Real Estate Slang, Phrases and Terminology

Managing Real Estate Broker with eXp Realty RB-19250

I hope this will help clear up some confusion among real estate professionals and the public.

In the course of doing business we constantly see phrases, terms and slang used to describe property.  Some are subjective which makes it at times confusing.  I will attempt to clear up a few and I will ask you to chime in with a few of your own.

In Hawaii we list the condition of homes and condos in one of the following categories:

Excellent Condition:

  • According to seasoned agents - Ready to move in and has upgrades.
  • According to new agents - Recently painted.
  • According to discount brokers - Recently cleaned.

Above Average Condition:

  • According to seasoned agents - Ready to move in, no upgrades.
  • According to new agents - Recently cleaned.
  • According to discount brokers - no junk cars in the yard.

Average Condition:Carport

  • According to seasoned agents -Needs paint and carpet.
  • According to new agents - Needs minor repairs, paint and carpet.
  • According to discount brokers - Needs repairs and has junk cars in the yard.

Fair Condition:

  • According to seasoned agents - Needs larger repairs, paint and carpet, probably dirty.
  • According to new agents - needs major repairs, not livable.
  • According to discount brokers - house fell down living in junk cars in the yard.

Poor Condition:

  • According to seasoned agents - needs major repairs, possible tear down.
  • According to new agents - house burned down.
  • According to discount brokers - there used to be house there.

Here are a few others I have heard:

  • While traveling in Branson Missouri - Gentle slope means the side of a cliff.
  • From one of my sellers - Partial Ocean View means if you go to the upstairs bedroom and stand on a chair you can see the ocean in a distance over the homes and trees. (This was real.  I am 6'4" and with the chair could barely see it)  I did persuade him to let me leave that out of the listing.
  • From an area limited services broker - Detached home with a large garage is a duplex (attached home) with a shared open carport.
  • From a FSBO - Newly remodeled kitchen equals new refrigerator.
  • From a local mortgage broker - No down payment means you get a $20,000 credit from the seller to pay closing costs.
  • From rookie agent -  Maintenance fee includes Cable TV means the condo has a cable outlet.
  • From another one of my sellers - Professional landscaping means he paid someone to cut the grass.
  • From a potential client -  Excellent condition and worth $200,000.00 more than any other in the neighbor.  Her explanation was that her 40 year old home had all the original cabinets and appliances.  You will not find that anywhere else.
  • From an area Realtor - Vintage décor means yellow shag carpet and avocado appliances.

This was a sampling of some I have run into in Hawaii.  I am sure each part of the country has some more unique to their market.

Posted by



Randy L. Prothero, REALTOR®

Broker-in-Charge, ABR, AHWD, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, MRP, SFR

eXp Realty

Team Leader - "The Prothero Group"

Randy Prothero is well established as an expert in working with military / VA clients and first time home buyers.  His home seller's (listing) campaign is one of the most aggressive marketing programs in the area.  His luxury home listings sell faster and for more money.

Based out of Mililani, Hawaii. Randy services the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) Performs mediations and ombudsman services for the Board of Realtors.  To improve overall professionalism in his area Randy also offers classes for real estate agents. 

www.HawaiiRandy.comOahu (Honolulu County) Property Search  Hawaii Military Relocations


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Netta Blackwood
La Rosa Realty - Kissimmee, FL
REO/BPO Expert

I heard of one, I did not actually see the house. But it was clearly listed in the MLS that POOL does not work. That sounds fine, however, the seller, who is one of my investors wanted to know why this home was not selling, he had already gone thru at least 3 other Realtors (It is listed out of area with another realtor) I decided to ask him some more questions to try to get a feel as to why the home is not selling. Mind you its listed way, way below market value. He candidly said when he was there, one potential buyer said the dead snakes and frogs scared her. Not to mention the yucky green water in the pool - who knows what else is in that POOL!  He decided to fill the pool in.

Nov 23, 2006 06:43 AM #29
Eddy Martinez
Nationwide Funding Group - Highland Park, CA
the worst phrase out of all is "motivated seller" lol , great blog
Nov 23, 2006 06:46 AM #30
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Natural skylights= in need of a roof!

Indoor swimming pool=when it rains hard.

TLC =Tons of Liquid Cash! *

Cute,charming,adorable= SMALL

Convenient to the Highway=You can hear the roar!

Indoor Outhouse= use your imagination!

Price reflects the "AS IS" condition= needs TLC *


Nov 23, 2006 06:51 AM #31
Michele Van Detti
CJR - Gilbert, AZ

My favorite is the stepsaver kitchen, means you can barely turn around in it. 

We have a seller right now who wants us to advertise that he is a former pro football player.  Ummm, OK?

Nov 23, 2006 06:55 AM #32
Jason Price
Mortgage Financial Group, Inc - Eustis, FL
It is amazing how much things get twisted to make it sound better.  In the lending side, as Marc Blasi pointed out in his blog, some brokers call negative ammortization, deferred interest.  We try to pretty it up to make it sell.  Kind of like: I have freshly captured mowed grass that you can use in your flower beds to help with fertilizing naturally.  (In case you do not get this, I have horses)... :) Have a Happy Thanksgiving.
Nov 23, 2006 07:30 AM #33
So you consider yourself a "Discount Broker"?
Nov 23, 2006 11:31 AM #34
Stefan Scholl
Buyer's Broker of Northern Michigan, LLC - Petoskey, MI
Northern Michigan Real Estate
Thanks for the chuckle Randy. 
Nov 23, 2006 01:45 PM #35
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

Carl - You don't need to understate.  After all your job is to get as many buyers as possible to look at the property.  But you definitely do not want to shock them when they arrive.

Netta - And he had to ask?

Eddy - I refuse to work with sellers who are not motivated.

Margaret - Good list, thank you for adding

Michele - Former NFL player?  His he applying for a job or selling a home?

Jason - Instead of negative amortization which sounds negative they use 1% loan here.

Candybags - I am not a discount broker, Even though I am one of the highest priced brokers, I am a bargain.  My previous blog was a spoof.

Stephan - Sometimes we need to lighten up.

Nov 23, 2006 02:34 PM #36
Gabriel Silverstein
Angelic Real Estate, LLC - New York, NY
Randy, I posted something similar the other day, entitled Creative Listing Terminology 101, that also has a link to a good article in the Rocky Mountain News to the same effect.  We have to have a sense of humor...and never forget caveat emptor - buyer beware!
Nov 23, 2006 03:42 PM #37
Ryan Windsor
RE/MAX Crest Realty (Westside) - Vancouver, BC

The one that I heard recently in Vancouver, BC was a single level studio/bachelor referred to as a loft...

Of course, my favourite is 'easy to show' and you can't get anyone on the phone.

Nov 23, 2006 03:50 PM #38
Kristal Kraft
The Berkshire Group Realtors - Denver, CO
Selling Metro Denver Real Estate - 303-589-2022

Everything is relative.  One man's castle is another man's shack.


Nov 23, 2006 04:25 PM #39
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

The one that always makes me chuckle is: ' hurry, this one won't last' then you look at days on the market.........

or, 'this could be a great house'   well what is it now, exactly????

Smiles to you Randy, cool post

Nov 23, 2006 04:26 PM #40
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

Gabriel - Great minds think alike, I read your post and the newspaper article both were very good. A little humor goes a long way.

Ryan - I get the easy to show one a lot.

Kristal - The question is does he see the shack as Above Average?

Carole - Maybe they are planning to withdraw it from the market and give up.

Nov 23, 2006 04:37 PM #41
Allison Stewart
St.Cloud Homes - Saint Cloud, FL
St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904
A rose by any other name is still a rose. A diaper is still a diaper!
Nov 23, 2006 10:12 PM #42
Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

The biggest lie in Manhattan is: a studio apartment that is listed as a 1 bedroom they don't even call it a "Junior 1 bedroom" anymore.

Many agents are now listing studio apartments as "mini lofts"

"Won't Last" on the market for 6 months

"Priced to Sell" what does that mean?

"Bring your own designer"  updated version of "TLC"

"Partial river view" if you stick your head out the window

"original condition"  1950's kitchen

It is all relative the worst falling down shack in Hawaii still sounds like "living in paradise" to me

Nov 24, 2006 03:53 AM #43
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

Allison - And a full diaper always smells bad

Mitchell - I just sold a studio in Honolulu where the seller's agent insisted it was a 1 bedroom.  I asked him to show me the bedroom.  I also asked him to show me in the tax records where it was a one bedroom.  His response was that is what everyone calls them.  I disagreed, we called it a studio in our offer.  It was the lowest sale of the year for me.  It closed and turned out to be my messiest escrow ever.

Nov 24, 2006 09:06 AM #44
Kathleen Chang

Real Estate Agents are optimists!!

Mar 09, 2009 03:05 PM #46
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

Kathleen - The successful one are optimists.  The less than honest, usually do not last.

Mar 10, 2009 04:14 AM #50

You know, as an agent I have the same compaints. When checking property listings for my clients, I depend on the agent to be honest when submitting comments. Unfortunately, just as they lie to you as a client, we as agents seeking homes for buyers are also lied to, avoided, and yes we even experience unbelivable cruelty.

May 27, 2009 10:23 AM #51

Does anyone know what TGIF has to do with Real Estate.  One thought is "toes go in first" or do you think it has a deeper meening?

Mar 27, 2010 03:14 AM #52
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Randy Prothero

Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645
Ask me for a free valuation of your Oahu Home.
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