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Like all industries, Real Estate has it's own lingo. Below is a glossary of some of the terms used by Realtors, Lawyers Mortgage Providers and Builders. 



Acceptance: The seller’s written approval of a buyer’s offer.
Accessibility: The degree to which a building has access to handicapped people.
Acre: A measurement of land. Approximately 43,560 square feet.
Active Solar System: A system that transfers solar energy for storage or direct use through the utilization of electric pumps or fans.
Add-on Interest: The interest a borrower pays on the principal for the duration of the loan.
Agent: A person licensed by the province to conduct real estate transactions.
Agreement of Sale: A document that details the price, and terms of the transaction, as approved by both the buyer and seller.
Alley: A lane behind, or between, a building or buildings.
Amenities: Parks, swimming pools, health-club facilities, churches, schools, bike paths, community centers as well as other services offered by community, or builder.
Apartment: A room or a group of rooms, among similar sets in one building, designed for use as a dwelling.
Appraisal: An assessment to determine the value of a property, at any give point in time.
Appraised Value: The current market value of a property.
Appreciation: An increase in the value of a home or other property.
As-is Condition: The purchase or sale of a property in its existing condition.
Asking Price: The initial price the seller asks for a piece of property.
Assessed Value: A determination of the value of a home in order to calculate a tax base.
Assets: Items of value which include securities, real estate, investments, and cash.
Assumable Mortgage: A mortgage that can be transferred to another individual.
Average Price: Determined by totalling the sales prices of all houses sold in an area, and dividing by the total number of homes.
Awning Windows: Single windows that tilt outward and up.


Backup Offer:
A secondary offer for a property that is offered to the seller if the first offer fails.
Bankruptcy: A proceeding in which a debtor can obtain relief from the payment of certain obligations. They can severely limit a person's ability to borrow, and remain on their credit record for seven years.
Baseboard: Any board or moulding found at the bottom of an interior wall.
Basement: An area of a home below ground level.
Bay Window: A window that projects outward from the house, often in a curve.
Bearing Wall: A wall that supports the weight of other parts of a structure, in addition to its own.
Bidding War: Often occurs when there are multiple offers from buyers for a piece of property.
Bi-Level: Home consists of one main floor above ground, as well as a second level of which half a storey is above ground, while half is underground.
Blind Nailing: Nails driven into a wall, and then concealed with putty to hide from view.
Bill of Sale: A document that transfers ownership of personal property from one person to another.
Blueprint: The building plan for a home, or other structure.
Book Value: The value of a property plus any additions, minus depreciation.
Boundary: The dividing line between two or more adjacent properties.
Breach of Contract: Occurs when there is a failure to perform provisions of a contract, without a legal excuse.
Breach of Warranty: Occurs when a seller is unable to pass clear title to a buyer.
Brokerage: The act of bringing together two or more parties in exchange for a commission or fee.
Broker: A person, or business licensed by the province to deal in real estate.
Building Code: A comprehensive set of laws that controls the construction or remodelling of a home or other structure.
Building Inspector: A city or county employee who enforces the building code and ensure that work is correctly performed.
Building Permit: A permit issued by a local government agency that allows the construction of home or renovation of a house.
Building Restrictions: Regulations that place limits on the manner in which property can be used.
Built-ins: Appliances or other items that are framed, or permanently attached to a home.
Bungalow: Home consists of one main floor above ground. Developed/Undeveloped basement.
Butterfly Roof: Resembling a butterfly's wings, a roof formed by two gables that dip in the middle.
Buyer’s Market: A slow real estate market in which buyers have the advantage over sellers.
Buyer’s Remorse: An emotion felt by first-time homebuyers after signing a sales contract or closing the purchase of a home.
Bylaws: The rules and regulations that a town, city, homeowners association, or corporation adopts to govern activities within.


Carport: A roof that covers a parking area, or driveway.
Casement Widow: A window hinged on its sides that swings open vertically.
Cathedral Ceiling: A high ceiling formed by or suggesting an open-timbered roof, or a ceiling, as in a living room, higher than that of other rooms in a house.
Caveat Emptor: Let the buyer beware: the principle that the seller of a product cannot be held responsible for its quality unless it is guaranteed in a warranty.
Ceiling Height: The standard height of ceilings in most homes is eight feet.
Central Air Conditioning: A system or process for controlling the temperature, humidity, and sometimes the purity of the air within the house, or building.
Cinder Block: A concrete building block made up of ash and cement, used in construction.
Closing: The final procedure in which all documents are signed and recorded by the both the buyer and seller, and thus the property is transferred.
Combination Door: A door with interchangeable screen and glass panels.
Commercial Property: An area that is designated for businesses to build on.
Condominium: An apartment house, or other multiple-unit complex, of which the units are individually owned, including the right to sell, mortgage etc. Joint ownership of any common grounds, passageways.
Contingency Listing: A property listing having a special condition attached to its being sold.
Contract: An agreement, enforceable by law, between two or more parties that binds them to perform, or refrain from performing something. In particular, a contract to buy/sell a home.
Contract to Purchase: A contract the buyer produces, which details the purchase price of the home, and conditions of the sale, which is then accepted by the seller. Also known as an agreement of sale.
Contractor: A person who contracts to perform work at a certain price or rate.
Co-signer: A second party who agrees to sign a loan, and takes responsibility for the debt if borrower cannot make payment.
Crawl Space: The space between the first floor of a home and the ground.
Credit: Granting of goods, services, or money in return for a promise of future payment within a timeframe. Most credit is accompanied by an interest charge, which usually makes the future payment greater than an immediate payment would have been.
Creditor: A person, or institution to whom money is due.
Credit Rating: A classification of credit risk based on investigation of a customer's or potential customer's financial resources, prior payment pattern, and personal history or degree of personal responsibility for debts incurred.
Cul-de-sac: A street or alley that is closed at one end.
Curb Appeal: The impression of a house that an individual gets, as seen from the street.
Curtain Wall: An exterior wall that does not provide any structural support to a home.
Custom Home: A home designed by an architect or builder, hired by the owner.


Damper: A movable plate in a fireplace which allows smoke and other fumes to travel up the chimney.
Deadbolt Lock: Locks that require a key to open from the outside, and a turn knob from the inside.
Deck: An open, unroofed porch or platform extending from a house or other building.
Deed: The legal document that transfers the ownership of a home, or other piece of property.
Deposit: Money given by the buyer, alongside an offer to purchase a piece of property. Also called earnest money.
Depreciation: The decline in value of a piece of property.
Dimension Plans: Plans which resemble blueprints, but with less detail.
Domed Ceiling: A hemispherical ceiling that projects upward from the home, without support.
Double Hung Window: A window that consists of two panes of windows, that slide up and down.
Down Payment: The amount of money a buyer agrees to give the seller, when a sales agreement is signed.
Drainage: A system of gutters and drainpipes, artificial or natural, that carry water away from the foundation of a home.
Dropped Ceiling: A flat ceiling which is built lower than the original ceiling.
Dry rot: A fungus decay that attacks both softwood and hardwood timber, causing it to become brittle and crumble.
Drywall: Produced in large sheets, they are composed of gypsum or plaster, wrapped in paper, and can be nailed to wall studs.
Duct: Any kind of tube, pipe or channel that carries wiring, water, or conditioned air through a home.
Duplex: A house having separate apartments for two families, esp. a two-story house having a complete apartment on each floor and two separate entrances, or side by side.


Early Occupancy: The condition in which buyers can obtain occupancy of the property before the actual sale is completed.
Earnest Money: Money a buyer gives the seller, with an offer to purchase a property. Also called a deposit.
Eaves Drop: A projecting overhang at the lower edge of the roof of a house.
Elevations: The exterior view of a home design, which shows the position of the house, relative to the grade of land on which it sits.
Encroachment: Can occur when fences, or other structures, extend into the property of another owner.
Equity: The monetary value of a property or business beyond any amounts owed on it in mortgages, claims, liens, etc.
Escrow: A neutral third party holds the money, and documents involved in a real estate transaction, and ensures that all conditions of the sale are met.
Estate: The total assets of a person, at the time of thier death. Includes real estate.
Exclusive Listing: A contract between the seller and a realtor, that gives the realtor the exclusive right to market a property for a specific period of time.
Exhaust Fan: Ventilating devices which remove water vapor, undesired smells or smoke.


Façade: The part of a home, or building, which faces the street, or a courtyard.
Feng Shui: An ancient Chinese belief that the physical characteristics of a house and the positioning of the home will affect the fortunes of the owner.
Fire Wall: A buffer composed of fire-resistant materials.
Fixture: Something securely, and usually permanently attached to a house.
Flat Roof: A roof having a level surface.
Floating Wall: Walls which are built to withstand any movement of the basement floor.
Foreclosure: The legal process reserved by a lender, to terminate a borrowers title to a piece of property, after the loan has been defaulted. Upon completion, the lender may sell the property, and keep the proceeds to satisfy its mortgage and legal costs. Any excess proceeds may be used to satisfy other liens or be returned to the borrower.
Foundation: The support structure of a house.
Foyer: The entrance hall to a home or building.
Framing: The process of building a frame, or system of frames resulting in the framework of a house.
French Doors: Two adjoining doors, opening from the middle, inlaid with glass.
Full Bath: Full-baths contain a toilet and a sink, as well as a bathtub or shower stall.
Furnace: An enclosed heating device powered by propane, natural gas, and sometimes oil or coal.


Gag Rules: Often a provision in contracts, when signed by a new buyer, it prohibits them from publicizing complaints about the builder.
Gambrel Roof: A roof in which a shallower slope lies above a steeper one.
Girders: A principal beam of wood, or steel, supporting the ends of joists.
Grade: The elevation of the land, above level ground.
Grade Level: A flat or sloping surface, upon which a home, or building is built.
Greenbelt: Any stretch of open space, parks, or other natural setting within a community.
Gross Income: The total income of a household before taxes.
Gutters: Horizontal channels placed at the edge of a roof, to carry rainwater or melted snow away from the house.


Half Bath: Half-baths contain a toilet and a sink, but no bathtub or shower stall.
Heat Pump: An electric heating and cooling system.
Hectare: The equivalent of 2.471 acres.
High Rise: Any building higher than six stories above ground.
Hip Roof: A roof with sloping ends and sides.
Home Inspection: An examination of a home's construction, by an inspector or contractor, prior to purchase.
Hopper Window: A window that contains a single pain of glass that tilts inward.


Infill Development: The planned conversion of empty lots, underused or rundown buildings, and other available space for use as sites for housing.
Inflation: A persistent, substantial rise in the general level of prices related to an increase in the volume of money and resulting in the loss of value of currency.
Infrastructure: Consist fo the roads, schools, parks, utilities, bridges and communications systems within a community.
Insulation: Use of materials or devices to inhibit or prevent the loss of heat.
Interest: A charge for the use of credit or money, usually figured as a percentage of the principal and computed annually.
Investment Property: Real estate property that generates income, such as an apartment building.


Jalousie Window: A window, blind or shutter that consists of vertical, or horizontal rows of glass, connected together, that can be adjusted to admit light and air but exclude rain, and sun rays.
Joist: Any of a number of small, parallel beams of timber, steel, reinforced concrete, for supporting floors, ceilings, or the like.


Knee Wall: A wall-like structure that is designed to support roof rafters.


Landscape: A major component of curb appeal. To improve the appearance of a property by planting trees, shrubs, or grass, or altering the contours of the ground
Lease: A binding agreement which contains the terms and conditions of the occupancy of a renter.
Letter of Intent: A formal statement from a buyer that they intend to purchase a piece of property for a certain price on a certain date.
Leverage: The use of a small initial investment, credit, or cash in order to buy a piece of property, or to reduce one's own liability for any loss.
Liabilities: A borrower's debts, financial obligations, or money owed.
Lien: A claim or charge held by one party, on property owned by a second party, as security for payment of some debt, obligation, or duty owed by that second party.
Listing: A piece of property placed on the market by a realtor.
Load-bearing Wall: A wall that supports the weight of other parts of the home, as well as its own. Also called a bearing wall.
Loan Application: The first step toward a home loan. It requires the borrower to specify all of their personal financial information.
Loan Officer: An official representative of a lending institution, who acts on behalf of the lender.
Loan Term: The amount of a time, set by the lender, for a buyer to pay back a mortgage.
Loft: A living space built above a larger room.
Low-ball Offer: An offer made to a seller that is below market value. The longer a property stays on the market, the more likely these offers will occur.


Mansard Roof: A roof with four sides, that slope upward from the roof edge to a square peak.
Mantel: A construction framing the opening of a fireplace, and usually covering part of the chimney breast.
Market Conditions: Factors which affect the sale, and purchase of home at any particular point in time.
Market Value: The price that a piece of property sells for at any particular point in time.
Mint Condition: Mint condition refers to a house that looks as close to new as possible.
Mortgage: A legal document which specifies a certain amount of money to purchase a home, at a certain interest rate, and using the property as collateral.
Mortgage Broker: A company that combines lenders with prospective borrowers. The mortgage broker does not make the loan, but receives payment from the lender for services.
Move-in Condition: A house that is ready for a new occupant.


Net Worth: The worth of a person, or company, based on the difference between their total assets, minus their total liabilities.


Open House: A marketing tool in which a listing agent opens a house for viewing by potential buyers.
Open Listing: A property given to a number of realtors to market at the same time.
Overhang: A protruding structural feature.


Parcel: A distinct portion or tract of land.
Partition: An interior wall.
Panel: A section of a wall, fence, door, or ceiling sunk below, or raised above the general level, or enclosed by a frame or border.
Parking Strip: The strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street in front of a house.
Passive Solar System: A system that supplies solar energy without the use of electric fans or pumps.
Patio: An area, usually paved, adjoining a house and used as an area for outdoor lounging.
Pier: A term applied to a mass of reinforced concrete or masonry supporting a large structure.
Planned Communities: Any town, community, or neighbourhood built with certain guidelines and goals.
Pocket Door: A sliding door which can retreat within the wall when opened.
Porch: An exterior appendage to a building, forming a covered approach or vestibule to a doorway.
Possession: When a buyer signs the papers and then receives the keys to the house, they officially take possession of the home from the seller.
Price Range: The price range in which a buyer is willing to pay for a home.
Principal: The amount of money that the borrower owes on a mortgage.
Privacy Fence: A structure erected between two or more pieces of property.
Property Line: The official dividing line between two or more properties.
Property Value: The value of property is based on the price in which buyer will pay at any certain time.


Real Estate: Consists of the land and anything permanently attached to it. Includes buildings, fences as well as other items attached to the structure.
Real Estate Agent: A real estate agent has a license to represent a buyer or a seller, in exchange for a fee or commission, with any real estate transactions. Usually work for a broker.
Realtor: A designation for an agent or broker who works in the real estate business.
Refinancing: The process in which a borrower can replace an older mortgage with a new mortgage, consisting of better terms.
Repossession: When the lender holding the mortgage takes back the property.
Resale Value: The future value of a piece of property. It can be affected by many factors, including crime, economic conditions, the housing market, as well as the community it is in.
Right of First Refusal: An agreement made by the property owner, to give another person the right to buy or rent the property, before it gets placed on the open market.
Rough-in: The installation of plumbing, electrical and other mechanical systems.


Sanitary Sewer: A drain line within a house that carries away waste to a municipal sewer or septic system.
Second Mortgage: Another mortgage, with better terms, placed upon a piece of property which already has an existing mortgage.
Seller’s Market: A real estate market in which sellers have the advantage over buyers.
Septic System: A self-contained sewage treatment system that distributes wastewater to an underground storage area. It relies upon bacterial action to decompose solid waste matter.
Setback: The minimum distance a house must be from the lot line.
Shed Ceiling: A ceiling which pitches upward at one end.
Shed Roof: A roof which pitches up longer on one side than the other side.
Shingles: Thin pieces of overlapping wood, metal, or the like, installed on a roof to prevent water seepage.
Skylight: A window installed in a roof that allows natural light to illuminate the room.
Slider Window: Windows that are composed of two window panes, that glide open and closed on metal tracks.
Specifications: Written requirements for materials, equipment, and construction systems which are necessary to build a home.
Split-Level: Home consists of a room or rooms that are somewhat above or below adjacent rooms, with the floor levels usually differing by approximately half a storey. Developed/Undeveloped basement.
Square Footage: The number of square feet of livable space within a home or building.
Starter Home: A home which is usually purchased by a first time home buyer. Usually boughten with the intent of renovating and then selling a few years later for a higher price then what it was purchased for.
Storm Sewers: A drain line, which is not connected to the sewer line. It removes all other wastewater from a home.
Storm Windows: A supplementary window pane for protecting a window against drafts, wind, and storms.
Stucco: An exterior finish for masonry or frame walls. Often used to cover the exterior surface or interior walls of a home or building.
Studs: The upright pieces of lumber or steel within a wall. Panels, siding, drywall or other coverings are attached to them.
Subdivision: The process in which the owner of a large piece of property divides it into smaller parcels. Usually designated for housing development.


Terrace: A roofed balcony, or veranda.
Title: The legal document showing ownership of a piece of real estate.
Tray Ceiling: A ceiling in which its edges slant toward the middle from the walls.
Trim Work: The finishing of doors, doorways, window frames and floors.
Two Storey: Home consists of one main floor above ground as well as an upper floor above the main floor. Developed/Undeveloped basement.


Underlayment: Material laid between a subfloor and a finish floor.
Upgrades: To improve or enhance the quality or value of a piece of propert. Includes landscaping, above standard carpeting, lighting, painting, as well as many others.


Vaulted Ceiling: A ceiling formed in any variety of curved shape, which arches above the floor within a home.
Veranda: A large, open porch, usually roofed and partly enclosed, often extending across the front and sometimes sides of the house.
Vestibule: A passage, or hall between the outer door, and the interior parts of the home.


Walk-out Basement: A feature that allows a door from the basement to open onto ground level.
Window Well: A curved, corrugated steel insert used to isolate basement windows below the soil line from moisture.


Zoning: Regulations that control the use of land within a jurisdiction.

Common Abbreviations
OPNHS: Open House
1PCB: One Piece Bath
2PCE: Two Piece Ensuite Bath
3PCE: Three Piece Ensuite Bath
4PCE: Four Piece Ensuite Bath
5PCE: Five Piece Ensuite Bath
6PCE: Six Piece Ensuite Bath
BDA: Bedrooms Above Grade
BH: Number of Half Baths
EXT: Exterior
FL: Flooring Type
FP: Fireplace
LOT: Legal lot
OCC: Occupancy
RMA: Rooms Above Grade
SF: Square Footage
TYPE: Type of Home
BD: Bedroom
GR: Great Room
LR: Living Room
NO: Nook
APART: Apartment
BLEVL: Bi-Level
CONDO: Condominium
FEAT: Features
AMEN: Amenities
2PCB: Two Piece Bath
3PCB: Three Piece Bath
4PCB: Four Piece Bath
5PCB: Five Piece Bath
6PCB: Six Piece Bath
BF: Number of Full Baths
GATT: Attached Garage
GDET: Detached Garage
FOUN: Foundation Type
HEAT: Heating Type
PDATE: Possession Date
LP: List Price
ROOF: Roof Type
TBD: Total Bedrooms
FR: Family Room
DN: Den
KT: Kitchen
MB: Master Bedroom
SPLT: Split Level
BALCY: Balcony
BUNG: Bungalow

Copyright © TALKCalgary  2000 -  2010 
Photography, &  copy writing by Steve Kelly or as credited.
Calgary Real Estate consultant Diane Kelly, Discover Real Estate Ltd,
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