Can you just imagine a real estate agent describing a property as having ‘repulsive decor and a so-called garden’ or ‘a glum flat for midgets’?   Well, it actually happened – and it was an estate agent in London, Roy Brooks, who coined these phrases plus many more others in his very unconventional way of selling property that made him a legend the world over.

Brooks’ hilarious and honest property descriptions were published in the Sunday Times and the Observer and they became so popular that the newspapers didn’t charge him advertising fees because the ads boosted their circulation figures.  The best of his comic gems have been published in several books, and the Roy Brooks estate agency is still in business but they now use more regular sales talk!. 

Estate agent language has long been the subject of many jokes and parodies, but there is certainly an art to writing and interpreting it.  The profession consistently ranks as one of the ‘least trusted professions’, but the reality is that they often have to make something good out of challenging situations   Or are they?   Are they messing with our minds – trying to hoodwink us by disguising reality with fancy language or are they telling it like it is?   You may be buying a home that’s on a cul de sac (but they haven’t told you that the M4 motorway goes past the back of the property!.  Here are some descriptions and their translations for you to make your own mind up.

Size does count – especially when it comes to property, so what are the meanings of the following descriptive phrases?.

Studio                                    You can watch TV, open the front door, do the laundry, cook a meal and wash it up …all whilst you’re sitting on the toilet

Compact                            Tiny – divided by two

Five bedrooms                 Three bedrooms and two build-in cupboards

Easily manageable               One room with no garden

As real estate agents in Bentley remind us, the golden rule of property is location, location, location.  So just what do estate agents mean when they describe where the home or flat is and who else lives in the area?.

{Quiet neighbourhood}     Nobody dares start their car before 9.00am or have a conversation in their garden otherwise the neighbours will call the authorities.

Friendly neighbours            Very nosy neighbours who are constantly at your front door, inviting themselves in and making themselves quite at home in your home.

Close to shopping centre             Next door to a busy shopping mall

Convenient for schools                        Screaming children, incessant bells, never-ending traffic and parents’ social gatherings on the pavement – all day.

The airport is easily accessible  Never switch on lights in the evening in case plane lands on your home.

Up and coming area            Can’t get any worse .

And when it comes to space and gardens, what clues should potential buyers be looking at when it comes to descriptions?

Mature garden            Scientists would easily find undiscovered species living in your jungle.

Manageable garden                  A few pavers in a two metre square ‘space’.

And now for some classics….

Full of character     Was used on the set of the Halloween movies

Original features         Nothing has been done to the house in the last thirty years

Needs updating            Demolish it.  

There are literally hundreds of terms and most people have their own stories to tell.  But for a professional estate agent, the challenge is to come up with descriptions that are fresh, legitimate and appealing… after all, sellers want to sell and buyers are looking to buy .  Experienced real estate agents in Victoria Park, Perth, say the over-riding principle is to ensure that both parties feel they get a good deal.  And that sounds like ‘estate agent speak’ that we can all understand!

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