Thursday, May 10, 2007

Why do estate agents write like that?

We're in the process of moving, which is deeply painful and traumatic. And it's made more so by the horrible and inexplicable abuses that estate agents inflict on the English language.

Yes, I know I'm not the first person to make that observation. But allow me, anyway, by way of therapy, to share you with the Top 6 Things I Hate About the Way Estate Agents Write:

"Benefits from"

A house or flat doesn't benefit from having gas central heating or double glazing, the inhabitants do.


As in "2-bed flat boasting a large open plan kitchen-diner". No!


Completely unnecessary. Nothing is lost by shortening "A Victorian mid-terrace with accommodation comprising 2 large receptions . . . " to "Victorian mid-terrace with 2 large receptions . . ." or even " Victorian mid-terrace, 2 large receptions . . ."

"Having "

As in "a three bed town house having a south facing garden". Why "having"? What's wrong with "with"?


Always redundant. "A period 4 bed semi family home situated in the heart of Redland."


Bizarre. Where do estate agents learn to write "to the first floor there is a large master bedroom . . ."? I've literally never heard anyone else use "to" like this. Oi, estate agents, it's "on the first floor . . ."

Anyway, thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I feel a bit better now. Now, off to find a desirable new residence in a sought after location boasting many period features, while I still have the strength.


At 12:52 pm, Blogger Caroline Wilson said...

And what's with 'elevation', as in, 'to the side elevation', 'to the rear elevation' etc.

I think it means - side of the house, back of the house.

Comes from the Dame School approach to teaching estate agents I think. Someone from Dickens' time wrote the first spec and they've all been copying off it ever since.

At 8:26 am, Blogger Lindsay said...

Good comment, Catherine - "elevation" is well up there with "boasting" and "comprises".

Just wondering how you came across the blog? As you may have noticed, it's rather a well kept secret - and you're the first person to post a comment.

At 10:08 am, Blogger Caroline Wilson said...

Heard you on R4 and Googled you! See

At 11:14 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi Lindsay,

hope you are well.
Your estate agent comment was of particular interest having completed a rebrand for Spicer McColl who are a low to middle market Essex based agent (pre-300m).

“Agent talk” was the cornerstone of the work, be interested to get your take on it – unfortuately their site has not been updated but next time your in Essex or East London you’ll probably see a sign.

Take care.

At 2:07 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this this was helpful in figuring a few things out you've helped me a ton Lindsay! Great post & ver generous of you to share!


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