Real Estate Must Know Terms For First Time Buyers


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Buying a house demands a lot of time and research as there is something special first time buyers are looking to own. Often in the chase to find a dream home first time buyers forget to familiarize themselves to the must know real estate jargons. They may seem unimportant as there is too much to absorb and you are a newbie; But if you decide to decode  the process this will help you to stay on the same page as the real estate salesperson.

“As Is” Condition: It is as simple as it sounds “as is” condition indicates that the listed house need work done. The trouble areas in such properties include undone basements, undone or faulty tube wiring. In other words tasks that require monetary expenses.

Bidding War: The final result of bidding wars is to create a buzz in order to engage multiple buyers in a bid for a property aimed to boost the price. Generally bidding wars are done for a property in the market for which there is a  fixed “offer date”. Although they may seem tempting stay away from them as you always tend to spend more that your budget.

Buyer & Seller Markets: These terms reflect the market in simple terms a “Buyers” market indicates there are more buyers in the market and there are limited properties which gives prospective buyers a upper hand and the reverse is known as “Sellers” market.

Closing Costs: After the final sale of the home, all the additional costs for example lawyers ownership transfer fees, taxes on the property, lawyer fees these are estimated to range from 1-5% of the final sale price.

Closing Date: The agreed upon date the new owner takes legal possession of the title and or property.

CMHC: The Canadian Housing & Mortgage Corporation was formed after WWII and provides insurance for residential mortgage loans to Canadian homebuyers. It is recommeded to use their resources at

Conditional Offer: An offer to buy a home with specified conditions submitted in writing  and agreed to conduct home inspection and or financing procedures.

Escrow: Generally lawyers (third party) hold money until all the terms and conditions are agreed upon before initiating the purchase or sale of a property.

Firm Offer: An offer to purchase the home with NO conditions. (This means no more showings unless agreed upon by the new owner and the property is sold)

Fixture: Generally fixtures are immovable items within the property. All the fixtures are usually clearly mentioned may include  lights, curtains and or fixed furniture. Always ask when in doubt to avoid any misconceptions.

Maintenance Fees: These are fees paid for properties which are not “freehold” generally paid monthly for townhomes and condominiums on top of the purchase price. Always get clarity on the inclusions as they may range from cable, utilities, gym and pool access, snow removal etc.

Mortgage: A loan to buy a home, depending on the eligibility terms laid down by a  bank.

Survey: This is conducted to gain clarity on the boundaries of the property.

These are some of the important jargons that will make you seem like a pro and help you stay on the same page as the real estate agent.  Please feel free to share some other words that we could add to the list. 


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Gurcharan Garry Bhaura

Gurcharan Garry Bhaura

Broker of Record
CENTURY 21 President Realty Inc., Brokerage*
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