Decoding Listing Lingo | Home Warranty Real Estate Help

Decoding Listing Lingo | Home Warranty Real Estate Help

If you’re in the market for a new home, you’re most likely reading dozens of listing descriptions from listing service websites. Just as a well-written listing can make you feel like you’re already in the home, not so well-written listings can leave you feeling like you’re trying to piece together ancient Egyptian. Why are there so many abbreviations? What do all of these descriptive words really mean? Don’t worry! After reading this article, reading through those hard to understand listings will be a breeze!


Real Estate Abbreviations

2B/2B? DK? Gar. vs. Gard.? What do these strange abbreviations mean? Many real estate agents use quick wording and abbreviations like this to gloss over the “boring” parts of a home.  Realtors want you to get a feel for the home without having to read a novel. Here are some of the most commonly used abbreviations and what they mean:

Keep this decoder on hand! Download it here!


Keep this decoder on hand! Download it here!

2B/3B:  Two bedroom, three bathroom.

A/C: Air conditioning

AEK: All electric kitchen

BA: Bathroom

BR: Bedroom

CH: Central Heat

D/D: Dishwasher and garbage disposal

DK: Deck

F/Fin BSMT: Fully finished basement

FP: Fireplace

Gar: Garage

Gard: Garden

HDW: Hardwood floors.

KIT: Kitchen

LA: Living area

LR: Living room

Pot’l: Potential

S/P: Swimming pool

W/D: Washer and dryer


Deceptive Descriptors

Once you understand the abbreviations in the listing, it’s time to decode the descriptive words! Have you ever read a listing and thought, “You keep using that word, but what does it mean?!” A seller who writes a listing description wants to put the house in the best light to attract potential buyers. If they wrote, “This house is tiny and has major issues in the plumbing,” you can probably bet most people won’t be interested in taking a closer look. That’s why they use tricky descriptive words that say the home has “potential” and is “cozy.” By softening the negative aspects of the home, they will get more interested potential buyers. Here are some of those deceptive descriptors to keep an eye out for:



Saying a home has potential is a lot like saying: “This house may need a little bit of a face-lift before you invite your in-laws over for dinner.” The home has the potential to be a nice, livable space, but at the moment, it’s not. This and the descriptors “fixer-upper” and “opportunity” mean the same thing. But that’s not always a bad thing. A home with “potential” is usually sold for less than market rate, so with a little TLC, you can increase its value and make great gains on your home investment. According to, listings with the word “potential” sold for 4.3 percent less on average.


“One of a Kind”

There are many things in life that you want to be unique: your name, your skill set, your outfit. One of the things you may not want to be “one of a kind” is your home. A house is pretty standard: rooms, walls, roof, floors. Having the words “unique” or “quirky” in a listing spells out trouble – it says there’s something about this house that makes it different than most houses, and that might not be something you want.



Cozy means small. Other words used are: “Adorable” and “Charming”. Which can be good, if you’re looking for a smaller place. If you’re looking for a large home, watch out for words like spacious or luxurious.



A classic or traditional home almost always means an old home.



The word opportunity is sometimes a good one. You get opportunities at work to work harder and become a better employee. When it comes to homes, though, you don’t want an opportunity home. That implies that you’ll need to work hard for the home to be valuable. According to Zillow, listings that included the word “opportunity” sold for 2 percent less on average. These are homes you want to stay away from unless you want an “opportunity” to fix them up.


“Highly Motivated”

When you read that the buyer is highly motivated, it means that the buyer is ready to move as soon as possible. That could be fortunate for you if it’s your dream house, because they may be willing to lower the price of the home. However, when you read this on a listing, it’s a good idea to think about why the seller would be highly motivated. Perhaps they’ve found the perfect home themselves and can’t wait to move! Or, maybe it’s because the home they’re selling is demonically possessed. Okay, obviously that listing isn’t real, it’s a promo that Trulia came up with for the new revamp of the Poltergeist movie for fun, but still – make sure to find out why the seller is highly motivated to sell the home.



Get a home warranty!

Make sure the house you’re buying is covered by a home warranty so you aren’t surprised with an “opportunity” to repair or replace your new home’s systems and appliances for thousands of dollars unexpectedly. A home warranty protects a new homeowner from paying thousands of dollars on systems and appliances that fail from normal wear and tear. Regardless of how well-written the listing was, you usually don’t know what state the systems and appliances are in when you move into a new house. A home warranty makes sure that if they fail, you only pay $60 for repairs and replacements.  For more information on home warranties, go to


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