Real estate data firm Zillow has released an illuminating new book called “Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate.” In the book, Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries and Chief Executive Spencer Rascoff analyze the firm’s massive data piles to come up with new conclusions on how best to sell a home.
The Chicago Tribune recently caught up with Humphries for a Q&A about the book and several interesting topics emerged. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.
The first area of interest studied was when it the proper time to sell a home. Conventional wisdom says springtime, but that is vague. Zillow’s analysis found that on a national basis, the best time to list a home is the last two weeks in March. Why is this? Humphries said many people have been told to list their home immediately after the Super Bowl, which means by the second half of March the number of listings are dwindling and the one’s available are stale. This makes it ripe period to add a new listing.
The book also offers an analysis on the descriptions that accompany a listing. It was found that the longer the description the better, though there’s little value going over 250 words. As Humphries summed up, “If you got it, flaunt it.”
As for the description’s wording, there are certain terms and phrases to stay away from. One such word is “nice,” because as Humprhies said people infer that mean’s there really isn’t much to say about the home.
There were also two words that were able to bring a slightly higher price: “Spotless,” when used on lower-tier priced homes, brought on average an additional two percent to the final price. Among higher-priced homes, the word “captivating” provided a 6.5 percent price bonus.
Finally, the book also looks at pricing. Zillow tracked more than 1 million listings and found that 47 percent ended up having the price lowered in order to sell. The average home was initially overpriced by 6.9 percent.
These are just some of the highlights of what sounds like a very informative book for anyone involved in residential real estate. It costs $22.19 currently on Amazon. It can be purchased here.