Real Estate Lingo Made Easy: 11 Terms You Should Know

Make sure to familiarize yourself with common lingo used by will make the process smoother when you know what everyone is talking about and by you knowing all of these terms you ensure you are not taken advantage of during the selling and/or buying process.

1) “As Is” Condition: If a house is listed in “as is” condition you can usually assume this means it needs work. More importantly, the seller is not warranting the condition of anything included in the sale of property.  Big things to watch out for would be knob and tube wiring, low, unfinished basements and requiring overall TLC (and money).  You will see this term in many Power Of Sale or Estate listings.

2) Bidding War: If a property on the market has a set “offer date”, they may be angling for a bidding war. The property is sometimes listed a little below market value, creating a lot of buzz and interest, hopefully resulting in multiple buyers competing for the same house, driving the price up. Be careful! ; If you get caught up in a bidding war it could mean spending more money than you budgeted.

3) Buyer & Seller Markets: These terms describe the current market that reflects inventory (amount of homes available). A “Buyers” market suggests there are more houses on the market than buyers, thus giving more power to potential buyers. A “sellers” market is the opposite...there are more buyers ready to buy than there are homes on the market.

4) Closing Costs: These are the costs in addition to the final sale of the home. They can include lawyer fees, land tranfer taxes, real estate fees, title insurance, etc. and may range anywhere from 1-4% of the final sale price.

5) Closing Date: The official day the new owner takes possession—or title—of the home.

6) CMHC: The Canadian Housing & Mortgage Corporation provides insurance for residential mortgage loans to Canadian homebuyers. They are a great resource with valuable information regarding mortgages, green housing, leasing a home, etc.  Visit for more details.

7) Conditional Offer: An offer to buy a home that is contingent on specific conditions put in writing such as a home inspection, financing, septic inspection, solictor's approval, etc.

8) Firm Offer: An offer to purchase the home with NO conditions. Of course, these types of offers are great for the seller.

9) Fixture: Anything listed as a fixture of the home means it comes with the property. Usually anything that is affixed or nailed down like lights, gazebo attached to a patio/deck, built in cabintery.  When in doubt, ask and make sure it is specifically in writing.

10) Maintenance Fees: Typically associated with townhouses and condominiums—where the property is not “freehold”—there are monthly fees in addition to the purchase price. They can cover a range of services like utilities, water, cable, or just the basics like outside maintenance, snow removal and pool maintenance.

12) Survey: This shows the formal boundaries of the property.Typically available at the town of office of where the home is located.

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