What To Say (And Not To Say) When Listing Your House


If you’re planning on selling your home, you probably want to sell it quickly and for the best price. Showcasing your home is simple nowadays. All you have to do is create a listing and potential home buyers can browse the features of your property.

Gone are the days when home buyers had to go from house to house to find the home of their dreams. They can now browse properties in their desired location online without getting off the couch. But you may be wondering what the most successful ways are to attract home buyers.

If you’re getting ready to list your property, it’s important to know what to say (and not say) when listing your home. Here are some pointers on what to include and exclude from your listing.

What Not To Say When Listing Your Home

There are a few things you’ll need to avoid when listing your home. To refrain from deterring future home buyers, here are some things to exclude when publishing your home’s description.

Overestimate Square Footage

Overestimating your home’s living space is easy to do. If you have sloped ceilings in an attic or loft, you need to verify the height before including the footage of this space. According to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), you should only include living spaces with ceilings that are five feet or higher. You don’t want to include spaces that have lower ceilings in your total square footage.

You may also want to leave off your basement’s square footage. Additionally, you should exclude a basement bedroom in your total room count. Instead, you can include this information in your description. For example, if you have two bedrooms upstairs and one in the basement, you may want to list your home as one with “2+ bedrooms.” You can then use your description to elaborate on the extra space.

Discriminatory Language

Pavel Khaykin, licensed REALTOR® and founder of Pavel Buys Houses, suggests, “The most important thing to be careful with is to comply with fair housing laws and regulations and avoid using any sort of discriminating language in your ads.”

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status or disability. If you violate this law, you could face severe financial penalties or legal action. These actions will hinder the sale of your home and put you in a tough financial situation.

Stating Your Asking Price Is Firm

Some sellers don’t like to negotiate and will make that known at the end of their description. While this may work in a hot housing market, stating you won’t negotiate may deter some buyers from looking at your home.

According to Knock, 72% of homes sold below asking in the first quarter of 2019. This means if you want to receive an offer close to asking, have your home appraised. Then, list your home for a slightly higher price than this estimate.

Advertise You’re A Motivated Seller

Stating you’re a “motivated seller” screams desperation. While this may be true, you don’t want to set this tone. It’s better to describe the quality of your property and list it for a price that’s on par to your estimated market value.

If other homes are selling in your neighborhood and your housing market is stable, you’ll likely receive an offer.

What You Should Include In Your Listing

Now that you have an idea of what you shouldn’t include in your listing, let’s discuss what you should include. You may need some guidance on what home buyers are looking for when browsing your listing. To get started, here are some tips and tricks to use when creating your home’s listing.

Stick With The Facts

Buyers rely heavily on factual information to decide if they’re interested in your property. Misrepresenting your home could cause a loss of potential buyers or worse, a lawsuit. Be sure to review all information before you post your listing. Typos may also misrepresent your property. For example, a potential home buyer will dislike it if your listing states your home is on 10 acres as opposed to 1.

Also, veer away from expressing your personal opinions. James McGrath,co-founder of New York City real estate brokerage Yoreevo, says, “Rather than telling people what to think, you should give them actual information and let the property speak for itself. Buyers want information rather than opinions, it’s wise to stick with the facts.”

Review Other Listing Sites

Visiting other listing sites to read their home descriptions. This will give you a great sense of what other sellers are including in their listing. It may also inspire some of the language you choose when describing your house. More often than not you’ll find some great inspiration.

Features To Include

There are some features that may stand out to home buyers more than others. Here are some features you probably want to include in your listing to attract potential buyers.

Indoor-outdoor living space: Julie Upton, REALTOR® at Compass in the San Francisco Bay Area, states, “This is a big selling point, so even if you have a puny deck, point out the fact that the home offers indoor-outdoor entertaining or living.”

Location: Upton adds, “People buy for the area, not necessarily the specific home, so talk up the neighborhood, the local schools, restaurants, trails and whatever else is unique to the location.”

Energy-efficiency: A lot of home buyers look for energy-efficient features that can help them save money on energy costs. Many buyers also want to contribute to efforts that protect the environment.

Garage or shed: Remodeling your garage or shed into a studio gives your home extra space. This may be an attractive feature to home buyers. While it doesn’t count as square footage, it might appeal to home buyers who want a multipurpose space.

Technology: Many home buyers are looking for homes with technological enhancements. From security cameras to Ring Video Doorbells, new home buyers want technology that will keep them safe and comfortable in their new home.

Use Descriptive Language

It’s important that potential home buyers can visualize the features of your home before walking through the door. Instead of creating a vision for them, make descriptions clean and concise.

Kari S. Walker, licensed LouisianaREALTOR®, says, “The description should include the qualities of the home and should be descriptive, but not overly flowery. Stating, ‘The home features a professional gas range and oversized marble island perfect for the home chef’ is more quickly consumed than, ‘Picture yourself cooking Thanksgiving dinner for all your family at a professional gas range while you spread out all your pies on the oversized marble island.’”

The Takeaway

Listing your home for sale is a process that’s easier than ever, thanks to technology. However, if you’re going to sell your home without the help of an agent, ensure that your property’s descriptions are accurate. Information that’s accurate and appealing will provide the most access to potential buyers. In turn, correct information will hopefully enable you to sell your home quickly.

Research the best language and correct legal methods to describe the home you want to sell. Doing so will afford you the smoothest transition from homeowner to home seller.