NYC #apthunt getting confusing? Here's what those listing abbreviations really mean

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Before you even head out on your apartment search, you first have to wade through the alphabet soup otherwise known as a NYC apartment listing. Making heads or tails of a rental listing filled with abbreviations like OP, PTK and WIC can be tricky. Give yourself a hand with this cheatsheet from TF Cornerstone, which operates 14 no-fee luxury buildings across Manhattan and the Long Island City waterfront.

ALC – Alcove

An alcove is an area off of the living room, which gives you a little extra space.  Alcoves are typically used as sleeping, sitting, studying, working, or dining areas.  Variation on ALC: If your apartment has a DA, a.k.a Dining Alcove, that means you’ll have plenty of extra space for that post-modern kitchen table you’ve been eyeing at AptDeco.

BALC – Balcony

Moving into a NYC apartment doesn't always mean sacrificing outdoor space. While some buildings do offer apartments with backyards, those are on the (often very dark) ground floor. A balcony, on the other hand, gives you a private outdoor space high above the ground with city views. When the weather warms up, balconies —which are common in TF Cornerstone buildings — are perfect for outdoor gatherings or jusy enjoying some coffee in the morning.

HO – Home Office

Even if you don’t work from home, a home office can be useful (since we all take our work home these days, don't we?). Like an alcove, the space can be used as a dining room, a sitting area, or even extra storage. Plus, having a home office may be a great excuse to start working remotely.


Although this abbreviation might not give you extra space, it can do wonders for your bank account. Every listing offered at every residential TF Cornerstone building is a No-Fee apartment.  That means you pay zero broker, finder, or other external commission fees if you find and sign your lease directly with TF Cornerstone (the luxury rental building’s leasing manager).

OH – Open House

An Open House offers you the opportunity to drop by a prospective apartment without an appointment and see it in person on your own schedule. When you see the label of OH on a TF Cornerstone listing, note the hours outlined. You can drop by anytime within that window.

OP – Owner-Paid Commission

Hiring a broker can save time and aid in your apartment search, but brokers also charge (high) fees. With an OP apartment listing, you don't bear the cost alone. And when you find a TF Cornerstone apartment through a broker, we help you pay their fee.

OP literally means that the owner (or apartment offerer) pays the broker on your behalf. But OP is not universal; it’s up to the building to make the offer or not. Sometimes the OP offer pays a portion of your broker fee, and sometimes the offer will cover the whole bill. Be sure to take note of the restrictions on any OP offer so that you can plan your budget accordingly.

PF or PW – Pet Friendly or Pets Welcome

It only takes a couple of minutes into your apartment hunt to see that your furry friend  is allowed. Apartments that are pet friendly often adhere to a full building policy on pets. Sometimes cats and dogs are specifically mentioned in policy. A starting point may include the listing label of PF or PW, showing you that most four-legged family members are cool. Refer to the landlord or apartment-offerer for further details regarding your specific pet to be safe (since weight and breeed restrictions often apply).

PH – Penthouse

If you’ve ever seen "Pretty Woman," you know that the Penthouse is the best. They are on the highest floor of a building, offering expansive views of the city and a unique living space. Bonus: penthouse apartments typically come with luxuriously high ceilings and modern finishes.

PTK – Pass Through Kitchen

Pass-through kitchens were originally designed as a means to serve food efficiently while hiding a messy kitchen. Genius! This design still serves its purpose; the wall offers a clear distinction between the kitchen and dining area, while the opening allows for chefs to interact with their dinner guests. That's what we call a win-win.

TER(R) – Terrace

Terraces and balconies both give renters an extended living space and a bit of the great outdoors. But there are quite a few differences between the two. For example, a true premium in apartment life, terraces tend to be larger than balconies. They’re also built differently: a terrace is typically situated on a flat rooftop, whereas balconies are extensions off of the building. Because of their size, terraces are more versatile. They can be used to entertain guests, house a garden, or even just act as a private oasis.

WIC – Walk in Closet

A walk-in closet, although self-explanatory, is great news for anyone with a lot of stuff. These are some of the most coveted apartment features since they provide lots of additional storage for anything and everything, and typically provide a bit of dressing space, too. When you see this label at TF Cornerstone, the apartment will have at least one closet with enough space for you to walk completely into it.

WIFI – Wireless Internet

When this is included on the list of amenities offered by a luxury apartment building, you can expect for WiFi (wireless internet connection that sometimes requires users to log-in) to be available to residents in the community spaces within the building. That means your apartment home office is just one of the many places you can get work done.

Now that you’re ready to take charge of your apartment hunt, see the TF Cornerstone listings live and in action with floorplan previews and images representing the neighborhood. Drop by our leasing offices, no appointment necessary, and let them help you find what fits you.