Reading Between The Craigslist Lines: How To Decode An Apartment Listing

If you’ve looked for an apartment lately, you’ve probably had this experience: you find what sounds like the perfect place online, but when you show up, the thing has literally burnt down from a meth lab explosion. Or, you know, the kitchen is grosser than you imagined—either way, a misleading ad can be a huge letdown, and a big chunk out of your day. Give yourself an edge by keeping your eyes peeled for these telling terms.

detective Reading Between The Craigslist Lines: How To Decode An Apartment Listing

“Outdoor space”: a door that opens to three inches of cement that end in a grate.


Space for chairs on the edge of a parking lot.

“Cozy”: only eight year olds won’t bang get bruises and brain damage from banging into the too-close walls of this tiny place.

“Garden”: a basement so dank you could grow enough mushrooms to make a living doing it.

“Near the bustling____”: so loud you’ll consider a cave in the Himalayas over this place, just for the peace of mind.

“Beautiful”: So expensive, you’ll bankrupt yourself living here.

“Victorian”: (see previous) OR completely falling down because no one has worked on it since it was built in the Victorian era.

“Homey”: Ugly as sin.


Decorated by a dead grandmother.

“Walk-up”: Stairs so steep and unending you will either get a butt like J. Lo’s, or a heart attack trying.

“Convertible/flex”: There used to be a (bigger) living room here, but it died and was reincarnated as a tiny, tiny bedroom.

“Basement apartment”: “I hope you’re under 6 feet tall and don’t have seasonal depression.”

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