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10 real estate abbreviations every realtor should know

Manasa Reddigari

What was your GCI on that SFH you sold after an exhaustive CMA? If you're tongue-tied over these terms, it's time to brush up on some common real estate abbreviations.  Keep reading for a list of abbreviations that should be in the vocabulary of every real estate professional.


Short for covenants, conditions and restrictions, CCR refers to rules that signing parties of a property contract must adhere to concerning the purchase or use of a property. For instance, a CCR is a no-pets rule for tenants of an apartment. You'll find the term in real estate documents including deeds and homeowner's association or rental agreements.


Real estate agents conduct a CMA, or comparative market analysis, to help their clients determine an offer or listing price at which to buy or sell a home, respectively. Namely, a CMA involves doing a comparison of on-the-market or recently sold homes in the same geographic area and with similar characteristics of the property up for grabs.


An EMC, or earnest money contract, is the paperwork that accompanies an earnest money deposit that a buyer makes to a seller as a show of good faith in a property transaction. Specifically, the EMC usually includes, at a minimum, the earnest money deposit amount. And any contingencies that would allow a buyer to back out of the sale. For example, a failed home inspection.


When homeowners opt to sell their homes themselves rather than with the services of a listing agent, their properties are known as for sale by owner. Buyers can still retain the services of a buyer's agent to negotiate the purchase of an FSBO home.


Gross commissionable income is the amount of commission a real estate broker receives from a seller on completion of a sale. It is calculated by multiplying the sale price of a property by the commission rate. The broker allocates a portion of the GCI toward compensation for a real estate agent. Depending on the split an agent and broker agree to, an agent could earn anywhere from 50 to 90 percent or more of the GCI.

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LTV, or loan-to-value, is a ratio that lenders use to assess the risk involved with extending a mortgage loan to a borrower. The LTV ratio amounts to the mortgage amount divided by the appraised value of the property the borrower desires.


MLS ranks among the most frequently used real estate abbreviations. It refers to the Multiple Listing Service, a marketing database that real estate brokers use to gain or share listing information about properties up for sale (such as their availability and price) from or with other cooperating brokers. There is no nationwide MLS; each MLS database is usually specific to an association of brokers in a certain region.


PITI stands for principal, interest, property taxes and insurance. A term referred to as the minimum cost of keeping a property over the life of a loan. Lenders often calculate PITI on a monthly basis to assess whether or not to extend a loan to a borrower. While depending on a buyer's mortgage payment plan, he may or may not pay the taxes and insurance portion of PITI to a lender directly.


Real-estate-owned (REO) properties are defined by two things.

  • Those that have been repossessed by a lender after the property underwent the foreclosure process and
  • The ones that failed to sell at a foreclosure auction

Lenders may choose to put an REO property up for auction again or work with a broker to sell it.


Undoubtedly one of the most ubiquitous real estate abbreviations in home listings, "SFH" means single-family home. Distinct from a townhome, condominium or apartment, an SFH is a standalone home that doesn't share walls or utilities with another property. Plus, it is located on its own parcel of land. The occupants of an SFH could be a household or an individual.

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