Understanding Real Estate Listing Terminology

When you’re browsing real estate listings in Calgary, you may find words used to describe the property that may not have the same meaning as what you may have thought. While most sellers strive to be honest in their descriptions, their overriding goal is to sell the property. That’s why they may use words that sometimes present a liability as an asset.

It’s not uncommon for people to have a mistaken impression when they read a listing. And then they become disillusioned when the property doesn’t match their expectations. To help you get a more accurate idea of what kind of house you may encounter when you read the listings, here’s a quick translation guide of commonly used words.

  • Sometimes sellers also use words like cozy or charming. What this means is the house is extremely small. It’s as charming as a dollhouse. Usually, you may find that there’s no space to move around in the tiny kitchen. The bedroom may be barely bigger than some regular closets. As for the living room, three people may be a crowd.
  • All original details. This may be good or bad, though it’s usually bad. You may have vintage features here, but then they may be outdated. Also, these antiques may be in sore need for repairs.
  • Investor special. This indicates that it’s in extremely rough shape. It may not even be livable as is. You will have to spend a lot of time, effort and money on repairs. It is possible, however, that after all that renovation you may actually end up with a bit of profit for the property.
  • Hidden potential. Sometimes the property is also referred to as a hidden gem. Either way, it’s another fixer-upper, though usually it’s not as rough as the “investor special”. Usually, the house it outdated or very old, but it’s in a great location that will attract buyers.
  • All about the view. This is another way to emphasize the desirability of the location. It’s not that it’s near shops, restaurants, or schools. It’s because it offers a great view. However, typically the house itself isn’t much to look at. The interior of the house may not be as nice as the view.
  • Lovingly maintained. It’s probably an old home that’s been owned by the same family for many decades. Often it’s a family home that’s being sold as the children of the couple who owns have all flown the coop.
  • Lives large. This is a promise that despite the small square footage, it may actually feel larger than it really is. Usually the outdoor property is spacious, so you may have furniture outside the house to make your living space feel bigger.
  • This is actually a good thing, as it usually means everything’s repaired or brand new, and the furnishings are included. On the other hand, there’s almost always a premium price attached to the house and the furnishings.
  • Move-in ready. This is like a turnkey home, in the sense that you don’t need to have anything repaired. However, it you need to move in with your own furniture and appliances.
  • Low maintenance. That’s probably a term to distract you from the fact that the house and the yard is very small—hence, there’s not much to maintain.
  • Motivated seller. Sometimes you may see the term offers wanted. This means the sellers are rather flexible about the price, and they’re really ready to sell.

Often when you see terms like semi-attached or detached, you can just look up the literal meaning online. What our glossary provides are the hidden meanings of various terms, so that you don’t have unrealistic expectations. Good luck with your search!