A Real Estate Discussion Blog


Popular Home Features That Internet Consumers Are Searching

Roost.com has a free form keyword search on their real estate site that lets people type in what they are looking for to narrow down their home search results.  Interestingly, they just released the top 10 things that their users type into this box.  Here is the list:

  1. Pool
  2. Garage
  3. Hardwood
  4. Waterfront
  5. View
  6. Basement
  7. Tile
  8. Deck
  9. Condo
  10. Shop

They then compared this to the top 10 words real estate professionals most frequently used to describe homes.

  1. New
  2. Large
  3. Great
  4. Beautiful
  5. Open
  6. Huge
  7. Finished
  8. Spacious
  9. Custom
  10. Newer

It is interesting to compare these two lists.  The first is 90% nouns, or actual things that a person wants in the home.  Compare that to what words are most being used in marketing text, none of them are actual features of a home, all adjectives. 

I don't think it is entirely fair to compare these lists side by side, because 'great' could be used to describe each of the items on the first list, thus making it more popular then say 'hardwoods' which can only be used in cases where there are actually hardwoods present. 

But the idea of this list is at least important to think about when writing marketing text that is going to be found online.  This type of writing for marketing purposes might be different than a brochure that is left in the home at an open house.  At the open house you are trying to sell that home at that time to that person- maybe more descriptive words are appropriate.  With Internet market text, you are trying to get the home to come up in front of the person and making sure you have text that is feature rich, verses adjective rich, may help this happen more frequently. 





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Comment balloon 47 commentsSara Bonert • August 14 2008 11:05AM


Sara - that's some good information and a terrific post that explains why most agent sites don't pull convertable leads.  I would suggest taking that list and heading on over to adwords.google.com and do some research to come up with some longtail keywords to pull in higher quality traffic.

It works!

Paul Dunn

Posted by Paul Dunn, former orginator about 12 years ago

Excellent post. I know I learned something about consumer mindset from the list.

Posted by Vickie Nagy, Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) about 12 years ago

That's a great list of words!  All in all, a beautiful custom post about a worthy new topic! 


DOH! :)

Posted by Ron Tarvin, Broker, Katy, Houston, Cypress 77450,77494,77095 (Residential, Investment properties, rehab projects, property management, luxury homes, new construction!) about 12 years ago

Paul - Great point!  Here are two Google tools to help you do just that:

Google Suggest http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=1&hl=en
Google Trends  http://www.google.com/trends

Ron- Thanks  :)  I felt it was great, open and a newer way to present new information......

Posted by Sara Bonert, Real Estate Internet Marketing (Zillow) about 12 years ago

I went to Roost.com, typed in my zip code & it brought up a list of homes for sale for a specific brokerage Co. One I am not particularly fond of. Not exactly a fair playing field. Not a site I am likely to return to.

Posted by Claudia Efthimos, GRI,SFR,ASP,SRES (Signature Homes & Estates) about 12 years ago

Thanks for the post Sarah.  It is interesting to see the words that potential buyers use when searching for properties.

Posted by Justin Ukaoma, Kansas City Real Estate Investments (Vizion KC) about 12 years ago

Claudia- That is Roost's business model.  Particular companies can buy the rights to certain areas or zip codes and then it operates like an IDX or VOW from there.  That particular company just must have bought your area's search from Roost. 

Posted by Sara Bonert, Real Estate Internet Marketing (Zillow) about 12 years ago

Sarah - I also find this list interesting and agree that you conclusion about directly comparing them is correct.  That being said, I still thing appropriate adjectives are required for on-line listings and sign flyers.  The purpose is to pique the consumers interest and make them want to see the home.  Once inside, the prospective buyers can judge for themselves whether a room is large, great, beautiful, etc. 

One final thought.  Our MLS has searchable categories for basement, garage, etc.  Therefore, I do not mention them in the remarks unless there is a unique feature associated with the area.  After reading this, I'll revise that strategy. 

Posted by Erik Hitzelberger, Louisville - Middletown Real Estate (RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes) about 12 years ago

Great Post! That is very interesting to see.  I have never heard of roost.com, I will be checking that out!  Thanks!

Posted by Carol Swain, Realtor, -www.swainsells.com- Bucks County, Pa (Keller Williams Real Estate) about 12 years ago

Erik- Good point.  It is a good thing that now most Internet services allow for almost unlimited text, making it possible to get both in there. You are right that you don't just want to feature dump and still make the place sound interesting. 

Posted by Sara Bonert, Real Estate Internet Marketing (Zillow) about 12 years ago

Hi Sara,  thanks so much for the great info.  I tried the reblog to see what would happen.  And it looks pretty good.

Thanks so much for the post.  I'm definitely going to go and change my wording today to include all of the right words. 


Posted by Janie Masterson, Realtor GRI CLHMS - Trusted Real Estate Resource (RE/MAX Executives) about 12 years ago

BTW - I hadn't heard of Roost before.  Although they are not in my area, they do have a good- looking, clutter-free, and easily-searchable website.  (Lol, I just can't stop myself from using adjectives).   

Posted by Erik Hitzelberger, Louisville - Middletown Real Estate (RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes) about 12 years ago

Thanks for sharing. Great info for all of us.

Posted by Carol Knott (RE/MAX The Woodlands & Spring) about 12 years ago

A very interesting comparison, thanks so much for this post, some really great information...Thanks.

Posted by Rita Sinclair, Your Scottish Realtor (Alain Pinel Realtors) about 12 years ago

This is some great info, you have to treat the two types of marketing differently but do not always think that way.  So this is a true eyeopener how to separate the two.

Thanks for the insight!


Posted by Marc Parent (PureWest Christie's International Real Estate) about 12 years ago

Very interesting -- am going to check on my verbiage!

Posted by Li Read, Caring expertise...knowledge for you! (Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring)) about 12 years ago

At least the data is quantifiable instead of just a gut reaction.  Coming from Maryland where pools get about a three month usage I wonder how much of the data is geographic.  

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) about 12 years ago

Thank you, Sara! Your posts are always interesting. I just forwarded your blog to a few of my Associates.

Posted by Amy Roberson (RE/MAX Beach Towne) about 12 years ago

This is a very useful post, Sara. I will definitely incorporate more nouns in my descriptions now that I have read your post. I would add to the first list "granite" as a search term frequently used by Buyers in their home searches. Thanks again for enlightening us. 

Posted by Robin Fenchel, Satisfying Irvine Area Clients One Home at a Time (Century 21 Professionals) about 12 years ago

You are very bright, Sara. I printed that post and placed it next to my puter. I find I do not use enough noun's as you demonstrated above. "Beautiful hardwood throughout" should work.

Posted by David M. Childress, I would love to be your Realtor® in Akron Ohio! (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) about 12 years ago

I was just reading my post again- maybe the first list is 100% nouns?  When I first read it, I considered "shop" a verb.  Maybe it is a room, like a "wood shop"?  That is a woman's brain for you!  :)

Thanks all for your comments!

Posted by Sara Bonert, Real Estate Internet Marketing (Zillow) about 12 years ago

I commented on a similar post early this morning.  Food for thought in choosing our words.

Posted by Shirley Parks, Broker, 210-414-0966, San Antonio TX Real Estate (Sands Realty 210-414-0966) about 12 years ago

Thanks for the info, Sarah.  Once again, the consumer is looking for the words based on what they want, pool, tile, etc.  We have to take a step back and look at things from their point of view.

Posted by Christine O'Shea (Christine E O'Shea Broker) about 12 years ago

People search by what they want.  Luckily our mls gives them that

Posted by Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239, Michigan homes for sale ~ yesmyrealtor@gmail.com (Real Estate One) about 12 years ago

Shop is definitely a shop by the home.  Consumers are constantly asking for shops on the property and hardwoods are really popular out here.  Pools not so much. We don't have a lot out here.  This would be an interesting list by region

Posted by Melina Tomson, Principal Broker/Owner, M.S. (Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon) about 12 years ago

sara thanks for the real estate & public descriptive word tips!

Posted by Stephen D White, E-Pro, ABR Cape Cod Real Estate (SDW Realty of Cape Cod) about 12 years ago

Sara, you gotta find the keywords that those who use the internet to search for you would use, not the words you would use..... We often forget this when we write posts. aj

Posted by Alan 'AJ' Nisen California Contra Costa Mortgage Officer (A Large Bank in America) about 12 years ago

Sara~ I went to Owensboro,KY and they don't cover our area , at least not yet!  The list is definitely something to think about...

Posted by Vickie McCartney, Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY (Maverick Realty) about 12 years ago


Thanks for bringing this up.. Not all homes have the top 10 searches requested by consumers... but all of the top 10 keywords used by Realtors can be used in a listing.

I certainly do not know any real estate professionals that are not going to put "pool", "hardwood" or "waterfront" in the description if in fact the home has a pool, hardwood floors or is a waterfront property.

So.. while interesting, I think Roost has just taken information with little usefulness IMO.

Posted by Paul Francis, Las Vegas Real Estate Agent - Summerlin Homes (Francis Group Real Estate) about 12 years ago

I'm headed to roost.com. I haven't heard of that before and I'm definately going to check it out. Nice post by the way - informative

Posted by Anita Beach, Real Estate Assistant - Maple Valley, WA (RE/MAX Select Real Estate) about 12 years ago

So Sara sent me an email telling me about this great post. I'm glad that people find this information useful because we did too when we put the study together. She also informed me that there might be a little confusion on who Roost.com is and how we work.

At the core, Roost.com is a real estate platform that combines a network of individual real estate broker Web sites with a comprehensive search engine. We offer new search technology, an intuitive, visual interface and the most comprehensive property listings to help users find all homes for sale and find them fast. We work collaboratively with MLS boards and brokers in each region to provide up-to-date, accurate data.

We currently lists homes and condos for sale in thousands of cities and areas across the nation including; Atlanta; Austin; Baltimore; Boise; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Fort Worth; Houston; Las Vegas; Miami; Minneapolis; Nashville; Orange County; Orlando; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Portland; Sacramento; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; St. Paul; Tampa; Silicon Valley; St. Louis; and Washington D.C.

We just annouced today the launch of our service in the New England area, extending our coverage to New Hampshire, Vermont, Western Maine and Northern Massachusetts.

Hopefully this provides a little better understanding on who we are.

Derek Overbey
Sr. Director of Partnership Strategy

Posted by Derek Overbey (Roost.com) about 12 years ago

Great point. Bookmarked and checking out roost.com. Thanks

Posted by Debbie Small, REALTOR (Long & Foster Realtors) about 12 years ago

Hi Debbie. Long & Foster is one of the brokers that Roost.com is working with to service your area. Derek

Posted by Derek Overbey (Roost.com) about 12 years ago

Sara, This is very interesting and useful information. While I really liked the post I especially liked your "shop" comment!!! You and TLW would get along great :)

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) about 12 years ago

In this day in age when 80% of people shop online first, that is some great info, I think everyone needs to re-vamp their descriptions!

Posted by Robert Rauf (HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ)) about 12 years ago

Thank you - This was a very interesting post

Posted by Tracy Wilson (Re/Max Alliance) about 12 years ago

These keywords show that there is a very clear distinction between what consumers are searcing for and how the majority of agents are marketing online. Focusing more on features/benefits should produce better results for both agents and consumers.

Posted by John Novak, Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace) about 12 years ago

Sara, Thank you for sharing this information. It's a great reminder to think liKe the customer, not a REALTOR!

Posted by Debbie Summers (Charles Rutenberg Realty ) about 12 years ago

I am always amazed by agent who advertise the obvious like the bedroom & bathroom count.

Posted by Mike Russell, Overland Park Kansas Real Estate (Mike Russell & Associates) about 12 years ago

I just heard of roost a few weeks back, I'll have to swing by and take another look.  Interesting information, I wonder what these words will look like in a year from now. 

Posted by Brad Andersohn, ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876 (Executive Director of Education at eXp Realty) about 12 years ago

Hey Brad...we met at the ActiveRain party at Inman Connect in SF. I signed you T-shirt. Check us out and let me know what you think. Derek

Posted by Derek Overbey (Roost.com) about 12 years ago

Good info. It's important to use words that the client is thinking so this is helpful.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) about 12 years ago

@derek, see what happens when you have a drink at a party? All the Bloggers take advantage of you and start writing all over your body! lol~  I remember you now, I'll check you out....thanks. :-)

Sorry for leaving my clothes laying around on your post Sara.  ;-)

Posted by Brad Andersohn, ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876 (Executive Director of Education at eXp Realty) about 12 years ago

This is precisely why I was complaining about lack of Z SEO back in May.  I noticed things have changed considerably in regards to Z and searches so thanks for listening (to all the crew!)

I used the #1 word (pool) in my examples :)

Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) about 12 years ago

Hey Sara!  Very helpful information again.  Thank you very much.  I am glad I subscribed to you.

Posted by George Wilson, Raleigh Cary Realty 919 439 0965 (Raleigh Cary Realty) about 12 years ago

Great post! I have seen a couple posts like this now where studies examine the power of words, context and connotation with regards to real estate. It is a very interesting way to look at at.

Posted by Ilyce Glink, Best-selling author, award-winning TV/radio host. (Think Glink Media) about 12 years ago

Food for thought.

Posted by Joseph Ferrara.sellsius about 12 years ago