Real Estate By the Numbers

The Most Overused Real Estate Jargon in Massachusetts

While this blog is called Boston Real Estate By The Numbers today we're looking a bit at words and how they're used in listings in Massachusetts. We've taken every active and pending listing in the state as well as all sales in the past 6 months and compiled some statistics about the most often used phrases in the region's listings. We'll poke fun at some and add insight to others. Do you think we've missed any? Let us know in the comments section.

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Our scientific study includes a total of 74,289 listings in the entire state and for comparative purposes we will also reference just Boston & Cambridge which combined encompass 5,850 of said listings.


You're Beautiful...
Turns out James Blunt had it right all along as topping our list is the word beautiful, which over our 74,289 listing sample size shows up in an amazing 19,087 listings. This means of every listing which is put on MLS slightly over 1/4 use the word beautiful in their description somewhere. To put the popularity of this word with Realtor-Types in perspective let's look at a few other similar words and their respective uses.

Gorgeous - 5,150 Listings (6.9%)
Stunning - 3,343 Listings (4.5%)
Fabulous - 3,333 Listings (4.5%)
Magnificent - 1,116 Listings (1.5%)

The Granite State?
The next most popular trend we spotted in our far reaching linguistic endeavor was just how often we saw the word granite and its partner-in-crime, stainless. Granite alone shows up in 24.9% of our sample and stainless shines (see what we did there?) in 12.4% of our data. They appear together in 8.8% of all listings. What exactly does this mean? Well if nothing else it underscores how both granite and stainless appliances have become the siren's song for owners and developers looking to squeeze a few extra dollars out of their investment by literally waving shiny objects in front of prospective buyers. If we parse things out a bit more and look at only those listings located in Boston or Cambridge an astounding 36.5% of listings reference granite and 19.7% reference both granite and stainless.

Location, location, location
You learn this on day 1 of real estate school, the most important factor in real estate is location. The word location is the 3rd most popular word in our experiment, coming up in 13,192 listings, or 17.8% of the time. Other location based words (see below) show up often as well, as agents try to prove the age old saying right.

Neighborhood - 9,069 Listings (12.2%)
School - 6,310 Listings (8.5%)
Commute - 5,908 Listings (8.0%)
Desirable - 4,546 Listings (6.1%)

It's got new stuff!
Unsurprisingly generic terms for newness and quality rank well in our list as well, both updated and renovated appear quite often with other buzzwords like modern and designer making their fair share of appearances as well.

Updated - 12,026 Listings (16.2%)
Renovated - 6,110 Listings (8.2%)
Modern - 2,706 Listings (3.6%)
Designer - 922 Listings (1.2%)

You should put new stuff in it!
On the flip side of our last category, plenty of listings that you won't likely see on Million Dollar Listing next fall like to point out the benefits of making renovations yourself. Of these terms the word potential ranks highest in our search with 3,597 mentions, or 4.8%. Some others include:

TLC - 1,105 Listings (1.5%)
Downsize/Downsizing - 607 Listings (0.8%)
Sweat Equity - 140 Listings (0.2%)
Diamond in the Rough - 136 Listings (0.2%)

Going, going, gone!
You better bid on this dilapidated home today, it's priced to sell! Well, it turns out that not every listing that won't last or has a motivated seller ends up in a bidding war between zealous value seekers. These terms to instill urgency in buyers don't rank as high on our list as you may have thought, but they're still plenty prevalent.

Must See - 3,428 Listings (4.6%)
Priced To Sell - 972 Listings (1.3%)
Motivated Seller - 760 Listings (1.0%)
Won't Last - 677 Listings (0.9%)

Get cozy
The last group of words we'll look at are all typically used to describe small properties. This group is likely the most notorious of all overused real estate sayings and include, cute and cozy. Thankfully they aren't used that much nowadays with cute only showing up in about 1% of listings and cozy still appearing in 2.8% of listings. Some new contenders for the throne of most overused synonyms for tiny include:

Charming - 4,059 Listings (5.5%)
Adorable - 807 Listings (1.1%)
Starter Home - 685 Listings (0.9%)
Quaint - 446 Listings (0.6%)

If you think we missed any overused phrases let us know in the comments below or send a tweet to @propinthehub.

Justin Rollo, an agent for RE/MAX Realty Plus in South Boston is a new contributor to You can view listings and contact him for anything real estate related at

*Data for this post was gathered from MLSPIN, accuracy is not guaranteed.