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Attention all homeowners and real estate agents: it is not only the quality of the photos that matter in a property listing. It turns out grammar and spelling are just as important when selling a house.

A recent study from property firm Redfin has revealed just how damaging bad grammar can be to the real estate sector. In an online survey of 1291 people, 43.4 percent of respondents said they would be less inclined to attend an open inspection if the listing featured its fair share of spelling mistakes and poor grammar.

Unsurprisingly, the survey also found that photos were more important than text in real estate advertisements. However, 87 percent of respondents said the property description was either extremely important or very important.

Redfin teamed up with grammar coaching software company Grammarly to produce the survey. The study coincided with National Grammar Day, held in the United States on March 4.

The survey found that word-perfect listings – those featuring full sentences without spelling or grammar errors – sell on average three days faster. And they even have a higher chance of selling for more: these properties are 10 percent more likely to fetch more than the asking price.

Grammar rules for real estate ads

Got your home on the market but struggling to get it sold? Here’s some advice for writing the perfect property listing:

  • Check for literals as well as spelling errors. A spell check will only pick up a typo, not wrong words that are correctly spelled. Think “walking closet” or “stainless steel appliances”.
  • Avoid capital letters and exclamation marks. A good description of some beautiful photos should be enough to get buyers’ attention.
  • Break it down into bullet points that are easy to read. Summarise the highlights of the property briefly then list its main features in dot points.
  • Use descriptive sentences and plenty of adjectives to really sell the property to prospective buyers. But be careful not to go overboard.
  • Finally, keep it short. Property-hunters will likely be short on time. The ideal length for a property description, according to the Redfin study, is about 50 words.

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