News & Insights

You Don’t Say: Words to Avoid Using in a Rental Listing

Describing your rental property is important. Use the right words, and you can have a new tenant in no time. Just as important, certain words in your listing can discourage prospects, and these are words to avoid using.

As a general rule, try to avoid these types of words and phrases. Your listing will be more accurate and ultimately more effective in attracting good prospective tenants.

Extreme, Subjective Descriptions

“Must-see," “can't-miss," “best deal?" These phrases aren't the kind of believable claims renters can trust, making them words to avoid. These types of terms will make your property sound too good to be true and will strike the wrong tone. Don't oversell.

Keep the listing more objective and simply describe the property's best features. For example, instead of describing an “amazing, gourmet kitchen," you might say “large kitchen with upgraded, stainless appliances."

Overly Flowery Language

Dial down rhetoric and self-aggrandizing editorial phrases. Steer clear of extreme claims like “gorgeous," “spectacular," “magnificent" and “breathtaking." Don't overpromise.

As an alternative, sprinkle in more factual language. “Updated bath with jetted tub" is more believable and compelling to a prospect than “blissful, spa-like master bathroom overlooking private garden."

Words That Date Your Property

Adjectives like “vintage," “original," “period" and “charming" will convey the idea that the property is old fashioned and perhaps ready for a remodeling. Good photographs do a better job of showcasing a historic home's features and architectural appeal.

Unless a property is located in a historic neighborhood, you're better off with more straightforward language. Reference a well-recognized neighborhood with a phrase such as “in the heart of Virginia Highlands, close to great restaurants and shopping.

Steer Clear of Discrimination

Be sure to keep your listing and all advertisements compliant with the Fair Housing Act. Steer clear of any language that suggests the type of person who should rent the property. For instance, avoid any mention of families, couples, being in a LGBT-friendly neighborhood, etc.

Every property should be marketed and available to every type of tenant. It's not only good business – it's the law.

Think Twice Before You Post

In general, before posting your ad, take the time to read it through carefully. Read it through with an objective eye. Better yet, ask a friend to review and provide honest feedback. This will help you spot errors and edit so your listing puts the property's best foot forward.

Pay special attention to terms that might prove problematic for protected minorities or renters with mobility issues. Reword problematic phrases so your property will be considered by renters of all abilities and life stages.

Categories: Landlords

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About the Author
Melanie Merrifield

30-year landlord and freelance marketing writer, Melanie Merrifield has decades of experience as an advertising, UX content strategist and digital marketing professional. Her work supports companies such as AT&T, SCANA Energy, Bally’s Health and Fitness, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Synchrony Financial and other global brands. Off the clock, Melanie enjoys over-eating, collecting vintage vinyl and taking hip hop classes.