March 2023

EIK! Confused by real estate abbreviations? Here's a guide.

Does that FSBO have an EIK, an FDR or a BSMT? If you're new to home buying, you may not recognize the shorthand for eat-in kitchen (EIK), for sale by owner (FSBO), formal dining room (FDR) or basement (BSMT). They may seem strange, but they're commonly used in real estate listings.

Other abbreviations and acronyms you may encounter include terms that relate to financing or the business side of real estate. To help you get the most out of your home search, we've compiled a list of common abbreviations with brief definitions.

Mortgage and financial terms

Since most people get a mortgage when they buy a home, it's helpful to be familiar with some key terms.

  • APR: Annual percentage rate. The annual percentage rate is different from the rate on your mortgage. The APR combines the cost of your interest with the cost of closing fees to give you a view of the cost over a year. This is a helpful way to compare the actual cost of different mortgages.
  • ARM: Adjustable-rate mortgage. The rate on an ARM usually starts with a fixed rate for a few years. After that, it can change at set intervals - usually six months or a year - based on changes in an index like the U.S. prime rate. The amount of your monthly payment will increase or decrease along with the rate.
  • DTI: Debt-to-income ratio. This is your total monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income. To get a mortgage, the preferred DTI may vary depending on the lender and type of loan, but is generally 31% to 36%.
  • FHA: Federal Housing Administration. The FHA is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. They provide mortgage insurance on loans by FHA-approved lenders, which allows the lenders to offer more loans to qualified borrowers.
  • FRM: Fixed-rate mortgage. With this type of mortgage, your interest rate will stay the same, giving you more consistent monthly payments for the life of the loan.
  • LE: Loan Estimate. This is provided to borrowers by the lender within three days of their application, and provides information about the loan in a standardized format that is easy to understand and compare to other loan offers.
  • LTV: Loan to value. This is the ratio between how much you currently owe on a mortgage and the value of the home. The more you owe, the higher the ratio.
  • P&I: Principal and interest. This usually refers to the part of your monthly mortgage payment that includes one month of interest plus a portion of the total loan (principal), usually the amount needed to pay off the loan within the designated term.
  • PITI: Principal, interest, taxes and insurance. This describes the full components of a monthly mortgage payment, including money that will go into an escrow account to pay real estate taxes and homeowners insurance.
  • PMI: Private mortgage insurance. With most mortgages, if your loan-to-value ratio is greater than 80%, you'll need to pay private mortgage insurance. This protects the lender in case you're unable to pay your mortgage.

Real estate terms

These are terms your agent may use that are specifically related to the real estate market.

  • CMA: Comparative market analysis. If you're selling a home, your agent will do a CMA to see what similar homes in your area have sold for in recent months. This will help determine the right price for your home.
  • CCR or CC&R: Covenants, conditions and restrictions. These are rules that are drawn up and enforced by a homeowners association.
  • COO: Certificate of occupancy. This is provided by local authorities when a new construction home or a home with extensive renovations is considered safe to be occupied.
  • FMV: Fair market value. This is the price of a home when sold on the open market.
  • FSBO: For sale by owner. This is a term for when sellers are putting their home on the market without the help of a real estate agent. It's typically pronounced "fizz-boe."
  • HOA: Homeowners association. An association representing a community, development or condominium that establishes and enforces rules for the group. All community members must generally pay a fee for neighborhood purposes such as maintaining common areas and snow removal.
  • MLS: Multiple listing service. This is a database of homes that are for sale in a given location. Real estate agents list their homes for sale on the MLS, and also use it to compare home values and search for properties for their clients.
  • REO: Real estate owned. REO properties are owned by a lender, usually as a result of foreclosure.
  • ROI: Return on investment. In real estate, this refers to how much you expect to gain back after investing in a home, either by buying and then selling it, or by renovating then selling.
  • RTO: Rent to own. With this type of agreement, renters can put part of their rent toward a down payment and eventually purchase the home they're renting.

Listing shorthand

These are terms used in real estate listings to help pack a lot of information into a small space. While listing abbreviations may vary, these are some of the most common (and trickiest).

  • AC: Air conditioning (also CAC, central air)
  • BR: Bedroom
  • BSMT: Basement (also UNF BSMT, unfinished basement)
  • EIK: Eat-in kitchen
  • FDR: Formal dining room
  • GAR: Garage (may include 1C or 2C for one car or two car)
  • GDN: Garden
  • HB: Half bath (sink and toilet, no shower or bathtub)
  • HRDWD FL: Hardwood floors
  • HVAC: Heating, ventilation and air conditioning
  • INLW STE: In-law suite
  • LR: Living room
  • NBHD: Neighborhood
  • OBO: Or best offer
  • OFC: Office
  • SF: Square foot
  • SFH: Single family home
  • S/P: Swimming pool
  • WIC: Walk-in closet

Now that you're in the know about abbreviations, you can start searching for that special home.

A note from your lending specialist

Don't let abbreviations scare you! When you work with me, I'll make sure you clearly understand the terms of your home loan, from application to closing.

MAP5455958 | 02/2023

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