houseIt just goes to prove that honesty is always the best policy. When two properties were put up for sale in the UK and Australia, the estate agents responsible for marketing them were ruthlessly honest about the poor state of the buildings. And their honesty paid off with both of these properties selling fast for great prices.

Of course marketing communications must always be honest. Customers are not fools so anything less will insult the intelligence of the people you aim to attract. In the UK we’re familiar with the Advertising Standards Authority who police the situation and ensure ads are legal, decent, honest and truthful. But for some reason the language often used by estate agents has rather stretched the truth. So here’s some of our favourite descriptors, plus a look at the way two sad buildings benefitted from a more honest approach. It just goes to show that it pays to do things differently.

Popular property descriptions and what they really mean

Here’s a few of Marketing Zone’s favourite euphemisms and what they really mean. You probably have a few favourites of your own.

“Ideal renovation project” = This property is in poor condition

“Bijou apartment” = This flat is really small

“Would suit cash buyer” = It’ll be impossible to get a mortgage due to the condition of the building

“Easy to maintain garden” = It’s all concrete

“Internal viewing recommended” = The outside is a mess

“Convenient for commuters” = The railway line runs alongside the property.

Run-down UK flat sells fast after being described as mouldy

A two-bedroom flat in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex has just been sold, despite the “mouldy” description put out there by the estate agent, Scott & Stapleton.

The flat was put on the market for £125,000. With its brutally honest marketing approach, it had 25 viewings with 9 firm offers in just two days. It sold for £147,500.

Here are some examples of how the estate agent described the property:

“Wipe your feet on the way out”


“Full of rubbish”

“Fleas to keep you company”

Estate agent, Rob Kahl explained his thinking to BBC Radio 5 Live daily’s Adrian Chiles.

Listen to the interview.

Fire damaged property in Australia sold with horror video

When estate agents, Richardson and Wrench in Sydney, were deciding how to market a badly fire damaged property, they didn’t have much to shout about. The property was in an appalling state after an arson attack. Sales and Marketing Executive, Santos Sulfaro advised the owner to forget about clearing or cleaning the property, but to sell it exactly as it was. He put together a quick video of the property, but he took inspiration from horror movies with its style and soundtrack. The unconventional marketing approach led to 3,500 video views and over 10,000 hits online. Despite the terrible condition of the property it sold for $790,000. That’s only just below the value it could have commanded before the fire.

For the video, the estate agent teamed nightmare interior shots with positive messages. He got a sale and a marketing award for his efforts.