Deceptive real estate advertising? It does happen. But to understand real estate you need to know its language. If you go to France, you bring a dictionary to help you get around. Real estate has its own quirky definitions, and ignorance of the common terms and their meaning can get you into trouble. Real estate marketing materials often contain hidden messages, and property advertisements are on the front lines of the information wars.
Unwary buyers are particularly at risk, and novices can easily be sucked in by the terminology. Here is a light-hearted look at some terms you might find in real estate ads in the paper, magazines, and online. An understanding of their hidden meanings may help you avoid problems when you shop for real estate!
Real Estate Glossary Amenities: Extra features like ceiling fans and lawn gnomes.
Bachelor pad: Mirrored ceilings, no stove. Bow-Wow: It’s a dog, probably a mean one. Charming: Promotional calendars cover holes in walls. Last painted in 1953. Close to beach: Whale art everywhere, bus stops right in front.
Contemporary feel: Has no woodwork. Painted in colors not found in nature. Convenient: Located on freeway entrance ramp. Country feel in the city: Neighbors have chickens. Late sleepers need not apply. Cozy: No room larger than 9 by 6. Curb appeal: Only the front of the house is painted. Doll’s house: Ceilings under 6 feet; Scandinavian owner is getting a divorce. Dozer: Only a bulldozer can fix this mess. Drive-by: Interior is falling off Eat-in kitchen: Previous owner sealed the door from the kitchen to the dining room. Environmentally Friendly: Owner has been collecting cans and bottles for recycling since 1986. Euro kitchen: No cabinets, smells of garlic. Fixer-upper: Quick, before it falls down. Flowing floor plan: The foundation is washing down the hillside. Grandma’s house: No electrical improvements since 1926.
Green: Slime drips from bathroom ceiling, swimming pool now a frog pond. Guest Suite: The crawl space under the house is rented to 4 students from Uzbekistan. Handyman special: Earth moving equipment is required to get to front door. Hawaiian living: Land has been claimed for traditional hunting and gathering rights.
Light, open spaces: Many holes in walls. Lots of built-ins: Previous owner nailed furniture to the walls. Lower level family room: Ping-pong table covers sewer opening. Mint condition: Green mouthwash stains decorate the white carpet. Motivated seller: On the market since 1996; owner passed away. Move in easy: Front door missing. Move right in: Has been vacant for 5 years, except for vagrants, vandals and bats. Must See: Unbelievable by any standard.
Natural decor: Beach mats were stapled on the walls to cover murals of nudes and Elvis. Needs TLC: Major structural damage. Newer roof: Still has shingles No maintenance exterior: Tar paper over chicken wire. Not a drive-by: Exterior is falling off. Old world charm: Has baseboards. Original owner: Packed floor to ceiling with old National Geographics. Outstanding: Sticks out like a sore thumb. Peek-a-boo ocean view: Lean waaaaay over the lanai railing while a friend you trust hangs onto your feet - there it is! Picturesque setting: Mango tree surrounded by waist-high weeds.
Really plush: Orange shag carpeting everywhere including the kitchen. Renovated: All cats have been found and removed; toilets now flush Secluded back yard: High fence conceals auto salvage business next door. Security system: Neighbor has loud dog. See Updated security system below.
Sophisticated city living: Hostess bar next door offers “special pupus”. Stable area: Horses next door attract flies. Starter home: Living room used to store automobile parts. Tenant wants to stay: Evicting tenant is your problem. Traditional style with contemporary flair: Collapsing plantation home has a picture window. Tropical: Has ceiling fans and cockroaches. Tudor: Has back door and front door. Two-story foyer: Entry ceiling has fallen in. Updated bath: Tub no longer overflows. Updated kitchen: Sink no longer overflows. Updated security system: Neighbor has loud dog and open window. Walk to shopping and schools: No bus service.
Walk-in closet: Clothes hooks on the bedroom wall. Wide-open floor plan: Previous owner removed supporting walls. WOW!: Do not go in alone!
I hope that this HUMOROUS look at real estate terms helps you navigate through the advertising that you may encounter. And so that you don't tell me that I am presenting a one-sided negative view of the subject:
Gorgeous Dream Home - Everything You Want and Priced to Sell! **
Copyright 2010 Stephanie Gieseler, Honolulu, Hawaii. All Rights Resserved.
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HAHAHA! So SO true. I remember the horrors of searching for a place a few years back! My favorite: "Country feel in the city"!