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What You’re Really Getting When You See These Realtorisms

What do terms like cozy really mean?


Realtorisms word cloud

Image: Christine Labrador


On Pinterest, shabby-chic means lightly weathered white paint, faded pink and blue florals, and charming old chandeliers. But if you’ve ever gone to check out the shabby-chic home that just came on the market down the street, you likely found there was nothing chic about it.


As we peruse homes on the web, we regularly see words like cozy, cute, vintage, charming and customizable. An agent’s commitment to his or her home-seller is to bring in a qualified buyer at a price the seller wants. Doing so means painting the home in the best light to ensure that every potential buyer comes out to see it. There are strict codes of ethics that licensed agents adhere to, thus honesty is key, and an agent must list the actual condition of the home. But agents are doing their best to also make homes appeal to people’s emotions—hence the cute terms.


Cozy means small. Vintage means old. And customizable often means it’s been stripped to the studs and sub-floor. Rustic probably hasn’t been cleaned in a couple of years. “Easy access to …” usually translates to “directly fronting …” and, in Hawai‘i, it’s usually H-1.


Want to save yourself some unnecessary trips?  Check out photos first. Are you seeing one or two interior photos, but the kitchen and bathrooms aren’t shown? Consider this property a renovation project. Exterior of the house only? Likely a tear down or very close. Nothing but a shot of a lychee tree? You’re buying a lot with the added cost of demolition.




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