Hawaii Randy's Real Estate Opinions: Real Estate Slang, Phrases and Terminology

Real Estate Slang, Phrases and Terminology

I hope this will help clear up some confusion among real estate professionals and the public.

In the course of doing business we constantly see phrases, terms and slang used to describe property.  Some are subjective which makes it at times confusing.  I will attempt to clear up a few and I will ask you to chime in with a few of your own.

In Hawaii we list the condition of homes and condos in one of the following categories:

Excellent Condition:

  • According to seasoned agents - Ready to move in and has upgrades.
  • According to new agents - Recently painted.
  • According to discount brokers - Recently cleaned.

Above Average Condition:

  • According to seasoned agents - Ready to move in, no upgrades.
  • According to new agents - Recently cleaned.
  • According to discount brokers - no junk cars in the yard.

Average Condition:Carport

  • According to seasoned agents -Needs paint and carpet.
  • According to new agents - Needs minor repairs, paint and carpet.
  • According to discount brokers - Needs repairs and has junk cars in the yard.

Fair Condition:

  • According to seasoned agents - Needs larger repairs, paint and carpet, probably dirty.
  • According to new agents - needs major repairs, not livable.
  • According to discount brokers - house fell down living in junk cars in the yard.

Poor Condition:

  • According to seasoned agents - needs major repairs, possible tear down.
  • According to new agents - house burned down.
  • According to discount brokers - there used to be house there.

Here are a few others I have heard:

  • While traveling in Branson Missouri - Gentle slope means the side of a cliff.
  • From one of my sellers - Partial Ocean View means if you go to the upstairs bedroom and stand on a chair you can see the ocean in a distance over the homes and trees. (This was real.  I am 6'4" and with the chair could barely see it)  I did persuade him to let me leave that out of the listing.
  • From an area limited services broker - Detached home with a large garage is a duplex (attached home) with a shared open carport.
  • From a FSBO - Newly remodeled kitchen equals new refrigerator.
  • From a local mortgage broker - No down payment means you get a $20,000 credit from the seller to pay closing costs.
  • From rookie agent -  Maintenance fee includes Cable TV means the condo has a cable outlet.
  • From another one of my sellers - Professional landscaping means he paid someone to cut the grass.
  • From a potential client -  Excellent condition and worth $200,000.00 more than any other in the neighbor.  Her explanation was that her 40 year old home had all the original cabinets and appliances.  You will not find that anywhere else.
  • From an area Realtor - Vintage décor means yellow shag carpet and avocado appliances.

This was a sampling of some I have run into in Hawaii.  I am sure each part of the country has some more unique to their market.



Randy L. Prothero, REALTOR®

Broker-in-Charge, ABR, AHWD, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, MRP, SFR

eXp Realty

Team Leader - "The Prothero Group"

Randy Prothero is well established as an expert in working with military / VA clients and first time home buyers.  His home seller's (listing) campaign is one of the most aggressive marketing programs in the area.  His luxury home listings sell faster and for more money.

Based out of Mililani, Hawaii. Randy services the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) Performs mediations and ombudsman services for the Board of Realtors.  To improve overall professionalism in his area Randy also offers classes for real estate agents. 

www.HawaiiRandy.comOahu (Honolulu County) Property Search  Hawaii Military Relocations

Comment balloon 48 commentsRandy Prothero • November 22 2006 11:31PM



Not bad, good blog

Ray Saenz

Posted by Ray Saenz, Homes for Sale in Laredo, TX - Texas, Realtor (Exit Realty Laredo) almost 13 years ago

Hi Randy,
Interesting how people try to put a positive spin without outright lying???

We realtors have our own way of writing ads:
Cozy = really small
Mature landscaping = bring your chainsaw
blah, blah, blah


Posted by Carol Williams, Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager (Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals.) almost 13 years ago

Carol - I like to focus on the positive features, but keep it honest. 

No one will buy a home that an agent lied to get them there.  They will just be either disappointed or angry.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 13 years ago

I do not know how people even try to get away with this... Making the best of the situation is one thing ... but, Honesty is ALWAYS the best policy - Right?

Posted by Derek and Mariana Wagner, The Artisan Group - Colorado Springs REALTORS® (The Artisan Group- Keller Williams Premier Realty ) almost 13 years ago

on another note, I love the new way of saying "I overpriced it to begin with" is "price adjustment"



Posted by Craig Bartels (The Indy Realty Shop) almost 13 years ago

Mariana - If you want to build a good reputation you want to always be as honest as possible

Angela - I have to add cottage to the list

Craig - Price Adjustment sounds so much better than overpriced doesn't it?  How about price reduced to sell?  I guess the previous price was set with the intention of not selling the home.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 13 years ago

it doesn't matter the amount of time an agent in our market has. I wish people used honest terms, there are properties you wouldn't let your dog into that are termed "good condition"

there are probably only 5 in a couple of thousand that are termed fair, and that is rare that it means fair, it refers to dilapidated.

i guess it's hard to turn it around.  if we actually entered fair in that category, everyone would think it was overpriced.  they reserve member remarks for a more accurate description, which makes it a little tougher to find when doing a search.


Posted by Joanne Brown (Rockland County Real Estate) almost 13 years ago

I loved vintage decor!  I always get nervous with "needs TLC".  I have seen everything from a house that needs to be painted to houses that need to be bulldozed.

Posted by Russ Perlowski, Tampa Real Estate (People's Choice Realty Services LLC) almost 13 years ago

Joanne - They don't like fair, because some lenders would fund on fair in our area.

Russ - TLC that sounds so nice, how about handyman special?

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 13 years ago

We deal with the view question a lot.  I've used the term

Peek-a-boo View. 

Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) almost 13 years ago

Hi Randy-

I once saw "Waterfront"  and it was a large drainage ditch......

Damn, there is creativity, then there is outright BS!

Posted by Marc Blasi almost 13 years ago


...needs TLC...means, ...needs the leveling contractor!

Thanks for the post and

Have a SAFE and Happy Thanksgiving!


Posted by Lucky Lang, Marco Island & Naples Florida Real Estate (Premiere Plus Realty Marco Island) almost 13 years ago


My favorite here in Florida is:

"Fixer Upper"-The home has no roof. The hurricanes ate it for lunch! :0) 

Have A Blessed Day Of Giving Thanks...

TLW "The Lovely Wife"...Of Course Mold Is A Problem With That...TLW...ROAR!

Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) almost 13 years ago
Yikes Vintage décor is what I grew up with -- remember raking your carpet?  Some things you learn better of the first time around.   Great post -- have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Posted by Colleen Kulikowski, Creative Real Estate Solutions... (The Griffin Team @ Keller Williams Realty) almost 13 years ago

yeah, "waterfront"... twice lately I've seen homes described by name brand veteran agents as "waterfront living".  You look at the address and think, yes, that's close to the river.  But when you pull into the neighborhood it turns out to be a 1000 sq ft retention pond with a pair of ducks on it... pshaw! 

Happy Thanksgiving Randy, and all the rest of you fine folks.

Posted by Bill Williams (Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Group) almost 13 years ago

Great post Randy, I always like, "Seller ready to sell" Well Ok then.

Have a great Thansgiving

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) almost 13 years ago
I guess description is subjective, it's all in the eyes of the agent?!?!?!?!  It's a great post and it brings up a common "fear" with certain words in all of us.
Posted by Cynthia Sloop (Community Association Manager) almost 13 years ago
We are seeing a lot of "mid-century classics" to describe "vintage" homes from the 40's-50's-60's 70's.
Posted by Roberta Murphy, Carlsbad Real Estate and Homes (San Diego Previews Real Estate) almost 13 years ago

Hey Randy! Great Post! I usually have to prepare my buyers to take whatever level of condition listed in the MLS and drop it down a notch so that they won't be too dissappointed when they get to the showing. If it actually shows as listed, it's a pleasant surprise. Remember the spin on tear downs? Usually listed as "Handyman's Special".


Have a great Thanksgiving!

Posted by Michael S. Mackey, REALTOR ABR, CRS, GRI, RSPS (CENTURY 21 All Islands) almost 13 years ago

Points out the wisdom of previewing properties before you take your buyer to see them.

Happy Thanksgiving from The Marriott Group at Keller Williams Realty Professional Partners!

Posted by Suzanne Marriott, Associate Broker, CLHMS, e-PRO (Keller Williams Arizona Realty) almost 13 years ago

Don't forget Motivated Seller!!  In other words, the agent has been getting her butt chewed because the house isn't selling and is threatening to go to the agency down the street.


Have a happy Turkey Day!

Posted by Shari George (Coldwell Banker Tomlinson) almost 13 years ago
Randy, you got me rolling over here. Great stuff. My two favorites are the last two.  And yes I have run into more that one "Vintage décor" at Open Houses.
Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) almost 13 years ago
I have always found that laying it all out in the MLS listing not only gets the best response, but buyers never get "surprised" at the showing!
Posted by Derek and Mariana Wagner, The Artisan Group - Colorado Springs REALTORS® (The Artisan Group- Keller Williams Premier Realty ) almost 13 years ago

How about "Seasonal water view"??



Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 13 years ago

Sharon - We also use Peek a Boo view, in some cases that means you need a periscope.

Caron - Was that house listed as average condition?

Marc - I heard of a place in the desert that was beach front.  Big beach, no water

Lucky - TLC also know as handyman special

TLW - If the home has no roof you could also call it a celestial view

Colleen - Raking the carpet?  We just use the leaf blower.

Bill - It could be worse, waterfront could be the septic system backs up.

Bryant - Seller ready to sell.  I am glad he finally came around.

Cynthia - The question we are all making fun of is whether it is subjective or misleading.

Roberta - "Mid Century Classics" I haven't seen that one here.  I am sure a few agents from Hawaii will be using that idea.

Michael - I am not sure if you remember the listing earlier in the year where the agent said in the remarks that it was a piece of Cr_ _.  He stirred a ton of interest in the home from the flip it community.

Suzanne - Good point about previewing.  I do have some investor clients who enjoy the mystery.  They feel like they are on a scavenger hunt.

Shari - Motivated seller, if not motivated why is the home for sale?

George - Vintage décor, is that the yellow shag carpet or the black velvet painting of the dogs playing poker.

Mariana - I couldn't have said it better

Lenn - What is seasonal water view?  I think I saw that on "Flip This House."  Is that when the leaves fall off the trees?

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 13 years ago
I always love what the sellers want to advertise!  I had a seller that wanted e to brag about their marble surrounds for the tubs.  These were installed in 1999 but were the older style with blue and brown swirls through them....YUCK!!!!  Sometimes the worst features of their house are what they focus on!
Posted by Chris Tesch, College Station, Texas Real Estate (RE/MAX Bryan-College Station) almost 13 years ago
Chris - That is anotrher topic.  How to tell your client they have bad taste without insulting them.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 13 years ago

I recently visited a home with "waterviews".... unfotunately it was only when you were getting the mail at the end of the driveway..

Isnt it best to understate it some to enhance the "pleasent surprise" factor? If its overstated the harder they fall! 

Posted by Carl Guild, Central Connecticut Real Estate (Carl Guild & Associates) almost 13 years ago

I heard of one, I did not actually see the house. But it was clearly listed in the MLS that POOL does not work. That sounds fine, however, the seller, who is one of my investors wanted to know why this home was not selling, he had already gone thru at least 3 other Realtors (It is listed out of area with another realtor) I decided to ask him some more questions to try to get a feel as to why the home is not selling. Mind you its listed way, way below market value. He candidly said when he was there, one potential buyer said the dead snakes and frogs scared her. Not to mention the yucky green water in the pool - who knows what else is in that POOL!  He decided to fill the pool in.

Posted by Netta Blackwood, REO/BPO Expert (La Rosa Realty) almost 13 years ago
the worst phrase out of all is "motivated seller" lol , great blog
Posted by Eddy Martinez (Nationwide Funding Group) almost 13 years ago

Natural skylights= in need of a roof!

Indoor swimming pool=when it rains hard.

TLC =Tons of Liquid Cash! *

Cute,charming,adorable= SMALL

Convenient to the Highway=You can hear the roar!

Indoor Outhouse= use your imagination!

Price reflects the "AS IS" condition= needs TLC *



Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) almost 13 years ago

My favorite is the stepsaver kitchen, means you can barely turn around in it. 

We have a seller right now who wants us to advertise that he is a former pro football player.  Ummm, OK?

Posted by Michele Van Detti (CJR) almost 13 years ago
It is amazing how much things get twisted to make it sound better.  In the lending side, as Marc Blasi pointed out in his blog, some brokers call negative ammortization, deferred interest.  We try to pretty it up to make it sell.  Kind of like: I have freshly captured mowed grass that you can use in your flower beds to help with fertilizing naturally.  (In case you do not get this, I have horses)... :) Have a Happy Thanksgiving.
Posted by Jason Price (Mortgage Financial Group, Inc) almost 13 years ago
So you consider yourself a "Discount Broker"?
Posted by Candybags almost 13 years ago
Thanks for the chuckle Randy. 
Posted by Stefan Scholl, Northern Michigan Real Estate (Buyer's Broker of Northern Michigan, LLC) almost 13 years ago

Carl - You don't need to understate.  After all your job is to get as many buyers as possible to look at the property.  But you definitely do not want to shock them when they arrive.

Netta - And he had to ask?

Eddy - I refuse to work with sellers who are not motivated.

Margaret - Good list, thank you for adding

Michele - Former NFL player?  His he applying for a job or selling a home?

Jason - Instead of negative amortization which sounds negative they use 1% loan here.

Candybags - I am not a discount broker, Even though I am one of the highest priced brokers, I am a bargain.  My previous blog was a spoof.

Stephan - Sometimes we need to lighten up.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 13 years ago
Randy, I posted something similar the other day, entitled Creative Listing Terminology 101, that also has a link to a good article in the Rocky Mountain News to the same effect.  We have to have a sense of humor...and never forget caveat emptor - buyer beware!
Posted by Gabriel Silverstein, SIOR (Angelic Real Estate, LLC) almost 13 years ago

The one that I heard recently in Vancouver, BC was a single level studio/bachelor referred to as a loft...

Of course, my favourite is 'easy to show' and you can't get anyone on the phone.

Posted by Ryan Windsor (RE/MAX Crest Realty (Westside)) almost 13 years ago

Everything is relative.  One man's castle is another man's shack.


Posted by Kristal Kraft, Selling Metro Denver Real Estate - 303-589-2022 (The Berkshire Group Realtors) almost 13 years ago

The one that always makes me chuckle is: ' hurry, this one won't last' then you look at days on the market.........

or, 'this could be a great house'   well what is it now, exactly????

Smiles to you Randy, cool post

Posted by Carole Cohen, Realtor, ePRO (Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office) almost 13 years ago

Gabriel - Great minds think alike, I read your post and the newspaper article both were very good. A little humor goes a long way.

Ryan - I get the easy to show one a lot.

Kristal - The question is does he see the shack as Above Average?

Carole - Maybe they are planning to withdraw it from the market and give up.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 13 years ago
A rose by any other name is still a rose. A diaper is still a diaper!
Posted by Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904 (St.Cloud Homes ) almost 13 years ago

The biggest lie in Manhattan is: a studio apartment that is listed as a 1 bedroom they don't even call it a "Junior 1 bedroom" anymore.

Many agents are now listing studio apartments as "mini lofts"

"Won't Last" on the market for 6 months

"Priced to Sell" what does that mean?

"Bring your own designer"  updated version of "TLC"

"Partial river view" if you stick your head out the window

"original condition"  1950's kitchen

It is all relative the worst falling down shack in Hawaii still sounds like "living in paradise" to me

Posted by Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn (Compass) almost 13 years ago

Allison - And a full diaper always smells bad

Mitchell - I just sold a studio in Honolulu where the seller's agent insisted it was a 1 bedroom.  I asked him to show me the bedroom.  I also asked him to show me in the tax records where it was a one bedroom.  His response was that is what everyone calls them.  I disagreed, we called it a studio in our offer.  It was the lowest sale of the year for me.  It closed and turned out to be my messiest escrow ever.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 13 years ago

Real Estate Agents are optimists!!

Posted by Kathleen Chang over 10 years ago

Kathleen - The successful one are optimists.  The less than honest, usually do not last.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

You know, as an agent I have the same compaints. When checking property listings for my clients, I depend on the agent to be honest when submitting comments. Unfortunately, just as they lie to you as a client, we as agents seeking homes for buyers are also lied to, avoided, and yes we even experience unbelivable cruelty.

Posted by Anonymous over 10 years ago

Does anyone know what TGIF has to do with Real Estate.  One thought is "toes go in first" or do you think it has a deeper meening?

Posted by Lana over 9 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments