If you’re a first time home buyer or seller, or you’re just unfamiliar with the real estate industry, the language used may be a little confusing. Realtors and agents often use slang or different terminology that makes you stop for a second and think, ‘what are they talking about?’

Here are some of the most commonly misunderstood terms and lingo that are used in real estate:


MLS (Multiple Listing Service) MLS is a marketing database service that compiles and distributes information about homes listed for sales by a group of cooperating real estate brokers. Today, this service runs online but it used to be a book as shown in the photo to the left. This service allows agents to see each other’s listings of properties for sale. Both the listing and selling agent benefit by this sharing of information.


Financial data analysis graph showing search findings. Selective focus. Horizontal composition with copy space.

CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) Also referred to as competitive or current market analysis, a CMA is a report that provides information about the prices of homes that are comparable to a client’s home and generally within the same geographic location. A CMA looks at homes that were recently sold, are currently on the market, or were on the market but not sold within the listing period. A real estate agent will perform a CMA to help determine a listing price when selling a home or a price to offer when bidding on a home.


A close up image of an exterior lock box designed to hid a spare key.


Lock Box It is a locked, ‘key-holding’, device that locks a house that is on the market. The device allows communal access for all real estate agents after receiving permission from the listing agent.



Fixture It is anything of value that is permanently attached to or a part of the real property. This includes things such as, wall-to-wall carpeting, light fixtures, and landscaping. Think of it like this, if you were to turn a house upside down and shake everything out, only fixtures would be left. However, everything that did ‘fall out’ of the house is referred to as chattel property. Chattel is property that is not affixed to the real property.




Here are other misunderstood real estate acronyms that are often used when describing a home:

  • 4B/2B – refers to the ratio of bedrooms to bathrooms. In this example, the home would have four bedrooms and two bathrooms.
  • LR – Living room
  • DK – Deck
  • EIK – Eat in kitchen
  • FDR – Formal dining room
  • Frplc – Fireplace
  • Gar – Garage
  • Gard – Garden
  • HDW – Hardwood
  • Upr – Upper floor
  • W/D – Washer and dryer