• Real Estate
  • |
  • Changes in real estate advertising: phrases that are not politically correct anymore

Changes in real estate advertising: phrases that are not politically correct anymore

Phrases that are no longer politically correct include family home, walking distance, bachelor pad, house for a handyman and safe neighborhood.

Real estate advertsing is becoming more politically correct.Phrases that were commonly used in real estate listings in the past are now considered discriminatory or offensive to some potential buyers. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 and its more recent amendments only ban some of these phrases, but many states have set more strict rules.

Phrases that are no longer politically correct include family home, walking distance, bachelor pad, house for a handyman and safe neighborhood. Basically, advertising cannot use language that discriminates against certain people, the seller or the neighborhood. So, while you could say “his and hers” sinks or “master bedroom,” most real estate agents and property managers are finding other ways to explain those amenities.

Find local real estate agents to help you market and sell your property.

A bachelor pad

In 2012, a man in Ohio sued a real estate agency for describing a house as a bachelor pad. The judge considered the fact that the plaintiff and his wife could have been discriminated against because of their marital status, and the man was awarded a small settlement. So advertisers aren’t just doing the right thing, they are taking necessary steps to avoid lawsuits by avoiding these phrases.

Walking distance 

A home’s distance to schools, shopping facilities and parks is important to many buyers and renters. Yet, the phrase “walking distance” is not the best way to describe those great aspects because individuals who are handicapped have a different definition of walking distance. 

Walking score has replaced walking distance in real estate marketing.For a person who uses a cane, a wheelchair or a walker, a building must be located within fifty yards of the home and have an easily accessible ramp to actually be situated in “walking distance.” Agents are now using a methodology that creates a “walking score” for homes, as well as a bike score and transit score.

Safe neighborhoods

Most people want to know how safe a neighborhood is before they decide to live there. However, broadly defining a neighborhood as safe or unsafe may signify a prejudice against a particular racial group.

Your agent is supposed to direct you to resources that you may used to do the research on the area’s safety and crime rate instead of telling you whether it is safe or not. A seller or agent may also provide a report on area crime statistics because it is factual.

A great home for newlyweds 

Older couples or single individuals may feel unwelcome if you say a house is an outstanding residence for newlyweds. Instead, you might say that the home is inexpensive and is situated on land that could rise in value substantially during the next five years. Or you can let people decide for themselves if the property’s size makes it a good starter home.

Compare your listing to other real estate ads here.

An apartment for college students 

Specifying that a home or apartment is for college students puts you at risk for age discrimination because 90 percent of college students in the United States are between the ages of 18 and 28 years old. Plus, it may give the property a negative connotation if buyers or renters perceive that the tenants of these apartments party all night or trash the property.

Home for a handyman 

Similarly, a listing that openly solicits a “handyman” will seriously discourage buyers who have never completed residential repairs. Your prospective buyer may also immediately question the home’s issues and if they are reflected in the listing price. It’s better to say that the house's price has been reduced because the structure needs repairs.

Photo credits: (top) NS Newsflash and (bottom) loop_oh via Compfight CC.

Free Quotes! Find professionals to help you market your home