Breaking Down Real Estate AdSpeak – Funny Definitions for Real Estate Jargon


The Washington State University Department of Mathematics has blessed the real estate world with new definitions for some real estate terms we often see real estate agents and FSBOs use in the classified ads. Leave it to the math geeks to come up with something clever during the great housing bubble of the new millennium . . .

  • Old charmer – an old and ugly house
  • Stunning house – the house is not ugly
  • Tudor – two bedrooms are in the attic which is not insulated; very hot in summer and very cold in winter
  • Cape Cod – styled after Third World slum dwellings
  • Sunny corner lot – noisy intersection of two busy streets
  • Easy freeway access – noisy arterial street close to freeway
  • Low maintenance lot – no yard; the kids will have to play in the street
  • Meticulously maintained in the original condition – the appliances are 50 years old
  • Ready to remodel – the house is about to collapse; you will have to invest twice the asking price in remodel before you can move in
  • Newly remodeled kitchen – 50-year old cabinetry and faucets have been replaced with cheap modern equivalents
  • Ready to move in – the interior has been painted with one coat of cheap paint
  • Desirable neighborhood – this little house is extravagantly overpriced because the neighborhood has a snobbish reputation
  • 1 car garage – you can drive your Ford Escort into the garage but there is no room to open the door
  • In-city living – it is not safe to walk in this neighborhood after dark
  • Recreation room with wet bar – basement has been painted and has a faucet
  • Large family room – large basement
  • Bedroom in basement – basement has a 1′ by 2′ window
  • Lots of storage space – basement too small to be called a family room
  • Partial mountain view – you can see the tip of Mt. Olympus if you climb the roof
  • Territorial view – good view of your neighbor’s bedroom window
  • Build sweat equity – the house is not inhabitable
  • Storybook – the house is old and the roof is not flat
  • Efficiently designed kitchen – the kitchen is too small to fit two people at the same time
  • Seasonal creek – muddy ditch across the property
  • Usable land – all the trees are gone.
  • Doll-house – tiny place filled with ugly knick-knacks.
  • Country living – too far from anywhere to drive to work
  • Country in the city – a grotesquely overpriced large lot with a 2 bedroom house built before World War I
  • Cozy – not a single room could fit a full size bed
  • Three season sunroom – a small addition the owner did not have enough money to insulate
  • Close to all amenities – the backyard is a shopping mall parking
  • Beachfront property, complete remodeling in 1996, a steal at this asking price – hurricane Andrew motivated the remodeling; no hurricane insurance available, at any price
  • Must see inside – the outside is ugly
  • Motivated sellers – subtract 15% from the asking price
  • Easy to heat – see “cozy”
  • Wildlife nearby – children and pets get ticks and fleas
  • Near transportation – Amtrak train goes through the backyard, every 15 minutes, day and night
  • Pet friendly neighborhood – organic matter constantly deposited in the front lawn
  • Neighborhood watch – your next door neighbor has binoculars trained on your house
  • Just available – previous owner just died on the premises, hope you don’t believe in ghosts

Thanks to the ConstructionDeal Blog for putting us on to this.

About Author

Joshua Dorkin

Joshua Dorkin (@jrdorkin, Google+) founded when he saw a need for free, trustworthy information about real estate investing online. Over the past 12 years, Josh has grown the site from self-funded hobby to full-time job and passion. Today, BiggerPockets brings together over 600,000 members, housing the world’s largest library of real estate content, iTunes’ #1 real estate podcast, and an array of analysis tools, all geared toward helping users succeed.


  1. I really enjoyed your funny lists (which is why I linked it to the Shak & Jill site at Shakadoo!). I need to find the cartoon sometime that has “how a house looks” to different people (looks like a rat-infested KFC to appraiser, like a palace to realtor, like a charming cottage to buyer, etc.). It’s too funny!

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