Posted Apr 9, 2012

A Rose by Any Other Name: Translations from Listing-Speak

Every wonder what listing agents are thinking when they describe a rental? There are few euphemisms that go over-used on rental listings, and after sifting through thousands of listings, we’ve learned to translate them:

Cozy = Tiny. I once lived in a “cozy” apartment. You couldn’t fit more than three people in at a time, and even then someone had to be sitting on the bed for it to work. If you’re not into an apartment that feels like the bus at rush hour, “cozy” probably won’t do it for you.

Quaint = Old. As a person who actually likes “old” stuff, this can mean anything from period details and built-in dining hutches, to wallpaper that smells and looks like it’s from 1870.

Vibrant = Sketchy. See also: colorful. Often listing agents will list places that they think only “the kids” will live as vibrant or colorful, and what they really mean is, I would be scared to walk here at night. I’ve even seen the same listings where the landlord says it the “vibrant neighborhood” wouldn’t be recommended for a single woman. Of course, perceptions (and reality) of sketchiness vary, so just make sure you’re comfortable with the the area first.

Hip = Expensive. This can also mean “rapidly gentrifying” which may mean “formerly vibrant.” Expect to pay through the nose for a neighborhood that everyone else wants to be in, too.

Great for Roommates! = We’re counting the dining room and two closets as separate rooms.

Of course, some of these thing may actually be true when you show up for the open house, so it’s always worth a shot.

What was the most misleading description you’ve ever come across in an apartment listing?

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