Ten Terms that Won’t Sell Your House


When it comes to talking Real Estate – words matter. A rose by any other name, such as “that nice affordable flower,” does not equal a rose. And when it comes to selling your property for TOP DOLLAR, you want to make sure you are in the hands of an experienced agent who knows what to say in print, online and on the phone to sell your home for the best possible price.

Just.Don’t.Say. the following things – and find a Real Estate pro who doesn’t waste words, either:

  • Great Neighborhood. But, you object, “We do live in a great neighborhood!” Says who? A term like “great neighborhood” only applies to someone who likes the same things you do. Your 3rd grader walks a single block to school? That’s great for you, but for a retired couple, it might mean more noise and traffic in the morning and afternoon as school begins and lets out each day. Buyers these days are savvy, and they know that “great” can actually be a substitute for specific positive information about a property. If your neighborhood is great, there should be very specific information as to why – nearby amenities, rising property values over time, close to public transportation, low crime rates, etc. And be honest – if you can’t back up your claims of greatness, don’t make them.
  • Potential. To buyers, a home with potential is really a home that needs work. Statistically, the word “potential” has been shown to limit the potential sales price of your home – by 4.3% on average! (statistic courtesy of Zillow.com)
  • Want to lose between 4% and nearly 9% of your home’s potential sales value? Let buyers know your propery needs a little TLC – Tender Loving Care. Similar to “potential,” buyers see this term as a warning that your property requires extra time and expense. Don’t gloss over issues that require disclosure, but don’t focus on them, either. Disclose existing issues in a straightforward and factual manner, and don’t reiterate problem spots in descriptive language.
  • Let buyers decide if your property is a Fixer. Homes listed with this term sell for a whopping 11.1% less on average – I guess buyers will use those savings for all the fixes you focused on in your property listing. OUCH!
  • But the home only needs Cosmetic updates… Particularly if you are selling a higher priced home, avoid this word, and other words like it. If your home is dates, let buyers decide that on their own. Admitting to issues of this nature in advertising for your home could result in a 7.5% decrease in the final sales price. And how knows? Maybe your buyer will really dig the groovy ’70’s era wallpaper in the basement. Let them be the judge – and don’t give them reasons to bring a lower offer.
  • Investment. (see also: Investor) This is a tough one – I’ll admit it! I personally like the idea of a property that is a great investment. Fix-n-Flips are all the rage among savvy investors willing to put in time and effort to gain sweat equity – but when lower-priced properties are listed as “investment” opportunities, they sell for 6.6% less, on average. You might want to buy a property listed as a great investment – but you don’t want to sell one that way!
  • Investor. If you are specifically trying to attract flippers, this is a buzz word that’ll do the job. If you are hoping to attract buyers willing to pay top dollar for your home, don’t use this word to promote your listing; this word leads buyers to believe there is room to negotiate the price – and probably more room than you were hoping for.
  • Charming. Again – this can be a tough one to get past. After all, who doesn’t want their own home to be charming? But unless your home is a crown prince or an actual palace, don’t call it charming. Describe specific features, such as professional landscaping, new appliances, hardwood flooring, custom kitchen – charming just means “we don’t have anything truly special to offer – but we’re hoping you find the place ‘charming’ enough not to notice!”
  • Nice. Raise your hand if your shoulders gave an involuntary shudder at the sight of this word! Nice?! Here’s a tip: If the guy or gal across the table chuckles into his/her hand and says, “Your hair looks, um… nice.” RUN. This is no match made in heaven! Nice is the weakest word you can possibly choose, and if your home is so lackluster as to resort to this one, pull out a thesaurus or consult your high school English teacher. “Nice” is not going to make you money at the closing table – and there’s nothing nice about that!
  • Bargain. Clearance Easter candy. 99 cent kids meals at your favorite restaurant. 2-for-1 sweat socks. These are the kinds of items that are aptly described as “bargains.” Unless your ultimate goal is to make less money – don’t describe your home for sale as a bargain. Set a realistic price that can be backed up by a professional analysis of the market, and let the buyers figure out for themselves that your home is a bargain. Tell them that – and they’ll expect a discount on the price as part of the deal.
  • Opportunity. If you are an optimist and have enjoyed living in your home, you likely do see owning your home as an excellent opportunity for potential buyers. If your home is high end, you may offer, “an opportunity to live on the golf course” or “an opportunity to live in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Denver.” Those really are opportunities – and go ahead and say so. For homes in a lower price range, the word “opportunity” translates to “investment opportunity” or “fix-n-flip opportunity.” Use this word with caution, and be aware that using this word on a lower end property could result in a lower selling price and a lesser opportunity for you, the seller.

Ready to have a talk about Real Estate? I speak the lingo, and I am happy to help decode the world of Metro Denver Real Estate to help you find your next dream home in today’s competitive market, or sell your current home for top dollar.

Drop me a line or pick up the phone – I’m here to help.

Jack Meyers
Twitter: @jackestate 


One thought on “Ten Terms that Won’t Sell Your House

  1. Pingback: The Vocabulary of Value – Words that May Add Value to your Listing | JackEstate

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