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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Realtorese, Translated

As I mentioned before, my wife and I are planning a move. We’re not sure quite when, or to precisely where, or which debilitating injuries we’ll sustain when we try lugging our stuff to the new place. I’m leaning toward a slipped disc for me, and maybe a sprained shoulder for her. But I might go with the fractured toes, instead. Or maybe a separated shoulder. It’s early in the game; I’m just spitballing at this point.

We have, however, taken the first two major steps toward selling our house, buying another, moving all our shit and wondering what temporary madness overcame us to want to endure such a nightmare. Step one, as I’ve already covered, is telling people that you’re going to move. We did that. So now our friends hound us relentlessly, asking whether we’ve signed an offer yet, or found a broker, or cleaned all the ridiculous clutter out of our house.

We’ve done none of those things. That would require actual effort and commitment. Clearly, we’re not ready for that. Baby steps is what we’re after here. So in that spirit, I’ve started scouting online to see what sorts of places are on the local market, and how many various appendages and which-born children are represented in the asking prices.

“Just remember — if the place sounds too good to be true, it’s probably actually four feet square, made of cardboard and currently owned by Hannibal Lechter.”

Given that we don’t actually own any children, or have any easily-removable appendages to offer, it’s been a little daunting. In the process, though, I’ve been reminded of that special subgenre of English that is Realtorese. I’m somewhat familiar with this particular dialect, from our experience in buying the house we’re in now. So I’m happy to share my knowledge with those of you who may not have been exposed to such language. Allow me to translate a few words and phrases from the listings I’ve been reading today:

loft-style: Tiny.

charming: Especially tiny.

efficient: If a chihuahua could turn around in this joint, it would be a miracle.

quiet neighborhood: No one will ever hear the screams coming from your basement. Free windowless van for first-time serial killers buyers!

newly renovated: Oh, thank goodness. We finally chased the rats out of that place. Mostly.

well-maintained: Owner has borderline OCD. Prepare to see the most frighteningly well-organized closet since Lurch pressed and hung six all-black suits every week back in the ’60s.

immaculate: Owner has clinically diagnosed OCD. Please tap your left foot exactly six times on the doorstep and say, ‘Olly olly oxen free‘ when you enter the kitchen, or don’t bother making an offer.

priced to sell: Originally listed at three times market value. But today, ten percent off. You buy now!

new-ish: It’s possible the structure is younger than your grandmother. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

needs updating: Last renovated during the Eisenhower administration. Heat sources may include coal-burning stoves, open campfires and beaver pelts.

old-school charm: Cavemen are actually physically living in this place, right now. If you can get past the pterodactyl vacuum cleaner marks and the dogasaurus scratches on the hardwood floors, it’s all yours.

southern exposure: The neighbors can totally see into your bathroom while you’re dropping a deuce.

in rarely-available building: One of the octagenarians finally died in the Old Folks’ Home. Make an offer!

fixer-upper: A hole. Steer clear.

needs TLC: An absolute hole. Unless you’re a professional contractor, you’ll likely die here during a ‘home improvement’ project.

great investment opportunity: Just draft a will right now. This house is your coffin. Congratulations, tough guy.

convenient to public transportation: The realtor’s uncle Chester drives a bus past the place a couple of times a week. Unless Chester’s sleeping off a hangover. Which is always.

open layout: No walls whatsoever. You’re bidding on an airplane hangar here.

modern: No ceilings, either .Fifty-fifty, it’s just some guy’s patio masquerading as a ‘studio apartment’.

near shopping: Hey. Compared to people in Thailand, you’re right next to that shopping mall three towns over, bub. Quit yer bitching.

FREE PLASMA w/SALE: Holy freaking Christ. They’re either deranged serial killers who are going to kill me and drink my blood at the open house… or I’m about to get the best. Deal. EVAR. Where’s my checkbook? And maybe a Kevlar vest. At least they didn’t say it was an ‘investment opportunity’, right?

So there you go. Just refer to this handy list the next time you’re in the market for a new abode, and don’t know quite what those real estate jockeys are trying to telling you.

Just remember — if the place sounds too good to be true, it’s probably actually four feet square, made of cardboard and currently owned by Hannibal Lechter. And if the open house is scheduled sometime in the wee hours of the morning, and it’s bring your own plasma IV needles? Run like hell.

Oh, wait. Maybe they mean a plasma television. Still, I’d play it safe and shy away. The commissions on places like that are murder.

Permalink  |  3 Comments

3 Responses to “Realtorese, Translated”

  1. kerry says:

    evar will be so tickled he got a mention. :)

    i can feel my neck seizing up just thinking about when we were looking for a home. we must have looked at close to 50 houses. and about half way through our house hunting i couldn’t move my neck. at all. it was one of the worst periods of my life. i’m thinking we’ll do it again in a few years.

  2. Charlie says:

    I feel your pain, Kerry. And I’m starting to get the same neck injury, I think.

    It began when the mortgage person told us how high the stack of bills would have to be to pay off the loan. Real sense of humor on those guys. The bastards.

    I think I want to go live in a pond now. Those are rent-controlled, right?

  3. kerry says:

    i wouldn’t count on it.

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