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VacantPossession

Property-speak, Hype, Lies And Manipulation

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The whole syntax and vocabulary of property-speak is an insult to the English Language. I propose that the following words should never be used in housing-speak, because they are all either platitudes to hide the reality or they are just plain wrong. A bit like calling a football pitch a "park" the property world has the excruciating habit of always using inappropriate words when there are perfectly good ones. The origins of this habit were no doubt to do with masking the truth:

"soft Landing"

"soften"

"soft"

The worst group, and a wince-inducing way of saying prices have dropped or will drop, or will drop then stabilise. Note the corollary is never used ("hard"). Why?

"Stagflation"

Ghastly word which really doesn't mean anything

"Stagnation"

Really what is meant is "stable", but property spivs hate things being stable so they insult a state of stability by calling it stagnation, implying that something is rotting. In fact, after a period of dropping prices, this is the best possible state for the majority of ordinary people who buy houses to live in them, not to make a quick buck.

"Recovering"

"Recover"

Real meaning: "rising", and vested interests like to use this to describe their preferred state of "rising again" after falling or stabilising.

The whole newspaper industry has mindlessly absorbed this ridiculous word and now uses it in the same way building societies do: to imply that an actually desirable state of stability is BAD and recovery (ie rising prices again) is GOOD. The consequence is that the sheeplike public thinks that any mention of "recovery" is essential to their well being, whereas in fact it just means property has resumed its former state of being completely unaffordable. By contrast, stable prices are considered a disaster...because property must always go up, mustn't it...and if it doesn't this is "disastrous".

"Investment"

This is just about the most ludicrous word used in the context of buying houses (especially BTL), because it implies wisdom, thought and planning. In fact it is quite the opposite. The real meaning is "GAMBLE". There is a world of difference between someone "investing" in a productive industry which creates employment and REAL wealth, and the rather seedy practice of obtaining 100% mortgages in order to cash in on pumped up prices.

And now a different word:

"falling"

This useful word is NEVER used by property professionals because, like vampires exposed to clarity and sunlight, they cannot stand this state of being. So they never use the correct phrase "property prices are FALLING". Instead they use any other phrase which means the same thing but masquerades as something less drastic. Alternatives typically used are "prices set to soften"....."housing market in temporary setback"..."growth has halted but will recover next year"....."sellers should respond to the market with realism" (ie: PUT THE PRICE DOWN).

It wouldn't be so bad if more subtlety was used, but the manipulation of language for the purposes of lying is so blatant, and what is distressing is the seeming ease with which people accept this form of mind-twisting. A classic example of how this use of language has completely changed the mindset of formerly sensible people is demonstrated at the many forums we see for people moving to Australia, where numerous posters seem to genuinely believe that they can't sell their house for all sorts of reasons except the real one: they are simply asking too much money, and it is property-speak that has persuaded them that house prices always go up, never down.

The "industry", through its corrupt and twisted use of the English Language, has persuaded an entire population to set aside its intelligence and critical faculties in order to subscribe to a litany of false descriptions, misleading synonyms, platitudes and pathological hood-winking. And it has worked! It works every day on Estate Agent's blurb, where breathless buyers, eager to climb on the "ladder" (another lousy word....what happened to the use of "snake"?) ignore the evidence of their eyes and really believe that a property is "desirable" when in fact it is a dingy, inadequate cupboard in the centre of a dodgy part of town with a leaking roof and cracked foundations.

I believe it is not an exaggeration to compare the manipulation of thought and intelligence this way, with similar use of language by oppressive governments and states of the past. The contemporary translation of that is the increasing use of false language, especially by property people and many corporations, some of them extremely powerful, to numb our brains with catchphrases, half-truths, sound-bites and misuse of English in order to lull us into a false sense of security.

It is becoming epidemic, from BT's "we ARE very busy at the moment" (so why not emply more people then, so I don't have to wait an hour to talk to an "advisor") to the average bank and building society's "We Do care about our customers......please hold...you are in a queue......the next available advisor will be.......22 minutes........we DO care about our customers....meanwhile here is for the thousandth time a ropey recording of the Four Seasons".

It is our own fault. We just stand by and let it happen. We allow Estate Agents to lie, we permit Newspapers to print hype each day, and we feel powerless. It is not a form of pedantry to challenge the use of language, because language, and its misuse, is fundamental to the reason why this country has the most outrageous housing costs in Europe.

Meanwhile, why not add to this thread your own observations of ghastly, inappropriate words or property-hype-speak.

VacantPossession

Edited by VacantPossession

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A fine example of one of the tools used in the Black Art of "Perception Management" which is the Shepherd of the people of the 20th century and beyond. It was used to sell you a illegal War in Iraq and it will be used to ensalve you to the Money Lenders.

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A fine example of one of the tools used in the Black Art of "Perception Management" which is the Shepherd of the people of the 20th century and beyond. It was used to sell you a illegal War in Iraq and it will be used to ensalve you to the Money Lenders.

Oh god yes...it is endemic now, not just in the housing market, but in commerce in general (advertising of course), politics...everywhere. It is terrible, and an insult to intelligence.

It is incredibly damaging to society, because every institution you interact with is trying to con you on some level - they are never just honest with you. This means that you either get exploited/manipulated, or you take the time and effort to ensure you are not taken for a ride...this basically represents a transaction cost that just makes everything more difficult and unpleasant.

For a nice review of the some of the deceptions and ******** that gets trotted out, read coercion by douglas rushkoff....or for a more UK focused view, 'How Mumbo Jumbo conquered the world by Francis Wheen.'

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Property is a "good long term investment",

and so: you should be happy to lose money in the short run on it?

= =

They have designed this lan gauge to comfort the sheep, while they sheer them

It wouldn't be so bad if more subtlety was used, but the manipulation of language for the purposes of lying is so blatant, and what is distressing is the seeming ease with which people accept this form of mind-twisting. A classic example of how this use of language has completely changed the mindset of formerly sensible people is demonstrated at the many forums we see for people moving to Australia, where numerous posters seem to genuinely believe that they can't sell their house for all sorts of reasons except the real one: they are simply asking too much money, and it is property-speak that has persuaded them that house prices always go up, never down.

Funny that you mention sheep and shearing Dr Bubb. Australia's most reliable export since the 1950s.

I was taught "the property only ever goes up" mantra in 3rd form (14 years) at school in sheep country. They even invited a real estate agent (who were important people in town). This language of real estate has been taught by rote to innocent school children for 50 years. Its not something new. Its something that we are programmed to from early on, for which reason it ressonates very strongly at the moment it is proved and very weakly at the moment it is disproved. Pavlovs Dogs. Mass ideological brainwashing no less. These guys are heading to the right place!

And now VP, my brave attempt to try and use the language you identified for good not evil . Can anyone do any better? (and if you try, note how difficult it is not to slip into the VI frame of language references)

Finally the market is softening for first time buyers as stagflation is replace by genuine stagnation. But this soft landing is not expected to address the real problems of for young people looking to buy their first home. For a full recovery of first time buyer confidence (should be able to be assumed), it is thought by many pundits that the cost of housing needs to recover to sustainable income ratios.

Despite the growth in dissatisfaction at unaffordable rises some pundits, in particular Nationwide, are predicting a temporary setback in the housing market housing affordability with rises throughout 2006. But with only 10% of new mortgages being taken out by first time buyers the banks are sh*tting their pants in a dilemma as to whether to continue to encourage the decline of affordability to stabilise their risk, or whether to soften the reporting in the hope of a gradual glide towards a 30% drop in real terms increase in affordability.

In the current combined soft markets in mortgages and house prices there is a real possibility that at least one bank has over exposed its risk with potentially disasterous results. But this has not primarily been caused by just by lending over-extending to homeowners. A further worry is the lack of new investment by buy to let customers paying the full price for property. The very group that were once considered their most profitable investment are now appearing as a high stakes gamble due to backdoor discounting by developers.

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The whole syntax and vocabulary of property-speak is an insult to the English Language. I propose that the following words should never be used in housing-speak,

It's just a variation of Neuro-linguistic programming, Mandelson used this very adeptly in '97 to such a degree that to an entire generation of people when they think of the word Tory they automatically think "sleaze", maybe not entirely unjustly, but think of the saintly goings on of late.

On a basic level it's just a matter of repeating it enough times like "stability" or "boom and bust" though the latter phrase has now been banished along with "prudence" because they have become politically inconvenient, notice you will never year Gordon Brown use the word "dotcom bubble" but rather "IT Crash", this is either self delusion that bubbles could not develop under his watch or good use of syntax.

They miss that Mandelson touch though, just look at the faux-NLP missives from this election, they're nothing but verbless comments, "[britain] Forward, Not Back" was used by the East German communist party back in the day. Things like "Your family better off"; "your bread buttered" come straight from the pomo-bullsh1t policy generator.

Remember always have an answer, it doesn't matter what the quesiton is.

P.S. Nothing under the sun is new

Edited by BuyingBear

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My personal most annoying phrase is "mortgage equity withdrawal".

As far as I know, this only came around in the last 5 years or so.

What it really is is a secured loan, a new debt, a second mortgage.

I suspect that when they hear it, what people think of is, "I am already rich, I just need access to my money, i.e. some means of withdrawing it".

frugalista

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My personal most annoying phrase is "mortgage equity withdrawal".

As far as I know, this only came around in the last 5 years or so.

What it really is is a secured loan, a new debt, a second mortgage.

frugalista

God I had SO forgotten that. Yeah Second Mortgage. I remember people talking disapprovingly about people who took second mortgages. It was considered risky and frivolous when I was growing up.

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God I had SO forgotten that. Yeah Second Mortgage. I remember people talking disapprovingly about people who took second mortgages. It was considered risky and frivolous when I was growing up.

same here and I'm "only" 30

One of my personal pet hates is the 'credit card' credit sounds so nice, much nicer than debt or borrowing.

indeed, and so much more positive than my meek little "debit card" which can only take money from my savings rather than generate entirely new money

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same here and I'm "only" 30

indeed, and so much more positive than my meek little "debit card" which can only take money from my savings rather than generate entirely new money

Yes it's interesting that the credit card, wrongly, has infinitely more status than the debit card, yet the debit card should be infinitely more solid a transacting device. After all, a debit card is "cleared funds" whereas a credit card is just borrowed money.

You would have thought then, that offering a debit card as payment is more welcome, but it isn't. What's more you cannot generally even open, for example, an internet provider account via debit card because the ISP does not thereby gain access to future funds as of right, as it believes (falsely) it can do with credit cards.

Credit card offers more safeguards for the consumer because of its perceived status: you can compel your bank to stop a credit card transaction, but you cannot compel them in the case of a debit card. Perhaps a little known fact is that if you pay via debit card and the goods are faulty or the service inadequate, there is almost nothing you can do. Your bank deems the onus to be on you to prove the transaction was flawed and will refuse to "stop" the payment unless the business you have paid agrees. In other words your bank trusts the person you paid more than they trust you!

Theoretically, if you sign a contract and pay by debit card, your bank is not obliged to cease the payments, even if you emphatically instruct them to do so, and even if your case is watertight. By contrast a credit card payment can be made null and void even after you have received the goods. The reasons are various but of course the effect is completely unjust, and this is yet another example of credit winning over thrift.

VP

Edited by VacantPossession

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same here and I'm "only" 30

indeed, and so much more positive than my meek little "debit card" which can only take money from my savings rather than generate entirely new money

I think that its about "professionalising" to language. Second Mortgage is so close to home. Morgage equity release sound like a strategy. So people who do it believe that in some way they are "managing". It makes them feel important, part of the middle class. The educated professional way of dealing with your home economy. Even if they are only managing to pay off the "entirely new money" they thought they had "managed" to generate.

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Room 101 for you lot.

You really haven't got the hang of "Newspeak" yet have you?

Sheesh, are you asking for trouble? Don't you know they banned that word last year, it's now called 'Propa English double plus good'.

I think that its about "professionalising" to language. Second Mortgage is so close to home. Morgage equity release sound like a strategy. So people who do it believe that in some way they are "managing". It makes them feel important, part of the middle class.

You mean the lower-middle class way of pretending they're educated professionals and really middle class.

Bitchy, aren't I?

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It's just a variation of Neuro-linguistic programming, Mandelson used this very adeptly in '97 to such a degree that to an entire generation of people when they think of the word Tory they automatically think "sleaze", maybe not entirely unjustly, but think of the saintly goings on of late.

Remember always have an answer, it doesn't matter what the quesiton is.

P.S. Nothing under the sun is new

Buying Bear,

I loved the random generator. It actually does work....deliciously pretentious and a hoot to read. The Orwell link you gave is a revelation. It's a wonderful piece of writing, and considering when it was written it is a very appropriate for contemporary times, which something you would expect from Orwell.

Thanks for the excellent response!

VP

Edited by VacantPossession

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You mean the lower-middle class way of pretending they're educated professionals and really middle class.

Bitchy, aren't I?

Bitchy? hmmm... yeah... couldn't have put it better miself actshully!

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An excellent post!!

A bit of tidying up and I can see it in a national newspaper (or sunday supplement) - Guardian perhalps.

Up to it?

That's exactly what I was thinking! Seriously, you've hit so many nails on the head, VP, with your post - you really get in there and give it all a precise and thorough kicking - it's a joy to read! Bloody marvellous! It would be a breath of fresh air to a lot of people - how can you get it out there?

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  • 302 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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