Decoding real estate ads

If you are trying to buy or rent a flat in Austria for the first time, it can seem like a bit of a baffling logic puzzle. British ads are just as confusing for Austrians.

Where they differ is the British propensity to counting “reception rooms” and “bedrooms”, while Austrian adds frequently just count in terms of Zimmer (counted as full rooms) and Kabinet (counted as half-rooms!). Sizes are quoted in m² (Quadratmeter / qm). If you move into a flat in an attic beware that the usable area might be lower that the advertised size (due to low ceiling/roof/or part of the room being under the eaves!).

Here is a list of some of the most frequently used terms.

Financial side of things

  • Kaution = returnable deposit
  • Provision = commission of an agent (Makler)
  • Ablösefrei = no charges for fixtures and fittings
  • Ablöse = charges for fixtures and fittings (e.g. kitchen left in)
  • Privat an Privat = private rental (i.e. no commission to a Makler)
  • Miete inkl. USt / MwSt = rent including VAT
  • BK (Betriebskosten) = maintenance costs
  • laufende Kosten = running costs

Betriebskosten (service charges) are usually water, electricity in communal areas of the property, refuse collection, drainage.

Laufende Kosten (running costs) may be electricity, gas, district heating, internet and cable TV

Building Age and Conditions

  • Altbau = pre-war building (usually has high ceilings)
  • Neubau = post-1945 building (low ceilings)
  • Erstbezug = first tenant/owner after renovation or construction
  • vollsaniert = fully renovated
  • sanierungsbedürftig = in need of renovation
  • Dachgeschoss(wohnung) = penthouse – although can also be an indication of being in the eaves of the building
  • Kleinwohnung / Pendlerwohnung = commuter flat (often close to a railway station)
  • Großraumwohnung = open plan
  • Singlewohnung / Singlehit = small flat suitable for a person living alone


  • Alle Zimmer zentral begehbar = all rooms can be accessed from a hallway (rather than going through a room to get to another room)
  • Bad = bathroom
  • Badewanne = bathtub
  • Du (Dusche) = shower
  • EZ (Esszimmer) = dining room
  • SZ (Schlafzimmer) = bedroom
  • Loggia = balcony
  • Aufzug = lift
  • Dachterrasse = roof terrace
  • Einbaukü (Einbauküche) = fitted kitchen
  • Erdgeschoß = ground floor
  • Garc (Garconniere) = 1 room flat
  • Hochparterre = mezzanine floor
  • hofseitig = facing into a courtyard (as opposed to onto the street)
  • Kabinet = smaller room (only has 1 window – a Zimmer has at least two)
  • Kellerabteil = separate cellar compartment
  • Kochnische = small/basic cooking facilities
  • NR = Nebenräume (bathroom, toilet, usually hallway)
  • Parkettboden / Parkettzimmer = parquet flooring
  • Terrasse = terrace
  • Vorraum = hall
  • WaMa (Waschmaschine) = washing machine
  • WC = lavatory
  • WC am Gang = lavatory in the corridor (still occasionally happens in old houses)
  • als Wohngemeinschaft (WG) geeignet: suitable for use as a shared apartment/flatshare
  • WZ (Wohnzimmer) = living room
  • x. Liftstock = on the xth floor, with lift
  • Zimmer = Room
  • Zimmer in WG: a room in a flatshare

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