Terms You Should Think Twice About Before Putting Up Your House Listing

Because of the pandemic, the 2020 housing market progressed differently than many had predicted. Experts anticipated interest rates would remain low, thereby encouraging potential buyers to commit. However, the dire financial straights many families have found themselves in — along with stay-at-home orders and other COVID-related deterrents to traveling, touring homes, and relocating — have brought a significant decrease to home listings, and new potential buyers. In fact, Fannie Mae currently projects a 15 percent drop in home sales in 2020 as compared to 2019 numbers (via Rocket Homes). That said, with fewer homes on the market and reduced prices, both sellers and buyers could potentially benefit.

If you're trying to sell your home, it's important to put your very best foot forward in your listing. While you likely already know to include photos and have heard other tips to maximize views, there are also words you shouldn't include in your listing because they may not send the message you intend. 

Terms to avoid in your home listing

"Motivated" is one word to avoid in your listing. Why? Because it reads the same way the word "desperate" would read in an online dating profile. Lexie Holbert, a home and lifestyle expert for Realtor.com, told PureWow, "If you don't want to negotiate the price of your home, you should stay far away from this word." There is an exception, though, Holbert explained: "If your goal is a speedy home sale and you don't mind knocking some money off the price, this word could help you attract the right type of buyer."

Another word to avoid is "cozy." While to you this word might evoke images of warm, candle-lit living rooms and dreamy, comfy bedrooms, home buyers see this word and immediately translate it to "small," says Kerry Melcher, an in-house expert for Opendoor. Instead, use specifics. If by "cozy" you mean "original fireplace," or "crown moldings," then say so. Such details give potential buyers a clearer picture. Also refrain from using the term "bachelor pad" and other buyer-specific terms that might be unintentionally discriminatory. If you say "bachelor pad" and the person looking at the home happens to be a woman, she may feel she isn't the right fit (via PureWow).

Also avoid vague phrases like "a ton of perks," which don't actually include detail or features. Instead, list those "perks." Melchner explains, "It's better to use descriptors that are specific like 'brand new carpet,' 'move-in ready,' or 'large office space.'"