As you begin to look for a rental property, you’ll discover that real estate listings have a language all their own. Yes, the words are English, but their meanings aren’t necessarily straightforward. For instance, rhapsodies about the magnificent view sound extremely appealing, but when you turn around, the house itself may not be quite as wonderful.
Reading between the lines is a good skill to cultivate as you become involved in the world of rental properties. Here’s a guide to some of the most common real estate terms to know and what they mean in relation to buying turnkey rental properties.
Real Estate Terms to Know
Model Perfect/Move-in Ready
This is the best news of all as you look through listings in your chosen area. This home is probably not only rehabbed or updated, it is also likely features neutral paint colors which are appealing to buyers and renters alike.
Pride of Ownership
In this case, the property’s current owner has likely been there for a long time and has looked on it as not only a home but an investment. The house has been well-maintained and may feature top-of-the-line upgrades. For instance, appliances are in the middle to upper range of the manufacturer’s line or the roof has been replaced not with the usual 15-year shingles but higher grade material designed to last many years longer. You might find that there isn’t a screw missing anywhere in this home.
This cryptic comment means that the home’s interior feels bigger than you might expect from the square footage figures. An open floor plan, plenty of well-placed windows, and a neutral color scheme all contribute to this sense of spaciousness.
Room to Roam
While this sounds like the property is a ranch spread, it really means that there is a good-sized yard. There might be an area set up for outdoor entertaining, or at least space to add one, as well as plenty of room for a swing set or climbing structure for the kids. For you, as a potential rental property owner, this could be a plus, but it could also translate to higher maintenance fees from a property management company.
Mr. or Mrs. Clean Lives Here
Here you’ll find a home that is well cared for and sparkling clean. While this is an advantage, it doesn’t necessarily translate to turnkey ready. Listings that emphasize the immaculate condition of the interior may be trying to distract potential buyers from other issues such as dated décor or older appliances. Still, if the home is clean, it may also be up-to-date with maintenance.
Location, Location, Location
This phrase is so overused it has become a joke, but when it’s used in a listing it could be good or bad. Look for details in the listing to see what it refers to: Walk to schools could be a boon to parents, but walk to shops might mean there’s a strip mall across the street.
Handyman Special/Sold As Is
Either of these phrases means the home is in less than perfect condition. A handyman special usually needs a lot of work and you’ll likely need to hire a contractor to do major renovations. However, sold as is doesn’t always mean a disaster. It can mean that the house just needs a new roof or carpeting; the owner knows this, but he just can’t afford to do it.
This property is a mess. You would probably have to pay cash or get a rehab loan to make the purchase.
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