If you visit WWK, you’ve probably seen my blogs about my house, AKA Musty Manor. I love this ramshackle house by the sea, but my lease is up at the end of May so I’ll have to say goodbye to the dear girl soon. The latest nor’easter was not good to my favorite tear down (I have to whisper – I don’t want her to hear) so I’m starting to see the merits in buying a newer home.
Since my dream of tearing down Musty Manor and rebuilding her exactly the same (except with modern bathrooms, modern kitchen, new roof, new windows, new garage, new walls, new wiring) won’t be coming true, I spend a lot of time thinking about real estate, watching real estate shows, and searching real estate listings.
Aside from finding a home where the doors actually close, shopping for real estate is its own consolation. Touring houses appeals to both the house hunter in me and the writer. And if I’m honest, the snoop in me, too.
I spend a lot of time on the real estate website Zillow and realized that it’s a good tool for two writerly things: setting and use of language.
Want a particular setting for your story? The perfect seaside cottage? That modernistic Bond villain lair? A family split level? The executive’s sleek lakeside getaway? They’re a click away on real estate websites and chock full of details that will bring your setting to life. Further, seeing these homes piques the writer’s imagination. Who is the person who kept this all white living room pristine for forty years? Who is the person who put a stripper pole in the middle of the family room? Why are there cat doors in every room of this house? How did those stains get there?
After seeing a home described as having a “captivating kitchen” and discovering that all the appliances had been ripped from the walls, I’ve worked to become fluent in “realestate-ese.”
|Not Musty Manor|
This coded language helps real estate agents share information with other agents while putting out a positive spin for buyers. If I ever have a real estate agent character, I’ll be ready to write her or his dialogue.
“Cozy” means small.
“Spacious” means it’s a long walk from the television to the refrigerator.
“Convenient to highway” means noisy.
“Great neighborhood” means that the property for sale is the neighborhood eyesore, surrounded by much better tended homes.
“Expansive” means impractically large and/or this family didn’t want to spend a lot of time together.
“Charming” means old.
“Well maintained” means old.
“Quiet” could mean quiet. Or it could mean it’s an hour's drive to the grocery store.
“Bring your imagination!” means you don’t even want to go there.
“Handyman’s Special"? Run!
Have any adventures in real estate to share?