And the Award for Understatement Goes to...

By Dave Fratello | September 14th, 2021

If you read a lot of home listing descriptions, you get used to certain cliches and polite phrases.

Even if the home is a wreck, they're not really going to say that, exactly.

After all, it's someone's home for sale, and will be someone else's home later, so maybe put the best possible spin on things, right?

And so it was with the now-closed sale at 632 35th (4br/3ba, 4000 sqft., $2.580M after overbids).

In the MLS, the home was presented as one that "needs TLC."

Well, yeah. At least.

The 1989-built home is going to need  work. A lot.

In fact, it will need more than TLC, which means "tender loving care."

That baby bird who fell out of the nest needs TLC.

Your tomato plants, nearing the end of their summer crops, need some TLC as Summer turns to Fall.

And so on.

"TLC" was, then, a dramatic understatement.

Because in writing about real estate, brokers downplay the negatives and overstate the positives. Them's the rules.

It doesn't always help the consumer much. You need some kind of guide book to know which words and phrases mean what.

A few years back, our buyer clients purchased a home that was advertised as a "[g]reat opportunity for developers, flippers or family to remodel or build their dream home."

Now, that phrasing, plus a single yucky exterior photo and low price, was enough to give a clue to potential buyers that this may be a land-value sale. That the home was dated and/or in not-so-great shape.

There were clues, but hardly enough to prepare one for an actual visit.

Inside, what we found was the most epically destroyed house we've ever encountered. (We're lucky in the South Bay to see few epically destroyed homes.)

The home had suffered years' worth of professional levels of neglect. Torn walls, soiled or missing carpet, broken glass, and, memorably, 3-inch stacks of termite droppings on some of the windowsills. And that smell!

But still, the property had been fairly described. It's just that the unmentionables had gone unmentioned.

Our clients pulled off a dramatic remodel and, eventually, a nice resale. So it turned out to be a "great opportunity," meaning that original description was dead-on, 100% correct.

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