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The One Word That Makes a Hub Home Sell Super-Fast

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Here is the latest installment of By the Numbers, a weekly feature by broker David Bates that drills down into the Hub's housing market to uncover those trends you would not otherwise see. This week, David looks at what in listings makes a home sell that much faster—actually, a lot faster. (Last week, he looked at what you don't get for $1M in the Hub.)

I scoured the listing descriptions of July solds that found buyers in less than seven days of market time, looking for a common attribute or feature which might be a tip-off that a particular condo was destined to sell super-fast. Experience told me that it’s usually price, location or condition that leads to the extreme marketability, so I noted which of these benefits agents were promoting in the properties' listing remarks. Then, I rated the benefits' effectiveness in garnering super-fast sales.

There’s no question that a great price will cause a home to sell fast. At the same time, the average time to sell a listing that hyped “priced to sell” was 59 days, only slightly better than the 66-day average market time of July solds. More importantly, only one of the 24 listings which flaunted price in its listing remarks sold super-fast. So, I ruled out price.

Was it location that led to super-fast sales? Three Boston neighborhoods accounted for approximately half the super-fast sales, but apparently neighborhood is where the location-to-super-fast-sale connection ended. Listings with locations ballyhooed as A+, amazing, fantastic, great, ideal, top, prime, perfect, premium, convenient, commuter, coveted, trophy, unbeatable, [insert your own superlative here] found buyers super-fast only about 8 percent of the time. Compare that to the 11 percent of July solds that had found buyers super-fast and it was obvious that location wasn’t a reliable indicator of whether a listing would sell fast.

As it was neither price nor location, it had to be condition. Regarding condition, I quickly ruled out “renovated”, which appeared on about one-quarter of all the July solds and scored no better than average for super-fast sales (11 percent). However, another word which was a clear indicator of condition and not so commonly used was “stunning”. Simply put: “Stunning” had stunning results. More than 22 percent of listings described as “stunning” sold within seven days.

That’s about twice the rate of the July solds. In fact, “stunning” was pushed in the listing remarks for 36 July solds and the average market time for those listings was only 39 days (remember, the average for all was 66). These impressive results clearly mean that “stunning” is such a powerful indicator that a listing will sell fast in this market that some might consider it a synonym for the word “Brookline”.

· What You Don't Get For $1M in the Hub [Curbed Boston]
· Our By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]