Condo Real Estate Terminology

The process of determining thevalue of a property usually against values of other properties of similar-type in the immediate neighborhood.


The right to transfer a contract or a lease from one party to another. The term is often used to describe the process of assigning one’s primary lease to that of a second party until the end of the term.


An outdoor space that protrudes from a building.  On condos, usually called a deck.


Capital Improvement:
An improvement on a piece of property which is going to increase the value of the property. Such an improvement may include a new bathroom remodel.  
Perhaps one of the most important terms used in the residential real estate market and the foundation for working with other brokers in the community. When a broker sends out his/her listings to the brokerage community at large, he/she does so on a co-broke basis. This means that the brokerage firm representing the owner of the property will split the commission on a 50/50 basis with the brokerage firm that brings the buyer or tenant to the property and is able to conclude a transaction.


This term most often refers to the interior outside grounds of a building.


En Suite Bathroom:
French term literally meaning ‘together’. In the realtor’s lexicon, this term refers to a bathroom that is one with the adjoining bedroom. In other words, one does not have to leave his/her bedroom in order to go to the bathroom. This type of setup is most common with Master Bedrooms.


The procedure of placing money in an account where neither buyer nor seller can access the money without the consent of an escrow agent.


Exclusive Listing:
An exclusive listing is a listing promoted by a single broker for which he/she has been hired by an owner to market his/her property. In an exclusive right-to-sell arrangement, the individual broker has the right to earn a commission in the event that the property sells during the term of the exclusive. This type of arrangement precludes the owner of the apartment from selling the property on his/her own. Under the terms of an exclusive, the broker has the fiduciary responsibility to market the property to other brokers. The exclusive broker is accountable to the owner of the property and is responsible for seeing the transaction through its conclusion..


This is the front of a building. The facade can consist of any number of building elements, such as limestone, brownstone, cement, glass, granite, marble, and or any combination of the aforementioned.


Fixed Rate:
One of two types of rates offered by lending institutions. In a fixed rate scenario, the lender offers an interest rate which remains constant over the term of the loan.


Floating Rate:
One of two types of rates offered by lending institutions. In a floating rate scenario, the lender offers an interest rate which fluctuates with the prevailing rates offered to lending institutions.


The process by which a lending institution takes back a property because the property owner can no longer meet his/her monthly mortgage payment.


Furnished Units:
These are fully equipped with furniture and amenities.


Refers to a bathroom with no bath or shower. A half-bath is also commonly referred to as a powder room.


High Ceilings:
When we refer to high ceilings, one usally refers to ceilings with a height of nine feet or more.


In Contract:
Refers to the moment in time when a buyer and a seller both sign a contract of sale.


Interest Rate:
The amount charged by a lending institution to mortgage holders for the use of borrowed money. Rates can vary over time and are set by the Federal Reserve Board.


Mortgage Points:
Often when a consumer takes out a mortgage, the lender will tack on points to the mortgage amount as an upfront cost of doing business. In other words, if the lending institution offers a mortgage rate at 2 points, you will be paying 2% of the total mortgage upfront as an added cost of doing business.


In order to purchase a property, an individual often will enter into an agreement with a lending institution to provide him/her with a loan to cover a large percentage of the purchase price. A mortgage is a very common vehicle used in the purchase of a home and most Americans use this type of financing throughout their lives when they purchase property. There are several components to a mortgage, including the interest rate due on the loan (this can be either a fixed or floating rate), the term of the mortgage in number of years (usually 15 or 30) and the amount that is being financed. Using simple math, one can figure out his/her monthly payments for the term of the mortgage. If the rate is fixed, the amount for each payment period will be identical and will be comprised of two components, principle and interest.


Offer Accepted:
This term describes one of chain of events in the purchase of an apartment. This refers to the point in time when an owner accepts the business terms of an offer for an apartment. This can include the price, the closing period, and any contingencies the parties may agree upon.


A one-bedroom is a three-room condo (kitchen, living room, and bedroom).


Open House:
In order to promote a property, the listing broker or the owner of the property may hold an open house in order to get a large number of people and/or brokers through the property in a short period of time.


Open Kitchen:
A kitchen which opens up to the living space of unit. There is no door separating the kitchen from the rest of the condo.


Partial Views:
This term refers to views that offer partial vistas of the Lake.


Pass-through Kitchen:
This term refers to a Kitchen with an opening from the Kitchen into another room in the apartment, usually a Dining Area or Living Room.


This term refers to the time (month and day) that a new purchaser or a new tenant can actually take possession of an apartment.


Powder Room:
Refers to a bathroom with no bath or shower. A powder room is also commonly referred to as half-bath.


Recessed Lighting:
This term refers to lighting that is located above the ceiling and does not have a light fixture hanging from the ceilings. This type of lighting provides a very clean and contemporary look.


A studio is a two-room apartment (the kitchen is considered one room).


Condo only describes the method of ownership. Townhouse describes the design. Condos can be highrise, lowrise, patio, townhomes, or even detached homes. With a townhome, you own the land under the unit, and will have a lot #. It may likely be a “zero lot line” but you own the whole thing. With a condo, you own a common interest with other owners in the ground the unit sits on.


Walk-through Kitchen:
A Kitchen with two means of egress. An individual can actually walk through the Kitchen by entering through one room and exiting into another room.


Warrantable Condo:
A condo project with features that lenders view as favorable in terms of their risk exposure on loans secured by indiviual condo units. Some requirements of warrantability include such features as the following: the project is fully completed and the common areas are insured, the HOA has been controlled by owners for some period, most units are owner-occupied, and no one person owns more than 10% of the total units. Condos that are warrantable get more favorable terms than those which are not.

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