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New York City Real Estate Glossary
New York:
+1 212 343 0600
+972 3 374 1560
+44 20 7442 5512
243 west 60th street, store 2
New York, NY 10023

Glossary of New York Real Estate Terms

Types of Apartments Read

Apartment Features Read

Building Features Read

Property Condition Read

Important Real Estate Terms Read

Types of Apartments:

Convertible – an apartment where a large living room was divided in two, making an additional bedroom while still retaining some of the living room space.

Junior One/Two/Three/Four – similar to a convertible; an apartment where an alcove off the living room has been converted into a bedroom or dining room. For example, a junior one bedroom would have originally been a studio, and a junior two bedroom would have originally have been a one bedroom apartment, etc.

Classic Five/Six/Seven – almost always found in pre-war buildings, a “Classic 5'” apartment consists of: two bedrooms, living room, dining room and kitchen. Additional bedrooms (usually with en-suite bathrooms) make for the Classic 6 or 7.

Studio – an apartment where the living room and sleeping area are combined into one space. Usually studios have a walk-in or a Pullman-kitchen.

Duplex – two-story apartment, or a house with two two-story family units.

Triplex – an apartment with three stories.

Quadraplex – an apartment with four stories.

Penthouse – a luxury unit in high-rise buildings, usually on one of the top floors with best views. Often with outdoor space as part of the apartment.

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Apartment Features:

Alcove – an alcove is the small area off the main living space in an apartment. Alcoves are generally used as sleeping or dining areas. In one or two-bedroom apartments, alcoves are sometimes converted into an additional smaller bedroom, forming a junior two or junior three bed room apartment.

Den – a spare bedroom that is used as a home-office, study or a library.

Built-in Appliances – appliances (usually in the kitchen or bathroom) that are permanently attached and installed, like a dishwasher, washing machine, microwave, refrigerator, etc.

Bay Window – a window that extends outwards from the main walls of a building; thus, forming a bay in a room, usually polygonal or square. Bay windows are often found in turn of the century townhouses and pre-war buildings.

Mezzanine or Loft Area is an additional space created in apartments with very high ceilings. The loft area is usually constructed above the living room, accessible by a staircase or ladder. Depending on the height of the ceiling, this space can be used for sleeping, storage or as a den.

High Ceilings – ceilings above nine feet (2.74 meters). Pre-war buildings are known for high ceilings, often with moldings. You will also find high ceilings in most modern condo/co-op developments.

Recessed Lighting – clean and contemporary light in modern apartments. The term refers to the lighting that is embedded within the ceiling, meaning that it does not have any light fixtures hanging from the ceiling.

Niche - a small recessed area in a wall, traditionally arched at the top.

EIK – abbreviation for “Eat-In Kitchen.” Unlike a Walk-In Kitchen, it is a larger kitchen that can accommodate a small dining area with a table or breakfast nook.

WEIK – Windowed Eat-in Kitchen.

Walk-In Kitchen – a kitchen that contains standard appliances and cabinets, but does not have room for a dining table.

Walk-through or Pass-through Kitchen – a kitchen that is in between of two rooms (usually a living room and a dining room).

Pullman or Petite Kitchen– often found in small apartments and studios. This is a kitchen lined up against a single wall. Usually these kitchens contain a refrigerator (full-size or half), a two-burner stove, a counter top, a cabinet (or several), and a sink.

Murphy Bed – a bed that is built into a wall and that can be pulled out when needed. A great space- saver for small apartments.

California Closet – a walk-in closet with drawers and built-in compartments.

Fireplace – can be functional (WBFP = “wood-burning fireplace”), or decorative (NWFP = “non-working fireplace”).

Original Detail – this term usually refers to the detailing in pre-war buildings, like molding on the ceilings, decorated fireplace mantels, etc.

Powder Room – same as 'half bath'. A bathroom without a shower or a bath.

Dual Sinks / Dual Vanity – a bathroom with two separate sinks; presumably his and hers.

En-Suite Bathroom –a bathroom that adjoins a bedroom. Usually found in Master Bedrooms.

Utilities – services such as Electricity, Heat, Water, Telephone and Television. May or may not be included in the rent.

Partial Views – refers to a partial views of the Central park, landmarks, the Hudson River or the East River.

Oblique Views – refers to views where you have to literally turn your head to see the Central park, landmarks or the two rivers.

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Building Features:

Amenities – nice additional features and services offered by apartment complexes, like a swimming pool, gym, broadband internet access, common rooftop deck, etc. These items are not essential to live in an apartment, but make it more attractive and marketable.

Service Level – refers to the level of front-door service available in a building.

Full-service Building – a building that employs both a concierge and a doorman.

Concierge – an individual who sits inside the building lobby and acts as a porter as well as a security guard, monitoring the comings and goings in the building lobby. A Concierge’s duties include accepting packages for tenants, informing tenants of visitors, etc.

Attendant (Full-time or part-time) – this can be a doorman, a concierge, and/or an elevator operator.

Doorman (Full-time or part-time) – an individual who opens the doors for tenants (depending on the specific building) and who also serves as a security guard monitoring the comings and goings in the building lobby.

Superintendent – referred usually as a “super.” This is a manager responsible for maintenance in a residential building. They are the main point of contact for residents of the building. If a super lives in the same building, he or she is called a “live-in super.”

Attended Elevator – in some pre-war buildings, elevators are operated by a full-time elevator operator who also serves as a full-time security for residents.

Basement – area of a building below the ground level.

English Basement – in a townhouse, the area on the ground floor, with a separate entrance underneath the grand staircase.

Parlor Floor – second floor in a townhouse, accessible by the front staircase. The parlor floor, traditionally, is the grandest room in a townhouse and has the highest ceilings.

Patio - private garden, usually located in the back of a building and available for ground-level apartments.

Rooftop Deck / Sundeck – a common rooftop space where tenants can enjoy the views, lay in chaise lounges or barbecue (depending on the building). Offered in luxury developments, high-rises and in some walk-ups.

Terrace – a roof or part of a roof, usually in a setback on a high-rise. Unlike a rooftop deck, the terrace can be enjoyed only by the tenant in the apartment with the access to it.

Courtyard – an outdoor space surrounded by the building complex.

Keyed Elevator – refers to an apartment that occupies the entire floor of a building. This is frequently seen in loft buildings in SoHo and Tribeca area.

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Property Condition:

Broom Clean – in ideal condition.

Blue Ribbon Condition – a house that is close to its original condition, like new.

As-is Condition - tenant or buyer accepts the property in its present condition, with no expectations that the landlord will improve anything before and/or after the sale/lease.

Triple Mint – term used to describe an immaculate, excellent condition of a property, namely (1) general condition of the apartment, (2) condition of the kitchen, and (3) condition of the bathroom.

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Important Real Estate Terms:

Closing – the final procedure in a deal, where contracts are signed, and the property is transferred to the new owner.

Closing Costs – expenses incidental to the real estate transaction, including attorney fees, bank fees, mortgage expenses, recording fees, etc. In addition to the closing price of the property.

Common Area – the area inside and outside the building owned by all condo/co-op owners. Such areas might include parking, a swimming pool, a fitness club, a lounge and other recreational and common facilities.

Credit Rating – the rating assigned to each individual with a credit history in the US, indicating his/her credit status (one usually has either “good” or “bad” credit rating) based on financial status and credit history.

Credit Report - the report that shows a loan applicant's history of payments made on previous debts. Several companies issue credit reports, but the three largest are TransUnion Corp., Equifax and Experian.

Earnest Money Deposit – the deposit made by the prospective buyer demonstrating the seriousness of his/her intentions to buy a property.

Maintenance Fee - the monthly assessment co-op owners pay for the salary of staff, repair and maintenance of common areas, co-op's taxes.

Common Charges – the monthly fee paid by condo owners. This fee covers the building maintenance and repairs, and the salary of the staff.

Mortgage Banker – a company that provides home loans using its own money. Most banks (including Wells Fargo Bank, Citibank, HSBC, Chase and many others) have mortgage programs – you can apply to get pre-qualified for a mortgage at any of these banks before you make a purchase.

Mortgage Broker – a company that matches lenders with prospective borrowers who meet the lender’s criteria. The mortgage broker does not issue the loan, but receives payment from the lender for services. A good mortgage broker will advise you on the best type of mortgage for your needs, and will offer you several financing options to choose from.

Security Deposit - a payment required by a landlord to secure that the tenant will comply with the terms specified in the lease. Usually equal to one month’s rent, due upon the signing of the lease, and held by the landlord for the duration of the lease. This deposit will be returned to you when you move out of your apartment providing that there has not been any substantial damage to the facilities.

Subletting/Subleasing – when a tenant leases his or her apartment to a third party for a certain duration. Must be approved by the building owner or manager.

Title – legal proof that the owner is in lawful possession of the property. Clean title indicates that there are no liens or other legal proceedings. Chain of title lists all previous owners of a particular property. Cloud on title signifies a claim or other legal proceeding that clouds the marketability of a particular property’s title.

Exclusive Listing – a listing promoted by a single broker according to the broker's agreement with the owner. In an “exclusive right-to sell” agreement, the broker is entitled to a commission even if the owner finds the buyer on their own, without the broker's assistance. In an “exclusive agency” the owner can market the property and find a buyer without any obligation to the broker.

Co-Brokership – an arrangement when the broker splits the commission 50%/50% with any other brokerage firm that brings the buyer and completes the transaction. When the broker receives the listing, he or she will promote the property with brokers at-large, maximizing the number of potential buyers. Most of real estate deals are done through co-brokering.

Open House – In order to advertise a property for rent or sale, the broker for the specific listing or the management company may hold an open house. The open house is usually announced through the listing services and websites accessible to the public.

Guarantor – co-signer of the lease who assumes the responsibility if the tenant cannot make the rent payment on time. Having a co-signer makes it easier for students or people without prior rental or credit history to rent an apartment in New York City. Some landlords might require that the guarantor lives in the tri-state area (New York, Connecticut or New Jersey).

Rent Control – a program that applies to buildings constructed before 1947 and regulates how much the landlord can charge for renting the space. Tenants in rent-controlled apartments enjoy higher levels of protection against rent increases and evictions.

Rent Stabilization – tenants in rent-stabilized apartments are guaranteed a maximum rent increase – usually between 2% to 10% - for each lease renewal.

Renters Insurance (Tenants Insurance) – a policy that protects the tenant’s possessions and the apartment against flood, fire, theft, or other emergencies.

FSBO – “for sale by owner.”

Investment Property – property that is not occupied by the owner; purchased as means of investment.

Pied-a-Terre (French) – a term that refers to an apartment that is not the primary residence of the owner. The owner of a pied-a-terre typically lives somewhere else and visits New York several times per year.

Managing Agent – an independent company hired by a landlord or condo/co-op owners to manage their property. A managing company is responsible for the building operations and handles repairs.

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New York:
+1 212 343 0600
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+44 20 7442 5512
243 west 60th street, store 2
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