I just read the book "Freakonomics," which has a million interesting factoids. Since we recently went through the home-buying experience, I especially liked the portion on real estate.
Anyway, the book details ten different terms that are frequently used in home listings. Five of the terms correlate to higher selling prices and five correlate to lower selling prices:
Five Terms Correlated to a Higher Sales Price
Five Terms Correlated to a Lower Sales Price
All of these terms sound positive, but the ones in the second list provide subtle clues that a house may not be all that great. The terms at the top, meanwhile, are useful and have specific meaning — such as revealing that there are granite countertops in the kitchen.
The second set of terms are vague and used when a home doesn't have many specific attributes that are desirable. "Great neighborhood," for instance, implies that while the neighborhood may be good, this house is probably dragging down property values.
I wish I could find the original listing for our home, because I definitely feel like some of the lower five terms were used (especially the proverbial slammer "!"). I do know, though, that "great neighborhood" was not.