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Real Estate Terminology


Click on a letter (or “numerical”) to jump ahead in this alphabetized list.

(Thanks to REALTOR Magazine for source material)

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The delayed exchange of properties that qualifies for tax purposes as a tax-deferred exchange.

The statement of income reported to the IRS for an independent contractor.

Allowed by law, tenants must be informed of showing 24 hours before you arrive.


A contract that is pending with attorney and inspection contingencies.

Those showings where the listing agent must accompany an agent and his or her clients when viewing a listing.

An addition to; a document.

A type of mortgage loan whose interest rate is tied to an economic index, which fluctuates with the market. Typical ARM periods are one, three, five, and seven years.

The licensed real estate salesperson or broker who represents buyers or sellers.

The actual sale price after the seller successfully markets and sells his or her home through the broker of his or her choice. The sale is turned over to a third-party relocation company for closing, and the guaranteed offer is amended or changed.

The total costs (interest rate, closing costs, fees, and so on) that are part of a borrower’s loan, expressed as a percentage rate of interest. The total costs are amortized over the term of the loan.

Fees that mortgage companies charge buyers at the time of written application for a loan; for example, fees for running credit reports of borrowers, property appraisal fees, and lender-specific fees.

Those times or time periods an agent shows properties to clients.

A document of opinion of property value at a specific point in time.

The price the third-party relocation company offers (under most contracts) the seller for his or her property. Generally, the average of two or more independent appraisals.

A contract or offer clause stating that the seller will not repair or correct any problems with the property. Also used in listings and marketing materials.

One in which the buyer agrees to fulfill the obligations of the existing loan agreement that the seller made with the lender. When assuming a mortgage, a buyer becomes personally liable for the payment of principal and interest. The original mortgagor should receive a written release from the liability when the buyer assumes the original mortgage.


When a property or listing is placed back on the market after being removed from the market recently.

A licensed agent who works with clients when their agent is unavailable.

A type of mortgage that is generally paid over a short period of time, but is amortized over a longer period of time. The borrower typically pays a combination of principal and interest. At the end of the loan term, the entire unpaid balance must be repaid.

When an offer is accepted contingent on the fall through or voiding of an accepted first offer on a property.

Transfers title to personal property in a transaction.

An association of REALTORS® in a specific geographic area.

A state licensed individual who acts as the agent for the seller or buyer.

The person registered with his or her state licensing authority as the managing broker of a specific real estate sales office.

The real estate broker’s opinion of the expected final net sale price, determined after acquisition of the property by the third-party company.

The real estate broker’s opinion of the expected final net sale price, determined prior to the acquisition of the property.

A preset time and day when real estate sales agents can view listings by multiple brokerages in the market.

The purchaser of a property.

A real estate broker retained by the buyer who has a fiduciary duty to the buyer.

The agent who shows the buyer’s property, negotiates the contract or offer for the buyer, and works with the buyer to close the transaction.


Cost incurred to maintain a property (taxes, interest, insurance, utilities, and so on).

The end of a transaction process where the deed is delivered, documents are signed, and funds are dispersed.

CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) is the insurance industry’s national database that assigns individuals a risk score. CLUE also has an electronic file of a properties insurance history. These files are accessible by insurance companies nationally. These files could impact the ability to sell property as they might contain information that a prospective buyer might find objectionable, and in some cases not even insurable.

The compensation paid to the listing brokerage by the seller for selling the property. A buyer agency agreement may require the buyer to pay a commission to his or her agent.

The percentage split of commission compensation between the real estate sales brokerage and the real estate sales agent or broker.

A study done by real estate sales agents and brokers using active, pending, and sold comparable properties to estimate a listing price for a property.

The analysis used to provide market information to the seller and assist the real estate broker in securing the listing.

An association of all owners in a condominium.

A financial forecast and report of a condominium association’s expenses and savings.

Rules passed by the condominium association used in administration of the condominium property.

A document that legally establishes a condominium.

A person or an association that has the first opportunity to purchase condominium real estate when it becomes available or the right to meet any other offer.

Rules of a condominium association by which owners agree to abide.

A provision in a contract requiring certain acts to be completed before the contract is binding.

When a property is under contract with contingencies, but the seller requests that the property continue to be shown to prospective buyers until contingencies are released.

A sales contract in which the buyer takes possession of the property but the seller holds title until the loan is paid. Also known as an installment sale contract.

An agreement between the third-party relocation company and the seller (transferee) whereby the third-party company purchases property owned by the seller.

A type of mortgage that has certain limitations placed on it to meet secondary market guidelines. Mortgage companies, banks, and savings and loans underwrite conventional mortgages.

A commission offered to the buyer’s agent brokerage for bringing a buyer to the selling brokerage’s listing.

Where the shareholders of the corporation are the inhabitants of the building. Each shareholder has the right to lease a specific unit. The difference between a co-op and a condo is in a co-op, one owns shares in a corporation; in a condo one owns the unit fee simple.

The company with whom the third-party relocation company has an agreement to handle the relocating employees.

The response to an offer or a bid by the seller or buyer after the original offer or bid.

Includes all of the history for a borrower’s credit accounts, outstanding debts, and payment timelines on past or current debts.

A score assigned to a borrower’s credit report based on information contained therein.

The visual impact a property projects from the street.


The number of days a property has been on the market.

A judgment of the court that sets out the agreements and rights of the parties.

A fee charged by the real estate company or brokerage for the real estate agent to use a desk.

Services provided to the transferee at the new location. They can include familiarization tours, temporary housing, school searches, and so on.

Carrying costs, loss on sale, repairs and improvements, commission, closing costs, principal, interest, taxes and insurance, interest on equity loans, and utilities.

Federal, state, county, and local requirements of disclosure that the seller provides and the buyer acknowledges.

The legal separation of a husband and wife effected by a court decree that totally dissolves the marriage relationship.

Days on market.

The amount of cash put toward a purchase by the borrower.

When a buyer or seller agent or broker drives by a property listing or potential listing.

A state-licensed individual who represents the seller and the buyer in a single transaction.


The money given to the seller at the time the offer is made as a sign of the buyer’s good faith.

Electronic or Internet-based communication.

An account into which borrowers pay monthly prorations for real estate taxes and property insurance.

A brokerage expense account that accrues charges for marketing.

Fixtures or personal property that are excluded from the contract or offer to purchase.

A property listing that has expired per the terms of the listing agreement.


A document that treats facsimile transmission as the same legal effect as the original document.

The real estate sales agent and/or his or her client’s reaction to a listing or property. Requested by the listing agent.

A form of property ownership where the owner has the right to use and dispose of property at will.

Federal Housing Administration.

A guarantee by the FHA that a percentage of a loan will be underwritten by a mortgage company or banker.

Personal property that has become part of the property through permanent attachment.

A predetermined amount of compensation received or paid for a specific service in a real estate transaction.

That a time, usually assigned, when a real estate sales agent answers telephones, e-mails, or walk-in requests for information on property.

A property that is for sale by the owner of the property.A property that is for sale by the owner of the property.


A letter to a lender stating that a gift of cash has been made to the buyer(s) and that the person gifting the cash to the buyer is not expecting the gift to be repaid. The exact wording of the gift letter should be requested of the lender.

Under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, within three days of an application submission, lenders are required to provide in writing to potential borrowers a good faith estimate of closing costs.

The total amount of commission income a real estate sales agent or broker receives from closed transactions.

The sale price before any concessions.

The amount, after appraisals, the employer offers the transferring employee for his or her property.


Insurance that covers losses to real estate from damages that might affect its value.

Additional assistance provided by a third-party relocation company that can include information about the destination community.

Coverage that includes personal liability and theft insurance in addition to hazard insurance.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

A document and statement that details all of the monies paid out and received at a real estate property closing.

Offers a fixed rate the first 5 years and then adjusts annually for the next 25 years.


Allows real estate brokers to advertise each other’s listings posted to listing databases such as the multiple listing service.

Fixtures or personal property that are included in a contract or offer to purchase.

A real estate sales agent who conducts real estate business through a broker. This agent does not receive salary or benefits from the broker.

The process of entering new listings or changes to a current listing in the multiple listing services.

Rider to purchase agreement between third-party relocation company and buyer of transferee’s property stating that property is being sold “as is”. All inspection reports conducted by the third party company are disclosed to the buyer and it is the buyer’s duty to do his/her own inspections and tests.

A contract in which the buyer takes possession of the property while the seller retains the title to the property until the loan is paid.

The borrower decides to delay locking their interest rate on their loan. They can float their rate in expectation of the rate moving down. At the end of the float period they must lock a rate.

When the borrower and lender agree to lock a rate on loan. Can have terms and conditions attached to the lock.

A transferee’s property the third party relocation company has acquired.


Actual date the property was listed with the current broker.

The price of a property through a listing agreement.

Brokers written agreement to represent a seller and their property. Agents refer to their inventory of agreements with sellers as listings.

The real estate sales agent that is representing the sellers and their property, through a listing agreement.

A document that establishes the real estate agent’s agreement with the sellers to represent their property in the market.

The time when a real estate sales agent meets with potential clients selling a property to secure a listing agreement.

A clause included in the listing agreement when the seller (transferee) lists his or her property with a broker.

An amount of money that is lent to a borrower who agrees to repay the amount plus interest.

A document that buyers who are requesting a loan fill out and submit to their lender.

The costs a lender charges to close a borrower’s loan. These costs vary from lender to lender and from market to market.

A written document telling the borrowers that the mortgage company has agreed to lend them a specific amount of money at a specific interest rate for a specific period of time. The loan commitment may also contain conditions upon which the loan commitment is based.

The group of mortgage documents that the borrower’s lender sends to the closing or escrow.

An administrative individual who is assigned to check, verify, and assemble all of the documents and the buyer’s funds and the borrower’s loan for closing.

One who underwrites a loan for another. Some lenders have investors underwrite a buyer’s loan.

A tool that allows secure storage of property keys on the premises for agent use. A combo uses a rotating dial to gain access with a combination; a Supra® (electronic lockbox or ELB) features a keypad.


A person licensed by the state as a broker who is also the broker of record for a real estate sales office. This person manages the daily operations of a real estate sales office.

A visit by the transferee to the new location to view housing market options and location highlights.

The period of time in which the transferee may market his or her property (typically 45, 60, or 90 days), as directed by the third-party company’s contract with the employer.

One wholends the bank’s funds to borrowers and brings lenders and borrowers together.

A business that or an individual who unites lenders and borrowers and processes mortgage applications.

A company that collects monthly mortgage payments from borrowers.

A service that compiles available properties for sale by member brokers.

More than one buyers broker present an offer on one property where the offers are negotiated at the same time.


A national association comprised of real estate professionals.

Gross sales price, less concessions, to the buyers.

A special area or interest.

A property listing that has been removed from the sale inventory in a market. A property can be temporarily or permanently off market.

When a buyer proposes certain terms and presents these terms to the seller.

A walking or driving tour by a real estate sales office of listings represented by agents in the office. Usually held on a set day and time.

When a listing that is on market is available to the public for viewings and showings.


A taxing authority’s tracking number for a property.

A written document from a seller’s mortgage company stating the amount of money needed to pay the loan in full.

A real estate contract that has been accepted on a property but the transaction has not closed.

A real estate sales agent administrative assistant.

Mixed-use development that sets aside areas for residential use, commercial use, and public areas such as schools, parks, and so on.

A higher level of buyer/borrower prequalification required by a mortgage lender. Some preapprovals have conditions the borrower must meet.

Funds paid by the borrower at closing based on the number of days left in the month of closing.

A fine imposed on the borrower by the lender when the loan is paid off before it comes due.

The mortgage company tells a buyer in advance of the formal mortgage application, how much money the borrower can afford to borrow. Some pre-qualifications have conditions that the borrower must meet.

When a buyer’s agent views a property alone to see if it meets his or her buyer’s needs.

When the potential seller’s agent goes to the potential listing property to view it for marketing and pricing purposes.

The amount of money a buyer borrows.

The four parts that make up a borrower’s monthly mortgage payment.

A special insurance paid by a borrower in monthly installments, typically of loans of more than 80 percent of the value of the property.

Additional nonlicensed real estate education completed by a real estate professional.

A state licensing authority that oversees and disciplines licensees.

A promise-to-pay document used with a contract or an offer to purchase.

Reports filed weekly or monthly by the listing or buying agent representing the transferee.


Estimated and actual repair and improvement costs.

An individual who is licensed by the state and who acts on behalf of his or her client, the buyer or seller. The real estate agent who does not have a broker’s license must work for a licensed broker.

A binding agreement between buyer and seller. It consists of an offer and an acceptance as well as consideration (i.e., money).

A registered trademark of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS that can be used only by its members.

A written document stating that a seller or buyer has satisfied his or her obligation on a debt. This document is usually recorded.

Property that was listed with another broker but relisted with a current broker.

A separate document that is attached to a document in some way. This is done so that an entire document does not need to be rewritten.


A real estate sales agent or broker who receives all or part of his or her compensation in real estate sales in the form of a salary.

The price paid for a listing or property.

An informational meeting conducted by the managing broker held in the real estate sales office.

The total amount of all sales prices for all transactions completed by a real estate agent, broker, or real estate sales office.

An institutional investment market that purchases mortgages from mortgage lenders.

The owner of a property who has signed a listing agreement or a potential listing agreement.

When a listing is shown to prospective buyers or the buyer’s agent (preview).

An additional sign placed on a brokerage yard sign; it may include the agent’s name, “open Sunday,” “contract pending,” “sold,” the new price, and so on.

A special and additional charge to a unit in a condominium or cooperative. Also a special real estate tax for improvements that benefit a property.

An association of REALTORS® in a specific state.

An electronic lockbox (ELB) that holds keys to a property. The user must have a Supra® keypad to use the lockbox.


A listed property that is taken off the market due to illness, travel, repairs, and so on.

Housing a transferee occupies until permanent housing is selected or becomes available.

A relocation company hired by an employee’s employer to coordinate the employee’s move to a new location.

The spouse or partner of the employee being moved to a new location by an employer.

The real estate process from offer to closing or escrow.

A fixed amount in addition to commission charged to sellers.

A fee charged by listing brokers to the seller as part of the listing agreement.

The two sides of a transaction, sellers and buyers. The term used to record the number of transactions in which a real estate sales agent or broker was involved during a specific period.


A property that has an accepted real estate contract between seller and buyer.


U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

 A guarantee on a mortgage amount backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The date on which the seller (transferee) vacates the property (generally the date when responsibility for property expense by the transferee ends) and the third-party company assumes ownership for the property through a buyout.

An Internet web/cd-rom-based video presentation of a property.

A telephone message system where voice messages can be retrieved directly or from a remote location.

Internet based real estate brokerage business model that works with real estate consumers in same way as a brick and mortar real estate brokerage.


The Internal Revenue form issued by employer to employee to reflect compensation and deductions to compensation.

The Internal Revenue form requesting taxpayer identification number and certification.

A showing before closing or escrow that permits the buyers one final tour of the property they are purchasing.

A document by which a person disposes of his or her property after death.

The real estate sales company form that records all information relevant to a transaction.


The information on this page may not be current. The archive is a collection of content previously published on one or more NAR web properties. Archive pages are not updated and may no longer be accurate. Users must independently verify the accuracy and currency of the information found here. The National Association of REALTORS® (and Life and Liberty Real Estate) disclaims all liability for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information or data found on this page.