New York Apartment terminology A-Z: A Consumer Guide

Real Estate Agent

New York Apartment terminology A-Z

Alcove: an area adjoining the living room which can be used for a dining area or be separated or closed off to make a bedroom, den or office.

Classic: in a pre-war building, an apartment which has a formal dining room, and, in a larger apartment, one or two maids' rooms. A "classic six", for example, is a six-room apartment in a pre-war building that has a living room, formal dining room, two bedrooms, kitchen, maid's room, and 1, 2, or 3 baths. In the larger classics, it is common to find the smaller maids' rooms combined into one larger room. Frequently, pre-war buildings have been gutted and "rehabbed," but room counts and layouts will usually be listed according to their original configuration.

Convertible, Flex or Junior: an apartment with an alcove off the living room which can be converted to another bedroom or used as a dining area. A "convertible two-bedroom" or "flex two" is a one-bedroom apartment with a large alcove and one or two bathrooms.

Duplex: Two floors in an apartment.

Flex: see "convertible" or "junior"

Floor-through: A whole floor of a building. Usually in brownstones and townhouses.

Furnished Units: apartments, which are fully equipped with furniture and amenities. Such apartments are for long or short term lease.

Junior: a "junior 4" would be a potential 4- room apartment: living room, bedroom, kitchen, and alcove area (bathroom is not counted as a room). "Junior 1" is a 2.5 room apartment an L shaped studio mafe into a bedroom

Loft area: sometimes found in an apartment with high ceilings. It is typically an area, accessible by ladder or small staircase, which has been built for storage or as an extra sleeping or living area.

Loft: Large open space usually in a converted industrial building.

Mini Loft: New millenium name for studio without an alocove.

One-bedroom: A one-bedroom is a three-room apartment (kitchen, living room, and bedroom). A one-bedroom with a windowed alcove large enough to be a bedroom is called a "junior 4 (4 rooms), "flex 2" or "convertible 2" (convertible to two bedrooms).

Penthouse: Top floor of building can be any size apartment, usually has outdoor space.

Pied-a-terre: An apartment in NYC that is not the owner's primary residence it is the owners NYC apartment.

Studio: a studio is a two-room apartment (the kitchen is considered one room). An "alcove studio" is a studio with an alcove for dining or sleeping. A studio with a windowed alcove large enough to be a bedroom can be referred to as a "junior one-bedroom" or "junior 3" (three rooms).

Triplex: Three floors in an apartment.

Two-bedroom: a two-bedroom can be a four, five or six-room apartment. A "flex 3" or "convertible 3" is a two-bedroom apartment with space for an additional room (third bedroom, dining room, den, maid's room, homeoffice, etc.)

Three -Bedroom and up: a three bedroom or four bedroom apartment.


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Comments (12)

Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

Is there a quiz? I think I could memorize it. I'll take a Classic 6, rennovated tastefully with all the original appointments.  The only word we would use differently (because we don't use most of the ones above lol) here is duplex. A duplex is a two family house, side by side living space attached by the middle walls. Very interesting!

Jan 27, 2007 07:08 AM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
We have different building terminolgy also.   In another post
Jan 27, 2007 09:20 AM
Linda Davis
RE/MAX Home Team - Gales Ferry, CT

Pretty cool!   I always wondered what those words mean!  If read the New York Times, I bet I'd see them all there, huh?   Or are there abreviations of abreviations?

Jan 27, 2007 11:37 AM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn


Yes there are abreviations of abreviations in the Times because their classifieds are so expensive. Broker jargon in the Times is as fun to play as the crossword puzzle.

Here is one: 

FT/DM/Reno/Stu/WBFP/EIK/vu = Full time doorman, renovated studio with wood burning fireplace, eat-in-kitchen with a view

Jan 27, 2007 11:54 AM
Linda Davis
RE/MAX Home Team - Gales Ferry, CT

Kind of like a word game for realtors!   I especially like VU for view.  LOL

Jan 27, 2007 11:57 AM
Dena Stevens
Rocky Mountain Realty - Canon City, CO
Putting The Real Into Realtor Since 2004
You came along at the right time! Great terms, although duplex and triplex mean something completely different here.
Jan 30, 2007 04:06 AM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Hi Dena,

Thanks for stopping by. It's interesting how terminology means different things in different markets

Jan 31, 2007 12:17 AM

Great post!  We should think about adding some of these other terms to our gainesville apartments website... :)  Since we are in a college town, there are lots of other terms to worry about, too: dorms, student housing, individual lease, JSL leases, legacy leases... good idea to make a list on our site! :)

Thanks for the post!

Jul 03, 2007 08:40 AM
Linda Davis
RE/MAX Home Team - Gales Ferry, CT

I was subscribed to this post and just was notified when you changed it.  I thought this was awesome when you originally posted it (still do) but I'm amazed it was so long ago.

Jan 13, 2009 10:48 PM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Thanks Linda, I just went back and added activerain channels to my old posts.

Jan 13, 2009 11:18 PM
New York maids

One should take note of the above terminologies when planning on renting or buying property in New York so that there would be no misundertanding between you and the realtor.

Dec 14, 2010 11:52 PM
Apartments In Gainesville

It's tough to rank well for key search terms when the major ILS's easily eat the top of the page up. We have a site where users can search through apartments in Gainesville, and our bread and butter comes from long tail searches.

Mar 07, 2016 01:40 AM