Sunday, July 15, 2007

Prepare Your House for Sale

Prepare Your House for Sale
In real estate listings, what's the difference between describing your home as "beautiful" versus "move-in condition"? About $12,500 on a $250,000 home.

Professor Paul Anglin, a real estate economist in Guelph, Ontario, says that homes described as "beautiful" in real estate listings sell for 5% more while "move-in condition" has no effect on sale price.

Anglin and his colleagues from the University of Windsor and researchers from Canada Mortgage and Housing examined about 20,000 real estate listings and sales data in Windsor and Essex counties, Ontario, from between 1997 and early 2000. Among other things, they studied how listings' phrasing affected sale prices and the length of time it took for the listings to close.

When speed is of the essence
Listings with the words "beautiful" or "gorgeous" sold 15% faster. "Landscaping" in a listing hastened a sale by 20%. Describing a property as in "move-in condition" quickened the sale by 12%. Calling a home a "handyman special" cut sale time by half (researchers excluded listings that used the term to describe a workshop or hobby area).

Other familiar jargon, such as "must see" or "vacant," or including the information that a seller was moving, had virtually no effect on the time before a sale.

The kiss of death appears to be language that reeks of desperation -- words such as "motivated" and "must sell." These slowed sales by 30%. The term "ranch" house slowed sales by 10%. Properties described as rentals (income producing) took 60% longer to sell.

Though Anglin assumes the basic effects he identified are universal, the size of their impact will vary by locale, he says.

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