In real estate marketing, word choice is everything. Enticing descriptions add depth and detail to accompanying photos. Nail the copy and your buyers will swoon. Miss the mark and they’ll feel uninspired, or even worse, uninterested.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 95% of buyers used online tools to search for their next home, and 41% began their home search online, before even speaking to a real estate agent. With so much of buyers’ search happening online, marketing with compelling, well-written descriptions (and great photos!) is more important than ever.
“We really try to figure out what the target market is for a particular home or kind of building. Then we use words that would entice that particular buyer. We’re also looking for what makes that particular building or home special,” shares top real estate agent Jackie Mack who sells 66% more homes than the average agent in Evanston, Illinois.
To help you craft compelling descriptions, we’ve teamed up with Mack to create a list of the best (and worst) advertising words for home selling. Get your notebook out, it’s time to write your way to a successful home sale.
The best advertising words for home selling
These words will showcase your home at its finest.
1. Harness the power of “new”
“New” is a proven power word in advertising. Buyers love knowing a home element is the latest model, with little to no wear from previous owners. Use “new” wisely to highlight the most important home feature greatest and sneak in its synonyms when possible:
- Just completed
2. Sprinkle in real estate buzz words that sing
There are some advertising words for home selling that still work every time, reflecting the enduring desirability of certain features. Mack elaborates:
“Mention the many things that buyers are looking for. They love having double sinks in the master bathroom or luxurious finishes like a steam shower . . . We try to fit in these special details that we know are very desirable: open plan, kitchen with an island, quartz countertops.”
Top real estate buzz words:
- Move-in ready
- Granite countertops
- Meticulously maintained
- Open floor plan
- Stainless steel appliances
- Primary bedroom suite
- Hardwood flooring
3. Get specific with materials
“Wood floors” sounds OK, but “Brazilian cherry solid wood flooring” paints a picture. Include particulars on materials to add value and delight.
- Masonry: Barnwood blue ledge stone, slate, flagstone, fieldstone, colonial wallstone, sandstone
- Brick: Burnt clay, regency, white washed, distressed, Cambridge, crimson, buff
- Countertop material: Calcutta marble, bardiglio, iced white quartz, Barocca Soapstone, Bianco Antico Granite
- Wood: Mahogany, teak, cedar, oak, pine, beechwood, poplar, reclaimed, wide plank
- Wood stain: Cherry, Kona, dark walnut, red oak, cognac, rustic grey, espresso, chestnut
4. Include positive, descriptive adjectives
Dress your listing prose with these inspiring words to entice buyers:
5. Describe enchanting lighting
Does your house light up the moment the sun rises? Or emit a warm glow at night from adjustable dimmer lights? When you provide a written description of the lighting, you’re confirming your home is just as brilliant in person as it is in the listing photos.
- Use these verbs to bring light to life: Pours, brightens, illuminates, glows, fills, shines
- Describe notable light enhancing features: Floor-to-ceiling French windows, sliding glass doors, custom stained glass panels, recessed lighting, vintage chandeliers
- Tag rooms with light adjectives: Naturally lit open floor plan, sun-filled den, lantern lined walkway, flattering above-sink vanity lights, dramatic landscape lighting
6. Decorate with words that suggest value
Remember money talks, wealth whispers. These words suggest your home is a gem that’s well worth the asking price:
7. Set the tone of the property
Your sentences should go beyond describing your home’s contents and convey what it truly feels like to live there. These adjectives trigger emotions, bestowing feelings upon the setting.
8. Highlight green features
A recent PEW Research Center study reveals 75% of U.S. adults say they are particularly concerned about helping the environment as they go about their daily lives. Mention your home’s environmentally friendly features, especially those pertaining to climate control (85% of recent buyers agreed that heating and cooling costs were the most important environmental features).
HomeLight research shows green features growing in popularity, especially in states with warmer or sunnier weather like California or Florida. As of Summer 2022, 48% of top agents surveyed by HomeLight report that buyers are now prioritizing energy efficiency in their home search, and that green features can add around $8,200 in value to a home.
“Interest in energy efficiency has definitely become more important as increasing prices have squeezed budgets tighter and tighter,” comments survey participant Sue Strope, a top real estate agent in Port Charlotte, Florida.
Eco-friendly advertising words for home selling include:
- Energy efficient
- Dual pane, low-emittance windows
- Fresh air ventilation system
- Smart home
- Insulated garage door
- Steel door
- Solar panels
- Programmable thermostat
- Low flow plumbing fixtures
- Tankless water heater
- Drip irrigation system
- Energy star appliances
- Sustainable lumbar
9. Replace “house” with a more descriptive synonym
Your home deserves a moniker better than “house.” Name it one of these imaginative alternatives:
10. Set the location with picturesque descriptions
Mack shares it’s essential to include details relevant to the top reasons buyers want to move to your home’s location:
“For our area, anything close to transportation lines is a big draw. It’s why people move here. We always include “walk to train,” “close to train,” or “easy access to the train.” We’re also right on Lake Michigan so we’ll mention “views of the lake,” “walking distance to lake,” or “close to beach.”
Sketch an image of your home’s surroundings with these delightful descriptions:
- Historic neighborhood
- National parks at your doorstep
- Leafy urban oasis
- In the heart of the city
- Seaside escape
- Minutes from the harbor
- Mountain landing
- Close to restaurants and boutiques
- Pastoral community
- Set against rolling hills
- Tree lined streets
- Beachfront neighborhood
- Pet-friendly community
11. Paint the picture with inspiring colors
When describing your home’s color palette, branch out from standard rainbow colors with these evocative alternatives:
- Colors: Olive, golden, amber, jade, sapphire, crimson, indigo, auburn, chartreuse, goldenrod, ocher, salmon, steel blue
- Black and grays: Charcoal, ebony, onyx, obsidian, pitch, dusty, iron, silver, ash
- Whites: Alabaster, ivory, cream, oyster, linen, frost, pearl
- Other neutrals: Mauve, taupe, beige, camel, sand, oatmeal, mocha, pewter, copper
12. Add international flavor when possible
Imported materials sound exclusive and valuable. Specify the origin of countertops, drapes, and flooring to flood your buyer’s subconscious with jet setting imagery.
- Italian statuario marble
- Anatolia linen curtains
- Hand painted Spanish tiles
- Patagonian rosewood
- Glass French doors
- Japanese soaking tub
- Scandinavian minimalism
13. Name drop high end brands
Go ahead, casually mention the refrigerator is Smeg. Buyers recognize quality appliances and will pay more for these brands. In a recent survey by NAR, 69% of buyers who did not buy a home with new appliances admitted they would be willing to spend $1,840 more for a home with these included.
Top brands include:
- Kitchen appliances: Smeg, Sub-Zero, Viking, Wolf, Thermador
- Washer and dryer: LG, GE, Whirlpool, Samsung, Bosch
- Home security: Ring, Nest, ADT, Vivint
14. Add excitement and movement with active verbs
When you revise your listing, replace as many “to be” verbs as possible with more specific verbs.
Example 1: The foyer has hardwood floors
- Change to: Hardwood floors ____ the foyer.
- Fill in the blank with: Span, dress, drape, encompass, expand, grace, sweep, breathe, ensconce
Example 2: The living and dining room have custom moldings.
- Change to: Custom moldings ____ the common areas.
- Fill in the blank with: Adorn, trim, deck, embellish, detail
Example 3: This backyard garden is lovely.
- Change to: ____ in this lovely backyard garden.
- Fill in the blank with: Revel, soak up the sun, unwind, recline, sit back and relax
15. Highlight roomy spaces with “-in” words
This little hyphenated adverb scores bonus points with buyers:
- Walk-in pantry
- Walk-in closet
- Walk-in tub
- Custom built-ins
- Eat-in kitchen
16. Flaunt your home’s architecture
“Gorgeous Georgian, splendid Victorian, charming Dutch colonial — all those start creating a mental picture in your head of what the house looks like,” Mack demonstrates. Embrace your home’s architecture with descriptive words celebrating its style.
- Colonial: Grand entrance hall, paper white wainscoting, parlor, wrought iron fixtures, polished wood floors, elegant, traditional, classic, beautiful moldings, marble surround on the fireplace
- Craftsman: Tapered columns, exposed beams, 20th century, retro meets contemporary, crown moldings, handcrafted, art glass, pewter, custom built-ins
- Farmhouse: Reclaimed wood, rustic, country chic, casual, contemporary, farmhouse sink, eclectic fixtures, barn door garage
- Southwestern: Adobe, clay tiles, drought resistant landscaping, warm patio, desert oasis, turquoise, desert inspired, succulents, ranch style, stucco
- Mediterranean: Hand painted mosaic tiling throughout, bronze fixtures, Venetian plaster, iron bannister, romantic, rustic charm
- Cape cod: Statement fireplace, seaside, loft space, quintessential American, dormer windows, khaki and cream, symmetrical design, idyllic, rose strewn flower bed
- Contemporary: Clean lines, light filled rooms, sleek kitchen, recessed lighting, sustainable design, subway tiles, fresh design, open concept floor plan
- Antebellum: Shaded encompassing porch, historical, elaborate friezes, breezy balconies, Southern charm, veranda, antique fixtures, detailed trim, seasonal fruit trees, preserved vintage details
17. Suggest potential for adding value and customization
If your home is a fixer-upper, emphasize its best features and lightly reference its potential for future upgrades. Mack advises, “there are some buyers that really love to make a home their own. They don’t want to buy somebody else’s renovations. Try to highlight those opportunities to make the house their own.”
The best advertising words for selling fixer- uppers include:
- Make it your own
- Ready for your personal touches
- Expansive backyard ideal for outdoor entertaining
- Endless potential
Other opportunities for buyer improvements include:
- Bonus room is easily converted to an in-law suite (20% of Americans live in multi-generational homes!)
- Recently passed law allows for exciting expansion possibilities
- Commercial zoning permits home businesses
The worst advertising words for home selling
Avoid these over played, uninspired, and inappropriate words.
1. Edit out filler words
The bathroom is not “very pretty,” it’s “beautiful.” Edit out these filler words and replace them with more specific adjectives for greater impact:
- A lot of
2. Avoid uninspiring euphemisms
Mack’s biggest word to avoid in your home advertising? Cozy. “Cozy just makes people think that the home is small. And maybe it is, but there’s a better way to say it,” she says.
Toss out cozy’s friends while you’re at it:
- Starter home
3. Don’t sound desperate
- Priced to sell
- Motivated buyer
- Looking for a quick sale
4. Pass on these old cliches
- Location, location, location
- Too good to pass up
- Not to be missed
- Will not last
- This home has it all
5. Avoid aggressive, pompous words
Replace low-brow words like “huge” with more refined synonyms like “expansive” or “extended.” Find more attractive alternatives for:
6. Leave out references to crime rate
“Crime is pretty relative where we are. Some people love living in urban areas and I think that they’re going to have a different feeling about certain neighborhoods than another person,” shares Mack. Don’t reference the crime in your description — let the buyer research the area and come to their own conclusions.
7. Don’t show preference to or discrimination against any demographic
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, and family status. As such phrases like these warrant scrutiny in your listing description:
- Perfect family home
- Bachelor pad
- Traditional neighborhood
- Great for young married couples
- Close to Chabad Synagogue
- Exclusive community for wealthy families
- Safe playgrounds for kids
Remember, the more inclusive your listing is, the more buyers your home will attract. Mack advises, “you certainly don’t want to eliminate any kind of a buyer. You want to leave it as open as possible so that everyone could imagine living there.”
Header Image Source: (Toa Heftiba / Unsplash)
- "Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers," National Association of Realtors® (2021)
- "Top Agent Insights for Summer 2022," HomeLight (2022)
- "Home Feature Preferences," National Association of Realtors® (2013)
- "Housing Discrimination Under the Fair Housing Act," U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (2022)