10 Real Estate Terms Buyers Should Know

Verani Realty

Woman reviewing paperwork with customerIf you’re shopping for a home, you may think that finding the right home, at the best price, with the right mortgage, is your main challenge. However, one of the other challenges you will find is understanding the terms and acronyms associated with the world of real estate.

Thankfully, your REALTOR not only speaks the language, but makes for a great interpreter. Even if you know the definitions of many or all of the real estate terms, you need to decipher exactly what they mean to you while searching for a new home.

For example, you know what square footage is, but you may not know how much is necessary for your family to live comfortably. Your REALTOR can help guide you with that question and help with visualizations that provide an idea what exactly you’re looking for.

Everyone’s needs vary, but the average square footage for a two story colonial is typically somewhere between 1,800 to 2,500 square feet.  Keep in mind that this is just living space.  Garage space and any unfinished areas usually are not included in this figure.

Here are some of the most common terms you will see when you are reading a listing:

  • Walk-out basement: This typically has a door for outside access and may even have a few windows.  These basements are usually ideal for finishing (if they are not already finished) into extra living space, because of the natural light and the entry door.
  • Bulk head: This is typically a metal slanted set of doors that allow access into the basement, though you probably will have to duck your head as you enter.
  • Crawl space basement: They allow for the house to just above the ground level. Underneath a home built on a crawl space foundation is a shallow area where duct work and plumbing may be accessed, but you typically cannot stand upright in this space.
  • Slab foundation: This means no basement.  This also means all of your equipment for hot water and heating is located within the actual living space of the home.
  • Farmer’s porch: This is a porch that has plenty of room for potted plants, chairs and typically runs the full length of the house. A farmer’s porch is a covered deck that is often supported by sturdy beams and tailored railings.
  • En suite: This means that the bathroom is a part of larger suite, which may contain one or more rooms & closets, and can only be accessed from inside that suite.
  • Shared driveway: This is a driveway that is legally owned by two different owners of two properties. This means you and your neighbor share ownership and responsibilities – such as plowing and maintenance.
  • Chef’s kitchen: Professional appliances, durable countertops and spacious islands are just a few of the features found in these kitchens fit for the gourmet chef.
  • Potential for finished basement: This may mean different things to different people, but typically it means that the basement could easily (or already is) plumbed for heat - and the space has the potential to be a finished with some drywall installed and flooring added.

Ask your REALTOR about any term you do not understand. Your REALTOR is there to ensure you know exactly what you are getting and to help you with every step of the buying process.

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