Translating what real estate sales terms really mean.

Translating what real estate sales terms really mean.

When you are looking for a home, it can be overwhelming to sort through all the properties in your price range. Especially in this current market with properties have multiple offers in the first couple of weeks. You have taken the time to visit homes that look great online but so often they fall far short of your expectations when you actually go to view them. This is another reason to have a decent realtor to help you with your property search.

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A phrase such as “could be a real gem” might mean the property is a fixer-upper, not a good fit if you’re looking for a turn key move-in ready home. “Full of character” might indicate the home has some quirks you’d be hesitant to inherit, perhaps old and dated fixtures and finishes, styles change a lot over the years, last decades coolest fashion may not be so hot now! Knowing the deeper meanings of these real estate sales terms could help you avoid wasting your time on a home that isn’t going to be right for you and your family.

‘Pride of ownership shows’

Sounds great, right? The current residents have been taking care of the place. But a lot of times, this also means a home that’s stuck in a time warp: outdated kitchen, black-and-white-tiled ’80s bathrooms, dated decorations, etc. The home may well be well maintained, but that doesn’t mean the owners had the imagination to think beyond their own likes and dislikes. An impeccably maintained relic is still a home you’ll probably want to completely over haul the minute you step inside.

“Natural landscaping”

Great for an a green thumbed owner, but a huge letdown for someone who’s looking for a little non weedy backyard space, this could be a real jungle. That said a professional landscapers will be able to work miracles with even the most overgrown plots but at a price.

“Not a drive-by”

Did you wonder why there were no photos of the home’s exterior? The clue was in the write-up. “Not a drive-by” is code for “lacking curb appeal.” An ugly exterior might not be the end of the world. Curb appeal can be improved, though often at a large cost. But if the rest of the home is great, the question becomes, how much do you care about first impressions?

“Not a foreclosure, not a short sale”

This seems like a good thing on the surface but is actually kind of a bad thing. Such an upfront warning could mean the house is close to other properties that have gone into foreclosure or are boarded up and waiting to be seized or condemned. Check out the rest of the neighborhood carefully then make your decision.

John Campbell Keller Williams 'luxury real estate'

“Needs your decorative touches”

This sounds so innocent, right? It sounds like an otherwise charming home that’s lacking a few knickknacks or a fresh coat of paint. This could be the case but more often than not, this descriptor means that the property is in serious need of a new bathroom or kitchen or more. stuff that’s well beyond remedy with a quick run to a home depot.

“In one of the hottest neighborhoods”

“Hot” is not the same as “popular” or “coveted.” When listings refer to a neighborhood as “hot,” that usually means the neighborhood has yet to establish itself and is up and coming. Sure, it might be an area developers think will become the next big thing, but it’s not there yet. Be sure to check on the crime rates and tour the neighborhood after dark.

Another variation of this term is “Up and Coming Neighborhood” Maybe someday it’ll be the most desired location in your area, but for the immediate future, it’s not.

This shouldn’t immediately be a deal breaker, but an emerging neighborhood might lack the amenities or walkability that you crave from your next home. Also keep in mind that buying into a hot neighborhood today is a gamble, there’s no actual guarantee the neighborhood will still be hot in five years. The most important thing is you feel safe in it now.

“Attention: Investors”

One of my favorites, The listing might as well read “Stay away regular, average homebuyer.” A write-up that includes this line is basically admitting that only a developer can save this property. Basically it’s a place that demands a major rehab because, mortgage wise, it’s probably not going to happen. These are for cash buying flippers and investors because there are no other reasonable possibilities.

“Offered as is”

Do you understand the concept of a “money pit”? Chances are, this real estate listing has some alarming things going on. Perhaps burst pipes that no one bothered to repair or clean up. A renovation that was abandoned halfway through. A roof in danger of collapsing, Suspect foundations or a multitude of other problems. Again unless you are an experienced investor or contractor avoid these like the plague.

“Condo alternative”

Finally a single family home we can actually afford It’s a single-family, yes, but a single-family dwelling so small that the bedroom pretty much doubles as the living room that doubles as the master bath. Don’t let the allure of owning a free standing home cloud your judgment — when it comes to “condo alternatives,” you may well get more bang for your buck in an actual condo, take a close look at the square footage and size of each room before you dive in.

John Campbell 'luxury real estate'

So there you have it, reading between the lines of the real estate sales lingo. Don't be taken in by some smooth real estate patter, hire a professional to help you navigate this current crazy market. For all your real estate need in the whole Los Angeles area please consider giving me a call for some decent, honest no nonsense advice on Tel 3102798117 Shoot me an email to or see