20 things estate agents say and what they really mean

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  • New to househunting? We feel your pain. Learn to read the truth behind estate-agent speak and it will save you a whole heap of time and energy. Here's our handy glossary - early viewing is essential

    Estate agents, bless them, have their own special way with words. And, as
    if spiralling house prices aren’t enough to sink all hope in
    prospective first-time buyers, they also have to navigate the thorny
    double-speak of the profession’s property descriptions.

    We’ve all been there – beside ourselves with excitement about our carefully curated, must-see list of properties that have filled our waking – and sleeping – moments for days, only to stand outside said property and feel the earth give way beneath our feet. Disappointed!

    Anyone who’s been searching for their dream home through months of frustrated viewings will have learned to fine-tune their reading-between-the-lines skills to Enigma code-breaking levels. But if you’re new to the game, we hope our little estate-agent translations may help get you started:

    Estate agents say: Some original features are retained

    Estate agents mean: But most have been stolen

    Estate agents say: Gas cooker point, space for fridge-freezer

    Estate agents mean: No cooker. Or fridge-freezer

    Estate agents say: Requires some TLC

    Estate agents mean: But only from the electrician, plumber, carpenter, builder, decorator, carpet fitter, roofer and local planning officer

    Estate agents say: Part refurbished

    They mean: …but then the money ran out

    Estate agents say: Wood-effect units

    They mean: It is impossible to say what these units are made of

    Estate agents say: Easy access to local shops, public transport and motorway links

    They mean: Wear ear plugs at all times

    Estate agents say: Transport links can be sourced locally

    They mean: Good luck finding them

    Estate agents say: Dining room with open access to the kitchen

    They mean: Kitchen-diner

    Estate agents say: Utility room comprising light and power

    They mean: And little else

    Estate agents say: Active town centre

    They mean: My, the locals do enjoy their ale

    Estate agents say: Double glazed and centrally heated (where specified)

    They mean: No double glazing. Or central heating

    Estate agents say: Realistically priced

    They mean: Astronomically expensive

    Estate agents say: Feature electric fire

    They mean: You might want to cover this up when you have visitors

    Estate agents say: Mostly laid to lawn

    They mean: Rubble and shopping trolleys also feature

    Estate agents say: Low-maintenance garden

    They mean: Concrete

    Estate agents say: French doors allowing natural light to flood in

    They mean: No curtains

    Estate agents say: Enclosed rear garden, which is not overlooked

    They mean: This house is on wasteland

    Estate agents say: Gated access to street

    They mean: It’s for your own protection

    Estate agents say: Deceptively spacious

    They mean: Small

    Estate agents say: Excellent opportunity/offering superb value/attractively priced

    They mean: For pity’s sake, help us out. This thing’s been on our books for months

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    *Image Which Way is the Housing Market Going by Images Money is licensed under CC by 2.0

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