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Estate Agent Speak - Hagrid's Hut

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

* Context: The following literacy lesson (unit) is part of our wider class theme, Re-building Britain (After The War). It is essentially about new towns, new housing and sustainability. Y6 learnt about post-war re-building and newer developments such as Prince Charles' Poundbury and Nansledan. They looked at eco-builds before designing their own eco houses with floor-plans to scale, which they are currently actually building in DT. They have each planned their own 'new town' development and decided on its UK location. Alongside this they have built their same eco-house to scale in Minecraft as part of a whole class eco-village.

They will be 'selling' their house and its location later on in a kind of Dragon's Den pitch, so this was our literacy tie-in.

This has been my most popular post on Twitter, so if you'd like to know how I did it, here goes:

First do a shared read of the following article:

I've copied it below too for reference. I didn't change any of this and the children found it really funny. I got them in pairs to read out, one of them being the estate agent and delivering lines in 'selling' way, the other one dead-panning the translation. It was really funny.

After reading this, we discussed new vocab etc, then they selected their favourite 5 of the lines and translations and noted those in their English books. The 5 were chosen either because they felt that they might be able to use them to sell their own houses, or because they thought the translation was very funny or a mixture of the two and we discussed a a lot.

Shared Reading 1

Estate agent speak decoded at last

An online estate agent has published a "Jargon Translator" to bring buyers a little closer to the truth.

June 11, 2013

“The ad said this pool was lagoon-like. There’s nothing lagoon-like about it. Except for maybe the bugs. There aren’t even any plants out here.”

“I mean, I think “lagoon,” and I think waterfall, I think tropical. This is a cement hole.”

Sound familiar? The quote is from American Beauty, Sam Mendes’ satire of American middle class notions of beauty and satisfaction.

But replace the words “swimming pool” and “lagoon-like” with “sitting room” and “spacious” and it starts to sound like a conversation between the average British house-hunter and their desperate estate agent.

But, fear not, the online estate agent has blown the whistle on some of the profession’s more imaginative sales patter by publishing a list of translations of estate agent jargon.

For those in need of enlightenment here’s the Estate Agent Jargon Translator in its entirety:

Estate agent speak

“The property has excellent transport links”


“There’s a motorway and or busy railway line right next to it”

Estate agent speak

“In need of modernisation”


“This property hasn’t been updated since the 1970s and needs a complete refit”

Estate agent speak

“An ideal purchase as your first three-bedroom home”


“You can barely fit a bed into the third bedroom”

Estate agent speak

“Set within a purpose-built residential development”


“This property is in the middle of a large housing estate”

Estate agent speak

“A cosy property in a rural location”


“This property is small and the nearest shop is 20 minutes’ drive away”

Estate agent speak

“Easy-to-maintain living space”


“It’s really incredibly small”

Estate agent speak

“Conveniently located”


“Next door to a busy main road and above a take away”

Estate agent speak

“Unexpectedly re-available”


“The previous buyer pulled out at the last minute due to major problems or the surveyor revealed that the property was vastly overpriced”

Estate agent speak

“Within easy reach of local schools”


“Kids will congregate outside your house at lunchtime and drop litter all over your driveway”

Estate agent speak

“Ideal for the first-time buyer or as a buy-to-let investment”


“The property’s small and in a terrible area ”

Estate agent speak

“Tremendous scope for improvement. A real blank canvas”



Estate agent speak

“In need of some updating and offered with no onward chain”


“An old lady has recently died in the house and it hasn’t been decorated since she originally moved in 50 years ago”

Estate agent speak

“A garden flat”


“A dark and most probably damp basement flat”

Estate agent speak

“Situated in a stamp duty exempt area”


“Situated in a deprived part of town”

Estate agent speak

“New price!”


“This property was massively overpriced in the first place”

Estate agent speak

“ Character….”



Next, move on to the second article. There was some difficult language in here, so I amended it a bit and also changed the place names to suit York instead of London. The original article is here but I've copied what I did below too.

Shared Reading 2

How To Talk Like An Estate Agent – Seven Tips

Read any property 'literature' lately? Then you'll be familiar with a language renowned for its strange syntax (1), peculiar vocabulary and relentless euphemism(2)

Steven Poole *(Redacted by KMcCallam)

Fri 18 Jul 2014 09.00 BST

You may be considering a career in estate agency, but in order to succeed, you will have to master the jargon. Estate agents communicate in a dialect renowned for its peculiar vocabulary and liberal representation of the truth. All examples are drawn from actual recent estate-agent "literature".

Top Tips To Become An Estate Agent

1 Euphemise relentlessly

"Compact" – tiny.

"Ample storage" – a broom cupboard, big enough for exactly one broom.

"Double bedroom" – a room that is no more than one inch wider and one inch longer than the world's smallest double bed.

"In an imposing building" – in a brutalist tower block.

"An opportunity to put your own stamp on" – a disgusting wreck.

2 Use the magic get-out clause

If fanatical euphemism is insufficient, reach for the very useful phrase "in our opinion". You can fairly describe a mouldy and plague-ridden hovel in a destitute area known only for its knife crime and remarkable number of boarded-up shops as "a delightfully presented apartment that is close to all local amenities in an up-and-coming area" – as long as you insert the disclaimer "in our opinion" every couple of clauses. This trick completely insulates you from any subsequent legal complaint, in our opinion.

3 Accentuate the positive

The creative negotiator can use comforting and even accurate words to pack out the description of any old dung heap. In one place, "The bathroom is fully tiled and benefits from a bath fitted within and a shower-mixer unit." Surely no one could disagree that a bathroom really does "benefit" from having a bath?

4 Try to sound formal

Just as that bathroom has a bath "within" and not simply "in" it, one should always use the more formal sounding alternative, to demonstrate one's utter professionalism. Thus, "whilst" is always better than "while", and I have even encountered, with no small degree of admiration, "whereby" in place of "where", even though the words don't actually mean the same thing. (3)

5 If in doubt, add "-ed"

Call something a "two-bedroom flat" and it seems plain, but add the "-ed" and it becomes a "two-bedroomed flat", which sounds more upmarket and more made-to-measure. That flat has really been thoroughly bedroomed, twice.

6 Be geographically optimistic

According to cosmologists, the very fabric of space itself is expanding, which more or less scientifically proves that the boundaries of what can correctly be called "Bishy Road" will very shortly extend way beyond the racecourse and quite possibly to Tadcaster, if they don't already. * amend according to where your school is

7 Employ cliches that no one can possibly contradict

An ever-popular phrase is errr "ever popular", used to describe a block of flats, a road or a neighbourhood generally. As long as the place has not been completely deserted owing to the meltdown of a nearby nuclear reactor, and there are still at least some human beings there, it is definitely "ever popular". Meanwhile, even the glummest shoebox may be honestly described as "light and airy", for there will surely be some light of some description coming through a glazed opening during daylight hours, and there will definitely be air in it as well – unless someone has taken the trouble to seal the flat airtight and then carefully pump out all the air to create a vacuum. In which case you should probably reschedule this weekend's "open day". Good luck!

  1. the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language.

  2. a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.

  3. whereby means more ‘through which/by means of’ e.g We need to devise some sort of system whereby people can liaise with each other. It's put me in a position whereby I can't afford to take a job.)

The children recorded the main techniques/tips in their books as well as any useful vocabulary etc - we had a great discussion on euphemisms for naughty children and report writing!

Next, get 3 properties from right move of your area, one doer-upper, one mid -range, one mansion. (make sure the houses don't belong to anyone in the class!) Try to spot the 'estate agent speak' in each of these in turn. We had a great time, loading up the gallery pictures of the houses on our class screen and then voicing over the description (ch reading out from hand-out) and seeing just how well those euphemisms and exaggerations were put into effect! We recorded good language, description etc and it really helped to get the children to examine the 'patter' and syntax. In fact we had a discussion on 'patter' and 'down pat'. We discussed the layout as well with 'Key Features' as a bullet point list. We talked about stamp duty, onward chains, how cupboards were called 'base units' etc etc - all rich writing craft.

Hagrid's Hut - paired/independent write

Display 3 pictures below. (You can get these off Google or choose other images you prefer)

Tell children they need to sell this unique property. (They will immediately tell you it's Hagrid's Hut! ).

Discuss the positives of the house in normal speak. List. How can we accentuate them?

Discuss the negatives in normal speak. List. How can we make them sound better/more appealing?

By this point, I didn't have to do a lot as they were away, and one girl immediately shot her hand up and beamed, 'Within easy walking distance of excellent local school!' - really funny!

Shared Write

After they'd noted down their ideas for the Key Features, we all fed back and we made a shared class list that they could use as much or as little as they liked.

Key Features

  • Cosy character cottage

  • Grade 1 listed

  • Idyllic setting near leafy forest and woodland

  • One of a kind, impressive property

  • Easy to maintain living space

  • Unique layout – open plan and versatile

  • Benefits from large, traditional fireplaces

  • Charming leadlight windows

  • Boasts traditional solid oak door and two access points

  • Ample street parking space

  • Investment or residential opportunity

I then did a guided write (modelling my thought process out loud,) intro below and they followed this as loosely or closely as they wanted depending on ability/confidence.

This unique, charming property, situated in a rural location, close to nearby woodland is a rare find indeed!! With an open-planned layout, this easy-to-maintain, versatile cottage is situated within a small hamlet and benefits from an excellent local school within walking distance.

Nestled within XXX woodland and set amidst ….

Below are examples of their first drafts.

* I think if I did it again, I'd give more of a structure in terms of interior and exterior as they ended up a bit mixed up in parts but they were initial drafts.

I hope you have as much fun with this as we did and if you do, please let me know. I'd love to hear from you!

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