Too often, ads are written to gratify sellers rather than bring in buyers, according to Ms. Saatchi. “They want you to say everything about their property including that the pavers are two years old,” she explained. “Or there will be things like ‘Relax by the pool,’ which sounds stupid,” she said, adding: “Are you going to tell buyers what to do in the bathroom?”
Mr. Peters is amused by new construction developments “in which you have the brand of every appliance and the name of the marble in the bathroom,” he said. “For God’s sake, who cares about the source of the marble? I think it’s done to convey luxury.”
Judy Szablak, an associate broker at Coldwell Banker Realty in Westport, Conn., feels differently. “Some buyers may not know what Carrara marble is, but they’d rather read ‘Carrara marble’ than just plain ‘marble,’” she said. “Absolutely, I think that flowery language is valuable, maybe not with all buyers but with what I think of as expressive buyers. A particular descriptive phrase can help them identify with a property, see it and put an offer in.”
Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus pandemic has reshaped the content and language of some ads. “Retreat,” “secure” and “private” are frequently deployed. Highlighting features like the home office, tech infrastructure and internet speed, particularly in rural environments, “is now incredibly important if prospective buyers have a hybrid work arrangement,” said Brad Nelson, the chief marketing officer for Sotheby’s International Realty.
Further, Mr. Nelson said, what might have been billed before the pandemic as “a nanny suite” might now be more flexibly labeled a secondary principal bedroom, i.e. accommodations for quarantining friends or family. “It’s the same feature but you’re describing it in a different way now.”
To make sure listings are boiled down to their essence, Sotheby’s International recently imposed a 350-character count on property descriptions in the advertising supplements. “This way,” Mr. Nelson said, “agents are forced to focus on the most important feature that will capture a buyer’s attention.”
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