Homes with “Great Personalities” & Other White Lies

[Editor’s Note: While I do my best to avoid such euphemisms in my own capacity as a listing agent (representing Sellers), let me offer two (sort of) defenses on behalf of Realtors who are less circumspect:  1) beauty is frequently in the eye of the beholder, i.e., subjective rather than objective; and 2) at the right price, any property is genuinely attractive to Buyers (or, at least one!)]

Every sales-related profession has them: euphemisms intended to put a positive face on what most people would agree is a negative.

In that spirit, here is a “conversion key” to some of the most popular real estate terms today:

What the listing says ‘new construction opportunity.’
What the agent meanstear-down.

What the listing says ‘not a drive-by.’
What the agent meansthe home has no curb appeal (still too subtle?  It’s U-G-L-Y!).

What the listing says: ‘quick closing possible.’
What the agent means: the home’s vacant.

What the listing says: ‘meticulously cared for” (see also, “TLC-filled home,” “much-loved,” etc. )
What the agent means: long-time owner.  Everything is in working condition, but the appliances are ancient and the home needs major updating, starting with the Kitchen and Baths.  Can also be code for “functionally obsolete,” i.e., four bedrooms on a floor with one, small hall Bath.

What the listing says: ‘needs cosmetics.’
What the agent means: needs . . . everything.

What the listing says: ‘just needs your decorating touches.’
What the agent means: needs a general contractor, lots of sub’s — and a healthy rehab budget.

What the listing says: ‘cozy.’
What the agent means: small — if not claustrophobic.

What the listing says: ‘the home has great bones.”
What the agent means:  synonym for “meticulously cared for,” “needs cosmetics,” or “just needs your decorating touches.”

What the listing says: ‘priced to sell.’
What the agent means: nothing — what home on the market says it isn’t “priced to sell?” (ditto for any phrase with the word “opportunity” in it).

What the listing says: ‘easy to show.’
What the agent means: ‘vacant, because the renter just moved out.’

Any other Realtors reading this blog care to contribute their own favorites??

See also, “Real Estate Clichés And How to Avoid Them.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.
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