Houses for sale: colourful use of English?

Do you remember when, wherever you looked and even when you didn’t, you’d hear about how house prices were increasing yet again? Well, in the past four years the average house price* in Leeds has reduced by 10% to £126,178. Enough to make moving house very difficult for many people but not enough to make houses affordable for most first time house buyers.

Estate agents are no longer the villains of the piece – currently they have been replaced by certain multi-national companies who are avoiding paying tax.

As the housing market has become more difficult it seems to me estate agent’s descriptions have become more colourful. As someone who spent most of his career involved with residential property, even now I am retired I still look at what properties are for sale and am often amused by how they are described.

So here are a few descriptions which appealed to me with my translation of what might be really meant:

‘Residence retaining many attractive original features’ – Large parts of the house haven’t seen a lick of paint for 30 years

‘In need of some updating and with great potential’ – Large parts of the house haven’t seen a lick of paint for 40 years but if you have ten years available you might be able to make the house habitable

‘Further scope for development’ – Large parts of the house haven’t seen a lick of paint for 50 years

‘Total refurbishment needed’ – Next stop demolition

‘Viewing is a must to appreciate…’ – Photographer has never used a camera before

‘Located towards the end of a quiet lane that peters out into a farm track’ – Up a 1 in 3 track which is impassable in winter

‘Detached family home in this popular rural village, close to the A1’ – You can hear the traffic

‘Located a skip and a jump away from motorway links’ – You can hear and see the traffic

‘This deceptively spacious property’ – Not quite as minute as it looks

‘Tastefully presented’ – All defects now covered up

‘Ample off street parking’ – No garage

‘May well prove suitable to an… expanding buyer’ – suitable for someone eating continuously over Christmas

‘Easily manageable garden’ – back yard

‘Low maintenance gardens’ – See easily manageable garden

‘Within healthy walking distance of the town centre’ – within 40 minutes brisk walk of the outskirts of the town centre

‘Incredible £40,000 reduction’ – previously grossly over-valued, now just over -valued

‘And additional land to the rear ideal for those with children and animals’ – they can be kept in kennels together

‘The unusually light and airy home’ – no roof and no glass in windows

‘Riverside walks’ – recently flooded

To be fair, house sellers are often very proud of their homes and estate agents have a delicate line to tread in making sure their descriptions are as accurate as possible without their clients getting upset about their pride and joy. So my favourite is:

‘Words elude us as to how best to describe this completely unique home’ – Estate agent hung over from Christmas party…

* Source:



This article was written by Stephen Williamson using our Community Reporters website at

Enhanced by Zemanta