"Exposed brick," "Whole Foods" and more: Ranking the buzzwords that reel in buyers

By Virginia K. Smith  | February 3, 2015 - 9:59AM

Anyone who's ever tried to sell a New York apartment knows how to spin the negatives, with code words like "cozy" (claustrophobic), "fixer-upper" (falling apart), and "optional half-bedroom" (closet). But what about the stuff that'll make a place fly off the market? 

We asked StreetEasy to look at their fastest-selling listings of 2014 to see what jargon they had in common, and therefore, what qualities apartment owners (and their brokers) might want to emphasize when marketing their homes.

City-wide, words that focused on building and apartment amenities—like "building storage," "open kitchen," and "laundry room"—appeared in listings for apartments that moved fast. Interestingly, so did one neighborhood feature, namely the proximity of a Whole Foods. (While more typical terms like "tree-lined" or "Central Park" were featured in a higher volume of listings, they didn't make it into the top 100 terms found among the site's fastest-selling properties.) 

Similar qualities caught buyers' eyes in Manhattan, likely due to the fact that it had a higher share of fast-moving listings than other parts of the city. As for the outer boroughs, "exposed brick"and "Fort Greene" were priorities for Brooklyn buyers, and in Queens, one can actually expect to find a "formal dining room." 

CLICK TO ENLARGE the graphic below to see the full breakdown:

"In Manhattan, listings that highlight the ease of navigating everyday errands tend to perform much better than those that do not," notes StreetEasy data scientist Alan Lightfeldt. On the other hand, "the number one most popular phrase among the fastest selling homes in Brooklyn in 2014 was 'exposed brick,' highlighting the value that buyers place in the historic and industrial feel of apartments there." 

And in Queens? "Buyers are looking for a slightly more suburban feel than you would get in Manhattan or parts of Brooklyn," he tells us. "'Formal dining room,' 'finished basement,' and 'windowed kitchen' were among the top five most popular phrases last year for fastest-selling homes, suggesting that listings that play up the home's ample space and room to grow will perform particularly well."


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