Oh, the places I’ve seen and the apartments I’ve read about here in NYC. Honestly, when I first started in this biz, I believed every word I read—in a property description—penned by real estate agents. (I was eager and naïve—seduced by fancy adjectives, so give me a break!)
Some people call this Broker-Babble, I call it BS…Broker-Speak.
To understand this language used amongst Manhattan insiders, I thought it would be nice to share it with you—the public.
Green-living: If an agent uses this term for a lower-end property, under the $450K range for a sale, you—the buyer can conclude that this means no central air-conditioning or window units in the apartment. You will rely on the environmental-friendly breeze that you will receive from opening the unit’s one or two windows.
Zen-like Garden: Again, if an apartment is lower-end, under the $3K range for a rental, the renter can assume that the garden/outdoor space is a concrete slab, measuring 3ft X 4ft, with no hues of green-ery. Think, minimalism, at its finest…
Sprawling: Now this adjective is used a lot, and it doesn’t matter if it is a high-end or low-end unit. When I think of a sprawling home, I usually think of the PONDEROSA (on the show BONANAZA, not that old buffet-styled restaurant). But the buyer or renter can assume, when reading such an adjective as this one, that the apartment will not fit the entire Cartwright clan. Maybe, Little Joe and a guest, and possibly a small dog would compliment such a sprawling adobe.
Rare or Rarely Available: This means it’s an apartment or townhome that’s a “rare” listing for the current agent, not that such a unit is rarely available to a buyer or renter. Just this week, we have 500+ listings with this rare adjective.
Peaceful: This means that the unit’s window(s) face a brick wall, making it very quiet and peaceful inside. Who needs sunshine, anyway?
Now, sometimes there isn’t a property description. And even the most experienced of professionals, such as Moi, has to physically go to the apartment (hopefully without a client), to find the words.
Let me give you an example: A few years back, rentals, in a certain area downtown, never needed a full property description because as soon as they hit the market, they were gone in two days. Sometimes the listing agent would add a few photos of the apartment online, which was helpful, at times. But basically, you had to wing-it as a real estate agent (who represented renters) and as a renter. So one afternoon, I was winging-it with a renter. I took him to an apartment, located in his desirable area (West Village).
Now the apartment’s pictures were nice (I’ll refrain from using the word “charming”—that’s a whole different post!)—exposed brick, high-ceilings, hard wood floors and so on. My client thought this was “the one,” and so did I—from those photos. Well, what the pictures did not show was that the apartment’s bathroom sink was in a closet, located in the living room, the shower was located next to the sink in the kitchen, and the toilet was located in a closet on the other end of the kitchen. I was mad and embarrassed by this apartment that I took my rental client to with no property description! So, standing in the apartment’s kitchen, I told the agent that it would’ve been professionally courteous if she would’ve told me about this configuration when I scheduled the appointment (Honestly, I’ve heard of a working-triangle in a kitchen, but a grooming-triangle-layout, involving two rooms and closets is just ridiculous, to me). Her response, “I told you it was ARTSY.’” My client was an associate-level banker. Do I need to say more? That day, Artsy and Artist-like were added to my Do-not-show-apartment-to-a-working-professional, like a banker, list.
Oh, I love NYC and the many languages it speaks, to me!