Decoding Estate Agent Chat: What They Say v What They Mean

They say: It's an up and coming area. They mean: it's a total shithole


by Stevie Martin |
Published on

If you want to live somewhere that isn't with your parents, and you're not quite ready to fork out the requisite £5million to buy a postage stamp house of your very own, then you'll probably rent. Good for you – renting isn't nearly as bad as people make it out to be, but you've got to be careful when it comes to the people trying to help you go about it. Because they're not going to win any prizes for honesty anytime soon.

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From mould in the bath to mice in your bed (and everything in between) here's how to decode exactly what those estate agents mean when they say somewhere is 'up and coming'. And what they're trying to hide from you.

They say: It's a really great, sociable area

**They mean: The council report noise complaints roughly five times a week **

The place looks great when you go to have a nose around and you can't imagine why it'd be so cheap – there are shops, great pubs and a club just down the road. Also, the entire block of flats is inhabited by people who sound klaxons at 4am for no reason and throw parties on Tuesday night until roughly 10am the next morning. If they're having a quiet one, then the people stumbling out of the pubs at midnight every night and vomming up the walls of your building aren't.

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**They say: We've got 24/7 pest control for the moment you need it


They mean: You'll get mice, cockroaches and flying ants constantly. That's pretty much why the last people left

Beware of estate agents who appear too helpful about pests because there could be an underlying reason. As in, there's a pest problem. If you're in a city, it's rats. If you're in the country, it's adorable little dormice things that look like something out of a book. But either way, you don't want them rifling through your cereal because mouse poo could be mistaken for small raisins and oh my god I won't be finishing that train of thought.

They say: Oh, we'll sort that out before you move in

They mean: We won't sort that out before you move in

OK that's an exaggeration, but if there's mould in the bathroom and the estate agent says the landlord is about to paint the whole flat with 'anti mould paint' don't believe them because that doesn't exist. Also, if there are renovations that need doing (eg there's a wall missing or the place has no roof) then don't expect them to be done for moving-in day. Look, these guys have a lot of things to sort and you not having basic shelter when you're paying shitloads of money for it isn't high on their list of priorities.

They say: The landlord is very hands on

**They mean: The landlord will come into your house and sit on your stairs and read his mail **

Once I had a landlord who got all his dodgy mail delivered to the flat we lived in, and would come in to read it. Sometimes his son would pop round and we didn't really know what he wanted but he'd wander about. Other stories I've heard that are less creepy, but still annoying, involve landlords who like to come and check how the house is doing at odd times (Friday night, Sunday morning) to make sure nobody is smoking inside, or having a party, or living their lives. Avoid this sort of landlord wherever you can.

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**They say: It's a ground floor/top floor flat **

**They mean: You'll be burgled immediately **

Sadly, it's either ground floor or top floor flats that tend to bear the brunt of burglars – ground floor because of the easy access, and top floor because they're less likely to be disturbed by neighbours. If you're renting a ground floor flat then you'd better make goddamn sure it's a nice area and do your research – have their been break-ins? Because the only thing worse than forking over a shitload of money for a deposit and then having to give half your salary away every month, is getting all your prized possessions stolen.

**They say: Cosy **

**They mean: Tiny **

Beware any uses of the words cosy, compact, modest or bijou (if they're dicks) because it means 'You will be climbing over your own bed to get into your bedroom'. It'll be cramped. The sort of flat where you walk in and get a genuine shock at how someone can function on a daily basis living with a toilet practically in the kitchen and a bath that might as well be inside the microwave.

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**They say: It's an up and coming area **

They mean: It's a total shithole

There are so many places that are supposedly really cool and, when I go there, the bouncers and guys on the doors of the pubs are wearing stab vests. They're also usually the sort of places where a) you never want to stray from the main roads and b) you'll get mugged. Yeah there might be a nice gastro pub that opens on the corner in three years' time, but is that worth having your phone stolen every month?

**They say: A safe, family-friendly part of town **

**They mean: No pubs and lots of crying children **

Living in a safe place is way better than a non-safe place, but beware the family-friendly residential area where you can hear kids yelling at their dad to tie their shoelaces at ungodly hours and sad mums crying in the one lone coffee shop within a 20-mile radius. There are no pubs because families don't have fun. Or drink. Which is basically a synonym for fun. If that sounds like your sort of place, then go wild.

**They say: Come to my house to sign the paperwork **

**They mean: I'm a criminal **

If there's no actual shop, or even an attempt at creating the facade of one, then the estate agent you are visiting will introduce you to your landlord and he will be a mob kingpin called Mr House. And you will be forever indebted to him and, if you don't pay your rent, you'll find an entire horse in your bed one night. Holding a gun.

**They say: It's a scenic walk from local amenities **

They mean: This is in the middle of fucking nowhere

When they don't specify a time or a distance to any amenities, expect to be walking for two miles to the nearest shop. Oh, and the nearest station will be a two-hour trip involving multiple buses and a walk through a park full of tramps. Not to be glass-half-empty about all this, you understand.

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Follow Stevie on Twitter: @5tevieM

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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