In Real-Estate, ‘Love’ Hurts and ‘Sexy’ Sells

Homes for sale with ‘sexy’ and ‘seductive’ in the property description have higher listing prices than homes with ‘love’ and ‘loving,’ an analysis finds.

By Stefanos Chen

In luxury real estate, love is cheap and sex sells.

An analysis of roughly 1.6 million home listings found that lower-priced homes were most likely to have the word “love” in property descriptions, while homes priced in the millions of dollars were most likely to have “sexy” and “seductive” in the descriptions.

“Love is basic,” said Javier Vivas, an economic researcher for Realtor.com, which analyzed the data. “It’s a pre-canned pitch to generically describe something beautiful.”
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Realtor.com looked at homes for sale as of Feb. 1 to look for terms of endearment used by real-estate agents when listing the properties. Then it calculated the median asking price of homes described with mushy words. Listings with the word “romance” had a median asking price of $820,000. “Seductive” homes listed for a median $640,000, and “sexy” properties had a $620,000 median price.

“When you talk about extreme wealth, you’ll see terms like ‘sexy’ bandied about,” regardless of the product, said Adam Alter, an associate professor of marketing at the New York University Stern School of Business. Luxury products strive for uniqueness, he says, and it makes sense that sales people use impassioned language to set their brand apart.

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