What does Love vs. Sexy Mean in a Home Listing?

According to the Wall Street Journal, homes for sale with ‘sexy’ and ‘seductive’ in the property description have higher listing prices than homes with ‘love’ and ‘loving,’ an analysis finds.  So, should you use these terms in your listings?

An analysis of roughly 1.6 million home listings found that lower-priced homes were most likely to have the word “love” in property descriptions, while homes priced in the millions of dollars were most likely to have “sexy” and “seductive” in the descriptions.

“Love is basic,” said Javier Vivas, an economic researcher for Realtor.com, which analyzed the data. “It’s a pre-canned pitch to generically describe something beautiful.”

Realtor.com looked at homes for sale as of Feb. 1 to look for terms of endearment used by real-estate agents when listing the properties. Then it calculated the median asking price of homes described with mushy words. Listings with the word “romance” had a median asking price of $820,000. “Seductive” homes listed for a median $640,000, and “sexy” properties had a $620,000 median price.

“When you talk about extreme wealth, you’ll see terms like ‘sexy’ bandied about,” regardless of the product, said Adam Alter, an associate professor of marketing at the New York University Stern School of Business. Luxury products strive for uniqueness, he says, and it makes sense that sales people use impassioned language to set their brand apart.

Love and its variations appeared in 1 out of 10 of all listings, but the words were most common at the low-end of pricing. Homes with “lovely” and “love” listed for $264,000 and $250,000, respectively. At the bottom were homes with “loving” descriptions, with a $195,000 median asking price. The median price of all U.S. listings was $229,000, according to Realtor.com. (News Corp, which owns The Wall Street Journal, also owns Realtor.com, the listing website of the National Association of Realtors.)

There also may be regional differences in how agents pitch homes. Listings in the West were most likely to use terms like “romantic” and “seductive;” the Midwest was the least likely to use any terms of affection, including “love.” This is likely a function of coastal markets having the most expensive homes, said Mr. Vivas, but could also reflect vernacular differences.

What do you think about sexy vs. love? We’d love to hear from you!

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