Whether you are looking for a new home, selling yours or just visiting open houses for the heck of it, it helps to understand real estate lingo.
Here are some translations:
New listing — owner confident; wait a few weeks. Owner transferred — owner nervous. Priced to sell — owner desperate.
Nonconforming fourth bedroom — firetrap.
Turnaround driveway shared with neighbor — lower your deductible.
Five bedrooms, four bathrooms — for people who have more money than bladder control and who decorate with all white lights at Christmastime.
Just waiting for you to make it yours — needs complete overhaul.
Enjoy watching the local foot and auto traffic — loud. Walking distance to restaurants and bars — deafening.
Radon mitigations completed — uh-oh.
One of a kind — odd smell, peculiar décor.
Covered by a canopy of trees — dark.
Ready for your updates — shag carpeting, faux wood paneling.
Skylights — leaky.
Detached garage, great for storage — but getting your car in there is like threading a needle.
Laundry shoot — let’s hope they meant chute.
Open concept plan — frenzied tossing of flotsam and jetsam into closets before company comes.
Gated community — so is Anamosa, Iowa.
New development — honking big houses; little bitty trees.
Newer carpet — 50% fewer pet stains than older carpet. Immaculate — no pet stains.
Plumbing inspected — keep plunger handy.
Easily maintained lot — no yard to mow.
Low down payment — high monthly payment.
Newer mechanicals — wiring good enough to make toast and coffee at same time.
Must be seen to be appreciated — tacky exterior.
Newer kitchen — has running water and electricity.
Charm — some doors stick. Loaded with charm — all doors stick.
Plenty of storage space — garage too dilapidated to hold car but OK for broken appliances.
Appliances stay — too old and heavy to move.
Note reserved items — owner taking everything but toilet.
Agent’s home — fresh flowers on table and bread baking when it’s shown.
$3,000 allowance for bathroom — Remember the latrine at Girl Scout camp?
Historic — shabby. Contemporary — sterile. Spacious — drafty. High ceilings — really drafty.
Eat-in kitchen — no dining room.
Redecorated — interior painted within last 10 years. Totally redecorated throughout – faux finishing alert.
Cute — three kinds of wallpaper in one room.
Innovative floor plan — too trendy to resell 10 years from now.
Tremendous possibilities — a pit. Needs TLC — a hideous pit. Handyman’s special — uninhabitable.
Cozy — tiny. Perfect starter home — tiny but cheap.
Why pay rent when you can own? — Are you the type who builds on Baltic and Mediterranean?
Location, location, location — But what about the house, house, house?
Rebecca Christian, a former Dubuquer, is an Ames, Iowa, writer.