Real Estate terminology can be confusing for an expatriate. Here are some of the most commonly used terms and their explanations:Furnished: The home has a home-like feeling and is fully equipped. It features all living furniture, appliances, towels, sheets, dishes and silverware.
Unfurnished: The home has the typical built-in kitchen with refrigerator and stove and bathroom cabinets. The windows may also be covered with blinds.
Floor plans: Homes usually enter straight into the living room with some floor plans including a small hallway featuring a closet for jackets; otherwise, the closet is at the entrance of the living room. In smaller homes, particularly apartments, the living room and dining area (possibly also called den) may be one area and sometimes distinguished by showing separate style windows in the room. The dining area may also be called breakfast area and be adjacent to or included in the kitchen. Larger floor plans have a separate breakfast area and a separate room for a formal dining room. Closets for clothes may be adjacent to bedrooms or are located inside the bathroom. Larger floor plans with larger sized closets may allow access from the bedroom and bathroom. Rooms with a closet are considered bedrooms and a room without a closet, usually one per home, is considered a study (possibly also called den), which can be used as a home office or play room. Den is rarely used now-a-days but simply means an extra living area, either as part of the living room or separate room.
Number of rooms: The numbers of rooms for listings are counted in terms of bedrooms. The first and largest is the master bedroom and the second is considered a guest bedroom. To be considered a bedroom, the room has to have a closet. An extra room without a closet is considered a study and is listed separately. A listing may show 2-bedroom which means the residence has a living room with an adjacent or separate dining area, kitchen and a bath. A listing with an extra room not considered a bedroom would show 1-bedroom with study.
Number of baths: The numbers of baths are listed separately. A listing may show 1 ½ baths. 1 bath means that it is a full bath with tub and shower. ½ bath means it is just a guest bathroom with only a toilet and a sink.
Stories: Apartments may be listed as ground floor, which is the same as first floor, second floor, etc. Due to the sea level, Houston generally does not have homes with cellars.
Sqft: Residences are listed in square footage which counts all living area, including hallways and closets.
Single family/Multi-family: A listing for a house may show single family or multi-family which indicates whether this is a single family home or a duplex or multiplex. Duplexes are distinguished by different residences touching walls whereas single family homes do not touch walls and have a minimum of several feet in between each building.