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The real estate listing words that sell a home

Realtor showing home to family of mom, dad, and toddler

Curious about what you would find if you analyzed 1-million real estate listings? We were too, which is why we chose to analyze the listings on our site and bring back any fruitful information to share with the real estate masses. We discovered that successfully selling your home isn’t just about the pictures you use, but the words you choose.

By dissecting 1,000,000 online real estate listings, we were able to create a shortlist of the most frequently used words and phrases. From this list, home sellers can not only utilize the information on which words work best for selling a property but also learn the best practices for how to insert these words into their listings.

In this piece, we’ll go over:

  • Real estate power words and how to use them
  • A provincial break down of phrases used by location
  • The psychology of words and how they affect readers.

So let’s get into it, starting off with words and phrases that tap into your reader’s emotional side!

Listing power words

You know that moment when you read a listing and it immediately triggers an emotional response? That’s the beauty of power words. When used effectively, power words can stimulate a vision of what life will look like when a buyer moves into your listed home. 

Ali Wenzke, author of The Art of Happy Moving, recommends studying luxury property listings in order to activate a feeling of grandeur for your property. “To help you brainstorm, look at the listings of the most expensive real estate in your area…write down any terms that apply to your current home.” Though your listing might not be something straight out of a reader’s fantasy, describing it as such will activate those feelings within your reader and turn them into a buyer.

These words made our list by successfully creating an emotional response and helping to build intrigue within individual listings.  

Graph of real estate listing power words that inspire emotion

Ready to include power words in your listings? Here are some examples and tips on how to use these popular power words effectively:

Welcoming

A welcoming foyer leads to a formal living area with high ceilings and wooden floors.

Modern

A modern exterior makes way for large windows that fill the living room with natural daylight. 

Beautiful

This one of a kind home comes complete with beautiful wood floors and a private backyard oasis.

Dream

Make your dream home your reality with this luxurious single-family home. 

Words used by location

Whether you live in the city, the mountains or near the coast, there are common words to keep in mind based on where you live. To find these similarities, we separated each listing into nine provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan

The top used words within each of these provinces allow sellers to determine the priority of prospective buyers. For example, in Newfoundland and Labrador, many take advantage of the location through the phrase “lakeside dream home.” Because of this, you can assume that a property with views of or near a lake is more enticing to buyers than one located further away from the water.

list of most used words by location

The psychology of words

Words are powerful tools. In real estate, certain trigger words grab the attention of prospective home buyers, create a sense of urgency and promote exclusivity. In fact, according to Peter Frederick’s Persuasive Writing, your audience is craving to be hooked!

When writing persuasive copy, Fast Company recommends referring to psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid. The needs from external to internal order are as follows:

  • Physiological needs – basic needs such as food, water, rest and warmth
  • Safety needs – security and protection
  • Belongingness and love needs – friendships and intimate relationships
  • Esteem needs – feelings of prestige and accomplishment
  • Self-actualization – achieving your full potential and reaching your goals
Using Maslow's hierarchy of needs to write appealing real estate listings

Self-actualization

How will buying this home bring someone closer to their dreams? Is this a home perfect for building a family? A condo in the city that will help a prospective buyer achieve their work goals? Addressing your buyer’s needs will help them form a bond with your listed property. 

Words to use:

  • Contemporary
  • Beautiful
  • Updated
  • Luxury

Esteem

Will buying this home trigger a sense of accomplishment within your prospective buyer? Maybe this is their first home, and they’re seeing their hard work materialize in the form of a house. Or maybe they’re looking to retire, and this final home symbolizes a life well-lived.

Words to use:

  • Downtown
  • Schools 
  • Home office

Belongingness and love

Is this the perfect home for a social buyer to host their friends and family? Is there enough space for entertaining and cooking for a large group of people? Does this listing allow space to grow as a person and as a partner? 

Words to use:

  • Family
  • Gourmet kitchen
  • Open floor plan
  • Walk-in closets
  • Entertainment

Safety

People want to feel safe and secure within their homes. What about this listing ensures someone’s safety? Is it located in a gated community or on a quiet street? Is this a neighbourhood filled with other people raising their families? How does this home come prepared for emergencies such as fire, flooding or tornadoes

Words to use:

  • Well-maintained
  • Renovated
  • Fencing
  • Sustainable

Physiological

How convenient is this location? Is it near a grocery store and a pharmacy? Is there a medical facility nearby? If your buyers have children, is there a park within walking distance? Are there enough rooms for multiple people?

Words to use:

  • Short walk
  • Bike ride
  • Few blocks
  • Nightlife
list of top real estate listing imagery words and how to use them

As you can see, using the word “home” in your listing description is a must. To do some first-hand research of your own, visit our listing page and discover which descriptions pull you in. Be careful — you just might buy a new home!

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Romana King

Romana King is an award-winning personal finance writer, real estate expert and the current Director of Content at Zolo Homebase. Romana has contributed to business and lifestyle publications including CBC.ca, Toronto Sun, Maclean’s, MoneySense, Globe & Mail Custom Content Team, and The Toronto Star. Among her achievements, Romana won silver for her annual Where to Buy Now real estate package in the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. In 2015, she won a SABEW Business Journalism award. When she was editor of CI Top Broker, Romana helped guide her team to obtain its first KRW Business Journalism nomination, and in 2011, she was part of a small team that helped MoneySense win Magazine of the Year at the 34th annual National Magazine Awards. Her north star is to consistently provide actionable, valuable and accurate information that helps elevate the financial literacy of everyone.