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Estate Agent Speak: Property Descriptions

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Estate Agent Speak: Property Descriptions
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Like the Marks and Spencer grocery adverts, property descriptions can become convoluted. Instead of a family property in the countryside you’re faced with a charming character property boasting original features in a rural location.

Understanding estate agent lingo can be a chore, especially when certain words obfuscate a clear description. Fortunately, we have taken some of the most popular turns of phrase from property advertisements and provided you with a clear definition, allowing you to make a better-informed decision when hunting for a home. Here are our property description examples.


Many property listing descriptions feature the word ‘character’. It tends to be a buzzword estate agents use to describe older houses, including period and farmhouse styles. Some homes may not be obviously characterful from the outside but may contain character features such as beams or original fireplaces or floors.

Popular area

726 property descriptions across Zoopla and Rightmove contained the phrase ‘popular area’. Typically, popular areas contain it all; schools, amenities, transport links. They also often attract families wanting a safe and easy location to raise their children. Sometimes ‘popular area’ is a way of referring to a residential estate.

No onward chain

Having no onward chain when purchasing a property means the chain stops with you and the home you are buying. If you are a first-time buyer or a cash buyer, this is a positive position to be in as it stops a large chain from forming which are prone to complications due to the number of people involved.


When a property is described as ‘cosy’ we often envisage dark winter evenings spent warmly in a comfy armchair, cradling a hot chocolate. Whilst for some properties this will be a reality, for others, cosy is a kind way of describing a property as small.

Blank canvas

Of all the descriptions across Rightmove and Zoopla, 647 classed the property as a blank canvas. A lot of homeowners enjoy leaving their own mark on a home without too much stripping of wallpaper or tearing up old carpet, so a blank canvas is perfect. However, a blank canvas can also be a clever way of describing a property that needs some serious TLC – photographs and viewing it will help you distinguish which it is.

Rural location

Some people dream of living in the countryside and properties in rural locations can be extremely sought after. Stereotypically homes in rural locations tend to be stone cottages, sprawling farmhouses or converted barns. However, strictly speaking, a rural area is anything outside of a city or town.

Ideal for first-time buyers

Across Zoopla and Rightmove, 631 homes have been deemed ‘ideal for first-time buyers’. Homes of this nature tend to be on the cheaper end of the spectrum and are often studios, one-bedroom flats or maisonettes.

Mature garden

If you fancy yourself as green-fingered, a ‘mature garden’ could be a characteristic you desire for your next property. A mature garden is a space which has established trees, perennials and shrubs that grow with ease and the garden looks rich and vibrant. The phrase ‘mature garden’ should never be used to describe a garden that is unruly and overgrown.

In need of modernisation

620 properties across the two property sites are ‘in need of modernisation’. Properties of this nature are often perfect for those who are happy to take on a project or who want something larger than their budget would otherwise allow.


Fast becoming one of the trendiest real state marketing words, bijou homes are often small and elegant. They tend to suit single professionals or couples who have a penchant for the finer things in life.


A French phrase, pied-a-terre refers to a flat or apartment that isn’t always the owner’s primary family home. 564 properties across Rightmove and Zoopla contained this phrase in their descriptions. The majority of pied-a-terre homes listed were located in cities, likely marketed to students from affluent families or professionals who work in the city Monday to Friday and travel home at weekends.

If you have decided to sell your house yourself, it might be a good idea to read your listing again and add some real estate listing jargon.  If you’re struggling to get the desired attention, we can sell your house fast. In as little as 7 days in many cases!

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