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Fun with real estate

Every time we are in the real estate market I am always amused by what agents and sellers will say to market their properties. I know hyperbole is part of the game, and the goal of real estate listings is to get people into the houses, but still once in a while there’s a real doozy that makes you shake your head and say, “What the heck were they THINKING?”

Case in point: “House has been well maintained and shows well.” Reality: mismatched carpets, brown swimming pool, blue tape on the floor to cover cracking tiles, peeling ceiling containing asbestos, needs roof work, and most appliances are 15 years old. The funny thing is, we actually made an offer on this house but got outbid. (It was a nice neighborhood.)

Another example yesterday: “This house will sell itself. $2000 painting allowance.” Right off the bat you know things are not going to look good when you see an allowance by the seller for repainting. As a bonus, the dog left us fun presents on the carpeting to step around like little land mines. An allowance for carpeting would have been more appropriate.

Then there’s the real estate code. I’m sure if you’ve bought a house you’re familiar with this arcane language. Guarantee: all phrases below are from actual listings.

“Charming” = Small, with stencils on the walls.
“Cozy” = Sized for Hobbits.
“Move-in ready” = Kind of like on eBay when they say “Trailer is ready to camp!” NOT
“Potential” = Needs lots of work.
“Opportunity knocks!” = Prior owner never pulled permits.
“Handyman special” = Bring a bulldozer.
“Rare opportunity” = Priced above market.
“Priced below appraisal” = Nobody wants it.
“Priced below market” = Previous buyer backed out.
“Bring all offers” = We know it’s overpriced.
“View of riparian area” = House is next to a gully.
“A classic” = hasn’t been updated in 30 years.
“Historic” = hasn’t been updated in 50 years.
“Would make a good dog run” = Side yard is bare dirt.

Now, despite poking fun at the listings, I should say that we are extremely happy with the realtor who is representing us. He’s tolerant of our quirks, endlessly patient, and incredibly responsive. There are a lot of “good guys” in the business and we’re happy we found one. With his guidance … and a few small miracles … we’ll find a home base eventually. In the meantime, the MLS will keep us amused. Isn’t that what it is there for?

4 Responses to “Fun with real estate”

  1. Siew Says:

    I just had to laugh out loud at this post. When looking for our house, my favorite was “needs a little TLC” and “park like setting”. The spin doctors are hard at work indeed.

  2. Michael Young Says:


    Our agent claims that 80% of her buyers use the Internet for search before visiting the agent. So, pictures and so-called virtual tours are critical for marketing. I’m a bit surprised that that level of Internet search is so high, but it may be location-specific. What do you think?

  3. Jill Says:

    When looking for our house in Austin our favorites were:

    “spiritual views” – alas, in the middle of town; I can only assume they had some really good-looking neighbors


    “great party-house” – translation, only look at this house if you are currently enrolled in UT and looking to ‘go wild’

    We ended up outside of Austin, and still got some close to spiritual views.

    Michael – We found our house on the internet, after searching in person, with an agent, driving around endlessly for 10 months. She may be right.

  4. Bobby Says:

    Welcome to my world. I read these things every day. My favorites are: “Water view” = drainage pond and, “Ready for you to move in, remodel, or tear down!” Wow so many choices… Glad you have a good agent. That’s important. We had our first open house today and the house went on the market yesterday. Some traffic (probably mostly neighbors). We shall see. Hope you find, “A diamond in the rock (sic)!” or maybe “Wow! Freshly painted!” Those are always great…


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