Agents' 'Acronyisms' Still Remain In Online Age

By Michele Derus
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Saturday, April 8, 2006

MILWAUKEE -- Charming house here, as U can C: the U has a BICC, a BIBC and even a FPLC.

The L and M? Briefly put, they're 2 good 2 miss.

Welcome to America's world of real estate marketing, where term limits prevail.

U, L and M stand for upper, lower and main -- the levels of a house. BICC is built-in china cabinet, BIBC is built-in bookcase and FPLC is fireplace.

"Acronyisms" is what Joan T. Seramur, president of Williams Realty in Minocqua, Wis., calls them. Often shorter than simple acronyms, these pithy snippets pepper "for sale" listings and advertising.

"My favorite is WIC -- walk-in closet," said Bill Rossebo, senior vice president at the Relocation Center Inc. in Milwaukee.

Born decades ago of advertising space constraints -- most likely, newspaper ad pricing -- language shortcuts linger in today's roomier online world. Realty Web sites generally use full words, but abbreviations still abound at Multiple Listing Service, the nation's premiere databank of "for sale" properties.

"We all have our slang," Seramur said, "and this is real estate's. Americans tend to abbreviate things. We like things short, short, short, because we're in a hurry."

Being in a hurry doesn't mean agreeing on which shortcut to take, however.

"We use FPLC for fireplace," said Judy Hearst, regional vice president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Mequon, Wis. "But you also see NFP -- natural fireplace -- around here. In Chicago, it's often WBF, for wood-burning fireplace."

Across the nation, there's room for linguistic debate pretty much everywhere but in bedrooms and bathrooms. "Those are BR and BA pretty much everywhere," Hearst said. "But family room can be Fmrm or just fr. In our ads, kitchen is kit. But you also see it as kt. You also see EIK, for eat-in kitchen."

What allows access to garages? Often, an EDO, said Paul Liebe, president/broker of Redefined Realty LLC in Oconomowoc, Wis.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2006 The Washington Post Company