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Avoid these clichés if you want to sell your home


If you’re selling a property, some well-worn phrases are guaranteed to put buyers on their guard. We explain how to get your home’s marketing right.

Estate agent holding house keys

Britain’s property market appears to be getting back to normal after a dire few years in the wake of the financial crisis.

Earlier this year house prices across the UK were rising at record levels but the good news for prospective buyers is that these rises are starting to slow, according to the latest figures from the Halifax.

Get your language right

With transaction volumes much higher at the moment than three or four years ago, many more of us are looking to buy and/or sell a property.

Marketing your home effectively can make a significant difference to the price you end up with, whether you use a traditional high-street estate agent or one of the new breed of DIY online services.

To do this, it’s important to get your language right: so it’s worth bearing in mind that some common phrases and clichés may be viewed by savvy buyers with scepticism. has asked property experts to identify the jargon commonly used by estate agents to make the homes they’re selling sound more attractive than might actually be the case.

Phrases to watch out for

Jonathan Harris at mortgage broker Anderson Harris offers the following glossary of terms which should set alarm bells ringing:

  • "Cosy"— Translation: poky.

  • "Bijou" – Even smaller.

  • "In need of modernisation" – Nothing done to it in the past 30 years, at least.

  • "Conveniently located" – On a busy main road.

  • "A peaceful rural position" – In the middle of nowhere.

  • "Media room" – Has a TV and sound system, and somewhere to sit.

Harris also warns of parts of cities being described as "villages". "These are nothing like a village as you and I know it, but the term makes the area sound more desirable and of course more expensive," he says.

Alex Gosling, managing director of online estate agent, says that pictures rather than words are the key to selling a home.

Put buyers in the picture

Estate agents window

"It's vital that you have high-quality photography," he says.

"Grainy, out-of-focus shots will immediately put off buyers. Make sure the images are bright and wide-angle."

Gosling adds that the description of the property should be concise and punchy. 

"Give brief information about the property, the neighbourhood and important local transport links and amenities," he says.

"While including accurate floor plans with room sizes is vital, they won't tell the whole story so be sure to highlight any key features such as an oversized garage or great views, as it could tip a buyer's decision in your favour.

‘Don’t go overboard’

"Be specific: vague descriptions such as ‘beautiful remodelled kitchen’ will have little impact. Point out features and brands buyers would recognise and value when purchasing a home."

Gosling adds that sellers should not "go overboard and exaggerate".

"There is nothing worse than building up prospective buyers' expectations with a grand description, only to have it fall far short in real life."

Other clichés buyers should watch out for, Gosling says, are "rarely available", "deceptively spacious", "bags of potential" and, finally, "priced to sell".

"Aren’t they all?” he asks.


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