I like getting a detailed description of the house or property online before I see it. If there's not enough compelling information on the listing, I will not go see it. It normally ends up being a waste of time. I greatly dislike having short, non descriptive listings. It shows very little effort on the part of the realtor or listing agent.
By Alex Plessett,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 13:28
Chicken coop??? Are you kidding me?
By Katy Cain,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 13:32
Great Article! I read through most of the comments also - I like what Angel Tucker wrote! Thanks for the insight. Katy Cain, Broker Associate, Plymouth, Wisconsin with PREMIER PROPERTIES REALTY
By Tuny Hagie,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 13:36
The word "walk" is a Fair Housing Violation but some nice tidbits of information. Huntsville, AL
By Clare (van Gorp) Zaro,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 13:38
All good. Yes, painting a mental picture is important...
on actual wording...rather than 'walkable' which is subjective anyway,
why not simply say, 'You'll enjoy nearby shops, etc.,
just a stone's throw from your front door!" ( Of course, there
are those of us who don't throw stones...but we are not a
protected class...yet:)
By Dan,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 13:50
Great article. Interesting comments. My thoughts? We have become WAAAAAYYY too PC in this country. Okay, blast me. :)
By Susanlapakko,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 14:14
Great article! I will use it to help condo owners write their descriptions for their vacation rentals.
http://www.StayingInStPete.com
By Ruth & Perry Mistry,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 14:28
Great post
By Zacy,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 15:00
I also don't understand why the word "walkable" violates fair housing law. Some explanation would be really appreciated.
By Ron Harmon,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 15:01
Thank you Tara!
By Marvin Reed,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 15:18
Bicycleable? Tricycleable? Stick horseable?
By Marvin Reed,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 15:21
Hikeable, Skateable, Rollerbladeable, Scooterable?
By Audrey L. McInerney,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 15:29
Great summary!
By lynbir1,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 15:33
As a buyer I want to see lots of recent, accurate photos. Please don't use the one that makes the rooms look huge if they're not. I'd rather walk into a house and think it's bigger than the photos, than smaller. It wastes time. And if it's gourmet kitchen, it had better offer more than just stainless steel appliances...
By Michele Allison-Elwell CBR,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 16:18
In Mass, you have to be careful with words. Many disabled people may not be able to walk , so we must be sensitive to that. I use blocks as measurements. . Two blocks to village. 4 blocks to beach etc . Or close to . Sometimes I will say 3 streets away. Buyers can find out a walkable score themselves on Trulia. When in doubt, google map it and see your yourself.
By Wally,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 16:37
I hate listings that say "granite countertops" - I hate granite and its overrated. The other term I detest - freshly painted throughout. Are they hiding something? Most listing pictures stink. Who wants a picture of the corner of a bedroom, or a wide angle shot of a really small kitchen to make it appear larger.
By Bernie Krause,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 16:53
., that's right ,. we can't even say Family room with a View ,. or Mater bedroom with a vanity mirror ,. ,. no sorry ,. we can still say these things that describe the Home and not the people that will be living in the Home or the neighborhood,. As long as your are describing the Home you will be ok ,.
By Anh-Tuan Vo,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 17:00
"Walkable to..." and any form of "walk" violates fair housing laws in Massachusetts. It is considered discriminatory for those who are not independently mobile. Terms which single out or alienate a group are considered in violation of fair housing laws. "Walkable" scores are a joke anyway, at least in the City, so don't even bother. Clients are savvy and they've already Googled the property or have already seen the walkscore which is now built into almost every site.
By Mike Beauregard,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 17:25
A former colleague of mine is an Architect, and is confined to wheelchair. He is an expert on the ADA (Americans with disabilities act) and also teaches the subject and its related laws to other Architects as continuing ed. But here is the funny thing, he lived in close proximity to the office in the downtown area of San Diego. Every time I spoke to him, he always mentioned how he walked to work, walked home, walked to dinner, etc. He was referring to his own wheelchair mobility as 'walking.'

The laws just go overboard sometimes. Part of the intent is to not discriminate or offend. In fact, it is to make all feel equal. To discount the term 'walkable' actually does the opposite and makes for separation rather than inclusion. The laws already take care of the root cause by making public pedestrian walkways completely universal in design to accommodate all mobility types. If a public walkway doesn't have curb cuts or audio cross walks warnings, etc. Then it is not up to code. In short, those with mobility issues were already covered by the law, then it was taken a step too far by becoming exclusionary instead of being inclusive to all (in my opinion).

You could use the most politically correct term to date. "Accessible" But be sure they are accessible before making the statement or you could still find yourself in trouble.

"Neighborhood schools easily accessible" "Nearby shopping accessible in two short blocks" etc.

My suggestion, just stick with the term 'Nearby' and leave it at that.
By George Grayson,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 18:16
The only word that ever matters is "location".
By Lisa Adragna-Realtor,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 18:25
As both an agent as well as a buyer and seller at different points in my life, I feel that embracing the positives that the house offers and describing them honestly with key terms and to the point is best. I'm not quite sure that describing the home as "pottery barn chic " is a good idea bc some potential buyers out in the market may not like that stores style. Otherwise, some great tips but pick and choose key terms wisely, while remembering that detailed honesty that cuts right to the point is best.
By David Kerr,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 18:25
To avoid a possible violation try using the walkscore (from the website of the same name) or say "minutes" or "seconds" to...
By Gloria Duy,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 18:52
My realtor said Mrs. Clean lives here and move in ready and he sold my house in a blink of an eye. The new owners could have moved in and ate off the floor.
By Elizabeth T-d Komins,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 19:06
I have a house at the Jersey Shore and I see ads everyday that say: "within walking distance to the beach." So, it seems to me that either the law is being ignored or not being enforced. The term I tend to use is, "quick and easy access to the beach, a half a block away."
By Adobare,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 19:31
I do not agree. You cannot use these "10 Secretly Powerful Word Bombs to Drop Into Your Home’s Listing" in every city, and/or neighborhood. You must tailor your words according to the city, the neighborhood, and, most importantly, the potential buyer.
By Paul Schall,  Thu Jan 10 2013, 21:38
walkable doesnt sound like its proper english or a word,what floors me is-that it is forbidden to use in some states--thats just sick - Jay Leno could use this and make a good Joke out of it.
Paul S.
By Ann Seger,  Fri Jan 11 2013, 04:12
Great Tips! I enjoyed all the comments. I too feel that descriptive words that embrace the positives of the house are best. I use near shops or close by instead of walkable.

Ann Seger Realtor
Keller Williams Rlty
Hilton Head Island SC 843-290-8051
By Maya Thomas LLC, Broker,  Fri Jan 11 2013, 04:25
Thank you for the ideas!
By Mike and Doris Raffo,  Fri Jan 11 2013, 04:27
Excellent information. It's sometimes frustrating to see these extremely short narratives in listings especially if you're looking for some specific feature that does not show up in any of the pictures.
By Ann Cohen,  Fri Jan 11 2013, 05:14
How about "within blocks of..." or "with XXX nearby", or "check out how close this is to XXX"?

Also, check grammar and spelling for marketing pieces!
By Gloria Duy,  Fri Jan 11 2013, 07:48
Re comment by Kendall. Speaking as a homeowner and frequent seller.. I use Realtors but many realtors don't know the rules also. If walkable is illegal why is it listed as the number 1 in a story writtten by someone listed as a broker? Who is a homeowner supposed to trust? Why does one count the sq ft of a basement? They all seem to do their own thing. Even if you find a great realtor if you move to a new location you are at square one again.
By Rachael Badham,  Fri Jan 11 2013, 08:06
thank you for the information its alawys nice to hear some fresh ideas on how to go about the important search in my life thanks to you and others comments it helped plan out what I need in my life to make it complete God Bless and thank you for your information
By Joseph Roraff,  Fri Jan 11 2013, 08:32
Good stuff. Thank you. I am a new agent so this is very helpful stuff!
By Geoff Gil,  Fri Jan 11 2013, 08:53
Great info!
By Mariana Carrasco,  Fri Jan 11 2013, 08:55
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” this is absolutely true.
Be careful with the background when take photos,especially in the bedrooms or bathrooms.
Describing the pictures will be easy and helpful if the background is good.
The camera shows the true.
Thanks for your post !
By Rekha Shah,  Fri Jan 11 2013, 10:13
Thanks a lot for sharing. I always read your posts.
By Dianne McKenzie,  Fri Jan 11 2013, 17:20
Instead of walkable, how about using the phrase, "easily accessible to......" this leaves it open to interpretation without discriminating.... just a thought.... Thanks for the post.. a good reminder!
By Hope Dorn,  Fri Jan 11 2013, 20:43
Great post!
By John Morgan,  Sat Jan 12 2013, 08:46
Tara your article was excellent. You gave ten points with an explanation for each. Many tore into your "walkability" comment; When I read the article I did not get the impression that you said they should use the word "walkability". I read what you said to mean if you want to let people know how close the property is in relation to places they may need and find interesting figure out a way to say. Plus, many people said the word walkability is discriminatory by law, AND others still insisted on bringing it up again and again ... call your legislator ask them and if you don't like the answer get it changed!
By Kiki,  Sat Jan 12 2013, 09:20
I do not understand why we still need agents to cell or buy houses. Hello,it is the digital age. Everything else is sold on internet. Why pay to this people 6 percent for doing NOTHING but writing the ofter. In old times, yes, maybe they were helpful. But now, they are just parasites.. I have worked with agents for more than a year now and understood that they are not particularly educated or smart people but enjoy a rich lifestyle on the account of the housing market. GET RID OF THEM!
By Ken Henkel,  Sun Jan 13 2013, 06:20
Agree with Kiki. I have sold land and homes by putting a sign in the front yard. I do make a website now too. Also, remove "walk-in" closet. It is now a "spacious closet" or other word for big.
By Delaine Campbell,  Sun Jan 13 2013, 19:20
Great post! "Walkable to" is very important, especially in the city!
By Ian,  Mon Jan 14 2013, 08:26
Walk-ability, schmock-ability -how about 'spitting distance' - no wait that may offend people with dry mouth syndrome....
Seriously, I think 'closeby' may suffice?
By Lori Branley Fischer,  Mon Jan 14 2013, 10:42
Thanks, Tara! Great as always!
By Mark Harrison,  Mon Jan 14 2013, 11:19
Truly believe it depends on the location and availability of properties . When there is high inventory the property must stand out with key words and be priced accordingly .

Right now in most areas of Southern California I,m in the Inland Empire listings are receiving multiple offers regardless of features. Truly has become a sellers market.
By Joshua Taylor,  Mon Jan 14 2013, 12:53
This was a very useful article and I have passed it along to my team!

Selling Tampa Bay, LLC – Josh Taylor
Check out http://www.sellingtb.com/weblog for more helpful real estate information! Follow us on Twitter @Sellingtb & Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Selling-Tampa-Bay-LLC/106405562786969?ref=hl
By Adam Taylor,  Mon Jan 14 2013, 13:58
Thanks for sharing!
By Yvonne Bhimsingh,  Mon Jan 14 2013, 17:02
can you send me some home in Fort_lauderdale... gated community.... areas....< tamarac> commercial...and zip code 33311. one hundred thousand and under'''' prefer seventy thousand. thanks.
By Dolly Berthelot,  Thu Jan 17 2013, 16:29
As a professional writer/editor AND as a person seeking a suitable home (house or condo) from among the thousands available in Pensacola, I do expect a variety of excellent photos--but not in place of thorough facts using precise descriptive words. I study mls to determine where to put further time and energy. My home, for example, is "A 1928 two story bungalow with 400 sf wrap around porch, giant mossy oaks, and view of Bayou Texar. Airy 1900 sf with 35 windows and French doors.The charming 3/2 is mere blocks from Suter Elementary, Apple Market and two dozen local restaurants; within 5 minutes drive of arty downtown and also of two hospitals, Cordova Mall, supermarkets, etc." Readers who want a standard suburban would know not to bother. Each person can decide what he or she would find "walkable."

No, my house is not yet for sale; this is merely to show a concrete example--a hint of what factors enticed me 35 years ago and would again IF I saw an ad for a similarly distinctive one story or condo. Too many of the ads I see are inadequate at best, terrible at worst.
By Nidarehman,  Tue Jan 22 2013, 00:30
greart and nice
By Bill Kruckenberger,  Wed Jan 23 2013, 09:27
Great stuff Tara. I'm adding some of these terms to my listing now, and will be following your blog. Thanks for the info, and keep 'em coming.
By Cj Yeoman,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 14:36
Here's a link to a HUD memo on fair housing advertising. See page 4, item 4, for an example of using "walk to." http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=DOC_11870.pdf
By Steven Jacobs,  Mon Feb 4 2013, 21:59
How true. I use "stroll to..." instead of walk, to sidestep (pardon the pun) any California legal issues. How many times have I seen "exclusive..." Definitely a possible legal issue in California.
By falbobros,  Tue Feb 5 2013, 20:10
Can't believe anyone would even make a deal over saying "walkable to." Who cares if it offends .0000000001% of the population? Other than the ridiculous discussion that ensued, thanks for the great tips! I will definitely find a way to incorporate most of your ideas into my listing.
By Camilla Barnes,  Thu Feb 7 2013, 07:37
Why is walkability a bad thing in NY? In Atlanta it would definitely be a plus. I will check if it is illegal here. But then, you can't pump your own gas in New Jersey, wierd but I am sure there is a reason. The article was a little long but excellent for new agents. Good Job. I concur with falbobros.
By June Constable,  Thu Feb 7 2013, 12:45
Politically correct ?? "Walkable" My observation is that we've gone overboard on correctness. What ever happened to common sense in language. Of course there are folks who can't walk - but there are also folks who can't see. Do we eliminate the word "See" from our vocabulary ? Come on, lets get back to horse sense.
By Marazul679,  Wed Feb 13 2013, 09:56
Great and usable marketing tools to remember and use going forward. Thank you for your insight and tips. I will be on the look out for all your future posts.
By Voices Member,  Thu May 16 2013, 12:47
Bravo on a super creative article, great work. I am going to try and implement some of those phrases in the future!

David | http://www.thegentlemenplumberscalgary.com
By t.brute,  Fri Sep 27 2013, 10:18
Use of a word like "Walkable, walk" etc will alert the NSA. . . They will tap your phone and have a predator drone above your head. . . If the offense is too severe, a hell-fire missile will eliminate your real estate listing. . . Things like walking reduce your carbon foot print . . . but a private air strip -- now that will get attention . . . (probably also increasing the carbon foot print.)
By elamar894,  Tue Oct 22 2013, 09:43
We are so PC that we don't call it chicken wire any longer - it is now known as poultry fencing~
By Isaac Tesfaye,  Wed Dec 11 2013, 13:22
Great tips on choice of words that makes difference in Listing property, as well getting customers to list there home with one self.
Thank you
Isaac Tesfaye
By BERTHA GARZA,  Tue Feb 18 2014, 18:56
thank you for sharing your expertise . :)
By BERTHA GARZA,  Tue Feb 18 2014, 18:56
thank you for sharing your expertise . :)

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