Last modified on July 10th, 2017
By Elizabeth Millar
There was a time that the mantra for every real estate professional was “Focus on location, location, location.” With the technology revolution, selling everything from Tootsie Rolls to Rolls Royce limos depends on “Content, content, content.”
To be fair, leasing apartments and single-family homes isn’t totally dependent on web content. But, there are some very interesting statistics in Zillow’s newly released book, Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate, which demonstrate the value of carefully choosing words when listing and showing property.
Zillow is well-positioned to understand what renters and prospective home buyers are searching for today. In an interview with Here & Now, Zillow’s CEO, Spencer Rascoff, said “Something like 80 percent of all homes in America have been ‘zillowed,’ have actually had the owner look up their zestimate on the site.”
Better Words = Better Revenue Stream
According to Zillow research, these words are marketing gemstones. The percentage following each word choice shows the increase in sales, and if applicable, the pricing tier. For rental agencies and management firms, that may mean higher occupancy rates and rental caps.
- Luxurious (8.2%) Bottom tier apartment seekers, are looking for high-end features, amenities and finishes.
- Captivating (6.5%) Top tier tenants prefer “captivating” over words like “nice” and “comfortable” because it is less open to interpretation. The word exudes richness and enticing qualities.
- Impeccable (5.9%) and Spotless Bottom tier applicants are looking for a clean, move-in-ready home. Both words satisfy rental unit seekers’ expectations for a well-maintained home.
- Stainless (5%) Indicates an upgraded, fully furnished kitchen. Lower tier home seekers who enjoy entertaining are looking for quality appliances that make socializing more fun and efficient. Tile (2%) moves the focus toward bathrooms.
- Granite (1-4%) This word choice appeals to everyone, much like stainless.
- Basketball (4%) If you have a court on property – Sell it! If not, especially if your resident’s are in the lower and mid-price point market, use the tip below.
Tip: If you don’t have an on-site court, you can still take advantage of this powerful descriptor. Use your website search feature to point toward basketball courts, sports complexes and arenas in the area.
- Pergola (4.0%) Just as lower price point targets seek outdoor exercise options, mid-level rental home dwellers want beautiful outdoor spaces. Include information about parks and outdoor gardens within proximity to your community.
- Landscape (4.2%) and Beautiful Green spaces – both on property and off-site – drive prices up. Beautiful might be applied to a view from the balcony or an interior feature.
Tip: Well-maintained gardens and common areas provide an exceptional opportunity for you to market your community. Post high-quality images on your web pages. Exceptional photos are more sharable and heighten interest. Hire a professional to help you if the budget allows.
Feel free to include off-site photos or links to area gardens, lakes, hiking trails – any place that exemplifies natural beauty and immaculate landscaping. Make sure there is a logical connection to your property, or web visitors will be confused. In other words, don’t market something that you can’t, or don’t, provide.
- Remodel (1.5% to 2.9%) All price tiers appreciate newer appliances, better quality fixtures and a few unexpected surprises. That’s why the words “updated” and “upgraded” both increased sales by 1%.
- Gentle (2.3%) Working in the word “gentle” could be a challenge for some property managers. You might include it in descriptions about the parking lot slope, or something in the landscaping. Turn on your creative juices.
These hard-working words can help you generate more traffic to your property. Remember, never promise something you can’t deliver. And, use your property management software to your advantage. If you aren’t currently getting the most from your on-site search feature, reach out to your AppFolio consultant for help.
Great tips here! Crafting a good description for listings is often key. And I’d definitely agree that there should be photos, photos, PHOTOS! Back when I was renting, we would ONLY look at listings that gave us a picture of what we’d be getting.
Key words coupled with great images will definitely help!