Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Unlocking the strategy behind real estate listings

The most expensive U.S. homes listed for sale often include the term "parlor floors" in their description.

The phrase "cute little bungalow" typically refers to cheaper homes that may need repair.

And homeowners in San Francisco like to advertise that their property is near a Whole Foods Market. 

The researchers at online real estate analytics firm Trulia gave a briefing to reporters Wednesday to introduce what the company calls its Real Estate Lab.  

The lab is geared toward better understanding the psychology and strategy used by consumers and real estate professionals in the residential real estate market.  

Among the fun facts researchers shared Wednesday: Phrases associated with the most and least expensive homes for sale nationwide, as well as some highly regionalized real estate terms.

For example, luxury home sellers often market their homes as a “magnificent estate” or “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to draw in prospective buyers. Homes described with these phrases are typically listed for more than $3 million. 

Other phrases associated with multimillion dollar listings include luxury home features and brands such as a “paneled library” or “Lutron lighting.” The phrase associated with the most expensive listings is “parlor floor,” which is the main and grandest floor of Manhattan townhouses and other big city mansions. On average, homes calling out this feature are priced at nearly $5 million.

Homes described as “cute little bungalows” are priced on average at $62,000. These cheaper homes for sale might have additional costs in the form of stripping toxic paint, removing mold, or extensive plumbing repairs, Trulia found.

The phrases associated with the least expensive listings are often required disclosures such as “mold-like substance” or “lead based paint notices.” Additionally, the agents and brokers listing these very-affordable homes will usually mention a “minimum commission” because the standard percentage commission is too low on these homes, which are typically priced at less than $28,000.

Home sellers also use regional terms or highlight local must-have features to describe their home and neighborhood, and it’s a strong signal of what buyers want, said Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko.

The popular Whole Foods is 10 times more likely to appear in listings in the San Francisco metro area than nationally. In Fairfield County, Conn., buyers want walls made from local stone. Sellers in West Palm Beach tout Roman tubs and home buyers in Grand Rapid, Mich., covet pole barns, to store farm equipment and other items.

Trulia didn't immediately have the hot features for Charlotte or the Carolinas. But if they get back to me with what they are, I'll post them.


Ghoul said...

I keep searching MLS listing for "mixed income" neighborhoods, but I haven't seen any yet. You'd think it would be like being near a Whole Foods/

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