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Trulia’s Real Estate Lab Launches To Deliver The Inside Scoop On The Psychology And Strategy Behind Real Estate Listings

Trulia (NYSE: TRLA) today launched its Real Estate Lab to deliver the inside scoop on the psychology and strategy of how consumers and professionals approach real estate. By statistically analyzing the words and phrases used to sell homes, Trulia can now unlock new insights into national and local housing markets across America. The first Real Estate Lab report examines the millions of for-sale homes on Trulia through November 2012, and reveals the phrases associated with the most and least expensive homes for sale, as well as some highly regionalized real estate terms. For the full report, see  here.

Going Price of “Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity” Homes: $3 Million

Luxury home sellers often market their homes as a “magnificent estate” or “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to draw in prospective buyers. Homes described with these phrases are typically listed for more than $3 million. Other phrases associated with multimillion dollar listings include luxury home features and brands such as a “paneled library” or “Lutron lighting.” The phrase associated with the most expensive listings is “parlor floor,” which is the main and grandest floor of Manhattan townhouses and other big city mansions. On average, homes calling out this feature are priced at nearly $5 million.

Phrases in the Most Expensive Listings
#   Phrase   Average price of listings containing phrase
1 parlor floor $4,935,632
2 formal gardens $4,006,401
3 paneled library $3,740,836
4 magnificent estate $3,646,040
5 Lutron lighting $3,524,588
6 public rooms $3,451,456
7 once-in-a-lifetime opportunity $3,402,801
8 highest level $3,388,751
9 motor court $3,359,954
10 two powder rooms $3,346,560

Phrases appearing in listings with the highest average asking price. Among phrases appearing in at least 100 listings.


Hidden Costs of “Cute Little Bungalows”

Homes described as “cute little bungalows” indicate that they are very inexpensive. On average, these listings are priced at $62,000. However, cheaper homes for sale might have additional costs in the form of stripping toxic paint, removing mold, or extensive plumbing repairs. The phrases associated with the least expensive listings are often required disclosures such as “mold-like substance” or “lead based paint notices.” Additionally, the agents and brokers listing these very-affordable homes will usually mention a “minimum commission” because the standard percentage commission is too low on these homes, which are typically priced at less than $28,000.

Phrases in the Least Expensive Listings
#   Phrase   Average price of listings containing phrase
1 minimum commission applies $27,569
2 lead based paint notices $39,939
3 mold-like substance $45,094
4 defective paint $45,974
5 city inspection $55,661
6 repair plumbing system $59,064
7 cute little bungalow $61,870
8 septic repairs $62,004
9 hud owned offered as-is $64,547
10 starter home investment property $65,041
Phrases appearing in listings with the lowest average asking price. Among phrases appearing in at least 100 listings.

Regional Real Estate Must-Haves

Home sellers often use regional terms or highlight local must-have features to describe their home and neighborhood, and it’s a strong signal of what buyers want. For example, Whole Foods are found nationwide, but this grocery store brand is 10 times more likely to appear in listings in the San Francisco metro area than nationally. In addition, some features are exclusive to a region, such as walls made from local stone in Fairfield, CT.

Hyperlocal Listing Phrases



Honolulu, HI

Mirrored closet doors

Ventura County, CA, and Orange County, CA

Pole barn

Grand Rapids, MI

Roman tub

West Palm Beach, FL

Solar screen

Fort Worth, TX

Stone wall

Fairfield County, CT

Glass block windows

Buffalo, NY

Hearth room

Memphis, TN

Whole Foods

San Francisco, CA

Phrases that are 10 times more likely to appear in listings in the metro area in the left hand column than nationwide.


  • “With Trulia’s Real Estate Lab, we aim to reveal how consumers and professionals think and talk about real estate, and the strategies they use to buy and sell homes,” said Jed Kolko, Trulia’s Chief Economist. “Insights from listings and search behavior are the color commentary behind the price trends and other numbers that we regularly track.”
  • “In every market, you’ll find features that are special to that area – like glass block windows or solar screens – and regional words that locals use to describe home features, such as lanai and hearth room,” said Jed Kolko, Trulia’s Chief Economist. “Home sellers need to know the local lingo in order to appeal to buyers, and buyers need to know which hyperlocal features they should look for, especially if they’re searching in an unfamiliar city.”


Trulia (NYSE: TRLA) gives home buyers, sellers, owners, and renters the inside scoop  on properties, places, and real estate professionals. Trulia has unique info on the areas people want to live that can't be found anywhere else: users can learn about agents, neighborhoods, schools,  crime, commute times, and even ask the  local community questions. Real estate professionals use Trulia to connect with millions of transaction-ready buyers and sellers each month via our hyper local advertising services, social recommendations, and top-rated  mobile real estate apps. Trulia is headquartered in downtown San Francisco. Trulia is a registered trademark of Trulia, Inc.

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