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Easy access to everywhere could really mean that the home backs up to an expressway


This is Janine Gregor, Paulia Kennedy's Real Estate Virtual Assistant reporting today...

I am always looking at agent listings to see how properties are described.  Although I have conferred with Paulia Kennedy on only a handful of her listing descriptions, when the task has been offered to me, it is something I tackle with pleasure.  Paulia makes it easy for me though, (as I have mentioned in prior blog entries) because her listing photographs are really 'so good' and so very detailed that, I can describe a property quite well without even stepping foot on the lot.

When Paulia has asked me to write a listing description, I begin by scouting the competition's listings for good words and often have a chuckle knowing that some descriptions really require 'reading between the lines'.

It isn't always what agents describe them to be. 

Most agents want to accentuate the positive and downplay the negative.  It's all part of getting the buyer into seeing the home. However, it is important to use the right lingo so as not to mislead a buyer into thinking, for example, that 'easy access to everywhere' could really mean that the home backs up to an expressway.

In researching this blog post, I came across a great booklet by an organization called National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents. This organization published a report entitled "Home buyer Report 2008 Report on Home Buying Euphemisms and Lingo or, How to Read Between the Lines When You're Shopping for a Home". It's a great read here which catalogs several euphemisms from their members and the 'real' meanings of these descriptions compiled from listings throughout the country.

I've summarized a few:

Galley Kitchen - Can mean a hallway with cupboards and appliances that two people could not occupy at the same time. Deep South.

Waterfront - Sometimes means a man-made pond or lake instead of gulf access.  Deep South. (I see this often living here in Florida, particularly in areas with subdivisions boasting 'waterfront' a.k.a., man-made lakes. When water levels drop, these lakes are more like dry beds or mud pits.) 

Water View - Sometimes used even when you have to stand on the roof with binoculars and it must be an extremely clear day to see the water. Northeast.

Very Bright Sunny Home - Can mean there is not a tree in sight. Used everywhere.

Unique Design - Sometimes means you have to walk through a bedroom to get to a bonus room or to the exterior. This is most likely a defect in the floor plan. Southeast.

Turnkey - Can mean they want to sell the home with the 80's furniture that they (seller) doesn't want to haul away. Mountain.

Subject to Third Party Approval - Often indicates a short sale or sometimes indicates a relocation company is involved. In all cases, this means you will be negotiating with two different parties on the seller's side. Expect some additional frustrations and delays. Most areas.

Renovated Kitchen - Can mean new faucets and new knobs on the old cabinets.  Midwest.

Quaint Cottage - Can mean a wood frame house from the 50's and less than 600 sq. ft. Deep South.

Period Home - Could mean a 1700's home in original condition with a summer kitchen in the basement.  Northeast.

Newer Furnace and A/C - In one case they were 25 years old each (also confirmed by a home inspector).  When the listing agent was asked why she was stating they were newer she stated, "Because each one of them had received a new part within the last year."  Midwest.

Mechanic's Dream - It is often a real dump, but it typically has a big garage. Midwest.

Mature Landscaping - There was a 40-year old cottonwood tree that needed to be cut down before it fell on the house.  Midwest.

Light and Bright - Everything was white. White ceramic tile flooring and bright white paint everywhere. It looked like a hospital. Midwest.

Grandma's house - Hasn't been improved since she moved in and it still smells like her. Midwest.

Janine Gregor
Virtual Assistant to Paulia Kennedy


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