Descriptive words in a property listing can have you rolling your eyes
Every industry has its own vocabulary. The stock market talks in terms of “share,” “position,” “bid” and “ask.” Real estate is no different. So knowing what Realtors mean with their multiple listing lingo is a timely endeavor when looking for a home.
U.S. News & World Report real estate staff writer Luke Mullins fills you in so you can read between the lines using an informal survey from the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents members around the country. Members were asked to provide any unique or misleading descriptions they had found in listing data and to describe what they actually saw at the property when they arrived, and this is some of what they came up with.
“As-is” pretty much means that the seller has taken a powder on doing any repairs. But don’t assume you can’t still negotiate for corrections and compensation. It all depends on what is in the purchase contract — not what is in the listing description.
“Bank-owned” means that the home has already gone through a foreclosure process, and the bank now holds the mortgage. While these homes usually need a lot of repair work, they are often priced to reflect that. Nevertheless, negotiating with a bank can be tedious, bureaucratic, and frustrating.
The difference between a den, an office, and a bedroom in a listing can boil down to the existence of a window, a door, or a closet. It does NOT mean a bed and dresser cannot be placed there. Always ask about the nature of the room they list in these terms.
Look for euphemisms like “cozy,” “cute,” “like grandma’s house,” “efficient,” and “enclave.” Connotations often mean pint-sized, never-been-updated, or an island of nice homes in an otherwise undesirable neighborhood. And if you see the words “desirable neighborhood,” or “easy access,” make sure it doesn’t mean the freeway is on top of you.
A “galley kitchen” often means an afterthought pass-through of countertops on the way from the garage where the fridge resides. Get the dimensions and THEN decide if the kitchen is a size you can live with.
A “low maintenance” front or back yard can mean they paved paradise and put up a parking lot. Get the listing agent to describe what the yard actually contains.
“Finishing touches needed” means bring your own lighting and plumbing fixtures, carpet, and wood trim. In other words, strap on that handy hip-hugging tool belt and go to town making that home your own.
Find out if “minutes from (somewhere)” means by car, by train, or by foot. Thirty minutes to the nearest elementary school by car may not be the ideal location for you and your family.
And one of the funniest ones they found was, “seller motivated, bring all offers,” can mean that the seller is motivated enough to add an extra sentence to the listing, but not motivated enough to price the property where it needs to be in the first place.
Source: USNewsWorldReport | TBWS