10 West 10th Street “Cellar door” might be the most beautiful phrase in English, but in the language of real estate, that title goes to “parlor floor.”

Trulia analyzed the language of their property listings to pick out phrases linked with the most expensive homes for sale. “Parlor floor,” often used in descriptions of Manhattan townhouses and mansions, got the platinum crown; the average price of homes listed with that phrase was a whopping $4.935 million.

Here are the top ten terms used in the priciest listings on Trulia, with the average home price associated with that phrase in parentheses:

  1. parlor floor ($4,935,632)
  2. formal gardens ($4,006,401)
  3. paneled library ($3,740,836)
  4. magnificent estate ($3,646,040)
  5. Lutron lighting ($3,524,588)
  6. public rooms ($3,451,456)
  7. once-in-a-lifetime opportunity ($3,402,801)
  8. highest level ($3,388,751)
  9. motor court ($3,359,954)
  10. two powder rooms ($3,346,560)

Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko mentions in his data write-up that high-end listings often have a case of the Bret Easton Ellis, with frequent mentions of upscale brands: “For example, Lutron – a lighting brand – shows up in some of the priciest listings; appliance brands like Miele, Viking, and Sub-Zero get lots of mentions in million-dollar-plus homes, too.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, phrases such as “mold-like substance,” “defective paint” and “septic repairs” were associated with cheaper homes. The biggest indicator that a listing is a deal or a fixer-upper? The term “minimum commission applies,” which means the home is so inexpensive that getting a regular commission percentage of the low selling price isn’t worth the agent’s time.

Below are the ten phrases most commonly used in the cheapest listings:

  1. minimum commission applies ($27,569)
  2. lead based paint notices ($39,939)
  3. mold-like substance ($45,094)
  4. defective paint ($45,974)
  5. city inspection ($55,661)
  6. repair plumbing system ($59,064)
  7. cute little bungalow ($61,870)
  8. septic repairs ($62,004)
  9. hud owned offered as-is ($64,547)
  10. starter home investment property ($65,041)

So if you see a “cute little bungalow,” that home is most likely asking 1/60th the price of a “magnificent estate.” Good to know!

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