Most common phrases and their translations to help house-hunters decode

Customs Today ReportSaturday, 7 March 2015

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LONDON: From ‘quaint’ to ‘private’ and ‘open plan’, there’s a whole new dictionary of words that are used by realtors to try and win over potential buyers and make even the most unappealing property sound enticing.

In an effort to help house-hunters decode these buzzwords and save their time and money, real estate group Lamudi have listed the most common phrases and their translations.

While ‘quaint’ is a word one might associate with a picturesque and charming little cottage, Lamudi warns that if it appears in a real estate advertisement, buyers can directly translate it to mean ‘small’.

‘If the size of the house is not specified in the advertisement, you can be sure that the “quaint” property is not very spacious,’ a spokesperson said.

Often paired with ‘quaint’ is the word ‘charming’, also used to describe a small or old property.

While the words ‘open-plan’ conjure up an image of huge opens spaces, with rooms flowing through from one to the other, advertisements for confined studio-type properties are also likely to include the phrase.

‘Properties described in this way can be luxurious, high-end real estate, agents often describe cramped studio apartments as open-plan. Be prepared for the kitchen, living room, bedroom, and even sometimes bathroom, to all be squashed into one room,’ Lamudi says.

If location is your biggest concern, watch out for the buzzwords ‘near transport’, ‘private’ and ‘within walking distance’.

House-hunters should ask agents to specify exact distances as these three expressions can be translated to mean ‘noisy’, ‘in the middle of nowhere’ and ‘miles away’.

Brian Haratsis, the Executive Chairman of MacroPlan, told Daily Mail Australia that tag lines are popular amongst agents who are focused on ‘turning over their limited stock’.

‘You can call it misleading, but they are essentially trying to shape your requirements to fit the house rather than you actually deciding and determining what you want,’ he said.

Buyers who come across the overused terms ‘has great potential’, ‘original condition’, ‘blank canvas’ and ‘renovator’s dream’ can expect to have to put a lot of work into the property being described.

These terms are used to describe run-down homes that are in need of some level of renovation before they are liveable.

In contrast, Mr Haratsis said ‘solid’ often meant that the home would be difficult or impossible to renovate due to features such as brick veneer walls.

‘State of the art’ can meanwhile be translated directly into ‘functioning’ with Lamudi cautioning that the expression is always an exaggeration.

‘More often than not, a state-of-the-art bathroom, for example, is just a functioning toilet and shower room. If a property is modern, with the newest appliances and contemporary decor, this should be made clear in a detailed listing,’ a Lamundi spokesperson said.

Similarly, Mr Haratsis said a ‘practical’ property means that ‘it works, but it’s not in good condition.’

Meanwhile, if a home is listed as ‘not to be missed’, Lamudi says it’s likely that ‘that the owner is having trouble selling and is trying to get rid of the property in a hurry’ by using urgent vocabulary.

To avoid getting won over by fancy words, Mr Haratsis recommends property buyers write a list of attributes they want in their future home and ensure that they are able to tick each one off before committing to a purchase.

‘So that you don’t get sucked in by the hype, create your own checklist so you can see past the rubbish,’ Mr Haratsis told Daily Mail Australia.

‘It should include how much money you are prepared to spend on the property after you’ve purchased it, what distance in metres it can be from transport, how many bedrooms and bathrooms you really need.

‘It’s basic stuff, but people just get in and they see a brand new renovation and think “you beauty” even if it doesn’t tick all their boxes.’

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Brian Haratsis Executive Chairman E: P: 03 9600 0500 
Brian Haratsis is MacroPlan’s Founder and Executive Chairman. Brian is an economist and future strategist with over 30 years’ experience as an advisor to governments and major corporate clients throughout Australia.Brian commands an unparalleled, on-the-ground knowledge of residential markets across Australia, having worked extensively and regularly in all capital cities and key regional markets.
About MacroPlan MacroPlan’s experienced and qualified economists align their understanding of macro-economic forces with micro-economic variables such as geographic and industrial characteristics, demographics, labour market shifts, resource demand and commercial realities.  Contact Brian Haratsis, Executive Chairman today to discuss your property research requirements.