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Bond Oxborough Phillips, Queens St Tel: 01271 371234 Click Here
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For more properties click for Barnstaple and Braunton

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Click here to go back to Buying A Home Page:

Is it true that all houses are highly desirable? We cast a humorous light on how to spot the spin from the facts

These days, estate agents are much more accurate in their descriptions of property than they used to be. But, occasionally, their enthusiasm to make a sale gets the better of them.

Houses next to busy roads and railway lines can become "conveniently located close to all forms of transport". Squalid properties may retain "a wealth of period features". And a house ruined by DIY could be described as "sympathetically modernised".

In a famous outbreak of glasnost, 1960s Chelsea estate agent Roy Brooks started telling the truth about the houses he was selling. His slogans, such as "grotty house, nice area" became legendary - and, at first, it seemed to do his business nothing but good.

Unfortunately, his approach was doomed. People who had once chuckled at the descriptions of the properties they had bought from him failed to see the funny side when it came to their turn to sell and they read what Brooks made of their home improvements.

Fortunately, things are not as bad as they once were. Since 1993, estate agents have been bound by the Property Misdescriptions Act (see below). However, agents are spending more than ever on marketing and even modest houses go on the market with glossy brochures.

Some of the cliches you occasionally see
Character property: the floors aren't flat, the doors are wobbly and there's a touch of damp.
Courtyard-style gardens: a paved yard with a few pot plants.
Designed for easy-maintenance: the Georgian windows have been replaced with uPVC or aluminium.
Duplex apartment: what used to be known as a maisonette.
Period: implies that a building is of a style treasured by architectural historians but, in practice, it means simply "old". All houses erected before the Second World War are now period buildings.
Single-storey dwelling: a bungalow.

How estate agents make a photo speak a thousand words
Half-drawing the blinds and lighting a fire in the grate: a country house always looks better with a roaring fire.
Borrowing an antique car, which is not for sale, to enhance the exterior of a boring house.

Words of warning
Remember that verbal, written and picture porkies are regulated under the law (the Property Misdescriptions Act) so you are theoretically protected from an estate agent talking-up a property.

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