How to Use Descriptive Words on Your iHouse Website

 May 5, 2014

It can be informative to read real estate listing descriptions.

Often they are either bare bones, telling the prospective buyer almost nothing. Other positively drip with cliches, and some come close to outright lies.


    • 3 br 2 ba home in good neighborhood. Buyers want a bit more info.
    • Stunning 2 br converted condo! Can a converted condo be stunning? If you say so be prepared to back it up.
    • Needs a bit of TLC. Often this refers to something that should be torn down, or close.

What you want, of course, is  a description that spells out mostly the pluses of the home, without using hyperbole or understatement

What do buyers want to know?

As always, it’s helpful to think about what buyers are looking for before you start to write. When potential buyers comes to your site they have something in mind, some ideal home in mind that fits them. When you’re writing about a house, think show it would appeal to certain buyers. For example, potential buyers want things like living:

  • close to schools
  • within walking distance markets
  • where it’s country quiet
  • near the action as it were
  • close to the freeway or to public transportation
  • in a new home
  • in an older home
  • in a home that hasn’t been recently painted so they can paint it the color they want
  • in a recently painted home so they don’t have to bother
  • on a hill with views
  • in a valley

Each of these phrases describes something that some buyers will want and others won’t.

Accuracy counts

The more accurately you portray the home, the more likely you are to quickly find a buyer. People don’t want to be told a home is a ‘light fixer upper’ when in truth it needs major restoration. It’s probably not smart to describe a standard, older tract home as ‘super cute’ – save that for a true cottage or, come to think of it skip ‘super’ anything.

Be careful about upgrade dates. If the kitchen was remodeled six years ago, say so rather than implying the redo is recent. Is the home under the flight path of the local airport? Say so. Your buyer will find out soon enough when she’s looking at the house. Balance it with something positive like ‘sound deadening windows’ or ‘airport noise required to stop at 10 pm.’

On the other hand make sure you list the hidden features – those special touches that aren’t obvious., For example, does the master bath have double showerhead? Say so. Are there pullout shelves in the kitchen? Mention them. A sunny spot for a vegetable garden? This can make the deal for the right buyer. Just two blocks from a bus stop that they won’t automatically see when they arrive? Tell ’em in your description.

Use a variety of descriptive words

We are, of course, talking about descriptive words – any word or phrase that describes the property qualifies. The trick, of course, is finding the right word. While it may come to you right away, sometimes checking on sites that offer lists of words can help.

For example, TheCopyCat has a decent selection of descriptive words for free. You can also use In fact, if you use Word™ you can right click on a word and often find a good synonym.

Keep it simple and complete

As a general rule, the simpler your description is the better, as long as it’s complete. By complete I mean it should give potential buyers a good sense of what to expect when they arrive at the property.

You want a listing description to intrigue the right kind of buyers – the one’s that are truly likely to want a home just like this.




Anne Wayman

By Anne Wayman

Before Anne Wayman became a writer she sold real estate in Southern California. She worked with her father who learned the business from his father. Not surprisingly she learned a few things along the way. Since then, she has been freelance writing for over 30 years – she is a grandmother, loves cats and writes about a wide variety of topics including real estate.