There was an interesting article posted in the Chicago Tribune this morning (a reprint of an LA Times Article) concerning real estate property descriptions. The article's main reference was a study of 20,000 Canadian home listings from 1997 to 2000 by the Paul Anglin who teaches at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Here is a quick list of some common terms and whether they help, hurt or have an insignificant impact on sale price and time on market:

    Terms to Use (positive impact)

Curb Appeal ? or things noting general attractiveness
Beautiful ? sold 15% faster and for 5% more in price
Move-in Condition ? took 12% less time to sell, no impact on price
Landscaping ? sold more than 20% faster
Granite ? sold for higher sale price
Maple - sold for higher sale price
Gourmet - sold for higher sale price
Golf - sold for higher sale price
Lake - sold for higher sale price

    Terms to Avoid (negative impact)

Good-Value
Motivated Seller ? sold for 8% lower, stays on market 15% longer
As-is
Clean ? zero to negative correlation with prices
Quiet ? zero to negative correlation with prices
New Paint ? Lower sale price
New Carpet - Lower sale price
Foreclosure

    No Impact

Must See ? insignificant impact on ?days on market?

A quick explanation of some of this is probably a good idea at this point. To say than a place has ?new paint? or ?new carpet? signals to the buyer that the home must be lacking in more positive things to communicate. ?Motivated Sellers? may sell for less because the seller ends up pricing their home too high initially.

Aside from this article concerning text descriptions of listings, I would make this observation about pictures. This is not part of any study or article but is based on my knowledge of real estate and 18 years of sales and marketing. Only post pictures that will motivate buyers to see your home. Just because the MLS might allow you to post 9 pics does not mean that you should post 9. Only post as many photos as will motivate buyers to set up a showing or call for more information. For instance, do not post a picture of a outdated bathroom or a room that is cluttered with too much furniture and has not been straightened up.