“Perfect for” shrinks your pool of buyers
When a listing description declares that a home is perfect for any specific type of buyer, it also says: “Everyone else should keep looking.” Should your sales pitch begin by deflecting 80-90% of potential buyers? To us, that sounds like a disservice to your clients. We doubt that they have affirmatively agreed with this positioning strategy.
Imagine if your listing pitch went like this:
You: As your agent, I will market this home only to people that I, in my omniscience, have decided would love it here. I will write a listing description that caters to my chosen subset of potential buyers, ignoring everyone else.
Sellers: That doesn’t sound like a great strategy. We’re going to hire someone else.
There are plenty of regulatory reasons to refrain from steering potential buyers away from a listing, but there is also simple sales logic: You want to market your listing as broadly as possible.
Say this to yourself, and believe it: This listing could be perfect for anyone.
Write your property description accordingly.
Examples of "perfect for" in current listings on Zillow
To help illustrate the problem, let’s look at two categories of “Perfect for” lines that are posted right now on Zillow. The categories are 1) assumptions about household composition, and 2) assumptions about lifestyle.
Actual text: Perfect for families with kids
What the home shopper reads: If you don’t have kids, move on.
- I’m not a family with kids. I will scratch this place off my list.
- We’ve been trying to have kids for years, but we can’t Everywhere I turn, someone throws this in my face.
Actual text: Perfect for the growing family
What the home shopper reads: Unless you’re planning on increasing the household headcount, you should probably move on.
- Really? We have to be growing? We thought we were done, but I guess if we buy this place we need to have another couple of kids!
- It’s just us and the dogs, so we’ll keep looking.
- We’re retired, and are looking for extra space for studio art and yoga. But it seems like this place is more geared for kids.
Actual text: Perfect for multigenerational living
Nila June commentary: According to Pew Research Center, only 18% of the U.S. population lives in a multigenerational household. Most of your potential buyers are part of the 82%.
What the home shopper reads: Unless someone’s mom, dad, or grandparent is part of the household, you won’t be happy here.
- We’re not in a multigenerational living situation, so this house is not for us.
Actual text: Perfect for couples, young adults, or working professionals
Nila June commentary: It’s hard to know where to start with this one. Apparently, to get this place, you need to be young and in a relationship, OR you could also be a working professional, presumably single.
What the home shopper reads: To live here, you need to be young, attached, and employed, probably with no kids.
- I’m 50 and single. I guess they don’t want my million dollar offer. I’ll just move on to the hundreds of other sellers in this market who would be happy to have my money.
Actual text: Perfect for having large parties
Nila June commentary: This one might be a case of projection. Perhaps most listing agents, with their gregarious demeanors and friendly dispositions, really like to throw large parties. Not everyone does. Some of us don’t even like to attend large parties. So, like its cousin, “entertainer’s dream,” “perfect for having large parties” is severely limiting.
What the home shopper reads: This house is for people with a full social calendar and a lot of entertainment needs.
- I don’t throw parties, so I don’t need all that space. I guess this house isn’t for me.
Actual text: Perfect for the self-employed entrepreneur
What the home shopper reads: This is for people who have the gumption ro run their own businesses. Oh, that’s not you? Pity, because this place is perfect for people like that.
- Sounds like this house has some kind of weird office configuration. Not interested.
- I work outside of the home. I don’t need this.
Actual text: Perfect for temporary housing
What the home shopper reads: This is not so much a home but a waystation for people who are adrift on the sea of life.
- I can’t identify with this at all. This house is not for me.
Actual text: Perfect for fishermen and boaters
Nila June commentary: To this one, we can also add such phrasing as “hunter’s paradise!” Fishing, boating, and hunting–as popular as they may be–are not practiced by the majority of your potential buyers.
What the home shopper reads: You probably are no good at fishing or boating, and you couldn’t possibly appreciate the great outdoors, so you might as well move to the middle of a heartless city.
- Because I don’t fish, boat, or hunt, I guess this place is not for me. Sounds like it’s out in the wilderness anyway.
An exception to the “Perfect for” rule
Rules are made to be broken! Quite a few property descriptions on Zillow declare that the home is “perfect for everyone!” Well, maybe that’s too broad, but better to cast a wide net than to spearfish.Though unimaginative, at least it is not overtly exclusionary. If you’ve got nothing better to say, then go ahead.
To avoid the question altogether, use Nila June
When it comes to household composition and lifestyle, “perfect for” is not part of our vocabulary. For more tips, read The home boasts a fireplace! And other property listing description mistakes.