The Hidden Meanings of Real Estate Jargon

The Hidden Meanings of Real Estate Jargon
Photo: RebeccaPavlik, Shutterstock

When someone puts their home on the market (and enlists the help of another person whose sole job it is to sell that home), it only makes sense that they’d pitch it in the best possible light. This inevitably leads to a lot of embellishing via coded language that most of us are familiar with by now.

While the house may indeed have “good bones” and a main bedroom that “showcases sophisticated character,” what does this fanciful jargon really mean? If you’ve ever read a house or apartment listing and felt fleeced by some of the language, you’re not the first and won’t be the last. Here, we break it down.

How to translate house and apartment listing language

Cosy: Hope you don’t mind cramped spaces and living on top of each other.

Cottage-style: See above.

Diamond in the rough: This house is in an unpopular neighbourhood.

Good bones: This house has potential, but you’ll have to pay through the nose to reach it.

Custom-built: This house has a lot of bespoke, personalised details that fit the previous owner’s tastes perfectly. Yours? Maybe not so much.

Well-maintained: This house doesn’t have a lot of great features worth mentioning, so we’re saying this instead. (OK, OK, it may have a new-ish roof or windows.)

Move-in ready: Again, there’s not much else to talk about, but at least it’s ready to be moved into.

Rustic: You cool with living that 1800s prairie life? Cool. Have we got a house for you.

Original details: This old-fashioned house needs some work.

Vintage: I’ll take outdated for 1,000, Alex. (Sorry Ken and Mayim, it will always be Alex.)

Beautifully updated: You may need to ignore the old-looking outside to get to the renovated inside.

Low-maintenance yard: This yard is either the size of a postage stamp, or not landscaped.

One-of-a-kind: This house has something weird about it that is off-putting to many people.

Priced to sell: We need to get rid of this property ASAP for a reason that you should be curious about. Please, someone, take it off our hands.

Oasis from the hustle and bustle: This house is isolated AF. Only come here if you don’t mind driving 19 km to the nearest grocery store.

Unique look: Most people find the aesthetics of this house to be weird.

Sold as is: There are definitely some things you won’t like about this house, but the seller won’t be taking care of any of them before you move in.

Great potential investment: This is a fixer-upper on Hard mode. It could work for you, but only if you don’t mind investing time, money, and sanity on the project. Chances are high you’ll be spending a fair amount of all those.

Close to transportation: There may (or may not) be a train track running through your back yard. Further investigation required.

Larger than it looks: Do you think this home looks small? You are correct. It is.

Great starter home: This is where you should live until you can afford something better.

This home will not last!: We’ve been trying to unload this for months. Please respond to our scare tactics.

Needs some TLC: Could need some cosmetic refurbishing; could need a gut renovation. Either way, open your wallet.

 

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