“Bedroom fits a queen-sized bed”: The bedroom only fits a queen-sized bed. If there’s any additional space, they’ll say it fits a king-sized bed or bedroom set.
“Close to shops”: On the loud avenues.
“Close to restaurants”: Above a restaurant.
“Brand new building”, two bathrooms in a 1-bedroom, overuse of the word “luxury”, or describing the apartment as a “residence”: It’s an unsold condo in a high-rise on 4th Avenue that nobody wants and they’re trying to get people to rent them until the condo market recovers.
2-bedroom “convertible”: It’s a 1-bedroom with an area that could, theoretically, be walled off to create a second “bedroom”, formerly a dining room or alcove, usually in an undesirable or inconvenient location that couldn’t be fully private (e.g. requiring you to walk through it to get to the master bedroom or kitchen). But they’ll charge the 2-bedroom price.
1-bathroom apartments with a “master suite”: The only bathroom is directly off the bedroom, so guests need to walk through your bedroom to use the bathroom.
“Jacuzzi”: Water jets in the bathtub.
“Garden”: Small concrete slab as a “backyard” next to everyone else’s small concrete slabs. And it’s included in the square footage. If the listing doesn’t include a picture, it’s probably bad.
“Garden level”: Basement.
“Terrace” in a large building: A convenient smoking area directly above everyone else’s convenient smoking areas. Oh, you don’t like the smell of smoke?
“Outdoor space”, without specifying it as a garden, terrace, or deck: It’s the fire escape.
“Well-lit ground floor, but not by natural light”: Basement with no windows. (A listing actually said that.)
“Open kitchen”: The kitchen is in the living room.
Links for more information using a URL-shortening service: Likely spam or scam.
Unspecified square footage: Tiny.
Doesn’t advertise a dishwasher: Doesn’t have one.
“Convenient laundry”: No laundry in the unit or the building. There’s a laundromat down the block.
Apartment number in a brownstone followed by a letter, e.g. “2F”: It’s not the full floor, so it’s going to be small. (A typical brownstone floor is usually about 20x50 feet, including the stairs and hall.)
No pictures: It sucks.
Pictures only of the neighborhood or the outside of the building: It sucks.
Any rooms not pictured: They probably suck.
More than one neighborhood named in the title: The apartment is in the least desirable one.