Skip to main content


Translating Home Listing Language

Maria Contreras Marketing Manager, Consumers Credit Union
Back to Blog
If you’re looking for a house, you’re probably figuring out which ones you want to see in-person based on online ads. If you’ve already been out looking, you’ve probably seen houses that didn’t quite live up to their description.

Here’s how to spot the red flags in home listings, plus some things you should look for and think about.

Language Can Be Deceptive

Less than desirable properties often have clever adjectives describing them. They sound good, but could be masking an issue. Examples include:
  • Cozy – This sounds comforting and quaint, but in real estate it usually means small. Especially if it’s referring to a space in the city.
  • Unique – You might not want a cookie-cutter house, but what your definition of unique is may not mesh up with others. Unique might refer to something easily changeable, like paint, but it could also mean the layout or other permanent structural features. Try to figure out why the property is being called “unique”.
  • Vintage – There can be a certain charm with older properties, but vintage might mean nothing has been updated.

Plenty of Photographs to View

First things first, if there are no photos of the property, it’s probably not worth your time unless you’re looking for a rehab project.

There should be a good number of photos, ideally with different angles of all the bigger rooms. Photos lacking detail are a red flag. If there’s only one view of the living room, it could be hiding troubles.

Don’t Forget Your Pre-Approval

Shopping with a pre-approval can make things a lot easier. To learn more about this, and all aspects of the home-buying process, visit our dedicated mortgage site.