Decoding 4 Popular Real Estate Listing Terms

Congrats! You've officially kicked off the search to finding a home to purchase in New York City. To start the process, you've taken a look at some listings, but alas, trying to decipher the listing terminology has proven challenging - "FSBO", what does that even stand for? One thing to remember is you can't judge an apartment by its pictures or description, that's because there's no common standard when listings are put together. You really just need to get out there an explore. 

This week we've taken a look at some of the most common real estate terms and deciphered what they actually mean to help you in finding your perfect home. 


For sale by owner (pronounced fizz-bow), is a home that is being sold by the seller, without a listing agent. This type of direct sale can carry a cheaper price than a similar brokered home because the seller won’t need to factor in the broker commission. One thing to keep in mind is that a seller who has chosen to circumvent brokers may be difficult to work with and unrealistic on price. They'll also be responsible for all of the detailed work involved in the sale of their home which can add an additional layer of complexity to the transaction. 

Alcove studio

An alcove studio is like a normal studio but with an added alcove area for sleeping off the living room. Think of it as a studio and a half. Instead of the continuous long space of the standard studio, an alcove studio will most often be L-shaped. The extra space can sometimes by walled off to create more of a one-bedroom feel.


This term applies to any building built before WWII, and usually indicates spacious, stately co-ops in neighborhoods like the Upper West and Upper East sides. Prewar buildings are quite coveted in New York City. They generally have sturdy construction, classic architecture and most often tend to be more sound proof then newly constructed buildings. For character, charm and a piece of old New York, pre-war apartments tend to be very desirable. 


An apartment with contiguous rooms, one of which is not accessible from some or all of the main rooms. For the most part, the front door opens directly into the apartment which has no hallway- one room leads into another with typically only 3-4 rooms in this type of apartment. Most New York City apartments have been reconfigured at some point, the result is often strange floor plans- the railroad apartment being one of those. A railroad arrangement can be tricky with a family or roommates but can definitely work with some creative thinking.


Now that you know these four terms, you are a touch more prepared for the bustling NYC real estate market! At Blooming Sky we connect prospective homebuyers to properties that meet their needs. Whether it be a first time home purchase or a traditional investment property, we are there to take you through the process from start to end.