Real Estate Glossary

For your convenience, we've compiled a list of words and phrases to help you understand the real estate industry better. Please find the term you need referenced from our list below. If you need help with your real estate question, please feel free to contact Park Sterling Realty. We would be happy to help!

  • ABR® - Accredited Buyer's Representative
  • Acceptable Offer (A/O) - A non-binding agreement between buyer and seller, or tenant and landlord, as to the price, terms and conditions for a real estate sale or lease. A meeting of the minds, when all parties agree to the exact terms
  • Adjustments - Divisions of financial responsibility between a buyer and a seller (also called prorations).
  • Agency - That relationship wherein an agent is employed by a principal to do certain acts on the principal's behalf.
  • Agent - One who undertakes to transact some business or to manage some affair for another by authority of the latter.
  • AHWD® - At Home With Diversity
  • Amenities - Elements of a property or its surroundings that contribute to its attractiveness to potential buyers and to owner satisfaction.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - Federal law requiring reasonable accommodations and accessibility to goods and services for persons with disabilities.
  • Appraisal - An estimate of a property's valuation by an appraiser who is usually presumed to be expert in this work.
  • Appraiser - An independent person trained to provide an unbiased estimate of value.
  • Assessed Value - A valuation placed on a property by a public officer or a board as a basis for taxation.
  • Assessment - The imposition of a tax, charge, or levy, usually according to established rates
  • Associate Broker - A broker who chooses to work as a salesperson under the name and supervision of another broker.
  • Broker - One who buys and sells for another for a fee.
  • Broker's Agent - A broker who assists the listing broker in marketing a property under a formal agency agreement.
  • Brokerage - The business of buying and selling for another for a fee.
  • Building Codes - Regulations established by State and local governments fully stating the structural requirements for building.
  • Building Permit - Written permission from the local government to build or alter a structure.
  • Buyer Agency - An agency relationship in which the broker/agent represents the interest of the buyer.
  • Capital Gains - Profits realized from the sale of assets such as real estate.
  • Caveat Emptor - A Latin phrase meaning, "Let the buyer beware."
  • CBR - Certified Buyer Representative
  • CDPE - Certified Distressed Property Expert
  • Certificate of Compliance(C of C) - Verification that a construction project meets certain standards, primarily safety-related.
  • Certificate of Occupancy(C of O) - Document issued by a municipal authority stating that a building complies with building, health, and safety codes and may be occupied.
  • Certificate of Title - A statement of opinion of title status on a parcel of real property based on an examination of specified public records.
  • Chain of Title - The conveyance of real property to one owner from another reaching back to the original grantor.
  • CIPS® - Certified International Property Specialist
  • Client - The principal.
  • Co-operative (Co-op) - A residential multiunit building where titles are held by a corporation owned by and operated for the benefit of persons living within the building, who are, the stockholders of the corporation, each possessing a proprietary lease.
  • Commission - Payment to a broker for services rendered, such as in the rental, sale or purchase of real property.
  • Comparables(Comps) - Properties listed in an appraisal report that are substantially equivalent to the subject property.
  • Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) - A study, intended to assist an owner in establishing listing price, of recent comparable sales, properties that failed to sell and properties presently on the market.
  • Condominium - The absolute ownership of an apartment or unit (generally in a multiunit building) plus an undivided interest in the ownership of the common elements, which are owned jointly with the other condominium owners.
  • Confidentiality - An agent's duty to keep the principal's information confidential
  • Contingency - A provision in a contract that requires that a certain act be done or a certain event occur before the contract becomes binding.
  • Contract - An agreement entered into by two or more legally competent parties by the terms of which one or more of the parties for a consideration undertakes to do or refrain from doing some legal act or acts.
  • Cooperating Broker - A broker other than the listing broker who is involved in a real estate transaction.
  • Counter-offer - A new offer made as a reply to an offer received.
  • CRB - Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager
  • Credit - On a closing statement, an amount entered in a person's favor.
  • CRS - Certified Residential Specialist
  • CSN - Certified Skilled Negotiator
  • Curb Appeal - Common term for everything that perspective buyers can see from the street.
  • Debit - On a closing statement, a charge or amount a party owes and must pay at closing.
  • Deed - A written instrument that, when executed and delivered, conveys title to or an interest in real estate.
  • Default - The nonperformance of a duty, whether arising under a contract or otherwise; failure to meet an obligation when due.
  • Disclosure - A broker is responsible for keeping a principal fully informed of all facts that could affect a transaction. If a broker fails to disclose such information, he or she may be liable for any damages that result.
  • Down Payment - The amount of cash that a purchaser will pay at closing.
  • Dual Agency - Representing both parties in a transaction.
  • Due Diligence - A fair and responsible degree of care.
  • e-PRO® - Technology specialist
  • Earnest Money Deposit - Money deposited by a buyer under the terms of a contract, to be applied to the purchase price if the sale is closed.
  • Easement - A right to use the land of another for a specific purpose, as for a right-of-way or utilities; an incorporal interest in land. An easement appurtenant passes with the land when conveyed.
  • Easement by Necessity - An easement allowed by law as necessary for the full enjoyment of a parcel of real estate; for example, a right of ingress and egress over a grantor's land.
  • Equity - Difference in dollars between a house's anticipated sale price and the mortgage plus other liens.
  • Exclusive-Right-To-Represent - The most common form of buyer agency agreement.
  • Exclusive-Right-To-Sell Listing - A listing contract under which the owner appoints a real estate broker as his or her exclusive agent and agrees to pay the broker a commission when the property is sold, whether by the broker, the owner or another broker.
  • Executed Contract - A contract in which all parties have fulfilled their promises and thus performed the contract.
  • Fair Market Value - The highest price that an informed buyer will pay, assuming there is not unusual pressure to complete the purchase.
  • Fiduciary - One in whom trust and confidence is placed; a reference to a broker employed under the terms of a listing contract or buyer agency agreement.
  • First Substantive Contact - The point at which agents must disclose and obtain signed acknowledgements of their agency relationships.
  • GREEN - National Association of REALTORS® Green designation
  • GRI - Graduate of the REALTOR® Institute
  • Highest and Best (Sealed Bids) - The time at which a seller will ask one or more potential buyers to provide their highest and best price, term and conditions to buy a property. Buyers should not expect a second opportunity to make an offer nor should they expect a counteroffer.
  • Inspection - Formal survey on a home's structure and systems, often performed by a licensed professional.
  • Interest - Charge paid to a lender for borrowed money.
  • Lease-Purchase Agreement - Agreement between a tenant and a landlord that a portion of monthly rent may be credited toward eventual purchase of the rental property.
  • Lessee - Tenant
  • Lessor - Landlord
  • Listing Agent - The broker with whom the seller enters into a valid listing agreement for the sale of his or her real estate.
  • Loyalty - The fiduciary duty that requires and agent to put the principal's interest above all others, including the agent's.
  • Market Price - The actual selling price of a property.
  • Market Value - The probable price a ready, willing and informed buyer would pay and a ready, willing and informed seller would accept.
  • Memo of Sale(Purchase Memo) - A nonbinding information sheet prepared by brokers in some NY localities that states the essential terms of the agreement.
  • Mortgagee - A lender in a mortgage loan transaction.
  • Mortgagor - A borrower who conveys his or her property as security for a loan.
  • Multiple-Listing Service - A marketing organization composed of member brokers who agree to share their listings with one another in the hope of procuring ready, willing and able buyers more quickly and efficiently.
  • Obedience - The agent's fiduciary duty to obey all lawful instructions from the principal.
  • Offer & Acceptance - Two essential components of a valid contract; a meeting of the minds, when all parties agree to the exact terms.
  • Open House - Opportunity for prospective buyers to view a house for sale in a low-pressure environment.
  • Over-Improvement - Addition or improvement in which the cost is greater than the value of the house.
  • PITI - Principal, interest, taxes and insurance: components of a regular mortgage payment.
  • Prepaid Item - A bill paid by the seller for something the buyer will benefit from: the coming year's property taxes, for example. Buyer will reimburse seller at closing for the unused portion.
  • Professional Home Inspection - Examination of a property's structure and systems performed by a trained professional for prospective buyers, lenders or home owners.
  • Proprietary Lease - A written lease in a cooperative apartment building, held by the tenant/shareholder, giving the right to occupy a particular unit.
  • Prospectus - A printed statement disclosing all material aspects of a real estate project.
  • Ready, Willing & Able Buyer - One who is prepared to buy property on the seller's terms and is ready to take positive steps to consummate the transaction.
  • REALTORS® - A registered trademark term reserved for the sole use of active members of local REALTOR® boards affiliated with the National Association of REALTORS®.
  • REALTOR® Code of Ethics - The standards that Realtors must uphold regarding their dealings with clients and customers, the public, and other Realtors.
  • Reasonable Care - A broker's duty to perform duties properly.
  • Right of First Refusal - A provision that a condominium or a cooperative association has the first right to purchase if a member wishes to sell his or her unit.
  • RSPS - Resort and Second Property Specialist
  • Sale-Leaseback - A transaction in which an owner sells his or her improved property and as part of the same transaction, signs a long-term lease to remain in possession of the premises.
  • Sales Contract - A contract containing the complete terms of the agreement between buyer and seller for the sale of a particular parcel of real estate.
  • Security Deposit - A payment by a tenant, held by the landlord during the lease term and kept (wholly or partially) on default or destruction of the premises by the tenant.
  • Selling Broker - The broker who successfully finds a ready, willing and able buyer for a property (may or may not be the listing broker).
  • SFR - Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource
  • SRES - Seniors Real Estate Specialist
  • Subject Property - The property being appraised.
  • Survey - The process by which a parcel of land is measured and its area ascertained; also, the map showing the measurements, boundaries and area.
  • Title - Evidence that the owner of land is in lawful possession thereof; evidence of ownership.
  • Title Insurance Policy - A policy insuring the mortgagee against loss by reason of defects in the title to a parcel of real estate, other than the encumbrances, defects, and matters specifically excluded by the policy.
  • Title Search - An examination of the public records to determine the ownership and encumbrances affecting real property.
  • Walk-Through Inspection - Final inspection of a property's condition by the buyer, usually to ensure that all conditions noted in the contract have been met.

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