Buyers are taking note of proper grammar and spelling on real estate listings — and they may just pass on those with bad spelling.
About 43 percent of 1,291 people surveyed say they would be less inclined to tour a home if its online listing contained misspellings or improper grammar, according to a new study by Redfin and automated proofreading site Grammarly. That also includes common listing ad ploys, such as writing in all caps and using too many exclamation points.
While survey respondents say photos were more important than a home’s description, 87 percent also say the description is either extremely or very important.
“When buyers are browsing homes for sale, everything about the listing has an impact on their experience,” says Chad Dierickx, a Redfin real estate professional in Seattle.
“Photos grab your attention, but the listing description fills in the gaps by helping a buyer understand what photos can’t.”
The majority of respondents also say they prefer a home description of about 50 words. Shorter descriptions can have a bigger impact. Homes with descriptions that fit that length were found to be more likely to sell within 90 days and for a higher price, according to Redfin data.
The study notes some of the following grammar and spelling errors that can turn off buyers:
Misplaced letters or words that spellcheck won’t always catch. These misplaced letters or words can change an entire meaning of a sentence, such as in the following cases:
— "Master bedroom with walking closet"
— "Open trough Friday"
— "Low grime area"
— "This is a real germ!"
— "Perfect home for smell family"
— "Fresh pain and carpet"
— "Miner work needed"
— "Curve appeal"
Forgotten punctuation. Just forgetting one comma can drastically change the meaning of a sentence. Redfin cites the following example: “New construction won’t last” is quite different from the writer’s intended meaning, “New construction, won’t last.”
Writing in all caps and overusing exclamation points. THIS HOME IS A MUST SEE! NEWLY RENOVATED WITH NEWER ELECTRICAL AND BRAND-NEW ROOF! TRAVERTINE TILE AND HARDWOOD FLOORS!
Too many abbreviations. Home buyers may not be familiar with some abbreviations, and you could leave them confused. For example, a buyer probably has no clue what this means: “Spcs hm w/ EF, lg. FLR and FDR.” (Translation: Spacious home with entrance foyer, large formal living room and formal dining room.)