A Certain Lack of Focus

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The power of words

I ran across an article on MSN the other day that I found interesting. It talked about how using different words in real estate ads effected the time it took for a house to sell and the final sale amount.houseI don't find it surprising that words can have an effect on these things, what I do find surprising is how much of an effect they can have. Just including the word "landscaping" for example, makes a house sell (statistically) 20% faster than other properties, and sell for 6% more. That's a pretty impressive difference. yardOf course, as the article points out, just adding in the word landscaping won't help at all if there's not actually any landscaping, but it's interesting that mentioning it can have such an impact.

Other words and phrases had negative effects or mixed effects. It shouldn't be too surprising that describing yourself as a "motivated" buyer is likely to drop the selling price by an average of 8%, but I was surprised to learn that it slowed the house sale by 30%. Defining a house as a good rental property, an income line, was even worse, slowing the sale by a whooping 60% and docking the price by 9%. Some terms, such as "handyman special" lowered the price but also sped the sale.

adWhen I look at real estate ads, I assume the description is bullshit. Subjective terms such as "beautiful" can't be called false advertising, so the only price in tacking it onto the ad is the paper's word count. I guess it shouldn't be surprising that positive words help a place sell (for more) while negative ideas (even dressed up in positive sounding jargon) hamper a sale. I'm just surprised that many people are buying it (the description, not the house). So what I've really learned in reading this article is that I've got a few years to figure out how to get my apartment style condo some "beautiful landscaping."

*picture's from flickr, linked.

No comments: