For the past year, I have been actively searching real estate listings in search of that perfect house. From websites to the LA Times Sunday edition, word of mouth to driving aimlessly in the sought after neighborhoods looking for Sale signs, conferring with endless supply of real estate agent friends and relatives, stopping by for an open house between doing groceries and pulling an all nighter working on that brief, I have done it all.
What I didn't realize was I should have learned a new language to decode the telltale terminology in some of those ads, before wasting time and gas money on those houses with supposed "old country charm and tropical paradise-like yard." For the real estate lexicon is as foreign to the vocabulary you and I would use, as aramaic would be to a Valley girl.
Real Estate Speak: Charming Cottage
Regular Speak: You can touch the kitchen sink with your big toe from the toilet stall you are sitting on, in the master bathroom.
Real Estate Speak: Lush, tropical paradise like grounds
Regular Speak: There is a lone statue of a giraffe in the middle of foliage that has not been landscaped since 1949.
Real Estate Speak: Old world feeling
Regular Speak: Get ready to replace the plumbing!
Real Estate Speak: Minutes to Beverly Hills
Regular Speak: Yeah. About 60 minutes.
Real Estate Speak: Partial view
Regular Speak: Twisting your neck 360 degrees a la Linda Blair in The Exorcist to catch a glimpse of unobstructed sky from the attic may result in permanent damage.
Real Estate Speak: The owner was almost done remodeling.
Regular Speak: What is that big hole in the roof?
Real Estate Speak: This is a bargain, at 300K reduced.
Regular Speak: Only because it was 500K over the neighborhood price to begin with!
Real Estate Speak: Room for a pool
Regular Speak: If by pool, you mean one of those plastic tubes that toddlers waddle in.
Real Estate Speak: Bank owned foreclosure is a great opportunity
Regular Speak: Especially with tens of thousands of unpaid back taxes and that family of vagrants growing weed in the backyard :)
And my favorite:
Real Estate Speak: Emotional house
Regular Speak: Does regurgitation classify as an "emotion"?
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