The Most Confusing Real Estate Terminology

Like most professions, real estate has its own lingo that you’ll have to get familiar with in order to navigate property listings, negotiations, contracts and more. From acronyms to full-fledged concepts, keeping up with real estate terminology can seem like a full-time job.

We’ve curated some of our favorite acronyms and definitions that you’ll likely run into – whether studying for your real estate licensing exam or negotiating your first sale – to help you get accustomed to the lingo. This is definitely not an all-inclusive list.

What real estate terminology have you run into that made you scratch your head?

Here are some of the easier ones – most often used to describe a home’s features in a property listing:

2C, 3C: 2 or 3 Car Garage

4/3: 4 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms

AC: Acre

ATFN: Attic Fan

ATT: Attached Garage

BA: Bath

BLT: Built-In

BSMT: Basement

CAC: Central Air Conditioning

CCR: Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions

CLDSC: Cul-De-Sac

CVAC: Central Vacuum

CVGA: Converted Garage

D/W: Dishwasher

DR: Dining Room

DSP: Disposal

FFE: Furniture, Fixture and Equipment

HB: Half Bath (toilet and sink)

LR: Living Room

MK: Modern Kitchen

MSTR: Master Bedroom

O/F: Owner Finance

RTO: Rent to Own

SAT: Satellite Dish

SD: Security Deposit

SPLT: Split Level

W/D HKUP: Washer/Dryer Hookup

WDSTV: Wood Burning Stove

WLKIN: Walk-In Closet

W/W CRPT: Wall-to-Wall Carpet

Here’s a few that require a bit more information:

CMA: Comparative Market Analysis or Competitive Market Analysis. As you help a client list or buy a home, many agents will prepare a CMA that shows comparable sales for similar pieces of property that were recently sold or currently on the market in your area. This is especially helpful when helping clients understand the climate of the current market.

Closing Costs: Closing costs are the fees and expenses involved in buying or selling a home. These fees can include the cost for the title company or closing attorney to search the title, prepare the documents, and any fees being charged by the mortgage company. There are also fees associated with recording the deeds, agent commission, and taxes paid.

Contingency: A contingency is a provision that is included with the contract that requires a condition to be met before the contract is fully binding. This could include the buyer selling their current home, obtaining loan approval, or a clear termite letter. Contingencies can also include inspections before purchasing the home and after repairs have been requested.

Fixture: A fixture is anything that is permanently attached to or a part of the real property. Fixtures can include hardware, light fixtures, carpet, and door knobs, to name a few.

Lockbox: A lockbox is a device used by real estate companies to allow other agents to gain access to a home currently listed. This allows potential buyers and their agent to make an appointment at the home and view it privately and conveniently taking the hassle out of exchanging or forgetting keys.

Title Insurance: Title insurance is a policy that can be purchased by the lender or owner of a property to protect their interest in the real estate. A title policy would protect the parties against any matters that did not show up in the title search such as forgery or liens.

Don’t get lost in real estate terminology

As you work with more contracts and agents, we’re sure you will come up with a few on your own, maybe even a few creative ones that we don’t have listed here. Every day in real estate is exciting and new – a constant learning process. Learning real estate terminology is just the start of an exciting new real estate career. For more information on these or any other real estate definitions, consider one of our real estate exam prep programs.