In Listing Language, Luxury Homes are “Sexy” and “Seductive” – Not “Lovely”

by Peter Thomas Ricci

When selling luxury, “sexy” is preferable to “lovely”


As Pat Benatar sang, “love is a battlefield” – and as realtor.com analysts have found, love is also a lousy way to sell a home.

According to an analysis of 1.6 million home listings, realtor.com researchers found that “love” was a more common term in the descriptions of lower-priced homes, while “sexy,” “seductive” and “romance” were most likely to appear in luxury listings; so while “love” appeared with listings priced $250,000, “sexy” homes had a median price of $620,000, while “seductive” homes listed at $640,000 and “romance” listed at a whopping $820,000.

Javier Vivas, a realtor.com research who spoke to The Wall Street Journal about the findings, said the terms come down to commonality.

“Love is basic,” Vivas said. “It’s a pre-canned pitch to generically describe something beautiful.”

There was an interesting regional divide in emotional listing descriptions – while listings in the high-priced West most commonly used “romantic” and “seductive,” listings in the relatively affordable Midwest rarely saw such terms, even the ubiquitous “love.”

Here is a chart with realtor.com’s full findings (the research ran through Feb. 1 data):

List Price “Love” “Romantic” “Sexy” “Enamored”
Under $500,000 92,434 947 52 15
$500,000 to $1 million 14,264 642 22 7
$1 million to $5 million 5,281 617 37 3
$5 million-plus 311 129 10 0
List Price “Love” “Romantic” “Sexy” “Enamored”
Under $500,000 6.90% 0.07% 0.00% 0.00%
$500,000 to $1 million 7.75% 0.35% 0.01% 0.00%
$1 million to $5 million 6.56% 0.77% 0.05% 0.00%
$5 million-plus 4.45% 1.85% 0.14% 0.00%

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