5 real estate words that make you sound smart

In case you want to win in the real estate category on Jeopardy or boost your real estate IQ, this post is for you. Here are five real estate words that will definitely might make you sound smart. Enjoy and find a way to use them soon.

This yard has a huge staircase to the front door (it's very odd for the neighborhood)1.  Superadequacy 
Superadequacy is basically a synonym for “overimprovement”. It’s when a property is overimproved and the cost exceeds the value it adds to the property. Examples of superadequacy would be an 8-bedroom house in a 3-bedroom neighborhood, an air conditioning unit in Antarctica or a $50,000 kitchen remodel in a $100,000 neighborhood.

Example: It’s nice that Lola’s McMansion gives shade to all the neighbors, but it’s still a superadequacy.

price reduced sign2.  Functional Obsolescence:
Functional obsolescence is “a reduction in the usefulness or desirability of an object because of an outdated design feature, usually one that cannot be easily changed” (from Investopedia). In real estate, we see functional obsolescence when there is a feature of a house that is not useful to buyers for one reason or another. It may have been acceptable at some point in the past, but is now outdated, or it may simply be odd and less appealing. Examples include having to walk through a bedroom to get to another bedroom, having no dishwasher or laundry hook-ups, having a giant indoor spa that takes up half the master bedroom, having no bathrooms on the first floor or only having one bathroom in a 4-bedroom house.

Example: The property on Main Street sold for less because of functional obsolescence. Buyers just didn’t like only having a sink in the master bedroom instead of a full bathroom like all the other houses.

3.  Fenestration
space ship house on Garden HighwayFenestration is the design and placement of windows (and other openings) in a building. Most of us probably observe fenestration all the time by saying things like, “ooh, I love that big bay window off the front dining area” or “I like the house for the most part, but the windows make it look like a space ship.”

Example: Ginger loved the house, but wasn’t so sure about the fenestration. Would future buyers really buy a house with parallelogram-shaped windows next to a circular entry door?  

4.  Bifurcation
yodaBifurcation is a word to indicate something is split into parts. When it comes to the housing market, we’d say the market is bifurcated because there are different segments of the market. We see this clearly when there is a price difference between traditional sales, short sales and foreclosures. In this case the market would be bifurcated because the market is split into distressed sales vs. non-distressed sales.

Example: Johnny knew the market was bifurcated, so he hoped to buy a bank-owned fixer for less so he could “move up” into a more expensive neighborhood. 

5.  Easement Appurtenant
An easement appartenant is an easement which is annexed to the ownership of one parcel of land that allows one party the use of his or her neighbor’s land and which runs with the land when the title is transferred to another party (from RealEstateWords). The best example is one neighbor driving over another neighbor’s land to get to his lot.

Example: Everyone says I’m a nice guy for letting my neighbor use my driveway to get to his house, but it’s really just the easement appurtenant.

Picture from Wikipedia 200px-Kyle_Plante_mullet_5th_grade6.  Parcel Mullet (Bonus Word)
This word probably won’t make you sound smart, but since we’re talking about real estate words, it’s worthy of mention. My friend Heather Ostrom and I invented this one. A parcel mullet refers to the phenomenon of having a well manicured short lawn in the front yard, but a wild long yard in the back. Or in laymen’s terms, business lawn in front, party lawn in the back. If you didn’t know, the mullet is a hairstyle that is short at the front and sides, and long in the back (Wikipedia). Read more on the parcel mullet here.

Example: Bobby felt strangely proud of his parcel mullet being three feet high. 

I hope you enjoyed the post. If you want some practice using these words, I’d love to see you slip one of them in a comment below.

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  1. Anne Graviet says

    I’m claiming adverse possession of a portion of your blog’s digital real estate by virtual easement appartenant for my personal use and quiet enjoyment.

    This comment space – this digital bit of Ryan’s blog – is mine. Unless he evicts my comment. 🙂

    • says

      That is so funny, Anne. I never thought about blog comments like that before. They are a bit like an easement. 🙂 No eviction here, Anne. All are welcome (unless they are posting spam links).

      • says

        Anne, that was HILARIOUS! You almost had me snorting out my coffee. 🙂 I love this post Ryan and I love being reminded of terms – the example sentences are great. HA! ~ And as always … I can’t help but love the re-mention of the awesome term , “Parcel Mullet!”

  2. says

    “Parcel Mullet”? You are speaking my language. That is an awesome phrase. I see too much of that here in the Deep South and now I can start a new trend that many of my associates will be all too familiar with. Thanks for all the new terms and the new funny one.

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