Real estate lingo and acronyms

Real estate ads are usually full of acronyms and terms that are unfamiliar to first-time buyers. Here's a cheat sheet to let you in on the lingo.

4B/2B: This defines the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the home – two bedrooms and two bathrooms in this case. "Bedroom" usually means a sleeping area with a window and a closet, but the definition varies in different places. A "full bathroom" is a room with a toilet, a sink and a bathtub. A "three-quarter bathroom" has a toilet, a sink and a shower. A "half bathroom" or powder room has only a toilet and a sink.

Appraisal: An informed, impartial and well-documented opinion of the value of a home, prepared by a licensed and certifed appraiser and based on data about comparable homes in the area as well as the appraiser's own walk-through.

Assum. fin.: Assumable financing

Buyer's market: Market conditions that exist when homes for sale outnumber buyers. Homes sit on the market a long time and prices drop.

Closing costs: The entire package of miscellaneous expenses paid by the buyer and the seller when the real estate deal closes. These costs include the brokerage commission, mortgage-related fees, escrow or attorney's settlement charges, transfer taxes, recording fees, title insurance and so on. Closing costs are generally paid through escrow.

CMA: Comparative market analysis, or competitive market analysis. A CMA is a report that shows prices of homes that are comparable to a subject home and that were recently sold, are currently on the market or were on the market, but not sold within the listing period.

Contingency: A provision of an agreement that keeps the agreement from being fully legally binding until a certain condition is met. One example is a buyer's contractual right to obtain a professional home inspection before purchasing the home.

Days On Market (DOM): The number of days a property listing is considered active.

Debt-to-income ratio (DTI): A ratio that compares a home buyer's expenses to gross income.

FDR: Formal dining room

Fixture: Anything of value that is permanently attached to or a part of real property (real estate is legally called "real property," while movables are called "personal property"). Examples of fixtures include installed wall-to-wall carpeting, light fixtures, window coverings, landscaping and so on. Fixtures are a frequent subject of buyer and seller disputes. When in doubt, get it in writing.

Gar: Garage (garden is usually abbreviated as "gard").

HDW, HWF, Hdwd: Hardwood floors

In-law potential: Potential for a separate apartment, subject to local zoning restrictions

Lo dues: Low homeowner's association dues. But find out how "low" the dues are compared to other dues in the area.

Loan-to-value ratio (LTV): The amount of the loan divided by the price of the house. Lenders reward lower LTV ratios.

Lock box: locked key-holding device affixed to a for-sale home so real estate professionals can gain entry into the home after obtaining permission from the listing agent

MLS: Multiple Listing Service. An MLS is an organization that collects, compiles and distributes information about homes listed for sale by its members, who are real estate brokers. Membership isn't open to the general public, although selected MLS data may be sold to real estate listings web sites. MLSs are local or regional. There is no MLS covering the whole country.

PITI: Principal, interest, property taxes and homeowners insurance. The components of a monthly mortgage payment.

Pwdr rm: Half bathroom or powder room

Seller's market: Market conditions that exist when buyers outnumber homes for sale. Bidding wars are common.

Title insurance: An insurance policy that protects a lender's or owner's interest in real property from assorted types of unexpected or fraudulent claims of ownership. It's customary for the buyer to pay for the lender's title insurance policy.

Vw, vu, vws, vus: View(s)

 

REALTORS® are trusted advisors and skilled negotiators as well as the consumer's source of unparalleled market knowledge. Visit our web site at easternctrealtors.com.

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