English for Real Estate

by | Oct 7, 2018 | Business & Professional English

English for real estate agents might seem simple at first but here at Break into English we know that there is a whole new level of complicated language underneath the surface. To ease you gently into the world of land and property, here is a top 15 list of simple vocabulary words related to real estate. Once you have got the hang of these simple words, you can move on to the advanced level English for real estate below (50 words).

15 Simple Words in English for Real Estate Agents

15 simple real estate terms

1. Development: A group of buildings together on a large area of land.

2. En-suite: This is an adjective to describe something which is attached to another room. Usually an en-suite bathroom , which is attached to the master bedroom.

3. Estate agent: The person who helps clients buy, sell and rent real estate.

4. Flat (UK), Apartment (USA): An arrangement of rooms on one floor to live in. Flats are often constructed in high-rise buildings or apartment blocks. Although it is not unusual to find a two-storey house that has been split into two or more apartments.

5. For sale: This means that the home, business, building, or piece of land is on the market and can be purchased.

6. Furnished: This adjective describes a property that is on the market and includes furniture.

7. Garden (UK) Yard (USA): A piece of land for recreational use, it may have flowers, trees, grass etc.

8. Ground floor (UK), First floor (USA): The storey or floor of the building which is on the same level as the street or ground. In the UK the first floor is one above ground level, known as the second floor in American English for real estate.

9. Landlord or Landlady: The owner of a piece of real estate who rents or lets it to a tenant.

10. Lift (UK), elevator (USA): An electric device to use as an alternative to stairs. The compartment moves people and or objects up and down to the different floors in a building.

11. Tenant: A person who rents a piece of real estate and pays a monthly amount of money to the landlord.

12. Let out or rent out: This is the verb that means to allow somebody to use a piece of real estate in exchange for money (rent).

13. Rent: One option, instead of buying a home, is to rent a property and pay a monthly quantity to the owner or landlord/landlady.

14. Storey (UK) Story (USA): The only difference between the American and British versions of this English for real estate word is the spelling. The word itself means the levels of the floors in a building.

15. Mortgage: A loan from the bank or building society in order to buy a property. The loan is secured by the property in question.  

50 Advanced Real Estate Terms in English

You might want to take a look at some videos online to hear different conversations using English for real estate agents. The truth is that real estate agents are known for their way with words – and being able to describe horrible small places in a way that makes buyers think about them in a different light. However, there is some important terminology that estate agents need to be aware of in English. It is crucial that you only use this vocabulary in the right setting and don’t make any mistakes concerning meaning.

50 advanced real estate terms

1. Appraisal: An estate agent carries out an appraisal or valuation in order to quantify the value of the real estate.

2. APR (Annual Percentage Rate): This refers to the interest on a loan.

3. Balance Outstanding: How much of the loan the buyer owes to the mortgage lender. 

4. Bridging Loan: This is a loan to help buyers who need to bridge the gap between selling their current home and buying a new one. Buyers pay off the bridging loan as soon as they sell their home. This prevents deals from falling through due to issues with chains.

5. Break Clause/Release Clause: In fixed-term tenancies, these terms refer to clauses that allow for renegotiation of the contract.

6. Building Society: This is a kind of bank, however, a building society only deals with mortgages and long-term savings.

7. BTL (Buy to let): This is a specific type of mortgage and legislation concerning arrangements for buyers who purchase a property to rent out.

8. Chain: The sale of a property is often limited because the owners have not yet purchased a new home. 

9. Chain Free: A situation of property being chain free is when the seller does not need to find another property to live in. Fortunately, the sale of the property is not dependent on the seller finding another property to buy.

10. Collateral: In the case of a mortgage, the collateral is the house or flat. The collateral offers security to the bank that provides the loan.

11. Completion Date: The big day when all documents will have been signed and distributed and the keys are handed over to the new owners.

12. Conveyancing: All the paperwork related to buying and selling real estate.

13. Deeds: Legal papers which certify ownership of real estate. Deposit – the lump sum that the seller pays towards the cost of the property.

14. Disbursements: Payments and expenses that a solicitor pays on behalf of the seller.

15. Early Repayment Charge (ERC): Another way of saying this is the early repayment penalty (ERP). This is a charge that the bank or building society imposes if the buyer of a home with a mortgage pays off the mortgage earlier than agreed.

16. Equity: Equity is the amount of money that the homeowner actually owns. It is the difference between the value of the property and the amount of the mortgage.

17. First-time buyer: A buyer who has never owned a property before and therefore has no mortgage or chain in the selling process.

18. Fixed Price: Sometimes sellers or vendors will only accept a certain price for the property. They do not accept offers so the property is referred to as fixed price.

19. Fixtures and Fittings: Objects in a property that are not part of the structure such as carpets and curtains.

20. Freehold: If a property is a freehold it means that the real estate includes the property and the land it is situated on for an indefinite amount of time.

21. Full Structural Survey: This is a comprehensive assessment of the main features of a property such as electrical wiring, foundations, and plumbing.

22. Gazumping: Even though it sounds like an invented word, it is a valid term in English for real estate. Gazumping is when the vendor accepts an offer but at the last minute rejects it for a higher offer.

23. Gazundering: An equally made-up sounding word, Gazundering is when a buyer lowers their offer right at the last minute.

24. Gas Safety Regulations: Landlords and landladies must ensure that their properties meet the safety standards specified by the gas safety regulations. A CORGI registered engineer must carry out annual checks.

25. Guarantor: Sometimes in order to be granted a mortgage, the buyer must have a guarantor. This is somebody with a better credit rating than the buyer who signs that they will cover any mortgage payments.

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26. Ground Rent: An amount of money the leaseholder (property owner) pays annually to the freeholder of a property (land owner).

27. Home Buyers Report: This is like a mini-survey of the house. It covers the accessible parts of the property.

28. Home Improvement Agencies (HIAs): This type of agency helps vulnerable homeowners on a low income maintain their homes.

29. Housing Association: A non-profit enterprise that allows buyers to purchase a portion of a property and pay off the rest with rent.

30. IFA: Independent Financial Advisor.

31. Inventory: A conclusive list of everything contained in the property.

32. Joint Tenants: When two or more people rent a property, perhaps a couple or friends. They share the responsibility for the payments, so if one was to die, the other(s) would have to pay the full amount.

33. Joint Mortgage: A mortgage taken out by two people.

34. Land Certificate: A certificate from the land registry which proves ownership of a piece of real estate.

35. Land Registry: All the official records of properties owned in England and Wales are recorded in the land registry.

36. Leasehold: One of the most confusing terms in English for real estate. This type of ownership is when the structural property is owned but the land on which it stands is not. Often some type of ground rent applies.

37. Mortgage Deed: The conditions relating to a mortgage are specified in this document.

38. Mortgage Offer: An official letter from the bank or building society that details the conditions of a mortgage.

39. Negative Equity: Unfortunately, this may occur when the value of a property is less than the amount of money still owed on the mortgage.

40. No Sale, No Fee: Estate agents offer different types of services and corresponding fees within their business. However, the no sale, no fee agreement means that if the house does not sell, the vendor does not have to pay anything to the estate agent.

41. OMV (Open Market Value): The estimated value of a property on the open market.

42. Public Liability Insurance: An obligatory insurance that provides cover against death or injury to anyone in or around a property.

43. Repossession: If a buyer cannot make the repayments on a mortgage, the bank or building society may repossess the house. They often sell the houses at auction in order to make back some of the money still owed.

44. RTB (Right to Buy): Depending on how long a tenant has lived in a council property they may have the right to buy.

45. Shared Ownership: Housing associations sometimes offer this scheme which allows first-time buyers to purchase shares in a property, rather than the full amount. However, the buyer then pays rent on the remaining share or can even buy more shares over time.

46. Solicitor: A type of lawyer who acts on behalf of the buyer or seller to ensure all legal requirements are fulfilled.

47. Survey: There are several types of surveys, all completed by a qualified surveyor. The three main types are valuation reports, homebuyer reports and full structural surveys.

48. Tenancy Agreement: The rental agreement or contract specifies terms and conditions between the landlord or landlady and the tenant.

49. Transfer Deeds: The land registry can issue an official document that certifies the transfer of the property from one party to another.

50. Under Offer: This is when the buyer has made an offer, the seller has accepted the offer but the sale has not legally been completed yet.

Now you’ve seen all the important words in English for real estate employees, you might want to check out this online test.

And if you feel that you need to practice and improve your Real Estate English skills with specialized native teachers, then don’t forget that you are entitled to a free 30-minute trial lesson with us.

Johann Potgieter

This article was written by Break Into English’s teacher trainer and blog contributor Elizabeth Drayton.

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