Love Live DC: Real Estate Descriptions Deciphered

This weekly column is written and sponsored by D.C. real estate agent and Edgewood resident Jessica Evans. Email her questions at  [email protected].

A good real estate property description should be detailed and compelling, and give the reader a good idea of whether a property is something that they might be interested in. I often find descriptions and listing remarks filled with the same ambiguous phrases and vague euphemisms that lead to more questions than answers. The MLS listing remarks are limited to a short 400 characters, so it’s sometimes necessary to read between the lines and consider both what is included and what isn’t.  Below I’m sharing some insight into what these overused statements really mean.

Cozy = I hope you don’t like a lot of space or have a lot of stuff. Potentially too small for normal sized furniture.

Charming = Sometimes a synonym for old or “vintage.” Most often, not recently updated.

So much potential = Be prepared to spend time and money realizing that potential.

Solid bones = Usually used when there isn’t anything positive to say about the rest of the house.

Perfect for entertaining = Is any house not perfect for entertaining? I haven’t yet figured this one out.

Possible mold or water damage = There’s definitely mold and water damage, enter at your own risk.

Possible off street parking = Depends if you have a smart car or SUV, or, once you remove a concrete wall and regrade the yard you may be able to park there.

Lots of development in the area = The neighborhood might not look like much right now, but just wait! Maybe a good idea to do some research on the area first.

Close to commuter routes = Not walkable, but if you have a car, you can get anywhere, even to work. May also indicate traffic noise or volume.

Close to metro (distance not specified) = This could be a few blocks or a few miles. Usually if its less than a mile the exact distance will be noted.

In-law suite/basement rental potential = The home has a basement. Every home with a basement has this potential, although what it will take to create an income producing space will vary greatly. If you are looking for a legally rentable separate apartment, look for the words certificate of occupancy or C of O.

“As-is” = The seller will not be making any repairs. This doesn’t mean that there are known issues with the home, or that there will be repairs necessary.

Great views = You can at least see some blue sky and possibly rooftops of other buildings. There are very few truly great views in DC, and they usually speak for themselves in the photos.

What are your favorite lines that are overused in real estate descriptions?

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