House hunting can be daunting and unfamiliar territory for most people, especially those taking their first venture into homeownership. Since we’re here to help you get the home of your dreams, we thought we’d share with you some of the biggest real estate buzz words that will perk up your ears, but not necessarily mean good things ahead. Like any industry, real estate is all about the marketing, and the best tool you can have when braving this uncharted territory is knowledge of the local language – in other words, the “lingo”. Here we’ve found the top 7 buzz words used often to describe less than perfect homes, and now you’ll be able to spot them from a mile away!
1. “Condo alternative”
Read: Miniature house.
The term “condo alternative” is used to describe a single, detached home in the same price range as a condo or town home. Sounds amazing right? Well, maybe not. The fact of the matter is, these homes are usually teeny tiny houses with bedrooms you can barely fit a queen sized bed in, bathrooms you can barely close the door of and living rooms that seat, at most, 4 people. Generally speaking, any detached home in the same price range as a condo is going to be either small, old or non-functioning. It’s better to stick with a condo in this situation, rather that being swayed by the fact that this is a free-standing home!
2. “Offered as is”
Read: Purchase at your own risk.
Anything being sold “as is” is being sold that way for a reason. Imagine you’re buying a perfectly good sweater at your local store and you notice it’s marked “as is”, what’s your initial reaction? That’s right, “what’s wrong with it?”. You know if someone is trying to get something out the door so badly that they won’t offer any sort of refund policy it must be for good reason. Although you can never return a home, the same logic goes for homes listed as is. In these cases, the home owner lists the price regardless of inspection results and often knows there are some pretty bad things going on in there. It could contain anything from burst pipes, to roach infestations to a leaky roof, but the fact is they are not in the business of negotiating on the price. As is homes are pretty much take it or leave it (and in most cases, you should probably leave it).
3. “Pride of ownership shows”
If you don’t stop to think about it, this sounds like an all around win! Someone who took care of their home and dealt with all the maintenance issues that arose? Sign us up! But wait – just because someone took wonderful care and pride in their home doesn’t mean it’s going to be up-t0-date. A good example is to think about your Grandmother’s kitchen – immaculate right? Everything is scrubbed down to the last speck of dirt behind the oven, but it’s old and outdated as time itself. Just because someone took great care of their home, doesn’t mean it isn’t stuck in a 1980’s time warp. When you see these terms, be wary. You might just find a well preserved antique instead of an awesome move-in-ready home.
4. “In one of the hottest neighbourhoods”
Read: We’re trying to be a popular neighbourhood, but we’re not quite there yet!
In the world of real estate, “hot” and “popular” are two very different things. On the one hand you have the very well-established, sought-after neighbourhood which is hard to find homes in because everyone scoops them up so fast (popular). On the other hand you have the “hot”, “up and coming” neighbourhood that is just being established, has very few amenities, may be far from city centres and is something the developers are wishing takes off! While it very well may become the next “coveted” neighbourhood in your city, it’s safe to say if they’re using the term “Hot” to describe it, it’s still in it’s very early stages of development.
5. “Attention: Investors”
Read: Tear it down.
Most of the time, when a real estate agent is targeting investors only, it’s for a very good reason. Many of these homes are run down to the point of no return, and require a complete gutting and remodelling from the foundation up, which is likely to set you back double what you paid. Which makes this the perfect opportunity for people in the business of real estate flipping to earn some cold hard cash – not for the first time homebuyer!
6. “Not a drive-by”
Read: Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Many times, when the words “not a drive-by” are used, it’s implying that you have a reason to keep on driving by. This usually means terrible curb appeal, unkempt gardens and dilapidated garages, everything that would definitely keep you moving on your tour of prospective new homes. This saying isn’t all bad though, as usually the interior of the house is in great condition and will captivate you once you get past the ugly exterior. Updating curb appeal can be a very lengthy, and expensive process so before you fall in love with a “drive-by” home, make sure you’re willing to put in the time and effort needed to update it’s looks.
7. “Natural landscaping”
Read: Never been touched.
The term “natural landscaping” is a green thumb’s worst nightmare! Be prepared to see overgrown bushes, random patches of wild flowers and a lawn that now resembles a wheat field more than a golf course. While these things can sometimes be endearing (like the photo above, who wouldn’t want a work shed like that?) they’re often much more of a hassle than anything else. Trying to get the landscaping of a home under control can take a lot of time and money, so just make sure you’re ready to deal with all the weeds you’re about to uncover.