Professional Blog

Avoid these cliches when writing listing descriptions

January 22, 2019

When you have to write descriptions for multiple properties every week, it’s easy to end up falling back on common phrases and expressions over and over. Not all common descriptors are cliches – some are just easily recognizable, and can actually help connect with more readers – but several seen-it-before phrases will cause your prospective homebuyer to roll their eyes and move onto the next home listing.

Here are five cliches to remove from your listing-writing toolbox:

Cliche #1: “Priced to sell” or “Motivated seller”

This phrase can actually undercut negotiations on your client’s part. By suggesting that a quick sale is more important than profit, you are welcoming lowball offers on the home. It should go without saying that all homes are “priced to sell” and that the seller is “motivated,” so advertising the home as such means almost nothing to the reader. Instead, describe the home’s features and let the price speak for itself.

Cliche #2: “Handyman’s special”

The problem with the fixer-upper euphemisms is that a buyer can’t decode exactly how much fixing will be involved. Is the house only barely inhabitable, or does it need a couple simple fixes? Many readers will assume the worst and write the property off entirely. Be more specific about the opportunities that the house presents.

Cliche #3: “Up and coming neighborhood”

For better or worse, this phrase has come to be understood by buyers to mean that the neighborhood has a high crime rate or is otherwise undesirable. If you want to highlight the home’s location, talk about the nearby schools, restaurants, or shops, as well as the community amenities and proximity to attractions like parks.

Cliche #4: “This home won’t last!”

While the desire to create urgency is understandable, many readers will react with skepticism to the pressure, and you stand to lose credibility if the house stays on the market for an unimpressive period of time. Instead, focus on the details that will sell the home – the desirable lot, the recent renovations, or other amenities that will intrigue buyers.

Cliche #5: “Updated”

Like so many other cliches, this descriptor could mean any number of things. Has the home been “updated” with a new coat of paint, or state-of-the-art appliances? Did the owner swap out the outdated light fixtures for more modern ones, or does the home has a new roof? Be specific about the renovations and updates that have been made, as those details will catch a reader’s attention.

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