Real Estate Terms Every Home Buyer HAS To Know!

Homebuyer tips

Written by

Teofil Molcut

Published date:

Updated: Feb 26, 2024 by

real estate terms contract

Real Estate can be tricky sometimes. Real Estate Agents use a lot of particular words and jargons that almost make a dialect of its own. And you, the home buyer, who just wants to find the perfect home and acquire it suddenly has to learn all of those weird real estate terms on your own to make sense of whatever the heck those real estate agents are talking about. You can hear the sounds and the words coming out of their mouth but have no idea what they mean. It’s like an episode of Twilight Zone (or Black Mirror, for the ones who thought *we* are not making any sense now)


But fear not! We are here to tell you all the real estate terms every home buyer HAS to know. Or at least the ones that most home buyers do not know, as they are the ones most searched for within our Real Estate Glossary Terms. Here we go:



Don’t feel bad if you’re like “well, that one I don’t even understand the sound; don’t know how to pronounce it”... Situs is a Latin word, so most people don’t know it either.


It’s meaning is close to “site”. It’s something like a place where something is held. It’s the site or location where something exists or originated. However, long are the days where we use Latin words, the only place where the Latin language is still used is within the Law lingo. And that’s how we arrive at the Real Estate Situs definition.


In Real Estate, Situs is used to describe a physical location where a property is located, as a way to pinpoint the property in relation to its economic significance for taxation and legal rights connected to government housing issues. Situs describes a location in connection with taxes and lawsuits.


Situs as a way to geographically pinpoint a location – like “The situs of the property is close to the beach”- is wrong. If you hear a real estate agent saying it, beware because he is either not well informed or trying to use difficult words to present himself as smart – and failing to do so.


For the best, most correct and lengthy explanation of the use of Situs in real estate, click to read our Situs definition.

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Upside Potential

Did you come across a property you thought was just “meh” but your real estate agent is constantly talking about its upside potential, so excited about it that you’re a bit ashamed to just ask what does upside potential mean?


We’re here for you.


Upside potential is the term used to describe the short-term potential of appreciation that the property (and the area in which the property is located) have. To assert that potential, a lot of aspects get into play” the location itself, the amenities, potential increase in rental income and recent local government developments. Real estate developers are always assessing the upside potential of areas; when real estate agents are able to come up with some sort of percentage of appreciation for the upside potential of the property, it always helps us to think in the long-term if our investment makes sense or not.


Incurable Depreciation

Coming from Upside Potential, it would sound like incurable depreciation is the opposite of that, right? But it’s not. Incurable depreciation is not exactly when there’s an inevitable drop in price to come; it is when the cost of a repair is higher than the value of the whole structure in question. The professionals behind the assessment call it “incurable depreciation” as a way to let it be known by the homeowner that it’s uneconomical to repair the structure in question.


Here’s an example: you’re buying a home that’s kind of old, and home inspection has determined that the foundation is in peril; in severe need of repair. However, studies have shown that – because of all that it will entail to - the repairing of the foundation is going to be more expensive than the price of the whole property. When this happens, the structure is condemned and razed. The home buyer has the option to either replace (instead of repair) or tear down the whole thing and built it new.


(By the way, if you’re still wondering what’s the opposite of upside potential; it’s “downside risk”.)


Water table

Don’t get excited if the home seller is mentioning that the water table is very safe; the house does not come with a high-tech table made of water. Water table is a real estate term to define the distance from which the property stands either to a body of water – like a lake, a river or the ocean – or to the actual ground level.


Knowing about the water table of the property you’re about to buy is very important – especially if you’re in flood-prone zones. Water tables are a concern every Annapolis Real Estate Agent has an eye on, as the city is one of the worst cities for natural disasters when it comes to flooding.


Abutter’s right

You just bought a house and the excitement to make renovations on the house is big. But then, a homeowners association notice arrives stopping your plans due to an Abutter’s right! Who’s this Abutter guy?! And what right does he have on what you do to *your* house?!


Well, abutter’s rights are the rights an abutting property (a property whose directly neighboring to yours) has of maintaining a status-quo. But that doesn’t mean the neighboring property has the right to keep everything the same. Abutter’s rights pertain to a certain set of rules like visibility and proximity. If your renovation is a second floor that blocks the view he has from the ocean, for instance, he might have the right to shut it down. But if it’s the color of the paint or a construction that doesn’t fundamentally change the lighting and visibility and doesn’t cross the line between your property and his… then he probably doesn’t have a fair case here and is just bluffing. As you can see, it’s important to know what are the abutter’s right in your neck of the woods to see if the claim is logic or if you can override it and resume with your renovations.


Is there another term you constantly hear and wish to know? Head on to our Real Estate Glossary terms – as of today, we have over 2,800 terms recorded there! – or leave it in the comments and we’ll tell you their meaning!

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