5 Tips for Understanding Real Estate Terms

Understanding real estate terminology and acronyms can be nearly impossible for those both new and experienced in buying and selling real estate. Even though real estate agents do their best to give great customer service to their clients, it’s quite easy to forget that not everyone uses these terms each day.

Here are five of the more common, yet still misunderstood, real estate sayings.

5. MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

An agent sinks or swims via his or her local MLS, but that doesn’t mean everyone else knows the meaning of this acronym. A multiple listing service is a database consisting of the vast majority of properties that are listed for sale by a professional real estate company.

4. HOA (Home Owner Association)

It can make a big difference if your future home is in a community with a home owner association, which is why you need to know what your agent is talking about when he or she uses this term!

HOA’s oversee the rules and regulations of the community, which are typically disclosed in…

3. CC&R’s (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions)

These are the “laws” of the community, formalizing rules such as house color, noise curfews, boat/RV parking, etc.

You could get a rude awakening if you don’t understand this term and later find that your cherished speedboat is forbidden from being parked on the street!

2. CMA (Comparative Market Analysis)

When you’re looking to sell your home and that friendly agent you just met offers to give you a CMA, don’t look at the person like he or she is speaking another language!

A CMA is a presentation that compares your home to others in the area that are similar in size, location, and features.

1. Contingency

This one is a full word rather than an acronym, but it’s still incredibly confusing  for a lot of people. A contingency is when a buyer makes an offer on a property that is “contingent” on the sale of his or her own property.

In other words, they want to buy the house, but if they can’t sell their old house, the sale is null and void.


These are fairly basic explanations, but a good agent (like Jeff Stobie!) will happily answer any questions you may have regarding any part of a real estate transaction.

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