Real estate listings are advertisements, and are usually worded to bring buyers in. This doesn’t mean that they are dishonest; it only means that they are written in a highly positive way. Thus, listings often use a language all their own.

Words used in these listings can mean very different things when compared to the way people would generally understand them. Here are five such words to look out for in real estate listings. (Related: Advice For Homebuyers So You Can Buy With Confidence)

When they call a house cozy

“Cozy” could mean cute and comfortable. In real estate listings, it may be used to indicate that a house is tiny and cramped. Certainly, small homes are a trend these days. Sellers of tiny homes, however, often don’t want to advertise their size for fear of driving away buyers looking for larger homes. They want them to appear bigger than they actually are.


When they say a home has custom features

“Custom features” in the kitchen may seem like a wonderful quality. “A living room with character” may seem like quite the thing you were looking for. Sometimes, however, these words are used to describe homes that have unconventional design choices and strange angles. When applied to a kitchen, it could mean an odd choice of stone, a peculiar choice of island placement or strange cabinet design choices. (Related: Top Home Design Trends for 2019)


When a listing calls for a need for TLC

Fixer-uppers are often advertised as homes in need of some “tender loving care.” In reality, these homes often need full-blown renovation from the ground up. You may need to call in a home inspector to determine how much the home could cost to create a livable space.


When a home is in an Up-and-Coming neighborhood

It can sound attractive to hear that a house is in an “up-and-coming” or an “it” neighborhood. These places may sound like they’re happening places. In reality, however, these may be neighborhoods that are only slowly becoming livable. They could be full of empty plots and boarded up homes, for example.


A property that’s back on the market

Sometimes, real estate agents seem excited to list a property that’s back on the market. The listing is worded in a tone that would indicate that there should be major excitement for how this property is finally back on sale. In reality, a property that’s back on sale is one whose last sale attempt failed. It’s important to find out why that property failed to sell. There could be serious maintenance problems. (Related: Hunting for Vintage Homes in Southern California)

The bottom line with the optimistic sales language used in real estate listings is that you need to temper your enthusiasm before you express interest.