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It's more than just a pretty picture that lures a home buyer to a house - it's the words used to describe it too.
Real estate agents are actively using key words to elicit a sale, and avoiding words known to put off would-be buyers.
Words such as family, comfort and safe are all known to get a positive response from buyers.
Ed Scanlan, who trains real estate agents on how best to market a property, said there was a list of 15 key words real estate agents were told got a positive response from people reading house listings, based on responses from Herald readers.
In that list words like new, discover, guarantee, health, and bargain were all positive, and real estate agents were encouraged to use them.
Realestate.co.nz spokesman Paul McKenzie said he often saw advertisements which used the words family and sunshine to try and entice the buyer.
"We did a survey of all our customers last year on what features they feel are the most important in properties, and sunny came up as the number one," he said.
For higher priced homes, words such as character, luxury, hideaway, and picturesque all featured heavily in advertisements, he said.
Australia's Real Estate Institute of Victoria this week surveyed 3.78 million words used in advertisements on realestateview.com.au in the last year to look for the top most used words for selling a house.
Featuring four times in the top 10 list were words associated with the size of the house or land.
Area, space, large, and open all came in the top 10 list.
Taking out top spot was home, followed by area, space/spacious, family, and heater/heating.
REIV spokesman Robert Larocca said there were also words real estate agents avoided.
The term "motivated seller" hinted at problems with the home or the seller, and cute and charming implied small rooms, he told News Ltd.
He also said the word basement was a little creepy and a better term would be "lower level".
Trade Me Property head Brendan Skipper said he was sure people used creative licence when advertising homes on the site.
"I'd bet my house on it that some people are using creative licence on some of the things they're saying about their properties, i.e native bush, which possibly means its overgrown which happens to be native plants."
Some of the most searched for words on Trade Me Property in the past two months included the words beach, lifestyle, villa and character.
However, Mr Skipper said there was no key word that fast-tracked a sale.
"What sells properties is well priced, well presented properties. It's not descriptions or words that you use in the marketing. It gets people interested in looking, obviously, but at the end of the day it comes down to the presentation and actually what the house offers."
Top 10 selling words in 2012 for the Real Estate Institute of Victoria
For all homes
3. Space or spacious
5. Heater or heating
9. Include or including
For million-dollar homes
2. Guest Suite
3. Premier Schools
5. European oak
8. Glass Fenced
9. Coffee machine
For affordable homes
1. Per week
Trade Me Property's top 10 key word searches for the past two months
4. Home and income
- Hana Garrett-Walker of APNZ