Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you ever tried to find an apartment or home to rent in the United States?

It can be competitive and tricky in large cities like New York and Boston.

In today’s episode we’ll define some key terms if you are looking for an apartment in English.

If you’re not looking for an apartment you’ll learn a lot about what it’s like to live in large city as an American in your twenties and thirties.

You can also apply some of today’s tips when it comes to looking for a job in English.

Here is our listener’s question for today:

“It’s been more than a month and a half since I emailed you last time and I have been obsessively listening to the previous episodes (while listening to the new episodes), starting from the episode one (!) up to around 400. It felt like I’m re-educating myself from
scratch. When you think your English skills have reached a certain level, you don’t pay attention to seemingly “basic” things as you might have been before. I assumed I already knew all the things after being exposed to the US culture for a long time, but there were obviously some things that I completely didn’t know or misunderstood (especially cultural aspects). So I recommend it to other listeners too- both for re-confirming that what you’ve learned naturally were actually culturally right and for learning something new that you’ve missed.”

“I’ll be moving out to Brooklyn soon and I have been searching for rooms through different websites, brokers, agents. You know the rent is really crazy in NYC and I’m never fully satisfied with the housing condition, so I occasionally go to the websites to look through the room offers. When people are looking for their roommates, they usually introduce themselves (their age, lifestyle, what they care about) and also explain the  characteristics of ideal roommates they are looking for. It’s really interesting and entertaining to read those descriptions and I think it’s also helpful for expanding my English vocabularies.”

“Then I thought it might be interesting to listen to a Podcast episode on housing and roommate. While reading the Craigslist last year (one year after I came to NYC), I came across with the terms such as 420 friendly or 420 free. I saw many people posting LGBTQ friendly or Pet friendly, so I just didn’t pay much attention to the repeated words people used, then visited some apartments. While talking with the people living there, I realized that 420 friendly/free is actually related to drugs. I think people should know these phrases, in order not to come across unwanted situations and to find out the right fit (I’ve learned “right fit” also through those descriptions or something like “neat freak”). I’ve never came across with the word 420 free other than the above-mentioned situation. Do you think people usually use the terms? If yes, can you let me know some situations? Are there any other terms that I/listeners should keep in mind when searching for the rooms?”


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  •  “420 friendly/420 free” = you either smoke marijuana or you are okay with it being smoked around or you are not. Also this structure can be used to talk about your other preferences.
    • “We are looking for someone who is…”
      • “dog friendly”
      • “LGBT friendly”
      • “Vegan friendly”
  •  “____ is a plus” = This means that if you have this thing then you have an advantage over other people who are looking at the space. An ad might say,
    • “Having your own furniture that you can add to the house is a plus”
  • “The right fit” = This is a nice way of saying that someone will fit well in the apartment and that they will get along with people in the house. This expression is used a lot in the work world. For example,
    •  “I think this job would be a great fit”
    • “I think my skills would be a great fit for this company.”


  • “Neat freak”= This is someone who is very concerned with keeping everything constantly clean. Usually this phrase is negative.


Tips to get a good place to live in the United States:

  • Ask questions and show that you’re checking them out too.  This also goes for a job interview or dating. They want to know that you are a high-value person. This means that you have options. That kind of person would want to know who they are going to live with. 


What questions do you have about today’s episode?

Let us know in the comments below.

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