Real Estate can be a little intimidating and is full of vocabulary that feels foreign to most of us, whether you’re a first-time home buyer or have owned a home for years and need a little refresher. I’ve high-lighted a few key terms that you may come across while in the home buying/selling process that you may find helpful.  Below is a list of 18 terms in alphabetical order compiled to help you better understand the Real Estate language. 




- An appraisal is required to get the estimated value of the property.

Assessed Value

- The worth of a property established by BC Assessment.

Back up Offer

- A back up offer is when a buyer wants to purchase a property that is already under contract with someone else but has the chance to place an offer on the property anyways just in case the first offer collapses.

Bully Offer

- An offer from a buyer to a seller before the property is listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system and is proposed before the date of the sellers indicated viewing of any other offers.

Buyer Agent

- A Buyers Agent is specialized in the process of guiding a buyer through the process of purchasing a buying a home.


- Completion of the property’s deal from seller to buyer, and buyer has full access to the property and is deemed the new homeowner.


- A counteroffer is given if the initial offer was refused and replaced with another offer.


- Equity is the difference between the amount you have paid in your home and the remaining amount you owe on your mortgage.


- A foreclosure of a property is when the lender takes over the possession of the residence because the borrower has failed to comply with the mortgage agreement and not repay the debt.


- A home inspection occurs when a buyer hires a licensed inspector to come and “inspect” the home, making a report of the state the home is in or any repairs that need to be fixed.


- A property lien is a legal claim on the property to guarantee payment of debt.

Listing Agent

- A listing agent is a licensed real estate professional who “lists” the seller’s property. Their job is to also market the property and to work with the sellers and have their best interest in the transaction.


- A mortgage is the agreement between the buyer and the lender, with the condition that the borrower agrees to repayment of the loan.

Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

- The MLS system is a database where realtors can load their listings with photos and detailed information about properties for other agents and clients to view. People often check MLS to compare and see what comparable properties have sold for.


- Pre-approval requires a visit to your lender to determine how much they are willing to loan for the purchase of a property.

Property Tax

- Location and value of the property determine the tax amounts which are payable on an annual or monthly basis. You can check this amount on BC Assessment, but amounts may vary year to year.

Subject to

- Subject-to is a condition that protects the buyer. The condition must be met to ensure that the contract will be secure. There must always have a removal date. An example of this would be: Subject to inspection.


The legal proof of possession of a property. 

For more terms and a further in-depth description, you can visit the following 2 websites: