Apartment Searching

Listing lingo you need to know


Searching for a new apartment can be a blast. Imagining yourself in a new space, mapping your commute to work, looking at the menus of all the local restaurants — the apartment hunt is a favorite pastime for many. But there’s much more to an apartment listing than swiping through polished, watermarked photos and dreaming of being within walking distance of a cool coffee shop. 

Enter: listing lingo. You know, those seemingly made up words in an apartment listing that almost feel like they’re there deliberately to confuse you? As it turns out, those words have real meanings — and can completely sweeten (or sour) a listing. 

Below, the team at Common has deciphered the meanings behind listing lingo you need to know before hunting for your next apartment. 

Net-Effective Rent

Of all the bits of listing lingo you need to know before starting your search, net-effective rent is one you really need to know. Here’s why: after finding the perfect apartment in your price range, you notice that the listed rate is its “net-effective” rent. This rent is factoring in some combination of promotions — also known as concessions — and the appealing rate is largely owed to these promotions. A unit with a net-effective rent of $1,750/month may have a two-months-free deal with a “real” rent of $2,200/month — but whatever the reason behind the rate, keep this in mind: your net-effective rent will be lower than the amount you will actually end up paying, and renters will have to qualify for the actual rent (before concessions) in order to score the apartment. The more you know! 

Garden Apartment

While this listing lingo might conjure up an image of a charming apartment with windows facing a lush courtyard, seeing “garden apartment” on a listing doesn’t always guarantee you’ll get this view. Rather, the term garden apartment typically refers to a ground-floor apartment with patio (or garden) access. While these ground floor apartments are not likely to be sun-soaked, renters can always rely on the garden for a dose of Vitamin D. One more thing worth noting: garden apartments tend to rent for significantly lower than upper-floor apartments, so if you see “garden apartment” in a listing you know you’re getting a deal. 

Broker’s Fee

Many are probably familiar with broker’s fees by now — because many have probably learned about these fees the hard way! As the name would suggest, a broker’s fee is a fee paid by renters to the broker for help in the apartment search. No big deal, right? You gave your friends $20 and a few slices of pizza for helping you move in — how expensive can a broker’s fee be? Pretty expensive, actually. According to the New York Times, broker’s fees can be as much as 15% of your annual rent. Finding the perfect apartment in a big city can be a challenge, and the work that rental brokers do is valuable, but keep the broker’s fee in mind and decide for yourself whether an expert’s help is worth it. 

Junior 1-Bedroom

A relatively new bit of listing lingo, “junior 1-bedrooms” refer to studio apartments with an additional “sleeping quarters.” Because this extra space does not have a window, however, the space can not legally be referred to as a “bedroom.” The added privacy of a junior 1-bedroom compared to a traditional studio can be a major bonus for some, but if you prefer rising in the morning to shafts of sun being cast across your room then we suggest you steer clear! 


Long a popular option for students, “coliving” has quickly become a popular solution to the problem of out-of-control city rents. This communal-style living helps create affordable housing in densely-populated areas — as well as workforce housing for those on-the-job and flexible living for those trying to see as much of the world as possible. Generally, seeing “coliving” on an apartment listing implies you are renting out a private room in a shared suite, but be sure to inquire if you aren’t positive. 

Coliving at Common

Coliving at Common means… well, a lot of things. For one, it means you’ll never have to deal with a broker’s fee. It also means you get all of the benefits of coliving — more attainable housing in desirable areas, flexible leases — in addition to luxury amenities (like professional cleanings, fully-furnished shared spaces, state-of-the-art gyms and wellness studios, and on-site or in-unit laundry.) Coliving at Common also means you aren’t just a resident, but a member; part of a community of individuals taking coliving to the next level with Common. 

The search is over!

If you’re tired of wading through lingo and are ready for a stress-free approach to apartment hunting, then start with Common. With homes in a dozen states — and many more on the way — Common is one of the best ways to live in a city. Explore any of our homes and see for yourself why Common is becoming a top choice for modern living.

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