Real Estate Euphemisms: An Agent's Literary Loophole


Euphemisms crack me up. Essentially it’s just a literary loophole, allowing people to say something deplorable in a “nice” or “friendly” way. Newsflash: it doesn’t work.

This trend got its hooks in us back when people were actually polite and respected one another’s privacy. Society in general made an effort to make life seem far nicer than it actually was. Quirky turns of phrase made taboo or unsavory subjects sound light and airy. But now?

As a society, we choose to implore our ever growing (or as some say, depleting) vocabulary instead of our observational skills and quite simply: being honest. We choose innocuous expressions in lieu of sincerity, and it’s rare for someone to say precisely what they mean.

The funny thing is, we’ve spent so much energy finding creative ways to dissimulate and deceive; it now accomplishes precisely the opposite. We’re wrapping our words up in pretty packaging, but everyone knows what’s in the box.

Take real estate ads for example: We’ve all read (and admittedly used) the same terminology to describe certain unsavory details of a property. We all know that “cozy” is a nice way of saying limited space, and “stunning” is usually an overstatement of vast proportions.

Why do we continue to use them? Probably because “Cozy with all original details. Great starter home!” sounds ALOT better than “Tiny and never updated. You won’t last 5 years!” So let’s face it. We ALL know what the following phrases really mean.

“Quiet Building” Nursing home.

“Original Owner” Smells like moth balls. And cats.

“Meticulously Cared For” Never updated. Owner is insane. Also smells like moth balls.

“Rustic Charm” Unsealed wood floors. Using a blowdryer may set the electrical on fire.

“Vintage Charm” Ugly Wallpaper.

“Retro Decor” Floors are Avocado-green. The appliances are Mustard-yellow. Bathroom is Pepto-pink.

“Country Living” 5 miles from everything. Smells like cows.

“City Living” Used to be a warehouse.

“Loft Style” Still is a warehouse.

“Interesting Layout” Yes because it’s very interesting when homes don’t make any structural sense.

“Easy Access to Highway” You can SEE the highway.

“Family Friendly” Screaming children, barking dogs, and nosy neighbors.

“Great Nightlife” You live above a bar. Stock up on earplugs. Or Scotch.

“Architects Dream” Slanted ceilings.

“Galley Kitchen” A hallway with a sink.

“Efficient Kitchen” Hotplate and mini-fridge.

“Custom Cabinets” Hand-stenciled bunnies on all cabinet doors. Wearing bows. Holding hands with other farm animals.

“European style cabinetry” Sellers discovered Ikea.

“Built-In Cabinetry” Previous owner nailed furniture to the walls.

“Remodeled” Repainted.

“Almost New” Kind of like almost pregnant.

“Sunny Lot” Concrete jungle.

“Private Yard”  It’s just a yard.

“One of a Kind” Ugly as sin.

“Enchanting” Magic won’t cram a king-sized bed in there.

“Charming” Tiny. Possibly creepy.

“Quaint” Tacky. Possibly ghetto.

“WOW” Bring a gun.

“Needs TLC” You’ll have PTSD after renovations.

Needs Updating” Yes. Yes it most certainly does.

“Must See Inside” Because outside is gross.

“Curb Appeal” Inside is a nightmare.

“Must See to Believe” Seriously. You WON’T believe what you are seeing.

“Priced to Sell” Will sell for food.

“Motivated Sellers” Will settle for a hug at this point.

“Make an offer today!” Just fork over what’s in your pockets and we’ll call it a day.

By Kate Cocuzzo, Sales Agent
Licensed Sales Agent in RI