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How to read a home listing

Real estate listings can seem like code to just about anyone. No vowels, odd abbreviations and strange acronyms leave many first-time home buyers scratching their heads.

Real estate agents came up with their peculiar system because classified advertising is priced according to length. Prvt 3bd, 2ba, fdr, ofc, wbfp, CAC is a lot shorter than saying private, three bedroom, two bathroom house with a formal dining room, office, wood-burning fireplace and central air conditioning.

With our guide, you can make sense of listings, too. Here’s a real estate-to-English dictionary for common listing abbreviations:

The Basics

  • AC or A/C: air conditioning
  • appls: appliances
  • ba: bathroom
  • br: bedroom (sometimes listed as just numbers, as in 4/3 for four bedrooms, three bath, or as 4B/3B, or with the garage, represented as 4/3/2 for four bed, three baths and a two-car garage)
  • CA, CAC, CH and C/VAC: central air, central air conditioning, central heat and central vacuum
  • cp: carport
  • d/d: dishwasher and garbage disposal unit
  • det: detached
  • dr/fdr: dining room, formal dining room
  • fag: forced air gas
  • FSBO: for sale by owner
  • grt rm: great room
  • HUD: Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • la: living area
  • lr: living room
  • ofc: office
  • osp: off-street parking
  • rf: roof
  • sf: square feet
  • w/d or wd: washer/dryer

Special features

  • aek: all electric kitchen
  • cath ceil: cathedral ceiling
  • c-d-s: cul de sac
  • eh: house with ensuite
  • eik: eat-in kitchen
  • f/fin bsmt: fully finished basement
  • fin w/o: finished walk-out
  • fplc/fp or wbfp: fireplace, wood-burning fireplace
  • grmet kit: gourmet kitchen
  • hdwd or h/w: hardwood floors
  • neg: price is negotiable
  • oh: open house
  • owc: owner will compromise
  • pl, sp or s/p: swimming pool
  • q pos: quick possession
  • smart: a computer controls the lights, appliances, heat, cooling and alarm
  • spac: spacious
  • wic: walk-in closet
  • vus: views

Euphemisms

While sometimes the perfect house is a “cozy fixer-upper,” there are some terms you’ll want to watch out for:
close to or convenient to: probably means right at your doorstep (this may not be so bad for buses, but what about a train or freeway?)

  • compact, cottage or modest: ideal for elves
  • eff kit: efficiency kitchen, meaning space for either you or the appliances
  • ideal project, conversion, DIY or fixer-upper: translates to get a credit card at a home improvement store
  • intimate: claustrophobics need not apply
  • interesting or unique: shag carpeting and a floor plan designed by Dr. Seuss
  • mature garden: needs an industrial weeder
  • manageable yard: the lawn can be cut with scissors
  • prvt/private or secluded: would appeal to hermits

 

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