Mastering the Language of Real Estate: Your Ultimate Glossary Guide

glossary of real estate terms


Dive into the world of real estate with our extensive glossary of terms. Perfect for both new and experienced buyers, sellers, and professionals, this guide demystifies complex jargon and empowers you with the knowledge to navigate the real estate market confidently. From ‘Amortization’ to ‘Zoning Variance’, we cover it all.

1. **Agreement of Purchase and Sale**: A legal contract a buyer and a seller sign for the sale and purchase of a property.
2. **Amortization**: The process of paying off a debt over time through regular payments.
3. **Appraisal**: An estimate of a property’s market value, conducted by a licensed appraiser.
4. **Assessment**: The valuation of a property for tax purposes.
5. **Assignee**: The person to whom rights or interests in a property are transferred.
6. **Assignor**: The person transferring rights or interests in a property.
7. **Balloon Payment**: A large payment due at the end of a mortgage loan term.
8. **Blended Payments**: Regular mortgage payments that include both principal and interest components.
9. **Bridge Financing**: Short-term financing to help a buyer bridge the gap between purchase and sale dates.
10. **Broker**: A licensed individual or firm that arranges transactions between a buyer and a seller for a commission.
11. **Building Code**: Regulations that set standards for construction and safety.
12. **Building Permit**: Legal permission to begin construction or renovation on a property.
13. **Buyer’s Agent**: A real estate agent who represents the buyer.
14. **Buyer’s Market**: A market condition where supply exceeds demand, giving buyers an advantage.
15. **Capital Gain**: The profit made from the sale of a property or investment.
16. **Caveat Emptor**: Latin for “buyer beware,” meaning the buyer is responsible for checking the quality of goods before purchase.
17. **Chain of Title**: The history of all property ownership transfers.
18. **Closing**: The final step in executing a real estate transaction.
19. **Closing Costs**: Expenses, over and above the price of the property, incurred by buyers and sellers in transferring ownership.
20. **Closing Date**: The date on which the sale of a property becomes final.
21. **CMHC Insurance**: Mortgage default insurance provided by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
22. **Commission**: Payment to a real estate agent for services rendered, typically a percentage of the sale price.
23. **Common Elements**: Areas of a condominium that are shared among all owners.
24. **Conditional Offer**: An offer to purchase a property that is contingent on certain conditions being met.
25. **Condominium**: A type of property ownership where individual units are owned separately, and common areas are owned jointly.
26. **Conveyancing**: The legal process of transferring property from one owner to another.
27. **Co-ownership**: Property ownership in which two or more parties hold title.
28. **Counteroffer**: A response to an offer in which the terms of the original offer are changed.
29. **Curb Appeal**: The attractiveness of a property’s exterior when viewed from the street.
30. **Deed**: A legal document that conveys title to a property.
31. **Default**: Failure to meet the legal obligations of a mortgage.
32. **Deposit**: A sum of money given in advance to show commitment to the purchase of a property.
33. **Depreciation**: A decrease in the value of a property over time.
34. **Disclosure Statement**: A document detailing relevant property information to a potential buyer.
35. **Down Payment**: An initial payment made when something is bought on credit.
36. **Dual Agency**: When a real estate agent represents both the buyer and the seller in a transaction.
37. **Due Diligence**: The process of investigating a property before purchase.
38. **Easement**: A right to cross or otherwise use someone else’s land for a specified purpose.
39. **Equity**: The value of a property after deducting any charges or liens against it.
40. **Exclusive Listing**: A contract in which one real estate agent is exclusively authorized to sell a property.
41. **Fiduciary Duty**: A legal obligation to act in the best interest of another party.
42. **Fixture**: A piece of personal property that becomes part of the property when attached in a permanent manner.
43. **Freehold**: Ownership of both the building and the land on which it stands.
44. **Gross Debt Service Ratio (GDS)**: The percentage of the borrower’s income used to pay all home-related expenses.
45. **Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)**: A line of credit secured against the borrower’s home.
46. **Home Inspection**: An examination of a property’s condition, usually performed before a sale.
47. **Home Warranty**: Insurance that covers certain home repairs and fixtures.
48. **Interest Rate**: The percentage of a loan charged by the lender for use of its money.
49. **Joint Tenancy**: A form of property ownership in which two or more parties share ownership.
50. **Land Transfer Tax**: A tax paid when ownership of a property is transferred from one person to another.
51. **Lease**: A contractual arrangement calling for the lessee to pay the lessor for use of an asset.
52. **Lien**: A legal claim against a property, typically for unpaid debts.
53. **Listing Agent**: A real estate agent who represents the seller.
54. **Loan-to-Value Ratio (LTV)**: A calculation used by lenders to assess the risk of a loan, represented as a percentage of the property’s value.
55. **Market Value**: The most probable price a property would bring in an open market.
56. **Maturity Date**: The date on which the principal balance of a loan becomes due and payable.
57. **Mortgage**: A legal agreement by which a bank lends money in exchange for taking title of the debtor’s property.
58. **Mortgage Broker**: An individual or firm that arranges financing for borrowers.
59. **Mortgagee**: The lender in a mortgage agreement.
60. **Mortgagor**: The borrower in a mortgage agreement.
61. **Multiple Listing Service (MLS)**: A database established by cooperating real estate brokers to provide data about properties for sale.
62. **Offer to Purchase**: A legal document outlining the terms and conditions of a potential property sale.
63. **Open House**: A scheduled period of time in which a house or other dwelling is designated to be open for viewing by potential buyers.
64. **Power of Sale**: A clause in a mortgage allowing the lender to sell the property without court permission if the borrower defaults on payments.
65. **Pre-Approval**: A lender’s initial estimate of how much a buyer can afford to borrow.
66. **Prepayment Penalty**: A fee charged to a borrower who pays a loan before it’s due.
67. **Principal**: The amount of money borrowed or still owed on a loan, separate from interest.
68. **Property Management**: The administration of residential, commercial, and industrial real estate.
69. **Property Tax**: A tax on the value of a property.
70. **Real Estate Agent**: A person licensed to negotiate and transact real estate sales.
71. **Real Estate Board**: An association of real estate professionals.
72. **Real Property**: Land and any permanent structures on it.
73. **Realtor**: A real estate agent who is a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association.
74. **Refinancing**: The process of replacing an existing mortgage with a new one.
75. **Rental Agreement**: A contract between a landlord and tenant outlining the terms of a rental property.
76. **Reserve Fund**: A savings account for a condominium that funds major repairs and maintenance.
77. **Right of First Refusal**: A contractual right to enter into a business transaction with a person or company before anyone else can.
78. **Seller’s Agent**: A real estate agent who represents the seller.
79. **Seller’s Market**: A market condition where demand exceeds supply, giving sellers an advantage.
80. **Septic System**: A small-scale sewage treatment system common in areas not connected to main sewage pipes.
81. **Servitude**: An obligation imposed on a property to benefit a neighboring property.
82. **Staging**: The act of preparing a home for sale in the real estate marketplace.
83. **Strata**: Refers to condominium ownership.
84. **Survey**: A detailed map of a property outlining its boundaries and physical features.
85. **Tenancy in Common**: A form of co-ownership where each owner has an undivided interest in the property.
86. **Title**: A legal document evidencing a person’s legal right to or ownership of a property.
87. **Title Insurance**: Insurance against losses from defects in title.
88. **Title Search**: A check of the public records to confirm a property’s legal ownership.
89. **Total Debt Service Ratio (TDS)**: A debt service measure that financial lenders use as a rule of thumb when assessing the creditworthiness of a potential borrower.
90. **Townhouse**: A type of multi-floor home that shares one or more walls with adjacent properties.
91. **Transaction Coordinator**: A person responsible for managing and supervising the transaction process in a real estate sale.
92. **Underwriting**: The process a lender uses to determine if the risk of offering a mortgage to a particular borrower is acceptable.
93. **Vacancy Rate**: The percentage of all available units in a rental property that are vacant or unoccupied at a particular time.
94. **Variable Rate Mortgage**: A mortgage with an interest rate that changes based on market conditions.
95. **Vendor**: The seller, especially in a real estate transaction.
96. **Vendor Take Back Mortgage**: A private mortgage where the seller becomes the lender to the buyer.
97. **Walk-through**: A final inspection of a home before closing.
98. **Zoning**: Regulations governing the use, type, and size of buildings on a property.
99. **Zoning Bylaw**: A law regulating land use in a particular area.
100. **Zoning Variance**: An exception to the zoning ordinance, typically granted by a local government.

This list offers a comprehensive overview of terms commonly used in Ontario’s real estate sector, providing a solid foundation for anyone looking to better understand the industry.

About the Author
Robert Budnikas
Robert is a trusted real estate professional with 20 years of service in Burlington, Hamilton, Milton and Oakville. He has helped many of his customers achieve their dreams of home ownership whether a first time home buyer, a family upgrading to a larger home or an empty nester looking forward to retirement. He's a dedicated realtor ready to take your real estate experience to the MAX!