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'Quirky' 'Classic', 'Renovators delight': Insider's guide to real estate lingo

Michael Yardney

Today’s online real estate listings are much more sophisticated than years gone by.

There are plenty of pretty pictures, floor plans and even walk-through videos designed to attract oodles of potential buyers.

But just because there are more visuals than there used to be, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the words that go with the listing are any more insightful.

Real estate lingo has always been difficult to understand because agents generally adopt unique terminologies to help “promote” their listings.

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So, how does the average punter, decipher their words from the reality?

Why use this insider’s guide to real estate lingo of course!

Quirky can often mean bad – that is, a “would-be” renovator or interior decorator was the previous owner and they liked things their way so you have dark cupboards masquerading as bedrooms and feature walls festooned with pink flamingos.

Let’s fact is, cosy can mean tiny or miniscule or you can’t even swing a kitten in it.

Ditto above, but imagine a property or rooms that are even smaller than that.

The previous owner LOVED orange and that’s why every room (even the loo) is painted their favourite colour.

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Potential study or second bedroom

While there is legislation to prevent misleading advertising, sometimes a potential study or second bedroom is actually just the broom cupboard trying to be something else (and failing!)

Must-see if one of the most overused terms in real estate, because you’ve often seen most of the property via the online listing – that is, unless the agent is trying to create some excitement by only featuring the exterior of the property in the listing… which rarely works as a marketing tool, by the way.

In some states of Australia, sunny is not necessarily a good thing – in fact, the cooler the better during our regular summer heatwaves.

Classic often means it’s weatherboard, fibro, really old or perhaps is filled with asbestos.

Classic Australian
This can sometimes reflect the fact that the property is old, fibro, has asbestos as well as an out-of-order outside loo.

Renovator’s delight
Renovator’s delight means all the above, but you’ll need to replace 98 per cent of the stumps and take out a second mortgage to cover the refurbishment.

When a property is character-filled, it can mean that the previous owner was an amateur “artist” so each room has been painted with different exotic native animal motifs.

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While funky is still generally cool, when it describes real estate you’re probably going to find shag-pile carpet, a conversation pit and paisley wallpaper throughout

A courtyard can mean different things to different people, but generally it means an outdoor “space” of indeterminate size or quality.

The 1940s post-war property is mostly in original condition but the kitchen taps were updated in the 1990s so that could be classed as being more modern, I guess.

The bottom line…

While this article is meant to be humourous, it’s important that investors do their due diligence on every property that they’re interested in.

This includes using the listing as the first port-of-call, regardless of the flowery language that may be used, and then attending an open home or inspection to continue their research.

There are many steps to successful property investment, and even more important than choosing the right property is choosing the right location – an area with potential to outperform market averages.

Even if you end up buying a quirky must-see property that’s a renovator’s delight, you can still make money if you look past any marketing gimmicks and stick to sound investment fundamentals.

Michael Yardney is a director of Metropole Property Strategists, which creates wealth for its clients through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He is a best-selling author, one of Australia’s leading experts in wealth creation through property and writes the Property Update blog.