Estate Agent Speak Decoded

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As it reaches the point where we all have to start thinking about where we’re going to live next year, a hundreds of estate agents are out in force, pounding the pavements of Portswood with guileless prospective tenants.

With a vast vocabulary of misleading synonyms at their disposal, many will do their level best to help you part with your student loan on houses you wouldn’t let your dog sit in.

You can’t really blame them; it’s their job. But in the meantime, here’s a basic translation of five of the key words and phrases to listen out for.

  1. ‘Quaint/ Cosy’ – This commonly used description may paint an image of a comfortable homely atmosphere but be warned, if either of these words have been used to describe a room then chances are you will struggle to fit more then one fully grown adult in it. And even then it will be a tight fit.
  2. ‘Has Character’ – In film terms this phrase could perhaps be taken as a compliment. In the property market however it is used not to describe the Oscar worthy performances but rather those that went straight to the bargain section of HMV. Think matching green bathroom appliances, brightly coloured walls clashing beautifully with even brighter carpets.
  3. ‘Mature’ – When talking about a person this may well be a desirable quality but in terms of your future home, if a building is being described as mature then chances are not only was it built quite a long time ago – but it also looks it.
  4. ‘Deceptively spacious’ – This particularly sneaky phrase is often employed for use with house that appear tiny, and in fact they are tiny! But they just so happen to have a very large attic or cupboard, or the majority of the rooms are incredibly small apart from one, which is just about normal size and so in comparison seems enormous.
  5. ‘Many original features’ – If you are looking to buy a large country estate then the fact that it contains original features would be of great importance, but seeing as most student budgets don’t quite stretch that far I think it is safe to assume that you will hear this term in relation to slightly smaller properties. In this case it probably isn’t said features probably aren’t quite so desirable. Original Victorian beams are one thing; the oven and bathroom appliances that were installed when the house was built in the 80s aren’t quite so appealing.

So there you have it. Hopefully these few explanations well help you to ensure that you don’t spend your next year at university living in a tin shed with fluorescent pink walls and an oven that is even older than you are.

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