Connected Realty Group

Real Estate Glossary

- Abstract of Title: A chronological overview of the recorded instruments and proceedings on the title of a property.

- Air Rights: The right to build above or add square footage to a structure. These rights are determined by city zoning regulations or public need and can be sold to adjoining structures for a negotiated price between land owners.

- Alcove: An L-shaped area off the main living space in an apartment. There are two types of alcoves, a sleeping alcove and a dining alcove. Sleeping alcoves are generally found in alcove studios, while dining alcoves are found in one or two-bedroom apartments and can be converted to an additional smaller bedroom.

- Appraisal: The process of determining the value of an apartment often against comparable apartments

- Assessment: An additional charge imposed by a co-operative or condominium upon the apartment principle to be used for the improvements or upgrades made to the building. Assessments are levied according to the number of shares/ percentage of the common charges/owned paid by an apartment owner.

- Assignment: The authorization to transfer a contract/ lease between party’s and/ or the process of assigning one’s primary lease to that of a second party until the end of the term.

- Attended Elevator: A manually operated elevator that requires an attendant on a full time basis.

- Balcony: A platform that projects from the wall of a building and is usually surrounded by a type of railing.

- Building Amenities: The features that increase the attractiveness or value of a building or property. Some common building amenities are laundry facilities, doormen, garages, valet services, high speed Internet, etc.

- Built: Refers to the actual exterior dimensions of a building on a lot.

- Capital Improvement: An improvement performed on an apartment or piece of property for the purpose of increasing its value. Capital improvements can range from new sinks in an apartment to the remodeling of a building elevator.

- Certificate of Occupancy (C of O): A certified document that outlines the legal uses permitted to a piece of property. In NYC specifically, each building must possess this certificate as it may allow a building owner to utilize the property in ways not allowed by its zoning regulations.

- Combined Apartment: When two separate but adjacent apartments are connected to create one larger unit.

- Commission: A fee or percentage allowed to a sales representative or an agent for services rendered.

- Common Area: A place within the building that is shared by all owners/ residents of the complex. Said area can be the lobby, a courtyard or common roof deck.

- Complimentary Listing: A rental or sale listing distributed amongst the brokerage community from a brokerage firm on behalf of the owner. With this type of listing, the broker of the prospective purchaser or renter may collect a fee.

- Concierge: A lobby-stationed staff member of an apartment complex who assists guests or residents as by handling the storage of packages, taking and delivering messages, announcing guests, etc.

- Condominium: Real estate, such as a unit in an apartment complex, that combines fee simple title to the unit and joint ownership in the common elements shared by other unit owners. The subletting and pet policies are more lenient than in cooperatives, however each principle is responsible for the monthly common charges and monthly Real Estate taxes. Some advantages of a condominium ownership are:

Financing is flexible. You can finance up to 90% in some cases.

The application process is quite simple. An interview is not required. The likelihood of rejection is minimal.

There is greater flexibility in sub-leasing the unit. This makes condos the number one choice for investment properties.

Monthly combined common charges and real estate taxes in a condominium are generally less than a cooperative’s monthly maintenance charges, resulting in higher purchase prices.

- Contact Person: This person is hired by the owner of a building for the purpose of showing the property and serving as a liaison between the prospective tenants and the landlord.

- Contract Out: In a sale or rental transaction, a buyer/renter and a seller/owner must agree on a price/rent before the deal can be finalized. When all parties involved are in verbal accordance, the Lease or sales contract must be drawn and executed by the renter/purchaser. At this point, the property at hand is referred to as having the “contract out”.

- Conversion (1): The change in usage of a building. Usually illustrated when an older commercial space is converted into a residential space for the purpose of having the property flourish to its fullest potential. Owners may perform this change during volatile residential market times or if they are offered a tax incentive from the city of its location. (2): The change of a rental building to a Co-operative type of ownership. This usually occurs when an individual or a company serves as a sponsor during the process of the change.

- Convertible: An apartment that has one technical size but the potential space to be expanded to a larger is size is considered convertible. A one or two bedroom apartment with an L-shaped dining area can be easily transformed by erecting a wall to separate the spaces, however the L-shaped area must contain a window in order to satisfy legal criteria of conversions.

- Co-Operative: An enterprise or organization that is owned or managed jointly by those who use its facilities or services. Those who purchase within a Coop are considered to be shareholders. While shareholders do not own the apartment, they do own a percentage of shares within the cooperative and are entitled to a long term “proprietary lease”

The percentage of ownership is generally proportionate to the size of the apartment. Shareholders contribute a monthly maintenance fee to cover the amenities of the building. Heat, hot water, insurance, staff salaries, etc. are some of the expenses covered by maintenance fees. Some advantages of coop ownership are:

All prospective purchasers are subject to an interview with the Board of Directors of said coop in which the Board determines whether he/she will be approved or denied.

The quality of life and security within the building are supported.

Portions of the monthly maintenance fees are tax deductible due to the building’s underlying mortgage interest. Shareholders can deduct their portion of the building’s real estate taxes.

Some of the disadvantages of coop ownership are:

A minimum down payment is required and set by the Board of Directors. The minimum is normally 20-25% in cash.

Subleasing the unit can be difficult. Each coop has their own house rules that should be carefully reviewed by the prospective purchasers.

- Courtyard: The interior outdoor space within a building complex.

- Courtyard View: This term is often used to describe an apartment that receives little sunlight and does not face the street.

- Dual Sink/ Vanity: Two separate sinks in the bathroom of an apartment, usually His and Hers.

- Duplex Apartment: An apartment having rooms on two adjoining floors connected by an inner staircase.

- Dual Sink/ Vanity: Two separate sinks in the bathroom of an apartment, usually His and Hers.

- Duplex Apartment: An apartment having rooms on two adjoining floors connected by an inner staircase.

- En Suite Bathroom: French term for ‘together’ used in real estate when referring to a bathroom that is adjoined with the bedroom. En suite bathrooms are common in master bedrooms.

- Escrow: Money placed into the custody of a third party for delivery to a grantee upon fulfillment of specified conditions.

- Exclusive Agency Listing: Same as an exclusive listing, however, in this type of arrangement the owner can sell/rent the property on his/her own without being obligated to pay the agent/firm a fee.

- EIK: An acronym used to describe an Eat In Kitchen facility.

- Facade: The face of a building that can consist of limestone, brownstone, cement, glass, granite or marble.

- Financing Allowed: Each cooperative building allows prospective purchasers to finance a portion of the purchase price of a unit. Very often the percentage to be financed is between 70% and 80% of the sale price and is determined by the Board of Directors. However, more established buildings have lower finance rates or none at all.

- Flip Tax/ Transfer Fee: A flip tax/transfer fee is a tax imposed by the cooperative on the sale of a unit within said building. This fee can be based on a percentage of the gross sale, net sale, gain, or the number of shares held by the shareholder or a fixed number determined by the Cooperative board. The flip tax can be paid by the purchaser, seller or shared by both parties. These fees are utilized by a building for the purpose of increasing its reserve fund.

- Floating Rate: A type of rate offered by lending institutions in which the lender offers an interest rate, which fluctuates with the prevailing rates offered to said lender.

- Foreclosure: The process in which a lending institution repossesses a property because the owner is in default on mortgage payments.

- Full Service Building: This term is used to describe a building that employs a full time doorman and concierge.

- High Ceilings: Ceilings that are nine feet or above in height. Most pre-war and many of the newly constructed condominiums are notorious for their high ceilings.

- Half-Bath: A bathroom without a bathtub or shower. A half-bath is also known as a powder room.

- Interest Rate: The fee incurred by lending institution to mortgage holders for the service of borrowing money. Rates can vary and are set by the Federal Reserve Board.

- In Contract: This term is used to illustrate the period of time in which the seller/owner and buyer/renter have agreed to the terms of a transaction and are in the process of signing contracts to close said deal.

- Keyed Elevator: when an apartment occupies then entire floor of a building, a keyed elevator normally accompanies it. This elevator leaves you in the foyer of the apartment. This type of elevator is normally seen in loft spaces or high-end units.

- Lease: A legal document, often prepared by an attorney, which outlines the responsibilities between the Landlord and Tenant.

- Lease Assignment: When a lessee/tenant must leave his/her apartment before the end of the lease term, but is still held responsible through the end of said term. The lessor/owner may allow the original tenant to reassign his/her lease to a new tenant.

- Listing(s): Refers to the sale or rental availabilities.

- Loft Space: Former commercial or industrial spaces converted into apartments. Most loft buildings are not serviced by a doorman.

- Lot: Each New York city parcel of land is divided into lots for purpose of identification.

- Maintenance: Monthly charges paid by an individual cooperative owner to the cooperative as their proportionate of expenses to the building. Maintenance consists of three components:

The daily costs of daily building operations, the shareholders proportionate share of the building’s underlying mortgage and local building real estate taxes.

- Managing Agent: Most cooperative and condominium buildings will hire an independent company to manage the property. These firms are responsible for managing the daily maintenance, rent rolls, collection of rents, monthly or maintenance charges and enforcing overall building policies.

- Maisonette: A ground floor apartment with a separate street entrance from the rest of the building. This type of apartment usually has a second entrance inside the building’s lobby, but still shares the same amenities as the rest of the building.

- Mortgage: When purchasing a property, a buyer will often obtain a loan from a lending institution to cover the larger percentage of the purchase price. The several main components of a mortgage are the interest rate (floating or fixed), the term of said mortgage and the amount that is being financed.

- Mortgage Points: Some lending institutions will add points to an already existing mortgage as a preliminary cost of doing business. I.e. if a lender offers a mortgage rate at 2 points, the borrower will be paying 2% of the total mortgage up front.

- Murphy Bed: A bed that is attached to a wall and can be pulled down when needed. These beds are great space savers for smaller apartments and are barely noticeable when closed.

- No Board Approval: This term is used to indicate that a prospective purchaser or renter is not subject to the scrutiny of a Board approval process when purchasing or renting a cooperative apartment.

- Open Kitchen: A kitchen that is open into the living space of a unit and is not separated by a door or partition.

- Original Room Count: Refers mostly to pre-war buildings that were originally built to accommodate one or two apartments per floor that encompassed 10-16 rooms each. Over time the original apartments have been reduced in size to create a greater amount of smaller apartments. On the other hand, original room count can also refer to an individual apartment that has been altered from its original design such as a 1 bedroom converted to a two bedroom.

- Offer Accepted: This term illustrates the point of a deal in which an owner accepts the business terms of an offer in relation to the purchase or rental of a unit. This can include the price, term or any contingencies the parties may agree upon.

- Open Listing: A listing that is distributed throughout a brokerage community by an owner or building management firm that is not being compensated for on a co-broke basis. This type of listing may allow a broker to collect a larger fee than if the property were being marketed by a brokerage firm.

- Open House: In order to market and promote a property, the listing broker or owner of a property may hold an open house in order to get a larger number of interests in the premises over a shorter period of time.

- Owner Pays (OP): As an incentive to a prospective tenant or brokerage firm, the owner of building complex or an individual apartment may offer to pay the brokerage commission on the rental of an apartment.

- On-site Broker or Contact Person: This refers to the person that is hired by the owner of a rental building that is physically facilitated at said premises for the purpose of showing vacancies, answering any questions and conducting the transactions essential to the rental of a unit.

- Parlor Floor: This refers to the second, and often grandest floor of a townhouse.

- Pet Policy: Each building has a standard pet policy. This can reflect a strict No Pet policy or some type of flexibility as to what pets are allowed within a building.

- Possession: This term to illustrate the actual occupancy of a unit by a new tenant or owner.

- Post War Building: Refers to buildings that were erected after World War II. Post-war building needs and modern building upgrades dramatically altered the composition of the middle and upper class apartment house. Apartment houses were plain with lower ceilings and the absence of a fireplace.

- Professional Space: Office space set aside in a residential complex for use to conduct businesses such as dental or medical practice.

- Pre-War: Refers to buildings built before the start of World War II. Some common elements of these structures include hardwood floors, moldings, high ceilings and fireplaces.

- Powder Room: A bathroom without a bathtub or shower. This is usually referred to as a half bath.

- Quadruplex: An apartment that is spread out over four levels.

- Recessed Lighting: Lighting that is located above the ceiling and does not have This type of lighting provides a very clean and contemporary look to an apartment.

- Rental Sublet: In the event that a tenant may need to leave his/her apartment for a short period of time, they may opt to assign their current Lease to another tenant. Most sublets are furnished and last anywhere from six months to a year.

- Reserve Fund: Each cooperative and condominium maintains a reserve fund for the purpose of paying monthly expenses used for the overall maintenance of the building.

- Service Level: Usually known as the lobby or level in which the front door service may be allocated.

- Shares: Shares represent the portion of the building that is owned by the individual shareholder. Shares are determined by the size of the unit, the floor on which it is located,

- Short Term: Many apartments are available on a short-term basis ranging from 1-6 months. Short-term rentals are typically furnished and offer the tenant a less expensive alternative to expensive hotel bills.

- Square Footage: Measurement used to determine the technical size of an apartment. Measurements are usually approximate unless they are that of a condominium unit. The measurements of condominium units are usually more accurate since the offer books, by law, have to reflect the actual size of said unit.

- Security Deposit: In the rental of an apartment, it is standard procedure for the owner to collect a deposit (usually in the amount of one month’s rent) from the tenant. This deposit is kept in escrow and used as security for the owner against any potential damages the tenant may cause throughout the lease term.

- Shortfall: This term is used to illustrate a situation in which the owner is unable to meet the operating expenses of a building. This is usually caused by a lack of sufficient building income.

- Tax Deductibility: Each cooperative has an annual number that reflects the amount that each individual shareholder will be allowed to deduct off of his/her individual income tax. The number also reflects the shareholders proportionate share of the buildings underlying mortgage and the real estate taxes imposed for that year.

- Term: The duration of time by which an apartment is leased to a tenant.


All information furnished is from sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or representation is made to the accuracy thereof and is submitted subject to errors, omissions, changes of price or other conditions, prior sales, or withdrawal without notice.
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