beginners-guide

10 real estate traps

By Vivienne Kelly
Real estate agent traps

A buyer’s agent has released a tongue-in-cheek ‘guide to real estate speak’ to property buyers, warning them about the true meanings behind agents' cliches and marketing material. 

Skeen Property Buyers and Management’s Robert Skeen released the guide to what agents say, as opposed to what they really mean. Mr Skeen says property buyers have “probably heard every clichéd agent line in the book”, but he wanted to reveal the true meaning behind the words.

1. “Price guides”
“One of the most frustrating responses from agents is regarding price,” Mr Skeen said. He said buyers who have been looking for “more than five minutes” know that quoted prices are “always undercooked”, and he advised property searchers to “add at least another 10 per cent to the higher end of the guide and go from there”.

2. “Subject to council approval (STCA)”
Flagging potential for improvement is a nice selling line for agents, Mr Skeen said, but he warned buyers need to beware.

“Agents add STCA to their marketing campaigns with little to no knowledge of what’s actually possible.”

3. “Close to transport”
Calling this a “well-worn line”, Mr Skeen said the cliche can be cause for alarm bells.

“When they say ‘close’, do they mean your windows are rattling every time a train goes past or you’re ducking every time a plane take off?”

4. “Plenty of off-street parking”
In this instance, Mr Skeen pointed to the deceptive nature of some real estate photographs. “Can you really squeeze two cars into that space? On the brochure, it looks possible, but if you get the measuring tape out, it may only hold a Mini and a smart car,” he said.

5. “Sought-after area”
Highlighting that everyone wants a sought-after area, Mr Skeen said agents drop this line into conversation and marketing collateral in order to sow the seed for buyers “to pay a ridiculous price for a fancy location”.

6. “Renovator’s delight”
Perhaps one of the most derided phrases in the real estate lexicon, Mr Skeen said it often means deceased estate, “And do you know what that means? Every room has different wallpaper, there’s a funky smell and wild animals have taken over the overgrown garden”.

7. “Tranquil location”
“Basically, it’s miles from anywhere” is Mr Skeen’s interpretation of this one.

“This may be appealing if you’re looking at retirement villages, but if you’re buying a home then you’d better be prepared to travel long distances to get a coffee or any shopping done.”

8. “Will suit first-home buyers”
“On hearing this one, you might think you’re in for a bargain, but this property is likely so unappealing that only rookie buyers and investors would touch it with a 50-foot pole,” Mr Skeen said.

9. “Plenty of potential”
Mr Skeen advised buyers not to get “starry-eyed with grand renovation dreams”, saying new owners are more likely to face lost time, lots of heartache and the opportunity to part with plenty of money.

10. “Recently renovated”
When they hear this phrase, Mr Skeen advised property shoppers to “look beyond the nice paintwork and shiny floorboards” because “potentially it could be a cheap renovation turnaround for a quick sale”.

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