Dear Upper West Side Realtors & Brokers,
Enough with the shenanigans! I’m so on to you. You’ve breached listings with lies and your act is rusty. The business of deceit and the bait-n-switch is a tired racket. But fear not! I’ve come to help you with your honesty-woes. See, I’m a pretty reasonable dude that doesn’t really appreciate my time being wasted by phony language. And I’m pretty certain I’m not alone on this. That said, I’m going to assist you in redefining the language of the real estate advertisement. The following are commonly misused words & phrases that need house-cleaning:
Must fit a bed. If it can’t, it’s not a bedroom. A spacious living room split by two dividers is not a two bedroom apartment. Please revise accordingly.
is not a room. It’s a loft. Oftentimes, it’s just storage space. Don’t count it as a bedroom, please. If it’s large enough to fit a bed and bedroom furniture, feel free to laud the enormity.
Flowery adjectives: Cozy / Cute / Charming
Code for “holy-crap-it’s-tiny!” Ditch the posturing and just dish approximate dimensions. There is nothing cozy about a 4×6 “room.”
Ooh, one more . . . Sunny
The apartment either has windows or it doesn’t. Kill the “drenched in . . .” crap immediately. No apartment is drenched in sunlight without a retractable roof.
Steps to . . .
Don’t tell me that I’m steps to Central Park. I am steps to Central Park whether I’m on Columbus, Riverside or in Connecticut. How many steps is the question. Eliminate useless tropes by simply including a link to a map. Fine, you want to be stealth about the building number? Just share the closest cross-streets. We’ll figure out the rest.
If the ad is up for more than 24 hours, you can safely extract that word. Nobody is fighting over it. If you’ve posted the ad every hour on the hour, you’ve lost your rights to that word entirely. Also, don’t pressure us into a decision on the spot with false claims of looming filed applications. We can see right through it.
A fire-escape is not a balcony. If I need to climb through the bedroom window to get to my “cute” outdoor patio, please specify. Actually, don’t bother.
Seriously? If this word needs defining, we have a lot of work to do. New is probably one of the most abused words in Brokerville today. New suggests: unused (by another tenant). If there are stains in the sink, the kitchen is not new. Cut it out.
What’s up with the photos? If your ad has 3 photos of the bathroom from three different angles and not much else, or a bunch of photos of the surrounding neighborhood in lieu of the space, I don’t know what to say.
And speaking about the neighborhood . . .
If it’s Morningside Heights, say it. The Upper West Side has very clearly defined boundaries. Stop skewing search results with inaccurate coordinates. You lose me right there.
There are many more typical gaffes, but those are the glaring ones. As an added bonus, I’ve taken time to propose a few **NEW** room classifications to help you better illustrate your ads. It would be very useful if you incorporate the following words in your rhetoric moving forward:
Let’s face it, it’s just not a kitchen. Even EIK does not cut-it. This thing usually consists of a sorry excuse for a refrigerator, something that looks like it belongs in a country where the average citizen height is about 5” shorter than here. It also has an 80’s-looking stove that won’t fit any baking pan you can purchase today at Bed Bath & Beyond. If two adults cannot comfortably fit in this nook of an area, it’s not a kitchen. – Automatic proposed rent decrease of $250/month.
This is the likely (and often unfortunate) amalgamation of a Kitch (see above), Dining Room and Living Room. Typically, Livdinkitches are smallish allowing for the utilization of only one of the desired profiles. Automatic proposed rent decrease of $1000/month.
Is it a bedroom? Is it a Closet? Is it both? Yes, you can possibly curl up in the corner and have enough space for a nightstand and your iPad. But that’s about it. If you’re creative, you can sack up in your Livdinkitch and use the Closeroom as an actual walk-in closet. Classy. Automatic proposed rent decrease of $500/month per Closeroom.
In summary, I believe we can mutually benefit from a clearer, more honest discourse. You’ll weed out the shocked faces, have less folks cursing you under their breaths, save everyone time, and rebuild your karma all in one newly renovated swoop. A charming idea, isn’t it?
Richard Kriheli, a West Side Rag columnist, is a lifelong New Yorker and an Upper West Sider since 2006. Follow him on twitter @kriheli. And read his earlier column: A New Father Writes an Open Letter to the Upper West Side