Who doesn’t get a thrill while browsing real estate on sites like Zillow or Trulia? Window-shopping for houses online is one of the most fun parts of the homebuying process. In fact, 44 percent of all buyers start their search by looking at properties on the internet.

But with relatively new terms like “expired” and “pending” entering the lexicon, and unclear shorthand and acronyms littering listings, deciphering real estate lingo can be tricky.

If you’re tired of all the jargon, or just plain confused, here are some real estate terms to know so you can kick off your home search without a hitch.


Active: The property is currently on the market and available for sale.

Active contingent: The home is under contract, meaning the seller has accepted an offer from a buyer. However, certain conditions must be met before the sale is finalized, which are known as contingencies. These might include the seller needing to receive mortgage approval or the buyer and seller needing to reach an agreement about any repairs after a home inspection is performed.

Active with contract (AWC): While the property has a purchase agreement pending on it, it is still available and being shown to other potential buyers. Agents use this status to indicate that the seller is open to receiving backup offers because the sale may not go through.

Back on the market (BOM): The property has become active again, after recently being taken off the market.

Closed (CL): The property has been sold and is no longer available.

Expired: The property is no longer available for sale — typically because the seller could not find a buyer.

Pending: The property is under contract and all contingencies have been fulfilled, but the settlement still needs to take place.

Temporarily off market (TOM): The home is not currently available for sale and showings are not allowed, but it will soon be back on the market. Oftentimes, a seller will take a property off the market while they make home repairs or improvements.

Under contract (UC): This status also indicates that the seller has accepted an offer from a buyer, but the sale has not yet been completed. But unlike an AWC, the property is no longer available for showings.


While abbreviations and acronyms for property descriptions vary by listing and source, the terms below can be used as a general guide to help you translate anything unfamiliar. If you’re still unclear what a shorthand is referring to, reach out to the listing agent.

1C: One-car garage

2-LV: Two living levels

A/G PL: Above-ground swimming pool

As-is: The owner is selling the home in its current condition and will not make any repairs or correct any flaws with the property.

BA; BTH: Bathroom

BB: Baseboard

BR; BD: Bedroom

Bsmt; Bmt: Basement

Bstn: Brownstone

CAC; Cen: Central air conditioning

Cldsc: Cul-de-sac

Col: Colonial style

Cont: Contemporary style

Dm; Drmn: Doorman

DR: Dining room

D/W; DW: Dishwasher

EiK: Eat-in kitchen

Fac: Facilities

F/F: Fully furnished or fully finished

FR; FM RM: Family room

FP: Fireplace

G/F: Ground floor

HB: Half bathroom

HP: Heat pump

HWH: Hot-water heater

INLW: In-law suite

KT: Kitchen

LA: Living area

LR: Living room

LL: Lower level

LSZ: Lot size

LUG: Lock-up garage

MFH: Multi-family home

MIC: Move-in condition

NGS: Natural gas

OFI: Open for inspection

OH: Open house

OLREA: Owner is a licensed real estate agent

OP: Original price

OFF; OSP: Off-street parking

PGS: Propane gas

PRMN: Privately maintained

PW; P/W: Pre-war

SEC: Security system

SF: Single-family home

SPLT: Split-level home

TH; T/H: Townhouse

U/F: Unfurnished or unfinished

UNCON: Under construction

WAR: Warranty plan

Wbfp: Wood-burning fireplace

W/D: Washer/dryer

WF: Waterfront

WIC: Walk-in closet

YRB: Year built

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