In a recent study in Canada by a Professor Paul Anglin, an analysis of the language used in real estate ads shows that certain words are strongly correlated with the final sale price of a house. Surprisingly, words like "charming", "spacious" and "fantastic" do not equate to a higher sale price. The study dissected the wording of more than 20,000 Canadian home listings from 1997 to 2000.
According to the study, the five terms commonly used terms correlated to a higher sale price are:
- Corian (Corian is the brand name for a solid surface material created by DuPont.)
The five terms correlated to a lower sale price are:
- Great neighbour
It’s clear that descriptive words that are physical descriptions of the house work well. For example even if you don’t like “granite’, the term doesn’t give the impression that the house is in poor repair.
The terms "fantastic" and "charming" are ambiguous terms that appear to be real estate agent code for a property that doesn’t have many specific strong points worth mentioning. The exclamation point was shown to be very bad news for the property, described as “a bid to paper over real shortcomings with false enthusiasm.”
The estate agent's job is to market a property as well as possible, and often the property has some serious shortcomings. The choice of language is crucial as it can focus the potential purchaser on the positive attributes of the property. However, it can also provide clues as to severe shortcomings.