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Shorter Ads Sell Homes Faster

Jerry Kronenberg

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Attention home sellers: Keep it short. Brevity is the soul of wit when it comes to writing ad copy for your home -- as is good spelling, an analysis by property-listing site Redfin has found.

Redfin.com researchers polled some 1,300 users recently and looked at in-house statistics to see what kind of listings appealed the most to consumers.

Their conclusion: short, typo-free ads work the best.

"A real-estate listing should be succinct and pack a punch, as opposed to rambling on," says Chad Dierickx, a Seattle Redfin agent who helped compile the analysis. "It's like listening to an overly verbose professor -- people sort of drift off after a certain point."

A Redfin review of all 2013 listings in 18 major markets found that homes with 50- to 69-word listings were 5.5% more likely to sell for above asking price. They also enjoyed a 1.3% better chance of selling in less than 90 days.

By contrast, properties with listings of 150 words or longer were 6.9% less likely to sell for above asking price, as well as 0.2% less likely to sell within three months.

Redfin also showed 20-, 50- and 100-word drafts of the same listing to some 1,300 online users and found that 52% favored the 50-word version.

Just 39.8% chose the 100-word edition, while 6.3% preferred the 20-word version and 1.9% had no preference.

The survey, an admittedly unscientific online poll conducted by Redfin and editing site Grammarly.com, also found that listings with spelling or grammatical errors make a majority of consumers unlikely to even look at your home.

Some 72% of respondents said typos would make them "less inclined" or "much less inclined" to tour your property, while errors would bother another 24% "a little" but not enough to rule out looking at your place. Only 3.6% of poll takers said textual mistakes wouldn't bother them at all.

Dierickx suspects many house-hunters fear sellers who don't notice or care about a listing's typos might not put much emphasis on home maintenance, either.

"If a buyer comes across a listing where the quality of the [ad copy] is low, they might assume the same thing about the property itself," he says.

So, while real-estate agents typically compose a property's ad, Dierickx recommends homeowners proofread the text or show it to "your most well-spoken friend" to spot any errors.

Some other tips from Redfin's study:

  • Watch out for misspellings that change the meaning of your listing -- potentially in embarrassing ways. Real examples that are legendary among brokers include: "Perfect home for smell family" and "This is a real germ!"
  • Make sure your agent doesn't use so many Realtor-centric abbreviations that your listing becomes gibberish to the average person. Would you know that "Spcs hm w/ EF, FLR and FDR" is a "Spacious home with entrance foyer, large formal living room and formal dining room"?
  • Avoid using all capital letters in a listing, such as: "THIS HOME IS A MUST SEE!" Dierickx says that "looks like you're yelling at someone."

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