Home Buyer Vocabulary 101

Do you scratch your head when real estate agents open their mouth? Does the industry lingo leave your head spinning?

Moving into your dream home should be a headache-free experience. We want to eliminate the confusion by defining some of the most common terms you’ll encounter. Here’s a handy cheat sheet of the must-know vocabulary words and abbreviations for home buyers:

Active Contingent

The price and terms of a home have been negotiated and agreed upon by both the buyer and seller, but certain requirements must be met before the sale is final.

Active With Contract (AWC)

The seller has accepted an offer but is open to other offers in case the first one falls through.


A home or property is given an estimated value based on the current market by a licensed appraiser.

Build on Your Lot (BOYL)

You already own or are looking for properties to purchase where you will build a custom home. It’s smart to consult an experienced BOYL builder and involve them in your search for land.

Comparable Market Analysis (CMA/Comparables)

A comparison of similar homes or properties nearby that have sold recently. This is helpful in determining the accurate value of a home. Need some financial tips for buying your new home? Here are some do’s and don’ts you should know!

Closed (CL)

The house or property has sold and the deed has been transferred to the new buyer.

Closing Costs

The fees you must pay service providers when you complete your home purchase. Closing costs range from about 2-5% and can include costs related to homeowners insurance, appraisals, mortgage insurance, property taxes, etc.

Down Payment

The amount of money you pay in advance towards the purchase of your home or property. Some loans don’t require a down payment at all, while others require up to 30% (such as land loans).


Money for the sale is put into the custody of an impartial third party until requirements of the sale are met.


Elevation can be defined two ways. First, it refers to the physical height of your property above sea level. Second, it can also refer to the two-dimensional artist rendering that shows the exterior and interior features of a house.

Floor Plan

A scale drawing used by architects and engineers that shows the dimensions and layout of your home.


A percent of the purchase amount you pay each month to the lender.


The advertisement posted about a home or property that’s for sale.

Master Planned Community

A large-scale neighborhood built on undeveloped land that has been well-designed to include an array of amenities (like jogging trails, lakes, and recreational facilities).

Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

A database of homes listed for sale by real estate agents. The MLS database is broken up into about 700 regions nationwide.


A loan from a bank, credit union or private party to fund the purchase of your home. There are many mortgage options when borrowing for the purchase of your new home.


An ordered sequence of events. For example; phases in the real estate cycle or phases in the home building process.

Pre Approved

A lender has run your credit, checked your finances, and approved you to take out a loan up to a certain amount. Pre Approval will tell you exactly what you can afford to buy.

Take the next step in the home buying process with help from Gemcraft Homes. Our experienced team can help you through the pre-approval and purchase process in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Call (888) 762-9026 to buy or build your dream home today!

Spec Home

Short for “speculative,” this is a home created by a builder with the expectation that he will sell it quickly. A spec home is generally at or near completion.

Quick Move-In (QMI)

A home that is generally at or near completion and ready to sell immediately. Check out our available Quick Move-In homes, you could be in your new dream home sooner than you think!