Real Estate Dictionary

Real Estate Dictionary

Real Estate has a language all its own, but have no fear! We're here to help you interpret the commonly used words and phrases.

It's true, Realtors use a whole lot of terminology and acronyms on a daily basis. But what profession doesn't these days? When you're working with a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group real estate agent, you can feel completely comfortable asking what they are during your conversations. But if you'd like to do a bit of studying to speed up the process, that works too! Just check out our list of commonly used real estate words and phrases below.


Way of breaking down your monthly mortgage payments to show you your per month game plan.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

Your interest percentage plus loan fees divided by your loan amount.


A professional analysis used to determine the actual value of the home.


This means you finally made it! When you sign all the documents the home is now officially yours!

Closing Disclosure

A document you get from your lender prior to closing as an estimate of all the costs associated with the purchase of the property.

Closing Statement

It provides the sales price and down payment, as well as the total settlement costs required from the buyer and seller.


The owner of a condo owns the unit itself and has the right, along with other owners, to use the common areas but does not own the common elements such as the exterior walls, floors and ceilings or the structural systems outside of the unit; these are owned by the condominium association.

Credit Line

A line of credit is any credit source extended to a person. This includes a car loan, personal loan, credit cards or any situation where you have borrowed money for the purchase of an item.

Credit Report

This just lets the bank know how worthy your payment history is and helps determine your best interest rate.

Down Payment

Cash you need at closing to buy your home.

Earnest Money Deposit

A deposit to show that you’re committed to buying the home. The deposit usually will not be refunded to you after the seller accepts your offer, unless one of the sales contract contingencies is not fulfilled.


The value in your home above what you owe on it! If you owe $100,000 on your house but it is worth $130,000, you have $30,000 of equity.


Account set up to hold money until conditions are met. For example, the deposit by a borrower with the lender to pay taxes and insurance premiums when they become due.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage

A mortgage with an interest rate that does not change during the entire term of the loan.


A legal action that ends all ownership rights in a home when the homebuyer fails to make the mortgage payments or is otherwise in default under the terms of the mortgage. Usually sold “as-is”.

Homeowners’ Association fees (HOA)

HOA fees are fees associated with living in a housing development or condo. These fees cover the cost of maintenance and other amenities, like that fancy pool and country club.

Home Inspection

A professional inspection of a home to determine the condition of the property. The inspection should include an evaluation of the plumbing, heating and cooling systems, roof, wiring, foundation, and pest infestation.

Homeowner’s Insurance

This protects your property against loss caused by fire, some natural causes, vandalism, etc., depending on the terms of the policy. The lender will expect the borrower to have a home insurance policy in effect by the closing.

Listing Agent / Listing Broker

A listing agent represents the interest of the person selling their home. It is their duty to share information about the property with potential buyers and provide assistance to the seller during the process of selling their home.

Mortgage Insurance (MI)

Protects the lender in case you stop paying your mortgage. MI typically is required if your down payment is less than 20 percent of the purchase price.


What you need every time you buy or sell a house! A Realtor is a real estate agent who is an active member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR)

Selling Agent / Selling Broker / Buyer’s Agent

A selling agent assists the interests of the person buying their home. It is their duty to provide assistance to the buyer during the process.

Short Sale

A situation where the lender agrees to let a home owner sell their house for less that the amount owed on the mortgage.

Title Insurance

This protects the lender or owner against loss in the event of a property dispute. Lenders often require title insurance. In fact, most title insurance only covers the lender, while paid for by the borrower. The borrower must purchase a separate policy.


A new rule making the home buying/selling process easier for you! This rule combined many documents and gave the Real Estate Industry specific guidelines on loan and cost disclosures.