Desty’s Blog: Rosetta Stone for Real Estate Language
By Desty Lorino
Spring Housing Season Means lots of Jargon for the uninitiated. Desty provides a lexicon of real estate terminology – a decoder ring…for spring!
A Brief History of “Real Estate Speak”
I’d start with a brief history of the trade. Back in the day (way, way back to 1978), we had no cell phones or fax machines, and we were just beginning to use computers to help us help our clients buy and sell houses.
MLS – Started as A Big Paper Book, Still Here
In the 1980’s, agents were using a thick, paperbound MLS Book that was published every two weeks. We had limits on the amount of data we could fit on a piece of paper (Information sheets) for our listings, and there was even less room in the book. All of our data was protected, and only real estate agents had access to the available homes and the information on them. It’s like the car repair books for mechanics only – a detailed, encoded book that only we could see or understand. That’s why we began this bizarre language, this sense of access-control over data, the tendency to do paper sheets about homes, and above all the abbreviations. A lot of this culture still exists today, especially the code words. We still have limits on number of characters, so those abbreviations are still important to learn.
Speaking in Code meant Survival
We agents had sales meetings every Tuesday morning. That’s when we would share our wants and needs with the agents within the office. Someone would stand up and ask for an 8/4/2.5. I had no idea what an 8/4/2.5 was and realized I needed to learn this language fast or I’d never survive. The agents would slip notes in our mail boxes asking for a house that had to have a mbr with mbth, with a dbl van, sot and ct. They want bicc in the DR, NFP in the LR bibc and at least a 2 caratt gar. HWF,s were a must and so was c/a. It needed to have 100amp service with 220 and breakers. Finished LL was pref. They want a home of substance without an add in the (fill in yourself) dist. The kt had to be eat in or have a nook.
MLS Listing Acronyms – Milwaukee in three-letter codes: Take the Quiz – how many did you know?
Within the MLS system the language became more complex and every county and community had an abbreviation. BRO, SHO, WFB, BAY, MIL, RIV, FOX, NEW, PEW, BRO, HAL, GLE, GRF, GRE, GRD, BRF, FRA and so on. Those were added into the description making it more complicated.
Call me to get your Decoder Ring for Spring! I speak the lingo – and it’s still required. Many of these abbreviations are in use today and are part of the fabric of real estate discussions. Some people are not familiar and if you need one we would be glad to help you decipher this fascinating language I have made a part of my dialog. Once you start to put the pieces together it’s easier to figure out than a lot of the text messages we see. Happy hunting. I’m here for you in GLE or wherever you would like to meet. I am fluent in real estate decoding, and would be happy to translate for you. Give me a call.