Expanding the Lexicon: Replacing the word beautiful in real estate listings

This blog is about expanding your lexicon to include more evocative language in your real estate listings (without complicating the description). So you don't feel obliged to carpet-bomb your web copy with adjectives like beautiful, attractive, or stunning.


I have a theory that using the same adjectives in different listings causes shopping fatigue. When everything from the master bedroom to the hot water heater is 'beautiful', the reader feels a little like this:


By expanding your lexicon, I believe you can accomplish two things:

But upgrading your vocabulary is not as simple as cherry-picking synonyms from thesaurus.com or scrambling through the pages of the word-of-the-day calendar you got for Mother's Day. Language doesn't work like that. To capture your reader's imagination, you need to find the right word for the right situation.

Let's try a few words that might be more evocative than beautiful.


Used as a noun, the word aesthetic can add an extra layer of meaning to whatever you're describing. For example:
     ...the exterior of the house has a Northern aesthetic...


By referring to the listings' aesthetic, you help your readers form an association with the listing and an image they already have in their mind. If you told me that something had a Northern aesthetic, I'd imagine something like the picture above. I'd think of things like nature, seclusion, adventure. Getting your reader to imagine anything is infinitely more effective than just telling them something.


Here's a simple one. If you're looking for an adjective to substitute for beautiful, then striking is ideal. Let's try it out:
     ...this loft faces west towards downtown, and has a striking view of the city when the sun sets...

The word striking is more impressive than beautiful. Whereas beauty is in the eye of the beholder, when something is striking, everyone stops in their tracks to admire it. It's arresting. It's confident. It's bold. When I hear the word striking, I think of sharp angles, strong colors, vivid eyes.


Sensibility may be a little more difficult to work into your listings, but if used correctly, the word can add depth to your description. Picture this:
     ...the landscaping lends a country sensibility to this big-city property...

Here's what I picture from this description: how it feels to see the stars at night, to hear the wind blowing through the trees, to smell the air after a storm. The feelings we derive from our senses—smell, sound, vision, touch, taste—are powerful, transcendent, and often nostalgic. If you can conjure that kind of feeling with your listing description then you've done your job.

When it comes to expanding your lexicon, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You're not going to turn a reader off a listing with a word they're not used to seeing, but you might be able to use it to capture their imagination and conjure up some powerful feelings. And these feelings might be strong enough to lead them to work with your brokerage.

Aesthetic, striking, and sensibility are just three of the many words that you can use instead of beautiful. Whatever words you choose to use, don't be afraid of try them out! Just make sure they feel natural in a sentence (if something sounds awkward out loud, then it will read awkward as well).

PS. I've hidden several quality synonyms for beautiful in the blog. Take another look-through and add your findings to the comments below!

  1. Make your listing descriptions different from your competitors.
  2. Evoke feelings in your readers that will stay with them throughout the home-buying process.