In a recent piece for the New York Times, Ronda Kaysen wrote, “Brokers use all kinds of verbal gymnastics in (listing) blurbs (to describe for-sale housing units) that could be applauded if there weren’t a potential buyer at the other end of these colorful but ultimately obscure paragraphs.” In other words, what are these brokers really saying about their for-sale listings?

Kaysen put together a glossary of terms listing brokers and agents often use to describe and hopefully sell their listings. One thing to remember while reading this glossary of terms is that listing agents/brokers work for sellers, not buyers. Buyers’ agents work for buyers but buyers’ agents also want their buyers to actually buy a house so…buyers’ agents may use the very same terms a sellers’ agent may use in the listing blurb in order to get that house sold.

Words such as Gem…Sweet…Adorable and Quaint sound small. Chances are the house/condominium/townhouse is small as well.

Jewel Box also sounds small but it’s called a jewel box because the tiny unit is likely decorated well.

Quiet…Serene…Intimate…Sexy…Cozy could all translate into the fact that the unit is as dark as a cave.

Penthouse Level does not mean the unit is a penthouse. Penthouse Level means that the unit is on the top floor of the building along with lots of other units sharing that penthouse level.

Estate Condition…Good Bones…Vintage…Tons of Potential…An Architect’s Dream…Bring Your Imagination all mean that the house/condo/co-op needs A LOT of work and/or MUCH renovation.

Partial Park and/or Direct Views could mean a sliver-sized view of whatever park, tree, another building, etc. that the view is supposed to be. Pay particular attention to the word “partial.”

Roof Deck can mean any thing from an infinity pool with fire pits to an asphalt slab on top of the roof. This term does NOT guarantee unobstructed views of anything.

Three Flights Up means that the unit is a 4th floor walk-up. Do the math.

Motivated Seller usually means that the seller is not intending to reduce the price while the term can also mean that the buyer should make an offer…any offer, regardless of how low.

Renovated, Newer Kitchen Recently Updated does not mean a brand-new kitchen. If a buyer wants a brand-new kitchen, look for terms such as “Chef’s Kitchen” or “State of the Art” kitchen.

Artfully Designed…Creative…Distinct…Unique is broker-speak for renovations done with iffy, questionable taste.

A recent StreetEasy search turned up

– 1,457 listings that described a unit as charming

         – 1,473 listings that described a unit as unique

         – 228 listings that described a unit as priced to sell

Think about what you’re writing, agents/brokers.





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