- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Washington region is no stranger to acronyms. It might be the international capital of acronyms, considering how frequently they are used in the federal government, military, medical and high-tech communities around here.

Those who are new to the area also have to contend with real estate acronyms and lingo, which present their own challenges.

Perhaps you are already up with terminology such as WU/ATT (walk-up attic), CMPT (trash compactor) and WI/CLST (walk-in closet).

But how about zero lot line, Regulation Z and “sailboat water”?

“Sailboat water is one we use a lot in our area, but many Realtors aren’t familiar with it,” says Pat Savani, regional manager for Champion Realty in Annapolis. “It means the water is deep enough for a sailboat. Another one we see is ‘right side of the bridge.’”

No, there isn’t a “left side” of the bridge on the other side. Apparently, the “right side” is the one that allows you to sail to the Chesapeake Bay without having to go under the bridge.

“Another one I love is COHOC,” Mrs. Savani says. “It means that the sale would be contingent on the seller finding the home of their choice. As an agent, I know right away what that means, but it isn’t immediately obvious to many home buyers.”

While the language of buying and selling homes is foreign to many who haven’t done it before, the lingo of financing a home purchase adds complications.

“The terminology of finance changes all the time,” says Mrs. Savani. “We weren’t even talking about ‘rate buydowns’ a few years ago, but now it’s all about ‘3-2-1’ or ‘2-1’ buy-downs.”

On top of the challenges presented by the lingo of real estate and home finance, the Washington area is an increasingly international area. Many buyers and sellers are still getting used to English, which can make the language of real estate even more puzzling.

“We have buyers who speak Korean, Vietnamese, Farsi and so on,” Mrs. Savani says. “Now, I do have agents who are fluent in all these languages, but to translate the nuances of real estate and finance is an added challenge. MRIS [Metropolitan Regional Information Services] is working toward providing language options in the system … but you really have to understand the nuances of a language to translate legal terminology accurately.”

For a comprehensive glossary, consult the Glossary of Real Estate Terms in this section.

Following is a list of common Real Estate acronyms:

MLS Listing Abbreviations


AC acre

ALLTM aluminum siding

ANTQ antique house

ATT attached garage

CLPD clapboard

COL Colonial

CONT contemporary

CRPT carport

DET detached garage

DK deck(s)

FEN fenced yard

GZBO gazebo

IGPL in-ground pool

MED Mediterranean

RNCH ranch

RR raised ranch

SCPD landscaped

SHNGL shingle

SPLT split level

STY style of house


APPL appliances

CAC central air

CK/TP cooktop

CMPT compactor

C/VAC central vacuum

DRY dryer

DSP disposal

D/W dishwasher

ELEC electric

FRZ freezer

HT/PMP heat pump

HT/WTR water heater

ICE icemaker

MICRO microwave

RAD/HT radiant heat

REF refrigerator

RNG range

SEC/SYS security system

SWR sewer or septic

WAR warranty

WASH washer

WHLPL whirlpool tub

W/OVN wall oven(s)

WTR water (city or well)


4/3/2 4-bedrooms, 3-baths, 2-car garage

BA bathroom

1/2B or (HB) half bath (toilet and sink)

3/4B three-quarter bath (shower, toilet, sink)

FB full bath (bathtub, toilet, sink)

BAL balcony

BLT built-ins

BRK brick

BR bedrooms (with #)

BSMT basement

CER ceramic tile

CLST closet

DR dining room

FIN finished (attic, basement)

FLR floors

FML formal (often DR)

FOY foyer

FPL fireplace

FR family room

GTRM great room

HDWD hardwood floors

HMOD handicap modifications

KIT kitchen

LAW in-law apartment

LDY/UT laundry/utility room

LIB library

LR living room

MBR master bedroom

MBRB master bedroom bath

OFF in-home office

PNLD paneled

PT/FIN partially finished

REC/PL recreation/playroom

RM room

SKYLT skylight(s)

SP/ENT separate entrance

TWNHS town house

UNFIN unfinished (attic, basement)

VLT/CL vaulted ceiling(s)

WI/CLST walk-in closet

WU/ATT walk-up attic

WBF wood-burning fireplace

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