Real Estate Code Words
When you’re house-hunting, it can be overwhelming to sort through all the properties in your price range — especially if you’ve taken time to visit homes that look divine online but fall far short of your expectations in person.
You already know the 'ABCs' of real estate terms such as mortgage and loan to title insurance and escrow. But there might be clues you’re not picking up on in the property descriptions. By now everyone knows that 'cozy' is a lovely way to say small, but 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 move-in ready. “Full of character” might indicate the home has some quirks you’d be hesitant to inherit (think bathtub in the basement or marble columns in the master bedroom).
Whether you’re searching for homes in Woodland Hills, Calabasas, Agoura....or Timbuktu, here are six commonly used code phrases. Knowing the deeper meanings of these real estate terms could help you avoid wasting your time seeing a West Valley home that isn’t right for you. Let's get started...
'Pride of ownership shows'
Sounds great, right? The current residents have been taking care of the place, polishing the banisters and recaulking the bathtubs at every turn. But a lot of times, this also means a home that’s stuck in a time warp: outdated kitchen, black-and-white-tiled ’80s bathrooms, the works.
The home might be well-maintained, but that doesn’t mean the owners had the wherewithal to think beyond their original glass-bricked entryway. An impeccably maintained relic is still a home you’ll probably want to gut the minute you step inside.
The listing might as well read “Stay away, average homebuyer.” A write-up that includes this line is basically admitting that only a savvy developer or contractor can save the property. Basically it’s a place that often times can only be purchased by a cash buyer since most lending institutions will not approve a loan on a property of this type.
'Offered as is'
Can you say “money pit”? Chances are, this real estate listing has some downright alarming things going on. Burst pipes that no one bothered to repair or clean up? A renovation that was abandoned halfway through? A creepy red room in the basement? A roof in danger of collapsing?
The seller is well aware of all the property’s faults and has no interest in pretending otherwise. Of note, ALL properties in California are sold 'as-is', but when a seller is upfront about it, it means you have zero negotiating power. Proceed, with caution, accordingly.
A single-family home in your price range? Holy moly, where’s the checkbook?
Hold up, cowboy. It’s a single-family, yes, but a single-family dwelling so minuscule 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’ll probably get more bang for your buck in the actual condo market (unless you can afford to build an addition).
Read: yard jungle. Great for an aspiring green thumb, but a huge letdown for someone who’s looking for a little weed-free backyard space. That said, professional landscapers can do wonders with even the most wildly overgrown plots.
'Needs your decorative touches'
This sounds so innocuous, right? It sounds like an otherwise charming home that’s lacking a few knickknacks and floral arrangements. But more often than not, this description 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 decor shop.
Hopefully this brief explanation of real estate lingo will help you refine your property search so that you can see only those listings that have the features you are looking for within your budget. If you, or anyone you know, is in the market to buy or sell real estate in Woodland Hills, Calabasas, Encino, Tarzana, West Hills, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village and the rest of the greater San Fernando and Conejo Valleys, I would love the opportunity to be of service. I can be reached via Cell/Text at (818) 489-3385 and you can visit my website www.DavidBeckerHomes.com to learn even more about me.
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