Don’t Fall For These 11 Creative Terms for Real Estate Listings


Have you ever had clients who were excited to check out an eclectic, vintage, open concept in a desirable neighborhood, only to be very disappointed by the listing description?

There are some real estate terms that you just can’t understand unless you’ve taken buying clients to see a “turnkey” property tucked away 10 feet from the freeway or gone to see a house so scary that you felt like the star of a horror movie. (“The call comes from inside the house!”)

Of course, as a listing agent, you’ll want to sweeten these characteristics with the special euphemisms real estate agents use to smooth out the rough edges of their listings.

Here are some terms you should know inside and out if you have anything to do with real estate.

Convenient for (insert name of public transport system here): You will be able to make eye contact with metro users as they pass by your windows.

Comfortable: Small. No room for a couch, but a loveseat is just as good. Also, no closets.

Desired area: It’s an awful house, but it’s in a great neighborhood, so you’ll have to pay top dollar for the house even if you hate it. And there’s so much traffic you won’t be able to get out of your driveway for a good 20 minutes every morning.

Eclectic: Nothing here matches. There are brass fixtures, oil rubbed bronze towel racks, chrome faucets, and brushed nickel doorknobs. Every switch is different.

Each room is painted a different color. There are moldings around some windows and not others. Some interior doors are missing. Nobody knows where they are.

Unique in it’s genre: This house was built by someone with a lot of money and a strong devotion to his own vision. Therefore, it resembles a medieval castle on the outside, while the interior is a combination of Japanese minimalist design infused with Provencal rusticity. In addition, the ceiling is covered with carpet.

Open concept: You can sit on the toilet and carry on a conversation with your spouse who is cooking dinner. Practice!

Rustic: Batches of woodwork. If it’s always busy, there are also several stuffed animal heads everywhere, including the bathroom. It is located in an overgrown wooded lot. There is a basement, and you can go there, but we wouldn’t recommend it.

Shabby-chic: Heavy on the shabby, this ramshackle space is accented with strands of twinkling lights and a hobbyist paint job to lend a sort of eccentric bravery to its ramshackle state.

Update: The front door has just been painted. Red!

Improved Devices: New knobs on kitchen cabinets.

Old: Old, but not from a cool, definable period like mid-century modern or Victorian. Just old. Also, a lot of things don’t work.

Of course, it’s possible that the cozy bungalow of your dreams with a cool vintage vibe in a sought-after neighborhood is waiting for your customers to snap it up in pristine condition at a below-market price. But until you find it, let this little glossary help make house hunting a little less surprising for your clients.

Do you have a favorite real estate understatement? Share it in the comments, along with its “true” definition.

Christy Murdock Edgar is a realtor, freelance writer, coach, and consultant with Writing Real Estate in Alexandria, Virginia. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook or Twitter.

Email Christy Murdock Edgar

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