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Decoded: How to Read Between the Lines of a Listing

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Introducing to Curbed Philly The Brokerbabble Glossary, where we take a word or a turn of phrase that seems to show up in an unreasonable number of listings and decipher its true meaning. If you have any ideas for us, send them to the tipline.

We'll start off with a review of some of the more common concepts, and get more specific as the glossary grows.

Original Condition
Note the difference between “original details” and “original condition.” Connoisseurs of pre-war houses or apartments are looking for original details: high ceilings, hardwood floors, glorious crown molding. But unless you’re looking for a full-on renovation or fixer-upper, you are NOT looking for “original condition.” Original condition means olive green kitchen cabinets, peeling linoleum and the original Brady Bunch-style stove in the wall.

Watch out for “TLC” if you’re not planning on a major renovation. Also, standards differ: Tender loving care to one agent can mean total gut job to another.
Many times agents will say, "Needs TLC but is priced accordingly." Generally speaking, it better be.

Size-related words
Beware of the words “quaint,” “cozy” or “intimate.” They mean “the living room might not accommodate your couch” or “You’d better not be planning on having kids.” The good news is that square footage speaks for itself. But a square foot is not a square foot if it’s broken in half and partially hidden behind a stairwell. Examine a floor plan if you can; it should have dimensions for each of the rooms. On site, grab your measuring tape and measure the size of each room.