I was going to write a column about the saying “Buyers are liars.” I have it in my head, so hopefully you’ll read it next week.
But before I sat down to write it today, I decided to attack my work e-mail. It’s been three months since I got my real estate license, and I just hit that magical point where everyone else has learned that I co-broke and has decided to send flyers to me.
So I read them, and decided to write that sellers are liars instead. Or at least sellers’ agents; they’re such liars, in fact, that I’m gonna lay down some rules. These rules used to be practiced implicitly 15 years ago, but if they have to be delineated now, well so it shall be.
1) Square footage is a measure of floor area. If you have a 10-by-20 room, and you put a sleeping platform in it, you have not magically created a 400-square-foot room. Really, you haven’t.
2) Square footage is a measure of indoor floor area. A terrace, no matter how long and lovely, is not indoor space. My buyers want to know how much room they have for their plasma TV and their couch, not for their begonias.
3) All of New York City, henceforth, is going to be divided into two neighborhoods: SoHo and Harlem. All the sellers I see seem to think SoHo, a neighborhood of around five square blocks, extends to everything downtown of Central Park, and “Harlem” is code for “gentrifying bargain,” so this is gonna work out well for everybody.
4) If I see the name of one more fake “starchitect” I’m gonna spit. Costas Kondylis, you wanna hang out with Trump, that’s your business. Phillipe Starck designs hotels, so people have heard of him. Everybody else, I am extremely dubious about the added value of. I’m gonna start using the names of my old grade-school teachers: “Interiors by Sally Laidlaw.”
5) To be a bedroom, a room has to have a window. (Also, technically, a closet, but we know that would kill half the listings in the city, so let’s just go with a window.)
6) Since this is probably starting to bore the people in the suburbs, let’s say five bedrooms do not an “estate home” make. It doesn’t have to be the Biltmore, but an “estate home” should have belonged to someone who rated a pretty decent obituary in a good-sized local newspaper, not just your average tax attorney in Westchester. Also, it should have some kind of sweep: outbuildings and/or a tennis court.
7) Anything under 20 feet square can’t be a “loft.” It can be “loft-like” or a “mini-loft” or “loftish,” but technically, in order to loft something, you probably need to be able to raise your arms without hitting your bed or your sofa.
8) A “view” indicates a line of sight. The words “partial view” were invented to indicate that something (perhaps trees in the summer, or a 40-story condominium building year-round) is in front of the thing you would ideally enjoy viewing. “Partial view.”
9) Nothing is “unheard of”: not taking candy from children, not shooting the president, certainly not closets.
10) A home is not a “great investment” — because a home is not an investment. An investment is something you are certain will pay off in the future, like teaching a child, putting money into an insured savings account, or sending extravagant gifts such as referral clients to your favorite real estate writer. Actually, that’s a great investment. But remember, I’m a seller’s agent.