Listing Your House? Stay Away From These Words

home listing language
home listing language

In this buyers' market, even the newbie lookers are savvy to listing descriptions. Who among us doesn't know that "cozy" means "small," or that "needs some TLC" means "bring your bulldozer?"

But about a decade ago, Paul Anglin, who teaches real estate and housing trends at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, studied the language used in listings and came up with some findings that bear repeating in today's slower-sales market.

For example: Homes where the seller is described as "motivated" actually take 15 percent longer to sell. And besides, how many sellers today aren't motivated?

To be fair, Anglin did his research before the current boom-and-bust cycle, and we all know how much the housing market has changed since then. No one, including Anglin, has revisited the subject of what impression prospective buyers form from the use of particular words in a listing.

But for what it's worth -- and with the caveat that while the market may have changed, human nature likely hasn't -- here are some things to consider as you describe your house for sale.