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How-To Tuesday: Use Descriptive Language to Make Your Listing Stand Out

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but when it comes to selling a home, photos cannot tell the whole story. If you want to draw buyers in, it’s important to understand how descriptive language can attract buyers or turn them off completely. Creative words and phrases help keep your listing from becoming a total snoozefest. Here’s how to make that listing stand out among a sea of boring descriptions. yawn

  • Sellers and agents should be wary of overused terms when describing a home. There are several words you’re guaranteed to find in an average home description; spacious, great, must-see, cozy, quiet, desirable, and charming are just a few of these. Think of more creative ways to describe a home’s features. For instance, half bath sounds boring and tired. Say powder room instead. Don’t say a home is clean. That should be a given, not a selling point. A caveat: as you search for new descriptive terms, make sure to avoid exaggeration. Don’t tell prospective buyers a home is renovated or remodeled if it’s only partially renovated. If a property is near a prime location, you may mention that it’s near the area, but do not misrepresent by saying that it’s in that location.
  • Similarly, be specific in your verbiage. As mentioned above, don’t use “faint praise.” Even positive words can sound weak. Saying that a home is a “must-see” is a cop-out. Talk about the features that make that home a must-see property. In 2005, the National Bureau of Economic Research said that specific words like granite and maple draw more attention. Think about the details that will appeal to buyers most and describe those specifically.
  • Sellers—especially those who are trying to sell their homes on their own—should be aware of the laws and restrictions under the Federal Fair Housing Act. Some verbiage could be seen as discriminatory toward protected classes. The protected classes under FFHA are race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, and national origin. Seemingly harmless language could be misconstrued. For example, you cannot refuse to sell your home to a family with young children (unless it’s in a 55+ retirement community).
  • There are certain details that could be seen as guarantees when they might not work out that way. For example, it’s common to say that a home is in a specific school district, but be careful of highlighting that information. Attendance lines could be redrawn at any time, and if that happens before closing, the buyers might blame the seller or agent for misrepresentation.
  • If you feel like there aren’t enough creative terms to adequately describe a home’s positive points, pitch the lifestyle it offers. Is it located in a popular, upscale, or transitional neighborhood? What quality of life does the home offer? Does it offer mountain views? Is it on an oceanfront golf course? One of those things might be the main selling point for a buyer.

Are there terms that you see way too often in real estate listings? Are you guilty of using tired language in your own listings? Tell us in the comments below!

 

 

How-To Tuesday: 8 Fast & Free Ways to Revamp Home Decor

It's officially fall! Time to break out the cozy blankets, autumn decorations, and all things pumpkin-flavored. The changing of the seasons usually brings about the desire for other changes, the simplest of which is a quick creative refresh of your home. Here are 8 fast and free ways to revive your decor for fall.

1. Rehang artwork or change it up. Exchange artwork from other rooms, lower existing frames on the wall (most are hung too high, anyway!), or if the art is abstract, turn it on its side or upside down.

2. Another way to mix up your wall art is to replace it with something unexpected. For example, a beautiful hat collection hunghat-collection-2 on a wall makes a really cool statement.

3. Add greenery to any room. It creates a fresh feel and provides a little bit of texture to a room. Plants are fine, but bringing in grasses, fronds, or evergreens is even better.

4. Rearrange furniture. This is another extremely simple way to create a completely new feel to a room. Move furniture away from the walls and create smaller, intimate spaces.

5. Trade decorative items from another room. Bringing in a different vase, lamp, rug, bowl, or throw might not seem like it would make a big difference, but you'd be surprised!

6. Add some texture. Texture creates warmth, which is essential for fall decor. Cable-knit, leather, wood, suede, and felt are all perfect for autumn.

7. Add touches of white or color. If you have an especially dark room, a few strategically placed, bright white items can add visual interest. The same goes for a lighter or more neutral room, except in this case, you would bring in pops of color for interest.

8. Group objects of like color together. If you already have a colorful room, combine items of similar color to make an eclectic, visually pleasing collection.

What other ideas do you have for a quick and easy, seasonal revamp? Tell us in the comments below!

 

Friday Five // September 19, 2014

Time for another exciting weekend! There's plenty to keep you occupied in the Lowcountry this weekend. Run a 5k, learn about music, watch ancient games, listen to bagpipers, and more.

On Saturday, September 20th, Chamber Music Charleston presents the Little Mozart Circus in Marion Square. From 8:30am-1:30pm, families will have the opportunity to watch a variety of mini-performances, participate in interactive performance opportunities, and learn about local music-based educational opportunities.

The 43rd annual Scottish Games and Highland Gathering takes place on Saturday from 9am-5:30pm at Boone Hall Plantation. Athletic competitions will feature demonstrations of brawn like the sheaf toss, the stone of strength, and the caber toss. Cchildren’s activities will include a Scotch egg relay, face painting, storytelling, and a bounce castle. There will be music from Scottish-themed bands, a piping and drumming competition, and a Scottish dance exhibition.

To kick off its annual Fright Nights Boone Hall presents the Running Scared 5K this Sunday from 12-3pm. Register as a zombie or a runner. Runners will not be timed, but they WILL have to dodge hordes of feasting zombies attempting to steal their life flags. Zombies will receive a gory makeover and acting class. Spectator tickets are also available.

It's six months until we deck ourselves out in all manner of shamrockery! Molly Darcy's would like you to join in their 4th annual Halfway to St. Patrick's Day party on Saturday beginning at 12pm. Festivities will include live music, bagpipes, step dancers, giveaways, and prizes. There will also be a special menu that includes corned beef and cabbage. Yum!

If you're looking for a more laidback event this Sunday, check out the Carolina Green Fair at James Island County Park from 12-6pm. See how businesses stay green at exhibitor booths, participtae in the Re-Trends clothing swap, and learn how to make eco-friendly meals. There will also be an eco-carnival featuring an inflatable slide, a jump castle, mechanical bull rides, and interactive demos from the S.C. Aquarium and Reptile Innovators.

 

Why Smart Home Isn't Just Another Buzz Word

"Smart" is a buzzword that has become synonymous with the latest technology. Smart phones. Smart car. Smart boards. And now there's the smart home. What exactly is a smart home? As an example, think about The Jetsons, a cartoon many of us grew up watching. We marveled at the family's everyday conveniences like automated appliances, robot maids, and flying cars. Well, while we can't help you with the flying car, we can certainly introduce you to home automation. smarthome

You've probably seen the term "home of the future" somewhere. It's one that's been used widely for the last century or so. The prime feature at the General Electric pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair explored the home of the future through Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. In this attraction, which now lives at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, viewers sit in a moving, circular theater and experience the advent of electricity and technological advances during the 20th century via the typical American family. The attraction shows how people have been amazed by new technology for the home throughout the centuries. From the poupularization of electricity in the private home to the invention of high-definition television and voice-automated appliances, technology for the home has come a long way.

Home automation is a big deal in smart homes. Single integrated systems allow users to connect appliances, thermostats, security systems, and more from one device, such as a smartphone. Appliances can be monitored and controlled remotely through these systems. Say you turned the air conditioning off while you were out of town for a summer vacation. Instead of coming home to a stiflingly hot house, you can use your phone to turn on the a/c when you board your plane or start your car trip home. Lighting can also be controlled remotely or set to automatically turn on or off at any given time. Energy-efficient smart lightbulbs can be controlled with a phone for different lighting for tasks and mood. With systems like LG's HomeChat, users can text their appliances. For example, text "What are you doing?" to your washing machine and receive a response telling your which cycle the washer is currently in.

Most importantly, security systems have never been more, well, secure than they are now with smart technology. Homeowners who take advantage of smart security systems can use their phones for remote surveillance of their homes and check to see if doors have been locked and appliances have been turned off. Smart security systems can also be programmed to simulate the appearance of an occupied home by automatically adjusting lighting or moving window coverings when unauthorized movement is detected. These systems can also notify homeowners in the event of a fire or gas, carbon monoxide, and water leaks.

Another benefit of the smart home is home automation for elderly and disabled. Those who prefer to live in their own homes as opposed to an assisted living facility can do so safely through features like reminder systems and domotics (domestic robots) that assist with medication dispensing and spoon-feeding.

Smart technology isn't without its problems, however. Many protestors complain that it's making us lazy. And of course, there's always the chance of malfunction. Even the Carousel of Progress shows its audience how technology can go wrong, from blowing fuses to smart appliances that misunderstand directions. While there are caveats to relying completely on smart devices, the fact is that they're here to stay and are constantly being tweaked and improved. Smartphones weren't the norm even less than a decade ago. Now you'll be hard-pressed to find an individual without one in your general vicinity. Who knows? Perhaps in the next ten years, we'll all be enjoying the benefits of a smart home!

 

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