The Meanings Behind Common Real Estate Terms

The Meanings Behind Common Real Estate Terms
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Photo: Feng Yu (Shutterstock)

Previously, we explained the difference between a half-bath and a full-bath, and other toilet-related math, along with why you may start seeing listings referring to the “primary” (rather than the “master”) bedroom. But when it comes to the terms in real estate listings, those are only the beginning.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the other common words, phrases, and acronyms you may come across while scouring listings for your new home (or doing some escapist browsing of properties you could never afford).

Meanings of common real estate terms and acronyms

If you find yourself skipping over the jargon in real estate listings, you could be missing out on some crucial information about the property. Here are a few definitions that could help:

  1. As-is: The home needs repairs and/or renovations that the seller will not complete before or as part of the sale
  2. Comps: Homes/properties that have recently sold, and are comparable to one that is currently on the market in terms of location, size, and type; helps realtors/buyers set the asking price of a home
  1. Contingency: A condition that must be met before the sale of the property is finalized; common examples include a home inspection, appraisal, and financing
  2. DOM: Days on the market; if a property is taking longer than usual to sell, it may be considered a stale listing
  3. EMD: Earnest money deposit; typically goes toward the down payment and closing costs
  4. FSBO: For sale by owner (i.e. no realtor is involved in the sale)
  5. Handyman special: The home needs some work, the extent of which can range from major structural repairs and/or a total gut, or more minor, cosmetic updates
  6. Market value: The price that a buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to accept on the open market; the going rate for a home/property, given its location, size, condition, and supply and demand at a particular time
  7. MLS: Multiple listing service; a database accessible to realtors (not the general public) with listings in a particular area
  8. Serious buyers only: Only arrange a viewing if you are genuinely interested in purchasing the property
  9. Stale listing: A property that has been on the market longer than expected; buyers may interpret as there being something wrong with the home
  10. Turnkey: The home is move-in-ready (though the buyer may want to make cosmetic changes)
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