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Ever had that moment when a real estate definition leaves you with more questions than answers, causing a wave of irritation? Yeah... us too.

Common Joe 'n Jane Real Estate Wiki

Your down-to-earth guide to mastering real estate exam terms and concepts! We've stripped away the industry jargon and complex language, breaking down intricate ideas into bite-sized, easy-to-digest pieces for all the common "Joe 'n Jane's" out there.

CAM Fees
CAM fees, short for Common Area Maintenance fees, are charges that people pay when they rent a space in a shopping center or office building. These fees help cover the cost of keeping the shared spaces, like parking lots and hallways, clean... (Read more)
Capital is the money or resources that people use to start or grow a business, like buying a building, equipment, or even hiring workers. It's like the fuel that helps a business run... (Read more)
Capital gain
A capital gain is when you sell something for more money than you originally paid for it. Imagine you bought a bike for $100 and later sold it for $150. You made a capital gain of $50 because you sold it for more than you bought... (Read more)
Capital improvements
Capital improvements are the changes made to a property that make it better, more valuable, or longer-lasting. These improvements usually cost a significant amount of money and last a long time. They're different from simple repairs... (Read more)
Capitalization is a way to figure out how much a property is worth by looking at the money it can make. It helps you compare properties and decide which one is a better investment. You take the money the property earns in a year and divide it by... (Read more)
Capitalization rate
Capitalization rate, or "cap rate," is a percentage that helps you figure out how good an investment a property is. It shows how much money the property makes compared to its value. A higher cap rate means the property is a... (Read more)
Cash flow
Cash flow refers to the amount of money that is coming into or going out of a business or investment. It's like the money that flows through a pipe - sometimes it goes in, and sometimes it... (Read more)
"Census" is a way for the government to count how many people there are in a certain area. They do this by going to every single house and asking the people who live there how many people are in their family. The government uses this information... (Read more)
Certificate of Occupancy
A certificate of occupancy is a document issued by a government agency that certifies a building or structure is safe to be occupied and meets all necessary codes... (Read more)
Certificate of Title
A Certificate of Title is an official document that shows who legally owns a piece of real estate. It is like a birth certificate for a property, proving that someone has the right to buy, sell, or... (Read more)
Chain of Title
"Chain of Title" is like a family tree for a piece of property. It shows all the people who have owned the property over time and how they got it. It's important because it helps make sure that the current owner really has the right to sell or... (Read more)
"Change" in real estate refers to a transformation from one set of conditions to another, specifically related to the value principle. This could mean an increase or decrease in the value of a property due to changes in the surrounding... (Read more)
"Chattel" is a fancy word that means movable property. It's something that can be moved around and isn't attached to the ground like a building or a tree. Examples of chattel include furniture, electronics,... (Read more)
Clearing House for Mortgages (secondary mortgage market)
"Clearing House for Mortgages" is a place where people go to buy and sell mortgages. It's like a big marketplace for mortgages where banks and other companies can trade them. It's also known as the "secondary... (Read more)
To put it simply, "Closing" is the final step in buying or selling a property. It's like the last chapter of a book, where everything comes together and the story ends. At closing, all the legal documents are signed, money is exchanged,... (Read more)
Closing Statement
A closing statement is like a final report card for buying or selling a house. It shows all the money that changed hands and who got what. It lists things like the purchase price, any deposits made, fees for things like inspections or... (Read more)
Cloud on Title
To put it simply, a cloud on title means there is something wrong with the ownership record of a property. It's like having a stain on a shirt that won't come out, except it's on a piece of paper that shows who owns the property./bb/ A cloud... (Read more)
Co-brokerage refers to a real estate transaction where two different brokers or brokerages are involved in helping a buyer or seller complete... (Read more)
"Collateral" in real estate means something of value that is pledged as security for... (Read more)
Collusion is when two or more people work together secretly to do something they know they shouldn't do. It's like cheating on a test with a friend, but in the real estate world, it can involve things like price-fixing or trying to control... (Read more)
Color of Title
"Color of title" means owning a property without having a completely clear or perfect title to it. It could happen if the previous owner made a mistake in the title transfer or if the title was defective from the beginning, and you didn't know... (Read more)
"Commingling" is when you mix things together that you're not supposed to mix. In real estate, it means mixing up the money that belongs to different people. For example, if a real estate agent mixes their personal money with the money that... (Read more)
Common elements
"Common elements" are parts of a shared property or building that are used by everyone who owns or rents a unit. These might include hallways, elevators, or outdoor spaces like a pool... (Read more)
Common Law
"Common law" refers to a system of law that is based on past legal decisions and customs, rather than on written laws created by a government or... (Read more)
Community Property
"Community property" is a fancy term, in certain states, for something that belongs to both a husband and wife equally, especially when it comes to money... (Read more)
To put it simply, "comparable" means something that is similar to another thing. In real estate, a comparable is a property that is similar to the one being appraised, in terms of size, location, features,... (Read more)
"Competency" refers to the ability of a person to perform a task or job successfully and to the best of their ability. It means being knowledgeable, skilled, and qualified to do what... (Read more)
Competitive Market Analysis (CMA)
A Competitive Market Analysis is a tool used by real estate agents to help figure out how much a house or property is worth. They compare the property to similar ones that have recently been sold, are currently for sale, or were taken off the... (Read more)
"Compounding" is like magic for your money. When you put money in a bank account, the bank gives you a little bit of extra money called "interest" that helps your money grow. With compounding, the interest you earn gets added to your original... (Read more)
Concurrency refers to the coordination and cooperation of different government agencies when reviewing and approving land... (Read more)
"Condemnation" is when the government uses "eminent domain" to take private property for public use. This means the owner is forced to sell the property, even if they don't want to. For example, if the government needs to build a new road,... (Read more)
Condominium estate
"Condominium estate" means that you own a part of a big building or complex, like an apartment, but instead of just renting it, you actually own it like a house! You have a deed that says you own a specific part of the building, like one... (Read more)
"Conformity" means that things in a neighborhood or community look similar and fit well together. For example, if all the houses on a street have similar styles and colors,... (Read more)
Consideration is something of value that is exchanged between parties when making a contract or agreement. It can be money, property, or anything else that both parties agree has value. For example, if you buy a car from a dealership, the money... (Read more)
Constructive Notice
"Constructive notice" means that people are considered to have knowledge of something because it was made available to them in a public record, even if they didn't actually know about it themselves. For example, if someone wants to buy a house,... (Read more)
"Contemporary" refers to a modern style of building houses that is popular today. These houses often have a lot of windows, clean lines, and may use materials like glass, steel,... (Read more)
"Contingency" is a fancy word used in contracts to describe something that has to happen before the contract can be completed. Think of it like a condition that needs to be... (Read more)
A contract is like a promise between two or more people (potentially enforceable). When you're buying a house, you sign a contract with the seller that says you'll give them money and they'll give you the house. Both you and the seller have to... (Read more)
Contract for Deed
A Contract for Deed is an agreement between a buyer and a seller, where the buyer agrees to pay for the property over time instead of all... (Read more)
Contract Rent
"Contract rent" is the fancy term we use to describe the amount of money a tenant agrees to pay their landlord for a set period of time. It's kind of like making a deal with your friend to pay them $20 every week in exchange for using their... (Read more)
"Contribution" in real estate refers to the value that a particular feature or improvement adds to a property. This value can be either positive or negative, depending on the feature... (Read more)
Contribution Value
"Contribution value" refers to how much a specific item or improvement adds to the overall value of a property. For example, if you add a swimming pool to your backyard, that would increase the contribution value of your property because it... (Read more)
Conventional Loan
A "conventional loan" is money that you borrow from a bank or other lender to buy a house, but it's not backed up by the government. That means that you have to meet certain requirements, like having a good credit score and a steady income, to... (Read more)
Conversion is a term that can mean several different things in real estate. The first is when someone changes something from being real property (like a house or land) to personal property (like a car or TV), or vice versa. An example of this... (Read more)
"Conveyance" means transferring the ownership or title of something, like a piece of property, from one person to another. It's like passing the baton in a relay race, except instead of a baton, it's the legal rights to... (Read more)
Cooperative Estate
"Cooperative estate" is when people come together to share a building, like an apartment building, and own a share of the entire property together. Instead of owning just one unit or apartment, they all own a piece of the... (Read more)
Cost Approach
When appraising a property, an appraiser might use the "cost approach" to figure out how much it's worth. This means they'll try to figure out how much it would cost to build the property from scratch, and then take into account how much... (Read more)
Cost Recovery (see Depreciation)
"Cost recovery" is a fancy term for when something gets older and loses its value over time. For example, if you have a car and you use it every day for work, after a few years it will start to wear out and won't be worth as much as when you... (Read more)
A counteroffer is a response to an offer that changes some of the terms of the original offer. It's like a negotiation where both parties make different offers until they reach... (Read more)
"Covenant" is a fancy word that means a promise or agreement between two parties. In real estate, it often refers to promises that the owner of a property makes to a buyer or to the community where the property is located. For example, a... (Read more)
Credit (Closing Statement)
"Credit" on a closing statement is like money that is given to someone as a way of paying for some of the costs associated with buying a house. For example, if the seller agrees to pay for some of the buyer's closing costs, that amount will... (Read more)
Credit Evaluation
"Credit evaluation" is a process that a lender goes through to check if you're trustworthy enough to borrow money. They look at things like how much money you make, how much debt you have, and whether you've paid your bills... (Read more)
Credit Unions
"Credit unions" are a type of financial institution where people who have something in common, like living in the same area or working for the same company, pool their money together and use it to make loans and provide other financial services... (Read more)
"Curtesy" is an old legal term that basically means that if a man's wife died, he would have the right to inherit some of her property, even if she had a will that said something else. This is different from "dower," which was a similar right... (Read more)
To put it simply, a customer is someone who is interested in buying or selling a property but does not have a formal agreement with a real estate agent. The agent can provide some assistance to the customer, but they do not have the same level... (Read more)