The ABCs of Real Estate Lingo: Terms Every Buyer and Seller Should Know

Catherine Sawatsky  |  October 26, 2023

The ABCs of Real Estate Lingo: Terms Every Buyer and Seller Should Know

Real estate, like any industry, has its own language - a unique lexicon that can seem like a foreign tongue to those unfamiliar with it. As a buyer or seller, navigating this world can be daunting without the right knowledge. But fear not, as we're here to guide you through "The ABCs of Real Estate Lingo."

In this blog, we'll demystify the industry by creating a comprehensive glossary of common real estate terms and jargon. By the end of this journey, you'll not only speak the language, but you'll also be better equipped to make informed decisions in your real estate ventures.


1. Appraisal

An appraisal is an expert assessment of a property's value. It's often conducted by a certified appraiser to determine the fair market value, a crucial step for buyers, sellers, and lenders.

2. Closing Costs

Closing costs refer to the various fees and expenses that accumulate during the real estate transaction. These can include attorney fees, title insurance, and taxes, and they're usually divided between the buyer and seller.

3. Equity

Equity is the value of your property minus any outstanding mortgage or debts. It represents your ownership stake in the home and can be an asset when selling.

4. MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

The MLS is a comprehensive database that real estate agents use to list properties for sale. It's a crucial tool for both buyers and sellers to access current property listings.

5. Contingency

A contingency is a condition in a contract that must be met for the sale to proceed. Common contingencies include home inspections and mortgage approval.

6. Pre-approval

This is a lender's commitment to provide a buyer with a specific mortgage amount based on their financial information and creditworthiness.

7. Title insurance

A policy that protects the buyer or lender against any disputes over the property's legal ownership and helps ensure a clean transfer of ownership.

8. Escrow

Funds held by a third party (often an escrow company) during a real estate transaction. They are released when certain conditions in the contract are met.

9. Deed

A legal document that transfers ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer.

10. CMA (Comparative Market Analysis): A report prepared by a real estate agent that helps determine a property's value by comparing it to similar properties in the area.


In the realm of real estate, knowledge is power, and understanding the terminology is your key to unlocking that power. This glossary of essential real estate terms is your bridge to a smoother, more informed buying or selling experience.

So whether you're navigating the market as a seasoned investor or a first-time buyer, these ABCs of real estate lingo will help you communicate, negotiate, and make decisions with confidence. Remember, the language of real estate may be complex, but with this guide in hand, you're well-prepared to speak it fluently and make the most of your real estate journey.

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