What “Cozy” Really Means: Decoding Online Real Estate Listings

 

Crossing Fingers Behind Back

It’s a well-known fact of the online dating world: no one ever looks like they did in the photos. And, all too often, what people have to say for themselves isn’t true, either. For example, that self-employed “independent craftsman” might just be whittling figurines in his mother’s basement and selling them on eBay.

What’s true for people is just as true for houses. Sellers and agents alike will often try to catch the eyes of potential buyers—and deflect attention away from unpleasant property features—by using carefully crafty real estate listings full of sneaky marketing language.

Buying a house is such a complicated process that it’s best to beware—you don’t want to exhaust yourself with unnecessary trips, or disappoint yourself with showings which aren’t what they claimed to be. Unpack the lingo with this handy guide of common real estate euphemisms and their true meanings.

“Recent owner updates” “Recently renovated” “Updated”

It’s rare to see a real estate listing that doesn’t mention one of these phrases. After all, homes which have been prepared for market sell much more quickly, and for much higher prices, than those that are left as-is. However, be aware that “updates” can mean anything as small as a fresh coat of paint and a new shower head. Be sure to ask the seller’s agent exactly which “updates” are recent,  and exactly when they were made.

“Great investment property” “Take as-is” “Make it your own” “Needs TLC” “Has potential” “Fixer-upper” “Opportunity”  

All of these terms mean the same thing: the house is in need of serious repairs. And if the seller isn’t willing to make those repairs, it might mean that they’re more expensive than the house itself. A fixer-upper isn’t always bad news; it might mean that you can negotiate a lower price, and you may be able to increase the home’s market value over time. However, the property might also be a bottomless money pit—something that demands more time, money, and energy than you’re able to give it.

To avoid taking on a risky investment, hire a professional home inspector to help you determine the full extent of the damage.  An experienced home inspector will also be able to offer an educated opinion on whether or not the home can be affordably fixed.

“Classic” “Traditional” “Vintage” “Vintage Details” “Retro” “Mature landscaping”

In other words, old. If you see this wording, it is likely that some or all of the property will be original and not restored. If you’re a vintage-lover, this might be a plus for you—where else can you find turn-of-the-century tiles these days? All the same, consider how the home’s age has affected the plumbing, wiring, and other important, less-visible features. Bear in mind that “mature” trees, while majestic, will also require more pruning, and may be a poor choice if you don’t have the time to keep up with them.

“Cozy” “Adorable” “Cute” “Charming”

In other words, small. Look closely at the dimensions of the rooms to decide if this “cozy” real estate listing is worth your time. If no dimensions are mentioned, take it as a warning sign.

“Unique” “One-of-a-Kind” “Quirky”

People, clothing, and hats should be described as quirky; homes should not. A “unique” real estate listing usually spells trouble, as houses which deviate from the norm typically aren’t a good thing. The phrase might be referring to something downright strange, like an odd kitchen/bathroom combo—and you can be sure that whatever it is won’t be in the listing photos.

“Convenient Location” “Walk to School” “Close to Shopping” “Luxury”

These are pretty standard real estate descriptors, but sometimes they are indicators that the property will be expensive. Houses that are close to schools have a higher market value than those that aren’t, meaning that if a house is near a school, you will have to pay for it whether you have children or not. The same can be said for shopping centers, parks, and popular attractions.

“Up-and-coming neighborhood” “Emerging location” “Exclusive Location”

On the other hand, descriptors such as these might mean that the property is isolated and/or located in a neighborhood that is still being developed. However, this is not always necessarily a bad thing. You might enjoy the initial peace and silence, and the excitement of being the first in a new neighborhood as others move in to join you.

Water views”

This phrase doesn’t always mean that you’ll be looking at genuine lakefront property. It might be the case that you have to stand on a roof with binoculars in order to catch a glimpse of water.

“Contact for photos”

No matter what a property truly looks like, a lack of listing photos indicates that the seller isn’t working with a professional to sell the home. When you consider how complex and lengthy the home-buying process is, you’ll agree that a seller who can’t be bothered to list photos isn’t someone you want to be working with, anyway.

Buy a House in Greensboro or High Point NC

Real estate language, while often misused, isn’t always an indication of a hidden disaster. Responsible real estate agents and real estate companies typically don’t use it to deceive, because it’s a waste of a realtor’s time to show a house that buyers have been “tricked” into viewing and won’t actually purchase. It’s far easier for real estate agents to be honest and open in their real estate listings, so that buyers can be matched with homes much more quickly and efficiently.

However, less honest (and less experienced) sellers don’t always understand this, which is why you should always be sure to read between the lines when browsing real estate listings. Working closely with a realtor of your own—called a buyer’s agent—can also help you tread carefully, and avoid wasting time on deceptive showings. To contact a real estate company in Greensboro, High Point, or Winston Salem, contact Ed Price Realtors today, and or browse our 100% honest real estate listings in Greensboro and High Point.

What Do Termites Look Like?

what do termites look likeWhen you’re trying to sell your home or purchase a new one, termites are the last thing you want to deal with.

That’s why we highly recommend hiring a professional home inspector before buying a new home or placing one on the market.

However, what with the myriad costs involved in buying and selling houses, you may have to perform a home inspection yourself.

If that’s the case, here are some ways in which you can identify termites before making, or accepting, an offer.

What do Termites Look Like? 

Most people have a vague idea of what termites look like, but tend to confuse them with their cousins, flying ants. There are a number of ways to differentiate termites from ants, however. Firstly, look at the wings. Both ants and termites can have wings, but on termites, both pairs of wings are the same size. In flying ants, the front wings are much longer than the back wings. Another difference is in the “waist” of the insect, or the midsection between the thorax and abdomen. The “waist” of the ant is noticeably smaller, and joins the separate segments of the insect’s body. Termites, on the other hand, will have no apparent waist. Finally, look at the insect’s antennae. Termite antennae are perfectly straight, while the antennae of ants are prominently bent.

How to Spot Termite Damage

There are two different types of termites that can seriously damage a home: drywood termites, and subterranean termites. Drywood termites usually cause less damage, as they work more slowly and have smaller colony sizes. They can be identified by the small, firm pellets of waste they leave behind, as well as their red bodies and black wings. Look for drywood termite damage near the roof and wherever there is exposed wood.

Subterranean termites are more problematic, as they live in large colonies. Damage from subterranean termites usually appears in a honeycomb-like pattern, with tunnels woven throughout the soft inside wood. It can be difficult to discover subterranean termite damage, because the external wood grain will usually be unbroken. Wood damaged by this type of termite will break easily,  revealing hollowed-out insides that are filled with mud or soil. Subterranean termites have a black body and white wings. They usually work from the ground level up, often entering a home through a crawlspace or sub-structure.

How To Get Rid of Termites

Checking for termites is an essential part of the home inspection process, both for the interior and exterior parts of your home. Taking care of these pests as soon as possible will prevent further damage and offer both buyer and seller peace of mind. If you have not purchased the potential home yet, you can either ask the seller to fix it before you move in, or deduct the cost of the repairs from the final price. A real estate agent will be able to help you decide on the best option for you.

The most effective treatment for termites is liquid pesticides used in combination with a termite bait system. Make sure that you identify the specific type of termite that is causing the damage, because different chemicals and follow-up inspections are required for each. Most professional termite exterminators will provide a guarantee that protects the home from any further termite damage, so if you are using a professional extermination company, be sure to request a detailed termite activity report and a copy of the company’s guarantee.

A Greensboro Real Estate Company You Can Trust 

Helping homeowners work through stressful issues, such as termite infestations, is just a small part of what we do at Ed Price Reality. If you are buying or selling a home in the Greensboro and Triad areas, give us a call today to find out how we can make the entire home buying process simple and easy. Be sure to check out our local listings to find Greensboro and High Point real estate near you.

Would You Make a Good Real Estate Agent?

Realtor Handing Over KeysMost metropolitan areas have hundreds of realtors available. If you’re a Greensboro, High Point or Triad homeowner planning to sell your house, how do you choose the right one? Here are five qualities that make a great real estate agent.

1.   Communicative

Your realtor should be a good listener, so that your wants, needs, and requests are heard and understood. Your realtor should be able to clearly explain options and potential costs, and answer your questions in clear and simple terms. Your real estate agent should also be able and willing to update you on any positive events or challenges that will affect your goal to buy or sell a home.

2.   Adaptable

During the process of buying or selling property, your circumstances may change. An adaptable real estate agent will be able to adjust to those changes and let you know how they will affect your goals.

3.  Knowledgeable

A good realtor is knowledgeable about:

  • The neighborhood or area in which you want to buy or sell a home.
  • Comparable properties in the area that have been recently bought or sold.
  • How to help you get the best property available for your budget.

4.  Motivated

Look for a real estate broker that is truly motivated to help you buy or sell a home. After understanding all your requirements, it should be evident that your agent is proactive and committed to helping you achieve your goals.

5.   Organized

Your realtor should be a good project manager. He or she likely has multiple clients, so the ability to keep good track of meetings, showings, and paperwork will help him or her to stay organized and sell your home efficiently.

Looking for a Qualified Real Estate Agent?

If you’re looking for a highly qualified real estate agent in the Greensboro or Triad area, contact Ed Price & Associates today.

The Best Homes for Sale in High Point NC

Giant Chest of DrawersHigh Point, N.C., is a city in the midst of a rebirth. Once synonymous with furniture and textiles, High Point is now rapidly becoming a center for distribution, logistics, customer service, pharmaceuticals, technology, and sales. The city’s strong university presence, diverse range of careers, and mix of declining and emerging industries makes it a city of opposites and change. If you’re looking for homes for sale in High Point N.C., here are some of the best neighborhoods in the city 107,700 people call home.

More about High Point NC

High Point is a mid-sized city in North Carolina’s Piedmont region. Widely known for its history as a furniture and textile manufacturing center, High Point has often been referred to as the Furniture Capital of the World, a that name has been frequently challenged by Grand Rapids, Michigan. High Point’s official slogan is “North Carolina’s International City” due to its enormously popular High Point Market, which attracts hundreds of thousands of buyers from around the world twice a year. It is home to three Universities, most notably High Point University, a beautiful private school.

High Point is well known for its wide socioeconomic mix. The area is home to both enormous luxury mansions and humble apartment complexes, retirees and working professionals. Due to the shift from manufacturing to the finance, technological, and corporate industries, High Point is becoming a popular place for young professionals to begin their families and careers. This is perhaps why the city has experienced a tremendous population boom in the past few decades, increasing over 18% since 2000.

High Point Real Estate: Emerywood

Emerywood is a lovely neighborhood located in North High Point. It is located close to Emerywood Fine Foods, many other fine restaurants, a U.S. post office, and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Below are some statistics for the neighborhood.

  • Age: Emerywood is primarily comprised of retirees aged 65 and older and middle-aged couples aged 45-64.
  • Ethnicity and Languages: 92% of Emerywood occupants are Caucasian, and 5% are African American. The primary languages spoken besides English are Asian (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean).
  • Gender: Women outpopulate men in Emerywood by 7.4%.
  • Family size: The majority of families (about 85%) are small, with 2-3 members per household.
  • Property ownership: Emerywood has an extremely high rate of ownership, especially for High Point. More than 99% of homes are owned.
  • Household income: Emerywood is primarily a middle class neighborhood. 44% of homeowners earn $75,000 to $150,000 annually, and 15% earn $25,000 to $50,000 annually.

High Point Real Estate: Blairwood Estates

Blairwood Estates is an upper-middle-class neighborhood with many excellent High Point homes for sale. It is located near many popular dining establishments, banks, and hotels.

  • Age: The two highest demographics in Blairwood are middle-aged residents aged 45 to 64 and teenagers/children younger than age 20.
  • Ethnicity and Languages: 87% of Blairwood Estates residents are Caucasioan and 9% are African American. 91% of residents are English-speaking.
  • Gender: The gender ratio in Blairwood Estates is about even. There are slightly (about 1%) more men than women.
  • Family size: The family size is typical for a High Point neighborhood, with 2-3 family members per household.
  • Property ownership: The vast majority of Blairwood property is owned, not rented, at about 95%.
  • Average household income: This neighborhood ranges from upper-class to wealthy. 50% of Blairwood Estates households earn $75,000 to $150,000 annually, and 20% earn more than $150,000 annually.
  • Religious organizations: Blairwood has a high percentage of religious organizations located nearby. It has 37% more religious organizations than the average North Carolina neighborhood.

High Point Real Estate: Swansgate

Swansgate is a very popular, and growing, neighborhood in West High Point. Houses here are typically large, elegant, luxury homes with spacious yards and high-quality amenities. It is in close proximity to High Point University.

  • Age: This is a surprisingly youthful neighborhood, with 24% of residents mid-career age (35 to 44) and 30% of residents younger than age 20.
  • Ethnicity and languages: 90% of Swansgate residents are Caucasion and 7% are African American. The most common language, after English, is Spanish.
  • Gender: Women slightly outnumber men in Swansgate by about 4.4%.
  • Family size: Like most other High Point properties, Swansgate is mostly composed of small families with 2-3 members.
  • Property ownership: About 64% percent of Swansgate is owned, and 34% is rented.
  • Average household income: Although there are many luxury homes in this area, the majority of homeowners in Swansgate are classified as middle class, earning on average $50,000 to $150,000 yearly.

High Point Real Estate: Creekwood Plantation

Creekwood Plantation is an upper-middle-class neighborhood located in East High Point. It is 2.5 miles from Southwest Elementary School, making it both ideal for those with school-aged children and a great investment.

  • Age: The two highest demographics for this area are residents aged 45 to 64 and young people under age 20.
  • Ethnicity and Languages: 89% of Creekwood Plantation residents are Caucasian, and 6% are African American. While 89% of households are English speaking, 6.9% speak German, French, Italian, or Indo-European as the primary language.
  • Gender: Men in this neighborhood slightly outnumber women by 2.3%.
  • Family size: Creekwood Plantation also has a typical small family size for a High Point neighborhood, with 2-3 members per family.
  • Property ownership: Property in Creekwood Plantation is much more likely to be owned than rented, with 93% of homes owned.
  • Average household income: This neighborhood has a very high percentage of upper-middle class households. 29% of residents earn $75,000 to $150,000 a year, and 25% earn $50,000 to $70,000.

Find the Best Homes for Sale in High Point NC

If you’re ready to join this blossoming city, Ed Price Realtors has you covered. Browse our listings of High Point homes for sale, search for homes using our convenient search feature, and when you’re ready to start the home buying or home selling process with an expert Greensboro real estate company, give us a call.

Home Inspection Checklist: Interiors

DIY home inspectionLast month, we posted 8 Steps to Buying a House, where we discussed the importance of a professional home inspection. If you’re a buyer, a home inspection can help you identify potential damage prior to purchase; if you’re a seller, a home inspection can also help you  sell your home faster.

However, it’s not always possible to hire a professional home inspector. For this reason, we’ve compiled this handy home inspection checklist to help you identify potential problems yourself.

If you’re ready to begin, grab some gloves, a flashlight, and a print-out of this checklist, and let’s get started with your home’s interior.

Attics

  • No stains beneath roofing, especially around roof penetrations
  • No evidence of decay, damage, or rot
  • Sufficient, properly-installed insulation
  • An adequate ventilation system
  • No plumbing, exhaust, or appliance vents terminating in the attic
  • No open electrical splices
  • Adequately ventilated crawl spaces
  • No moisture
  • No evidence of insect damage

Interior Windows and Doors

  • No stains on floors, walls, or ceilings
  • Floors, walls, and ceilings appear level
  • Flooring materials in good condition
  • No significant cracks in walls or ceiling
  • Windows and doors operate easily and latch properly
  • No broken glass, sashes painted shut, or rot/decay
  • Paint, wall coverings, and paneling in good condition
  • Wood trim installed properly and in good condition
  • Light switches operate properly
  • Adequate number of functioning 3-pronged outlets
  • Working heating/cooling source in each habitable room
  • Evidence of adequate insulation in walls
  • Fireplace: no cracks or damage, damper operates properly, flue cleaned and lined

Kitchen

  • No leaks in pipes beneath sink
  • No stains, mold or decay in cabinet beneath sink
  • Adequate water pressure in sink
  • No rust or deterioration in garbage disposal
  • Built-in appliances operate properly
  • Cabinets and drawers operate properly

Bathrooms

  • Working exhaust fan that doesn’t terminate in attic
  • Adequate flow and pressure in all fixtures
  • Sink, tub, and shower drain properly
  • Plumbing and cabinet beneath sink in good condition
  • No signs of rust in metal sinks, no leaks in overflow drain
  • Toilet operates properly, stable, no stains around base
  • Caulking in good condition around tub and shower
  • Tub and/or shower tiles secure
  • No stains or evidence of leaks around bath/shower

Systems

  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors where required
  • Plumbing: no evidence of leaks, stains, rust on water heater or pipes
  • Electrical: no exposed splices, all cables secured and protected
  • Heating/Cooling: good air flow, appears to operate well
  • Ductwork in good condition with no open seams
  • No asbestos on heating pipes, water pipes or air ducts
  • Clean air filters

To view the second half of our home inspection checklist series, click here.