What’s the key to selling houses much more quickly and for more money? The answer may be tied to specific words used in the home listing descriptions. “When it comes to real estate listing descriptions, words matter. Your listing description is an opportunity to highlight specific details and finishes that might not be visible in photos,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, Zillow chief economist. While that may seem like stating the obvious, the actual real estate keywords that sell might surprise you.
To gain some insight, Zillow Digs analyzed home listing descriptions from more than 2 million homes nationwide that sold between January 2014 and March 2016. They wanted to see which of 60 keywords regarding home features, amenities, and design styles most affected the home sale price and the time it took for a property to sell.
The real estate keywords with the biggest impact tend to center around aesthetics. For example, listings that included “barn door” sold for 13.4% more and 57 days faster than expected. And home listing descriptions including “farmhouse sink” garnered a 7.9% higher sales price and beat the anticipated sale time by 58 days. Other design-related keywords that had a big impact include: shaker cabinet, subway tile, Quartz, exposed brick, pendant light, and stainless steel.
Perhaps driven by popular design and renovation shows, such as Fixer Upper and Property Brothers, the data indicates that home design trends do play a role in how people search for homes and, ultimately, the homes they choose to buy.
While design elements were most influential, real estate keywords associated with amenities—such as “outdoor kitchen,” “tankless water heater,” and “heated floors”—also affected both the sales price and how quickly the house sold. And as far as home architecture, listings touted as “Craftsman” sold for 5.4% more money and 14 days quicker than expected.
Below are the ten top home listing keywords from the analysis, what percent each keyword can sell above the expected price, and how much faster it can sell:
|Home feature keyword||Percent home sells for above expected values||How many days faster than expected the home sells|
|Barn door||13.4%||57 days|
|Shaker cabinet||9.6%||45 days|
|Farmhouse sink||7.9%||58 days|
|Subway tile||6.9%||50 days|
|Exposed brick||4.9%||36 days|
|Pendant light||4.6%||48 days|
|Frameless shower||4.6%||38 days|
|Heated floors||4.3%||28 days|
The bottom line: While square footage and energy-efficient upgrades sell homes, too, “Amenities resonate incredibly well with today’s buyers, so if you’ve got them, flaunt them!” says Dr. Gudell. Know what your target client is looking for, and make sure you sprinkle those real estate keywords throughout your home listing descriptions.
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