Dwelling on injustices, bad behaviour and modern day dilemmas.

Shelley Bridgeman: What's your favourite real estate cliche?

What's your favourite real estate cliché? Photo / Thinkstock
What's your favourite real estate cliché? Photo / Thinkstock

Real estate agents have discovered that using words such as "family", "comfort", "safe" and "sunny" in a house advertisement elicits a positive response from prospective buyers. On the other hand, according to Home sales need a 'sunny' side, certain other words - "basement", "motivated seller" and "cute and charming" (which is evidently code for "small rooms") - are likely to repel buyers.

I had some fun interpreting that peculiar language known as "real estate speak" for the book I co-authored: Buying Your First Home: An Essential Kiwi Guide. (No, this is not a shameless advertisement - all sold out, sorry.)

I was especially struck by the way the most humdrum feature can be gussied up to sound far more covetable than it actually is. In a little two-column box with the headings "What the advertisement says" and "What it usually means" I decoded ten popular real estate clichés:

• "Gourmet kitchen" means "Has granite bench"
• "Entertainer's kitchen" means "Has European appliances and granite bench"
• "Hidden" means "Has hedge or tall fence"
• "Urban oasis" means "Has a palm in backyard"
• "Perfect for summer entertaining" means "Has deck"
• "Great indoor/outdoor flow" means "Has doors leading to deck"
• "Wake up and smell the coffee" means "There's a cafe reasonably handy"
• "Grab your towel and head for the beach" means "Three or four blocks from the water"
• "Gorgeous golf retreat" means "A golf course is not a million miles away"
• "Indulge yourself" means "This house is not cheap."

At about the same time, the folks at Unconditional were thinking along similar lines. They listed a few pearls of real estate wisdom borrowed from a book called It's Not Rocket Science and Other Irritating Modern Clichés.

These are the four I wish I'd thought of myself:

• "Convenient for local schools" means "Convenient for several thousand local schoolchildren passing through your front garden; their parents parking their SUVs across your lawn and half a ton of sweet wrappers stuffed through your letterbox every morning and afternoon."
• "Original features" means "The place hasn't had any work done on it since 1974."
• "Up-and-coming area" means "If you move into this area you will be a bit like a pioneer staking your claim in a wild, lawless territory."
• "Vibrant area" means "Probably vibrating with the sound of 500-watt loudspeaker systems, the rumble of riot-squad trucks and sub-machine-gun fire."

One phrase beloved of real estate agents continues to confound me. I can't figure out if "deceptively large" means a house is large but seems small or small but seems large. But my favourite cliché is one that has been around for donkey's years: "des res with all mod cons" is short for "desirable residence with all modern conveniences". Spoken in your very best Kath-&-Kim-inspired voice, it's certified real-estate-cliché gold.

Debate on this article is now closed.

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

Dwelling on injustices, bad behaviour and modern day dilemmas.

Shelley Bridgeman is a truck-driving, supermarket-going, horse-riding mother-of-one who is still married to her first husband. As a Herald online blogger, she specialises in First World Problems and delves fearlessly into the minutiae of daily life. Twice a week, she shares her perspective on a pressing current issue and invites readers to add their ten cents’ worth to the debate.

Read more by Shelley Bridgeman

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 24 May 2017 05:42:09 Processing Time: 481ms