If you’re not finding what you want, try adding these words to your online search.
Searching online home listings can be a fine art — especially if you’re in a market with a large inventory or in a seller’s market, where the homes sell superfast. The key is to make your search terms narrow enough that you aren’t sifting through thousands of homes, but broad enough that you’ve got plenty of options.
Here are eight of our favorite hidden-gem real estate words that will help guide your home search and find your dream space in no time.
1. Separate move-in-ready homes from the fixer-uppers
On the flip side, terms such as “TLC,” “vintage,” and “handyman special” usually denote fixer-uppers. “These usually mean the home has been gutted and foreclosed on,” Fontana says. “My personal favorite is ‘blank canvas’!” Good to know.
2. Study up on schools
If you’re thinking of having kids in the next few years, public school ratings are probably important to you. But even if you’re not planning on adding to your family anytime soon, checking out local schools is worth the time.
But instead of having to scroll to see what schools the properties you’re looking at are zoned for on every single listing you view, try typing “A-rated” into the search box. Typically, when a family-style property is in an A-rated school district, the seller wants you to know that — and mentions it in the listing.
3. Townhouse or condo? Try this
Two words: “end unit.” If you’re looking for a condo or townhouse, this term is powerful. Not only do end units have attached neighbors only on one side, but they also tend to get better natural light.
And it’s usually mentioned right in the listing description, because it’s in pretty high demand.
4. Avoid dark homes
Try adding “bright” to your search. This keyword can really tell you what kind of natural-light situation is going on in a listing. Some places can look great in photos due to the magic of Photoshop, but sometimes you’ll go to see it in person and think you’ve walked into a dungeon in the middle of a clear summer day. Words such as “bright,” “light,” and “sunny” can save you a lot of money on electricity (and make your plants happy too).
5. Find privacy
Try “privacy” and “private” if you’re looking for a place that offers you some quiet, whether it’s relief from neighbors, highways, or even the other members of your household. It can apply to fencing, the way rooms are laid out, space between residences, and so much more. For the homebuyer who likes quiet, this word is key.
6. What’s new?
Try “new” to find out. You might come across this word a lot (so be prepared for plenty of search results), but in the right place it can save you so much money — especially when it comes before “A/C,” “roof,” and other similar big-ticket items.
If you’re coming across too many listings for using “new,” another related but less common word is “upgraded” (think upgraded tile, appliances, etc.).
7. Get the “bonus”
“Bonus” is a cool word in general, but a lot of listings offer extra space, whether it’s for an office, a den, a closet, or something else. “Bonus area” or “bonus room” is a great phrase to search for that buyer who wants a specific number of bedrooms for their growing family but could use a little extra space for work or entertaining — or an extremely vast shoe collection.
8. The view
Real talk: A lot of places that seem great don’t like to mention they’re located right behind a loud bus stop or day care facility. So even when you love a place, you end up having to let it go when you drive by and see something unsavory nearby — or signs promising something unsavory is on the way.
“So many times, in newer areas, if the surrounding property isn’t developed yet, [it’s a good idea to ask about] the future plans for the surrounding land,” says Theresa Moran, a real estate agent in Orlando, FL. “In theory, a landfill could go in right next door.” So searching for “view” may help alleviate this risk, because a seller will want to mention the beautiful city view, lake view, or, you know, just landfill-free view.
Still not finding what you want? Jonathan Springer of The Driven Real Estate Team makes an excellent point. “The only way to search specific words is in the property-description field — and some agents just don’t have that much to say about a property,” says Springer.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s pretty common for listings to include misspellings. “You’d be surprised how often that’s a problem,” Springer adds.
Bottom line? Use specific keywords in your searches but lean on your real estate agent in case there’s a perfect property out there for you with a badly (or barely) written listing. And if you’re really set on a specific keyword, you might want to search a few different spellings, just in case.