I Speak Jive

As I get my house ready to put back on the market, I’ve been spending a lot of time perusing home-buying sites; I’m learning a new lexicon. (I’m also learning that some Realtors are truly horrid photographers. Could you not move the pile of dirty clothes off the bed before taking that shot? And how about doing the dishes? Also, that fish-eye lens is fooling no one.)

Speaking the lingo, as it were, makes scanning listings go a lot more quickly (not that it matters right now; the pickings are slim in February).

• “Cozy?” Small.
• “Charming?” Far too small.
• “Adorable?” Far too small, plus twee wallpaper in every room.
• “Quaint?” It’ll be needing a new electric panel and plumbing.
• “Luxurious?” Bad taste in expensive carpeting.
• “Near?” In the bad neighborhood adjacent to the one in which you’re interested.
• “Refurbished?” Lick-and-a promise paint job and cheap carpeting.
• “Renovated?” Original woodwork is likely missing. As are interior walls.
• “New?” Not interested.
• “Professionally decorated?” By a professional decorator? Really?
• “One-of-a-kind?” There’s a reason for that.
• “Nice?” If that’s the best descriptor…it’s probably not.
• “Park like?” There are two trees.
• “Investment opportunity?” You’d be embarrassed to collect the rent on the sh*thole.
• “Needs a little TLC?” Zuul lives in the basement.

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About fitz

Editor & content director for Popular Woodworking, ABD PhD focused on early modern drama, freelance content and copy editor/writer, ailurophile
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16 Responses to I Speak Jive

  1. jmwagle86 says:

    Too funny… but sadly true 😦 been, done all that – Hang in there.

  2. Jim Ferrell says:

    i am constantly amazed at your delicate way you describe things (i.e. “investment opportunity”)
    Be persistent and you will succeed

  3. Realtors are worse shysters than car salesmen. And that’s saying something. Unfortunately for them, once they get you in the door, you can easily see how false their photography was. When we were house shopping, after a while, we stopped caring if we were being rude when we showed up at one of “those” houses. I’d happily tell the realtor their listing was full of lies and we’d leave. Maybe they’d hear that often enough to change? Honestly, I didn’t care; I just wasn’t going to waste any more of my time pretending to be nice.

    Interestingly enough, the house we bought wasn’t listed by a realtor; it was FSBO. We found it because it was in the area where we wanted to live and we drove around there periodically, making sure we didn’t miss any listings.

    • fitz says:

      I’m doing that, too (and putting the word out on the street, because you never know!).

    • billlattpa says:

      Funny, but I have a very similar story. Our realtor was showing us high priced garbage, and my wife and I happened upon a house that we liked. We called the sellers etc. and bought the place. Our realtor got word and actually called and left threatening messages even though we had not signed any deals or contracts with her. Finally, I called back and set her straight in terms that left no misunderstandings. Needless to say, I will do whatever possible to never deal with a realtor again.

      • Sorry, I meant the listing agents for those houses. My realtor was actually pretty good, for all of his faults.

        Sometimes you have to set people straight, though, and nobody gets me fired up to set them straight like a seedy salesperson, whether they’re selling houses or cars.

        Last year my wife contacted a dealership about one of the previous year’s demo cars they had on their lot. It was a Toyota, at a Toyota dealership. The salesman she got tried to get away with not even giving her the $6k manufacturer rebate on all previous year models, as was advertised by Toyota. I guess he thought he could get away with it. Unfortunately for him, that car was the last one we could find in a 500 mile radius with exactly what she wanted, so she couldn’t go anywhere else. She didn’t want to talk to him again and she wasn’t even willing to buy it with the $6K discount at that point. But when we buy a car, we drive for as long as we can, and I wasn’t about to deal with the moping about and sighs that would happen every time she went into the garage for the next 10 years if she didn’t get the car she REALLY wanted, so I called him up.

        I set him straight about trying to cheat my wife. Then I put him to the irons, because I’d been going to that dealership off and on for 20 years and I expected better from them. I ended up working my way up to the owner of the dealership and got the car for $10,500 less than the sticker price (and free oil changes for a year). Man, that felt good.

        Thing is, if he’d just given her the discount in the first place, she would have happily paid that amount.

        • fitz says:

          So…when I need a car, I’m inviting you to visit.

          • Happy to help with “negotiations”!

            I was mostly extra-aggressive because the guy was a dick and I can’t stand people like that. So you’d have to set someone up to TRY and cheat you, that way I could get myself in the right emotional state. 🙂

            • fitz says:

              In this hypothetical: I’m a woman, a woman buying a car. Not to generalize…but the odds are good the conditions are a given (if my past experience is a good indicator).

  4. Kinderhook88 says:

    I’m a remodeling contractor, and this is why I stay as far away from real estate agents (and investors) as I can. They’re shady, and they make contractors do shady things…

    • fitz says:

      Oh, I think some real estate agents are awesome. As in all professions, there’s good folks and bad, and a lot in between. The key is to work with someone you trust, and whose work you admire.

  5. toolnut says:

    No snark, completely serious, how did you describe your home in your listing?

    • fitz says:

      Ha! I’m planning to write that post the next time I’ve had a lot to drink (no, not in about an hour). Mine’s not listed yet, and I’m kind of at the mercy of my (very good) realtor on that front.

  6. snwoodwork says:

    In situation similar to the kilted fellow…We saw a house that had a single exterior picture taken from across the street. When we went in the house we were greeted with the calming smell of all the cat urine in the state and 1980’s toys (mint in box) hanging from strings all over the living room. Lesson learned.

  7. wb8nbs says:

    Yeah… two things I truly hate. Shopping for a house and shopping for a car.

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