I recently had a client who wanted me to use the word “charming” in marketing her Houston heights house.
Now, charming seems like a nice word, and evokes fond memories of the past…but not in real estate! Charming is a cover up for old those problems of an aging house. Realtors know what it really means.
Here are a few more terms. Partially tongue-in-cheek; partially true.
• Charming -this is Grandma’s old house…and it may smell like Grandma’s old house. It could be nice again, but not easily
• Original condition – unless you are the rare person hunting for that untouched house (i.e. a Houston Heights original home) leave it alone…you will be stepping back in time. See “charming” above
• Sunny corner lot – Sunny from the reflected light of all the passing cars on this busy corner
• Easy freeway access – you can hear those cars night and day
• Great location – but not much else is good
• Easy care yard – Not even enough room for the dog to poop
• Ready for your touches – Ready for a major expenditure
• Live in now, build later – that’s right, spend tons of money now to make it livable, and just dream about your future home
• Desirable neighborhood – you are going to pay extra to be snobbish
• Close to school – the little monsters are going to stomp your flowerbeds every day
• Friendly neighbors – they watch every move you make
• Secluded yard – overgrown – bring a machete
• Must see the inside – A derelict house that been painted on the inside
• Owner finance – No bank would loan on it
• Handyman special – Good luck getting a loan on it – see owner finance above
• Unique house – this could go either way: wonderful unique or creepy unique. Either way, it is not for normal people. Maybe a relocating Californian
• Urban living – watch the homeless urinating in the streets
• Cozy – small, cramped, great for those without furniture
• Motivated seller – let’s dump this place and get out of here
• Only one owner – probably about to die in it, and never updated
• Single car garage – good luck opening your car door once you squeeze in
• Sunroom – a room that will blast you out in Houston summer and you’ll pray for sun in the winter to heat it
• What about the lack of descriptive words? If there aren’t any puff terms, then even the Realtor couldn’t think of anything good to say about it. Don’t even bother, unless you are looking for a project
• And last – lack of photos? If there are few photos – it’s ugly, it’s packed full of junk, or a witch lives there
Looking at old homes is fun. Every one is different (I almost wrote “unique”). It’s more entertaining to compare the Realtor’s descriptive terms to the actual house. Have fun with it yourself…Rich
First time buyers should pay attention. Especially when buying a Houston Heights home or others in older neighborhoods.