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How To Read A Real Estate Listing – Zing! Blog by Quicken Loans

Common Real Estate Listing Terms Explained

Real estate listings sometimes contain colloquialisms that don’t give potential buyers an exact idea of a home’s characteristics. If you’re new to the housing market, you might take some of these descriptors as encouraging. However, not every “quaint” house is worth visiting. Here is your guide to interpreting different buzzwords on real estate listings.


This word should clue you in that the home needs a lot of work done to it. A house flipper would probably be more interested than the average home buyer not looking for an extra project. If you’re not in the market for a fixer-upper, a home with a lot of potential will probably not be for you.


Read: ancient. Refurbishment often means an old house has been spruced up or redecorated. Unfortunately, the home’s more critical bits, from appliances to windows, could be the originals. Home buyers can run into problems here if they want a more updated home.

 ‘One Of A Kind’ Or ‘Unique’

Phrases like “one of a kind” or “unique” imply more than a touch of eccentricity in the home. Homes with odd or even nonsensical layouts often bear this label.

Exceptionally tiny rooms or having the only bathroom accessible through a bedroom are examples of what might make a home appear “unique” on a listing. Depending on the oddity, it could be a deal-breaker for a potential buyer.  


Real estate professionals use this term frequently when describing homes for sale. Usually, homes with this moniker have less square footage and feel cramped.

However, home buyers should look at the pictures of the property to get a better idea of the layout. It could be that “cozy” refers to positive attributes, such as a home that lets in a lot of natural light or has a warm ambiance.


Often, an “affordable” property has been so problematic that the seller is willing to let it go for almost any price. A home riddled with necessary repairs and other problems might come to you at a bargain price, but the cost of the work needed to make the home comfortable and livable might eat up any savings on the purchase.

That doesn’t mean this descriptor should always scare you away. You might assess all of the property’s issues and decide that you’re still interested. You could buy at a reduced price and then repair the home in a series of affordable DIY projects.


Without an associated date, this term is too vague to indicate real value to potential buyers. It could refer to an appliance replaced last year or a decade ago, depending on who you’re talking to.

To determine just how new something like a kitchen or HVAC system is, find out the date it was installed in the home if possible.

 ‘Back On The Market’

The reason for this phrase could be innocent. An interested buyer’s financing might have fallen through, bringing the seller back to square one.

However, it could also indicate an issue that arose during a home inspection. There could also be a problem with the title to the home. A responsible home buyer will ask the real estate agent why the property is back on the market.

Ideally, the list above will help you avoid potential pitfalls when looking for your dream house. Readers who are interested in learning more about industry terminology as a whole should check out this article on real estate terms.



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