A Short Guide to Real Estate Lingo and Acronyms

During your search for a new home, you’ll see all kinds of real estate terms. Knowing what all of the acronyms mean is extremely helpful when you’re looking at Sonoma County real estate listings, and this short guide to real estate lingo and acronyms is designed to be your quick-reference tool.

Listing Acronyms

BR/BA: Bedrooms and bathrooms. You’ll see listings that say 3 BR/2 BA (three bedrooms and two bathrooms) and 4 BR/2.5 BA (four bedrooms and two-and-a-half bath, and so on.

CMA: Comparative market analysis or competitive market analysis

DK: Deck

FDR: Formal dining room

FPLC, FP, FRPL: Fireplace

FSBO: For sale by owner

GAR: Garage

Grmet Kit: Gourmet kitchen

HDW, HWF, Hdwd: Hardwood floors

HOA: Homeowner’s association

MLS: Multiple Listing Service

Real Estate Lingo

Appraisal: A professional estimate of a property’s value

Closing: The actual purchase transaction

Closing costs: The amount of money the buyer and seller must pay when the deal closes. Closing costs include commission, mortgage fees, title company charges and other miscellaneous fees

Contingency: The provision of the purchase agreement that prevents it from becoming legally binding until certain conditions are met, such as a home inspection

Contract: The document between a seller and a buyer that outlines the terms of your transaction

Debt ratio: The ratio of your debt to your income

Deed: The document that transfers ownership between two parties

Earnest money: A deposit you pay to the seller to show that you’re a serious buyer

Equity: The amount of value you own in a property after subtracting the outstanding loan

Escrow: A service offered by the lender so that you can easily pay your property taxes and insurance

FICO Score: The credit score lenders use to determine whether you qualify for a loan

Fixture: Anything of value that is permanently attached to the property

Good faith estimate: The estimate of closing costs that the lender is required to give you

Listing: The agreement between a real estate broker and a homeowner that allows the broker to market and sell the home

Lock box: A key-holding device that’s attached to a home for sale so that real estate agents can show it with permission from the listing agent

PMI, or private mortgage insurance: The insurance you must buy if your down payment is below 20 percent of the home’s sale price

Term: The length of a mortgage, which is usually 15 or 30 years

Title insurance: The insurance policy that protects the lender

Have More Questions?

Call me at 707-869-1884 or contact me online. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and put you on the right path to owning your own Sonoma County home.


Hiring a Home Inspector

Debt-to-Income Ratio

Understand Your Credit

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