Real Estate Terms

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Term Definition

Once a house or property is listed by a real estate agency, Realtors within that agency and other agents or brokers (cooperating Realtors) schedule appointments or "showings" for their clients or customers to review the property inside and out. During a showing, the Realtor will demonstrate the properties features and amenities and make sure the party being toured understands all the general facets and attributes of the property, with the most basic being the price, general size, age, number of bedrooms and baths, type of heating and air conditioning, appliances and systems, etc...

Single Family

Also known as an SFR, the most common type of home listed in the MLS. Also known as single family detached, this means the home is a stand-alone structure with its own lot. Single family residences differ from condominiums, townhomes, cooperatives or multi-family homes, which are all attached residences.


Enhancing your home for sale in a number of small ways, including de-cluttering, strategic placement of furniture, specialized lighting, neutral décor, de-personalization (removing family pictures and personal items) and sometimes even the hiring of a professional stager. These home-stagers often bring in special furniture and lights to improve the way a home "shows", using these tools to make a room look larger or brighter and more appealing to a buyer or to demonstrate the best use of a particular space in the home or grounds. Staging becomes more and more popular as the housing market cools and sellers try and set their homes apart.


A legal document evidencing a person's right to or ownership of a property.

Title Insurance

Insurance that protects the lender (lender's policy) or the buyer (owner's policy) against loss arising from disputes over ownership of a property.


Also known as "townhouse", a type of home that's usually constructed as a two or three-story unit with a common wall or walls bordering the adjacent unit. The common form of ownership is similar to a condominium project in that the property owner not only owns his or her respective unit, but also an undivided interest in any common area. Townhome ownership sometimes differs from condominium ownership in that the townhome owner owns the physical structure rather than just the airspace between the walls, floor and ceiling. However, in many areas "townhome or townhouse" now refers to the physical style of the structure rather than the form of ownership.

VA Loan

A mortgage that is guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), an agency of the federal government that guarantees residential mortgages made to eligible veterans of the military services. The guarantee protects the lender against loss and thus encourages lenders to make mortgages to veterans.

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