We asked top agents around Raleigh-Durham to pinpoint the top four elements of a good listing, as well as the things that are better left unsaid.
Here, in no particular order, are their tips:
1. Highlight unseen amenities. The data fields on a
listing can tell you how many bedrooms and bathrooms a house has, but
they won't tell you the whole story. Neither will the photos, agents
The description is the place for things that aren't
obviously seen in the property details.
Important amenities such as an
over sized garage or great views should be played up in the write-up. If
you can see a picturesque vista from almost every room in the house, say
so. Likewise, if a house is private because it backs up to an open
space rather than a neighbor's property, that belongs in the description
too, agents say.
Be specific. You don't just want to just say
"beautiful remodeled kitchen" in a property description. Instead, point
out features and brands that prospective buyers covet. Drop brand names such as Viking, Sub-Zero and Bosch.
Identify granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances. Mention
appealing features such as those pullout shelves in the kitchen cabinets
or the walk-in pantry.
Give as many details or facts about a property as you can. That
could include updates such as a new roof, separate his-and-hers closets,
a finished basement or a master bedroom downstairs. A saltwater
pool, or a pool that has been recently resurfaced or updated, is also
worth distinguishing from its traditional counterparts.
3. Use the right adjectives. Too much fluff can be off-putting, Johnson says, so use descriptors sparingly. And choose the words that pack the most punch.
Canadian study conducted more than a decade ago – but to which agents
still refer — found that homes described as "beautiful" sold for 5% more
than those in "move-in condition." Likewise, homes that were described
as "beautiful" or "gorgeous" sold 15% faster.
That doesn't mean that every house or room deserves that descriptor,
but if it fits the bill, by all means use it, agents say. "Beautiful
landscaping" is a good combination.
But don't exaggerate. The
worst thing, agents say, is building buyers' expectations with a grand
description of something only to have it fall far short in real life.
Remember, "spacious" is a relative term. "Open floor plan" on the other
hand, works for everyone.
Here's an example makeover on a listing that went overboard with the adjectives:
"Splendid, Sweet, and no other Equal! This one hits the sweet spot!
Tons of hardwoods, gorgeous granite countertops, plantation shutters, 2
covered patios, crown molding, stone fireplace and fantastic fixtures.
You will love the updated style Highland Home floor plan with the
California kitchen. Both master and secondary bedroom downstairs.
Massive master suite! Don't forget an awesome gameroom and fully wired
media room. Exemplary Frisco ISD!"
After: "Highland home with ideal open floor plan
including master and extra bedroom down, game & media room wired for
surround sound, hand-scraped wood extended thru 1st floor including
study, kitchen open to family room with granite, stainless appliances,
double ovens, 5-burner gas cooktop, oversized master, larger than
average secondary bedrooms, plantation shutters, sink in 3 car garage,
pool-sized yard with covered patio, established neighborhood feeds to
Exemplary Frisco ISD with quick access to major highways."
4. Good grammar is mandatory. Bad spelling and grammar
can be as big a deterrent as hokey copy. It sends the message that a
seller doesn't have good agent representation. If an agent can't take
the time to spell-check the listing, what other corners is that agent
going to cut?
Here's a good example of how bad spelling and ill-conceived content can put buyers off, followed by a suggested fix for it.
"Seeing is beleiving! Foundation has new concrete/foam insluation
skirting and all joints have foam insulation and are caulked. Owner will
be painting exterior in the spring.'
"This distinctive ranch is located on a picturesque 1.4-acre lot in the
heart of Slingerlands. There's a massive stone fireplace and wall of
windows in the LR overlooking the private wooded lot. You'll feel like
you are in the Adirondacks! The open floor plan is perfect for
entertaining. It's sure to be a treasure once updated with your personal
In closing - all agents mentioned providing motivation to the buyers by using phrases like "priced to sell," even when priced on par with others in the neighborhood. Just reading the phrase markets the house as a gem at the right price to the prospective buyers.
Do not underestimate the power of suggestion with a well written property description.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
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