george nicola

By George Nicola (Expert Stager)

In this blog post you will learn how to describe a house for sale in a property listing, even better than a real estate agent.

When selling a home, whether old or new, it is worth describing it with the most fitting, suggestive, and convincing way. You need to know the various characteristics of an old house because a boring and monotonous description like “this old house is 165 years old but still good as new” will probably keep your house in the market for longer than expected.   

As a homeowner or a home seller, you must acknowledge that a house is not just bricks and mortar to homebuyers, but a dream home to them in most cases. When selling an old home, use words to describe home with the goal of exciting readers until they are compelled to reach out to you. We have cherry-picked the below tried and tested tips and tricks of describing old houses to attract potential buyers.

The length of a property description varies widely depending on many factors, including the size of the property, the number of features and amenities it possesses, and the intended audience for the listing.

However, real estate listing descriptions range from around 120 to about 335 words, which in most cases is enough if it’s an old house for sale “as is.
 
The words to describe the listing should be written with the end goal of convincing interested parties to schedule a viewing.

Thus, it is crucial to be succinct and center on the most vital aspects of the property.

In addition, it’s essential to balance the information and give potential purchasers a clear picture of the home even before they set foot at the viewing.
 
A real estate listing can be written without the help of a realtor, although this is not recommended. Rather than hire a real estate agent, many homeowners opt to sell their homes independently. You may have heard of this listing being called “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO).

Here is an description example written by a homeowner:
This charming three-bedroom, two-bathroom home is located in a quiet neighborhood in the heart of Anytown.

The home features a spacious living room with hardwood floors and a cozy fireplace, a large kitchen with plenty of cabinet space, and a private backyard with a patio perfect for entertaining.

The master bedroom has an en-suite bathroom and a walk-in closet. In addition, this home is conveniently located near shopping, restaurants, and schools.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

Here is the same listing but written by a creative realtor:
This stunning 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home is nestled in a peaceful neighborhood in the heart of Anytown.

The home boasts a bright and airy living room with gleaming hardwood floors and a cozy fireplace, a spacious kitchen with plenty of cabinet space, and a private backyard with a patio ideal for entertaining.

The master bedroom features an en-suite bathroom and walk-in closet.
This home is conveniently located near shopping, restaurants, and schools.

Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity!
 

There are several steps you need to take if you want to write a good real estate listing description without the help of a realtor.

First, you should start by doing some market research to get a feel for how much your home is worth. The square footage and stainless steel appliances are not the only selling points.

As a result, you’ll be able to price your home more accurately. The next step is to compile a complete list of your home’s specifications, such as its square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and list of features and facilities.

In addition, you should take professional-grade photos of what buyers want to see, not what you think is important to you to include in the ad.

After gathering data, you can move forward with creating the listing. Include as much detail as possible, highlighting the most salient aspects of your home. Include the property’s location and nearby points of interest and conveniences.

Let interested buyers get in touch with you to ask questions or set up a showing and learn more about the story of the home.

It’s important to remember that listing a home on your own can be time-consuming and challenging and that it’s not a good fit for everyone.

Most listing websites provide generalized examples of words that help, but as you guessed, this wouldn’t make your ad the only compelling listing.

If aren’t that confident in your ability to manage every aspect of the marketing on your own, it may be wise to enlist the aid of a real estate agent unless you want to DIY the sale of your home and are ready to invest some time in learning how to do that.

And now, let’s start with the real thing.

P.S. Get in touch with us at george@tallbox.co.uk, if you believe your listing could use some tweaks and don’t have time to bother yourself.

We’ll have one of our specialists help you revise and write a captivating description, it’s free!

7 Tips on How to Describe an Old House for Sale

How To Describe An Old House For Sale (3)
Create a memorable headline for your property / Image made with midjourney

Create a Memorable Headline

The headline is one of the most important parts of an old house description.

Don’t write it in ALL CAPS.

David Ogilvy, the ‘Father of Advertising’ often remarked that in every ad, the headline takes up 80% of its impression.

This means that an old house description with a bad headline will turn off all your potential buyers even before they read on for further details.

Let’s say your old house for sale is in a near-perfect condition, but the title of your description reads like ‘Executive four-bedroom home with well-maintained gardens and luxury fittings.’

Such a generally stated headline will not make any buyer excited enough to reach out to you. 

A headline like, ‘Imagine coming home to this landscaped 6 bedroom in Windermere’ is enough to excite a potential buyer and get your property noticed for all the right reasons. 

In a nutshell, the headline of your old house can only be memorable if you sprinkle it with words to describe home that add value.

You can use unbiased but admirable words like “landscaped,” “luxurious,” and “impeccable,” which have been found to boost sales prices.

For instance, if the master bedroom of your old house has a Jacuzzi tub, using the world ‘luxurious‘ in the headline will be positively reflected in your subsequent descriptions.

If you are into luxurious houses, recently we’ve posted in-depth blog post How To Describe A Luxurious House

It’s worth checking-in to gain even more knowledge on writing real estate listings.

Describe the Old House Systematically

To help readers visualize the position of every room, ensure you describe your old house for sale systematically.

This means that depending on where you start your description, don’t skip to another room in the far end of your old house; for example, starting with the garage and skipping to the kitchen and then to the attic.

Help your potential buyers picture the house in mind by describing rooms that are closest to each other before moving on to the rest. 

Take time to tour the house and jot down description ideas for each conspicuous part. 

  • Does your house have a bead-board ceiling? Columns? Porch? 
  • What sounds do an old porch make? 
  • Are the walls, ceilings and floorboards painted? What colour?
  • Are there any chipped paint on the walls? How many layers of paint?
  • Are the doors and windows wooden-framed? Any creaky hinges? Broken handles?
  • Does your old house have a screen door? Painted? Wood? Gingerbread on it? 

As you write the description of each room, you don’t need to mention any dimensions. This is not only because they can be easily taken out of context, but also because they interrupt the flow of the story when readers find the numbers too difficult to understand.

On almost all listing portals, real estate listing description has a dedicated place for dimensions.

However, dimensions are a must when describing floorplans.

Generally, aim to write an intriguing and emotionally convincing opening paragraph, followed by a ‘tour’ of the house.

Supercharge Your Adjectives When Describing Your House

Sprinkle your old house description with adjectives / Image made with midjourney

Is your old house description sprinkled with adjectives that induce homely warmth and relaxation?

Staring at the blank page, wondering how to describe a house and what adjectives to use, we’ve all being there.

When you try to find another word for property, but it does not come to your mind, what is the best way to approach this problem?

We got you sorted, in the table below you 15 example adjectives how to describe a house:

Adjective
Example Sentence
Charming
The front porch and other rustic details in this property add to its charming character
Cozy
A cozy fireplace in the living room is just what you need to unwind at the end of a busy day.
Radiant
The kitchen is radiant thanks to the granite counters and stainless steel appliances.
Spacious
This spacious house has several separate living rooms, making it perfect for a large family.
Welcoming
As soon as you enter this beautiful property, you’ll feel the warm and welcoming vibe.
Serene
We had a great time hosting our friends and family in the serene garden, which featured a patio and tall trees.
Elegant
The hardwood floors, towering ceilings, and formal dining room in this property scream “elegant.”
Graceful
The graceful curves and arches of this house’s design are breathtaking.
Inviting
The front door is inviting, and the interior is painted in soothing tones, all of which contribute to a relaxing atmosphere.
Majestic
The master bedroom is quite majestic, complete with a sitting area, luxurious bathtub, and roomy walk-in closet.
Stunning
Stunning city views may be seen from the rooftop terrace.
Awe-inspiring
The awe-inspiring natural light floods the living area through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Enchanted
Visit the inside of this old house and you will be enchanted by its special charisma and personality.
Luxurious
All of the fixtures and fittings in this luxurious residence are of the highest quality, and no detail has been overlooked.
Dreamy
The dreamy kitchen has an island in the middle and a separate dining area for breakfast.

How to select adjectives describing old house

  • Historic – Highlights the home’s original era and architecture
  • Charming – Evokes cozy appeal of an older home
  • Traditional – Fits classic or period style like a farmhouse
  • Well-preserved – Indicates it’s in good shape for its age
  • Pedigreed – Suggests distinguished history if known
  • Renovated – Shows desirable updates were done
  • Vintage – Used for older homes with retro design
  • Timeworn – Romanticizes the natural signs of aging
  • Established – References being part of community for years
  • Stately – Implies grandeur for larger old homes
  • Picturesque – For storybook cottages or scenic settings
  • Handcrafted – Used if original owner built home

The goal is to positively frame the home’s age and imply nostalgic charm. Focusing on condition and updates is also important for older listings.

Words like welcoming and cozy may appeal to buyers initially, but you need to go the extra mile to pull their emotional buying strings.

Be descriptive, and avoid going overboard with your compliments. Get creative with relevant adjectives to paint a picture of your old house but do not distract potential buyers from reality by using too many extra adjectives.

To influence the reader uniquely, first, describe the imagery of your old house, including sounds, sights, and a general aura of the home.

When describing the sounds, use relevant adjectives, such as ‘whistling’ in the windows, ‘creaking’ for stairs or floorings, or ‘mysterious’ noises in the attic.

And then, you can describe the smell in the old house using adjectives like damp, dank, musky, or stale, which generally describe an aged environment.

Secondly, describe the general appearance of the house by focusing on the elements that can be used to estimate its age. For example, there may be ‘chipped’ walls, ‘crooked’ shutters, or ‘cracked’ floor panels.

You can also add details of the house temperature using adjectives such as chilly, warm, vacant, etc. In addition, to detail the age of your old house, use imagery such as dark hallways or dusty furniture. 

How to describe old house that smells old?

The goal is creatively accounting for an old home’s expected aroma without using negative terminology or concealment. Buyers will notice unique smells themselves, so the listing should position the contributing age and features in the best possible light.

Here are some tips for describing an old house that smells old in a real estate listing:

  1. Use euphemisms. Rather than directly stating the house “smells old,” use more positive or ambiguous phrasing like “retains the ambiance of a bygone era” or “wafting scents of vintage charm.” This spins it.
  2. Spotlight air circulation. If issues like moisture are the culprit, proactively highlight any features that could improve air flow like “numerous windows welcome in fresh breezes.” This hints at remedies.
  3. Shift focus to fixes. Emphasize any recent updates to things like ventilation, roof repairs, new insulation etc. that prevent musty smells, without calling direct attention to previous issues.
  4. Note unused spaces. If certain closed-up rooms accumulate more scent, mention how keeping them shut “preserves original details as time capsules.” This explains it while adding character.
  5. Address the source. Consider if deeper issues like mold growth need mediation separate from listing marketing. Tackling root problems can prevent covering up something serious.
  6. Use positive age terms. Opt for phrases like “historic home” or “aged to perfection,” or reference eras like Victorian or craftsman to put the age in better context around inherent smell.

How to describe old house that smells old?

The key is strategic, cost-effective improvements that maximize marketability, not overhauling or concealing to a personalized style. Consult a local real estate agent on the best approach for your specific property.

Here are some key tips for what not to fix when selling a house:

  1. Avoid major renovations or upgrades right before listing. This allows buyers to see the true condition and factor in repair costs. Cosmetic facelifts also just mask problems rather than presenting the home transparently.
  2. Don’t over-improve for the area. Upgrades should match comparable homes in the neighborhood. Over-improving can lead to spending more than you can recoup.
  3. Focus on minor touch-ups like paint, decluttering, etc. for staging rather than extensive repairs. This reveals fundamentals while still appealing to surface impressions.
  4. Don’t make updates based solely on your own tastes. Appeal to target buyer preferences instead with neutral, non-personal décor.
  5. Don’t hide flaws with decor or furnishings. Disclose issues transparently so buyers can properly assess condition and value.
  6. Avoid sinking money into landscaping or other exterior features that buyers may remove. Curb appeal matters but don’t over-personalize.
  7. Be cautious about replacing old appliances or floors completely. Minor refinishing can often achieve an updated look for less.
 
How To Describe An Old House For Sale (2)
Highlight the unique features of home / Image made with midjourney

Highlight Unique Features

If you’re trying to sell a home and can’t quite put into words why it’s special, use adjectives describing the house. Below is a table including 15 illustrative adjectives that can be used to describe a property and highlight its unique qualities.

Adjective
Example Sentence
Distinctive
Those looking for a home with a one-of-a-kind design will appreciate the distinctive architecture and one-of
Exceptional
This home’s exceptional design provides you with adaptable living quarters.
One-of-a-kind
This one-of-a-kind property features a peaceful lake and a cozy cabin.
Unusual
A tree-top terrace and a floating bridge walkway are just two of the unusual features of this residence.
Rare
From this really rare property, you can take in breathtaking vistas of the surrounding countryside.
Remarkable
All of the work has been done, and now you can move into this remarkable home.
Memorable
It has a fire pit and a barbecue, making it ideal for parties and other gatherings in the memorable outdoors.
Unforgettable
You won’t be able to take your eyes off the breathtaking garden, unforgettable with a saltwater pool and waterfall.
Standout
This one-of-a-kind home has a spacious open layout and is likely to be a conversation standout.
Striking
The living room is dominated by a striking stone fireplace that stretches from floor to ceiling.
Eye-catching
The stained glass window in the foyer is an especially eye-catching touch.
Breathtaking
As one customer put it, “the highlight of this mountain home is the wrap-around deck and the breathtaking vistas from it.
Impressive
The six-burner range and handcrafted cabinetry in the kitchen are impressive to please any home cook.
Extraordinary
The solarium and indoor pool in this extraordinary mansion make it genuinely unique.

The character can help sell a home. This is why mentioning a few remarkable home features in your old house description is essential, especially if it is for a real estate listing. Highlighting some unique features can easily convert one of the potential buyers into the right buyer. In addition, if your description includes a home feature that many potential buyers appreciate, they can be excited enough to schedule a showing. 

You must be detailed about some key features of the home that suggest its age. For example, is there an original stained glass window in the entryway? Panes of glass in older homes were relatively small because they were expensive.

For example, windows were taxed during the 18th and 19th centuries in England, France, and Ireland. Is there a fireplace in the primary bedroom? Homes originally had fireplaces for heat and light before coal and gas were used for lighting. 

Dirt floors and rock foundations characterized many old houses and basements since they were built by carving out the ground.

In some countries, older homes did not have closets, but cupboards, because a closet could be taxed as another room. As you highlight the unique features of your home, conduct some research on similar old homes to help potential buyers differentiate your listing from thousands of others.

How to describe the listing of a historical house for sale?

The goal is balancing intrigue regarding a property’s past with relevance to contemporary buyers. With the right framing, the home’s journey can be used as a selling point rather than a restriction.

Here are some tips for listing a historical house for sale:

  1. Highlight the history. Provide details on when the house was built, the architectural style, any notable previous owners, and if it has historical designations. This helps showcase its unique pedigree.
  2. Focus on preservation. Emphasize features that have been maintained, restored or authentically renovated over the years. This reassures buyers that the home’s original character has been retained.
  3. Get the facts straight. Verify the accuracy of any historical details through municipal records, databases or expert consultation. Incorrect information can undermine credibility.
  4. Use engaging descriptors. Sprinkling in vivid adjectives like stately, distinguished, storied and historic helps romanticize the home’s past. But don’t exaggerate.
  5. Showcase modern amenities. Buyers want modern convenience too, so also highlight updates like wiring, plumbing and amenities that make historical life enjoyable today.
  6. Be transparent about restrictions. If there are limits on changes buyers can make due to historical regulations, disclose and explain these upfront so there are no surprises.
  7. Add a history section. Dedicate a portion of the listing specifically to the house’s background and timeline. This organizing and emphasis gets buyers excited.

Avoid Red Flag Words

Your choice of words in the old house description is the key to making potential buyers fall in love with it online. Find euphemisms that can throw some flattering light onto your old home, obscure any imperfections, and boost the final selling price, but avoid red flag words.

In a study that targeted 24,000 homes carried out by Zillow, it was found that certain words have the potential to hurt your home listing.

These red flag words to describe home include:

  • TLC – This term can jerk your heartstrings, but it is another sneaky code word for a house that needs major renovations. Avoid using it at all times, along with the following synonyms “fixer-upper,” “great potential,” “handyman’s delight,” “DIY,” or “great bones.” Such words might sound like tearing down the entire house and rebuilding it.
  • CharmingThis term generally describes a small or outdated home. A real estate listing described as lovely is worth checking out for homebuyers who are seeking a move-in-ready place, even if it has obsolete features. Related words to avoid are ‘adorable,’ ‘quaint,’ and ‘tons of character.’
  • Cozy – While this word inspires many positive vibes, it is usually a code word for small in real estate listings. You can find unbiased ways of hinting to potential buyers that a room is tiny before they schedule a physical viewing. For example, if your old house is tiny, describe it as ‘intimate’ or ‘efficient.’

Avoid these terms unless your home needs major renovations and is priced accordingly. 

Have a listing? We can help you write it for free (no catch).

Use Quaint Descriptions Carefully

Realtors often use words like “quaint” or “charming” when listing an older home to portray a cozy, unique feel.

Terms like cottage, picturesque, idyllic, and charming can conjure up pleasant images of a storybook house rich with character.

However, be cautious about overusing these descriptions with old homes, as they may inadvertently hint at small size, very old features, or excessive quirks.

Some buyers may find too much “quaintness” a drawback, equating it with dated infrastructure, less living space, or features like slanted floors that are endearing to some but inconvenient to others.

Rather than generically describing an old home as “quaint,” identify specific elements that lend charm and highlight them.

For example, note built-ins that add character, stained-glass windows that drench rooms with color, or a clawfoot tub that provides vintage appeal without modernizing updates. This showcases the home’s unique style versus glossing over flaws with vague quaintness.

With thoughtful word choices, you can pique buyer interest in the unique qualities an older home offers while still portraying it as both livable and lovable.

Double Check Your Punctuations

In an analysis of listings priced at more than $1 million, it was found that ‘perfect’ listings that are well written with grammatically correct spellings and sentences not only sell three days faster but are also 10% more likely to sell for more than their list price. Therefore, an old house description written using complete sentences and proper punctuation is easy to follow for most readers.

Furthermore, whether your old house for sale is close to perfect, you don’t have to end every sentence with an exclamation to emphasize your descriptions! This does not mean you don’t use any punctuation. Break the description into small paragraphs of 2-3 sentences because long, run-on sentences are hard to follow and information gets lost.

Add a Call to Action

Add a call to action in your description / Image made with midjourney

Even with a captivating description of an old house, it is important to make it easy for potential buyers to feel invited to view the property.

Towards the end of your description, don’t forget to provide the reader with various ways of contacting you if they like the property. Feel free to add some urgency to it by setting an offer deadline and making it clear that you won’t accept any offers before then.

Adding a call to action, such as a phone number, email address, or office location can make the buyer take action immediately if possible instead of letting them skip to other listings because you did not provide a way to contact you. 

Creative real estate listing description (examples)

Here are some guidelines for homeowners who want to adapt an existing listing description example:

Take a close look: Do yourself a favor and read the sample listing description word by word, taking note of the tone and vocabulary used. You can use this as a guide for creating your listing.

Create a list of your property’s most notable qualities: Consider the unique attributes of your home that you’d like to highlight in the ad. The size, number of bedrooms and baths, square footage, design, and extras may play importance here.

Modify the sample to fit your own home: Adjust the sample listing description to reflect the unique selling points of your home. Add specifics to the report, such as the size of the backyard or the condition of the kitchen, if these features are beautiful to potential tenants.

Use vivid language to paint a picture of life in the house for potential buyers. Remember to describe the home’s unique features and facilities, as well as its layout and flow.

Make sure your listing is error-free and easy to read by giving it the last proofreading and editing before you release it to the public. It will help you show your home in the best possible light.

The best way to use a provided listing description example is to adapt it to your specific property and use descriptive language to encourage potential buyers to picture themselves living there.

 

Have a listing? We can help you write it for free (no catch).

Description of an old house (example text) - standard version

This beautiful old home is a must-see!

This three-bedroom, two-bathroom farmhouse in the middle of Anytown is the definition of quaint.

Original hardwood floors, a wood-burning fireplace, and large windows characterize the living room.

The kitchen is fully equipped with state-of-the-art gadgets and has an abundance of storage space.

Both a private bathroom and a walk-in closet can be found in the master suite.

The spacious backyard features a patio and several established trees, making it ideal for outdoor gatherings.

The home’s location is also ideal, as it’s close to a variety of amenities, including stores, eateries, and educational.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance, so seize it!

Description of an old house (example text) - creative version

This beautiful old home is a sight to behold; In the heart of Anytown, it’s a story to be told.

The living room has hardwood floors that shine, A wood-burning fireplace, and plenty of divine light.

The kitchen has been updated with modern appliances galore, And plenty of cabinet space for storage galore.

The master bedroom has an en-suite bathroom and walk-in closet, too, making this home perfect for you.

Outside, you’ll find a large backyard with mature trees, A patio perfect for entertaining with ease.

This home is conveniently located near shopping, restaurants, and schools.

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity – it’s no fool! 

Key Takeaways

Now you should be ready to make your old house stand out.

Incorporating the tidbits of wisdom in this article into your real estate listing should prove to be a straightforward process.

Get in touch with us at george@tallbox.co.uk, if you believe your listing could use some tweaks and don’t have time to bother yourself.

We’ll have one of our specialists help you revise and write a captivating description, it’s free!

  • Don’t write the headline in ALL CAPS.
  • Describe the old house systematically to help readers visualize the position of the rooms.
  • Get creative with relevant adjectives and avoid going overboard with compliments.
  • Be detailed about some key features of the home that suggest its age.
  • Avoid words to describe house that are red flag words: cozy, charming, and TLC.
  • Use complete sentences and proper punctuation.
  • Add a call to action, such as a phone number, email address, and office location.