Mastering Manhattan Glossary

Glossary | Broker | Investor | Legal | Mortgage | Owner | Renter


An abstract of title is a title-insurance-search report of a property’s history and current status.

An accepted offer is a meeting of the minds, and is the first step in the process of purchasing a property.

To achieve is the amount a property can command.

Add’l is the abbreviation for additional.

An adjustable-rate mortgage, abbreviated as A.R.M., is an instrument in which the interest charged is tied to a specific index on a specified adjustment date.

Agency is the fiduciary responsibility a broker assumes once appointed by an owner.

Air rights are the under-utilized density allowable by zoning code.

An alcove is a small, L-shaped area without a window off the main living space of a studio apartment, in which to dine, dress, or sleep.

Amenities are services offered to owners or tenants above and beyond heat, hot water, and portage, or garbage removal.

Amortization occurs when a mortgage payment applies to interest, and the remainder to borrowed principal, until zero is achieved.

An apartment house is a multi-family, residential-only building; an apartment, abbreviated as apt, is one unit.

App. is an application to rent; the term is not applied to an application to purchase.

An application to purchase is a collection of forms and supporting documents, or the board package, submitted to a co-operative or condominium management company, for a proposed transfer, to be approved by a board of directors.

An appraisal is a property’s evaluation for the purpose of securing a mortgage.

Appreciation is a property’s increase in value.

Appurtenance is the collective rights and privileges that move with ownership, specifically the propriety lease in a Manhattan co-operative-ownership apartment house.

Appx is the abbreviation for approximate, wherein the amount stated should be verified independently.

An areaway is a street-facing exterior space at a row-house entrance.

As is” in a real-estate contract to purchase maintains that the property is sold without warranty, any guarantee as to its condition­­­­—what you see is what you get.

Asbestos was a commonly used insulation fiber now known to cause lung diseases; it is removed with great care and cost.

An asking price is the amount an owner will accept for a property.

An assessment is a charge to owners for capital improvements, including major repairs, roof or brickwork, and the updating of public spaces.

An asset/liability statement is a list of investments and debts: assets minus liabilities equals an individual’s net worth.

Assets are investments or items of value; a liquid asset is one that can be readily converted to cash.

Assigning is the subletting of rights to another party, and is prohibited by the standard Manhattan residential lease.

An assumable mortgage is an instrument that may be transferred to a new qualified owner.

An attended or manned elevator is operated manually by house staffs, and is considered to be a high-security amenity.

Avail is the abbreviation for available, and is modified by a move-in date.

Ave is the abbreviation for north-to-south Manhattan thoroughfares, such as Madison or West End Avenues.

An awning is a semi-permanent, traditionally dark-green canvas at a building’s entrance, offering residents and visitors protection against the elements to and from the curb.

An Aztec recognition agreement acknowledges that a lender in a co-operativeownership apartment house has an interest, and permits recourse if a borrower defaults.



BA(s) is the abbreviation for bathroom or bathrooms.

A balcony, abbreviated as balc, is a projection from a façade with access only from a single apartment.

A balloon mortgage is an instrument comprising monthly payments, retired with one lump-sum payment.

A bay window is a protrusion from a façade, most often rounded.

Beaux-Arts or Imperial Roman style architecture prominently displays details such as balustrades, pilasters, garlands, and cartouches; it heavily influenced Manhattan luxury apartment houses between 1890 and 1910.

Best and final indicates that a buyer will not again raise the offer.

A bidding war takes place when two or more buyers make offers on the same property.

A bill of sale is a document or instrument that transfers title of a property.

Bldg is the abbreviation for building.

Blk is the abbreviation for block.

Blockbusting is the persuading of an owner to sell or rent, because persons of a certain race, religion, gender, or national original may be moving into a neighborhood.

A board of directors is an elected, decision-making council governing the operation of a co-ownership apartment house.

Board of directors’ approval is the process, and positive result, wherein a co-operative apartment house requires a buyer to submit an application to purchase.

A board of directors’ interview is a formal meeting between a prospective buyer and a delegation of co-owners; one owner, a committee, or an entire board of directors.

Board-passable describes a qualified bidder, or one whose application to a board of directors will be approved.

Boilerplate is a standard word, phrase, or uniform clause found in legal documents.

BR(s) is the abbreviation for bedroom or bedrooms.

A breach of contract is a failure to perform.

Brite is the preferred advertising spelling for bright.

Brkfst is the abbreviation for breakfast room.

A broker is anyone acting as an agent in bringing two parties together in order for a real-estate transaction to take place, thereby receiving a commission or fee—but only if and when such a transaction actuates.

Brokerage is the act or continuous actions that bring a buyer and seller to a meeting of the minds, especially through assistance in negotiating the terms in order to convey real property; also, the commission derived from brokerage activity.

A brokerage firm is a group of real-estate salespersons or associate real-estate brokers.

Broom-swept condition indicates that an apartment is conveyed to its new owner empty and clean.

Brownstone, abbreviated as brnstn, is a dark-stone building block used in Manhattan row-house construction in the late 19th century.

Builders assemble city lots in order to erect rental apartment houses that they will self-manage.

A built-in, abbreviated as blt-in, is furniture-like—not freestanding—carpentry.

A buyer’s agent is a real-estate salesperson or broker responsible for protecting a buyer’s best interest; a buyer-brokerage agreement is the written or implied undertaking to protect a buyer.

Buyer’s remorse is the reluctance—or second thoughts—to move forward after an offer has been accepted by an owner.



CAC is the abbreviation for central air-conditioning.

CCapital gain is realized profit.

A capital improvement increases a property’s value, and includes an assessment for renovations or replacement cost of mechanical equipment; it is deductible from the capital gain for tax purposes; both building assessment and renovation costs are capital improvements.

A casement window is one with a vertical sash hinged at its sides.

The Cast Iron Buildings in the SoHo Historic District are landmarks constructed in the mid–19th century as factories or warehouses.

A caveat is a detraction regarding a property that might affect fair market value; caveat emptor—let the buyer beware—is a cautionary warning.

Ceil(s) is the abbreviation for ceiling or ceilings.

A ceiling height of more than nine feet is an important, and not often compromised, preference among many apartment-house dwellers.

Central Park, abbreviated as CP, is one of a handful of, and by far the most important among, Manhattan real-estate cornerstones; the surrounding apartment houses qualify as an “A” location—synonymous with “extremely desirable.”

A certificate of occupancy, or c of o, documents a structure’s having passed inspection and met New York City Building Department standards.

The City and In-town refer to Manhattan. 

City Desk is the Re:Real Estate department in which our editorial point of view is conveyed.

A claim is a right to assert as due.

clear title is one that is legal and lien-free.

client is the principal, or owner, in a real-estate transaction.

Clipping Service is the Re:Real Estate sub-department which serves as a selective clearinghouse of off-site real-estate electronic media.

Closet(s) is any area designated as storage within an apartment, whether for clothing or a broom; it is used colloquially to connote a very small room or studio apartment.

closing takes place when a deed, or a co-operatively-owned apartment house’s shares and proprietary lease, is transferred and monetary settlements are conducted.

Closing costs are monetary amounts paid by either a buyer or seller during a settlement process.

The closing statement accounts for each receivable and disbursement payment made at the time of transfer.

A cloud on the title refers to any form of uncertainty, by claim or condition, which could affect a transaction.

A co-broke is an agreement by a brokerage firm representing a seller or landlord to pay 50 percent of the commission due at closing or lease-signing to a brokerage firm bringing a buyer or renter to a property; a co-exclusive involves two brokerage firms.

A co-exclusive right to sell or to rent is an agreement allowing two brokerage firms to represent the same property.

Collateral is property or securities pledged to protect the interests of the lender.

Collect your own fee takes place when a landlord pays only its broker’s commission; the corresponding, or co-broker, is paid their entire commission by the renter.

A combined apartment is two or more confluent units joined as one.

A commission is the fee, as the percentage of a purchase price, received by a firm, for their services in the reaching of a meeting of the minds.

Common areas are those paid for and used by all of the owners within or surrounding an apartment house.

Common charges, abbreviated as c. c., comprise the apportioned costs of operating a condominium apartment house.

A comparative market analysis, abbreviated as comps, evaluates recent similar property sales compared with current competition in the marketplace, to determine a property’s current market value.

A concierge acts as a clerk, accepting parcels and offering security protection by monitoring visitors, unlike a doorman.

A condition to a sales contract is a stipulation restricting, limiting, or modifying a point; the condition, abbreviated as cond., of a property ranges from triple-mint— perfect in all ways—to estate—a wreck in every way—while the commonly used designations in between are more subjective: excellent, good, fair, and poor.

A condominium ownership indicates that each unit’s title is privately held, and that the apartment house’s common areas are co-owned.

A condop combines co-operative-share ownership with a condominium management style, including allowance for subletting and no board of directors’ approval being necessary in order to transfer shares.

Contemp is the abbreviation for contemporary.

A contingency refers to any and all conditions to be met before a contract to purchase is deemed binding; mortgage approval is a prime example.

A contract is a written agreement between two or more parties to perform.

Contract out designates that a buyer and seller have agreed to the purchase price and terms for a property; contract signed refers to a fully executed contract.

A contract rent is, archaically, the agreed-upon amount paid to a landlord by a renter.

A contract to purchase is an agreement, which including terms and conditions, between competent parties to buy and sell real property.

Conventional mortgage refers to a home loan meeting government criteria.

Conversion connotes usage change, which requires interdepartmental approval, not limited to the Attorney General’s Office and the New York City Building Department.

Conveyance occurs when real property is transferred; also, the document or instrument effecting the transfer.

A co-operative apartment house is a privately held corporation in which stockholders occupy their units according to the terms of a proprietary lease.

Co-operative ownership entails ownership of shares in a corporation controlling a multiple-dwelling residence, as well as occupancy according to a proprietary lease.

Co-ownership takes place when one property is held by two or more individuals, in accordance with a separate document, however proportionally.

Co-ownershipapartment-house types are co-operative, condominium, and condop.

The corresponding broker, among brokers, represents the other party.

The cost-approach method is used to estimate property value if comparables for a comparative market analysis are not available.

A counteroffer, or counter, is a buyer’s revised offer in response to a seller’s asking-price reduction.

A courtyard is an exterior space, away from the street, reserved for service.

A covenant is a written promise.

A credit report reflects an individual’s credit history, and is used by co-ownership management companies and landlords in verifying an applicant’s creditworthiness.

Cul-de-sacs, or dead-end streets, allow egress without backing out; they are extremely rare in Manhattan.



A deal memo, generated by a seller or their representative, is provided to the seller’s attorney, the buyer’s attorney, and the buyer’s representative, and contains information identical to an agreement to purchase.

Dec fpl is the abbreviation for decorative fireplace.

A deductible expense is an investment property’s operating expenses that when subtracted from rental income equals net income.

A deed is the written instrument that transfers title for real property.

To default is to fail to perform an obligation.

A deposit, also known as goodwill or earnest money, is funds held in a seller’s attorney’s escrow account, which demonstrates serious intent to purchase.

Depreciation is a loss in value.

Developers are builders who erect residential buildings with apartments to be sold.

A dining area, abbreviated as da, is a windowless, open area off of a living room; whereas a dining foyer, or gallery, refers to dual use of an entryway; a dining room, abbreviated as dr, has a window, but is distinguished from a larger formal dining room, which is abbreviated as fdr.

Direct is dual agency.

The disclosure and informed consent is a written statement by a buyer and seller consenting to a dual-agency relationship.

A disclosure statement is a required accounting of all financial aspects of a mortgage.

Discount points refers to any additional percentage of the loan amount for which a lender asks.

Discriminatory advertising, or any profiling of a buyer or renter, is strictly prohibited.

A doorman, abbreviated as dm., is a Manhattan fixture at full-service-apartment- house entrances, dressed in livery, and responsible for assisting occupants and their guests to and from the curb, in hailing a taxi, and in opening the front door.

Double is abbreviated as dbl.

A double-hung window moves both up and down on two vertical tracks.

A down payment is the cash portion of the purchase price; the remainder is the amount financed, determined by both the lender and the house rules and policies.

Dr(s) is the abbreviation for door or doors.

A dual agency is a salesperson or broker representing both the buyer and seller in the same transaction.

A dual sink, or vanity, refers to a pair of separate bathroom sinks.

Due diligence is the investigation of potential legal liabilities, hidden caveats, and an apartment house’s overall financial health by a buyer’s attorney, by reviewing the recent meeting minutes, the original offering plan and prospectus, amendments, house rules and policies, and financial statements for the previous two years.

A duplex apartment, abbreviated as dplx., is one that comprises two levels.

Duty of disclosure requires the revealing of all information affecting an agency relationship between a seller and their broker.

DW is the abbreviation for dishwasher.

Dwelling is a dated expression for shelter.



An eat-in kitchen, abbreviated as E.I.K., is large enough to accommodate a breakfast table; a windowed E.I.K is abbreviated as W.E.I.K.

Economic life is the span during which an investment property is financially beneficial.

EEA is the abbreviation for East End Avenue.

Effective interest rate is the actual interest paid.

Elec. is the abbreviation for electric.

Elev. is the abbreviation for elevator.

Elevmn is the abbreviation for a staff-operated elevator.

An en suite bedroom contains a bathroom accessible only within it.

An encumbrance is any binding liability, whether an unpaid claim, lien, or attachment.

Equity is a property’s market value less liabilities—closing costs, the mortgage satisfaction total, and taxes.

Escrow is a buyer’s funds held by a seller’s attorney, and applied to the purchase price at closing.

Eviction is the lawful expulsion of an occupant or occupants.

Excel is the abbreviation for excellent.

Excl, as an abbreviation, refers to the exclusive right to sell or to rent a listing.

An exclusive agency agreement permits an owner to find an interested party on their own, with no obligation to pay a brokerage commission.

An exclusive right to sell or to rent is a binding contract between a landlord or owner and one salesperson or broker, giving the latter party the right to represent a property and to solicit the co-operation of other brokerage firms; referred to as an exclusive.

An executed contract has been signed by both buyer and seller; the act of signing is execution.

Expo is the abbreviation for exposure, and is followed by N., S., E., or W.



Fab is the abbreviation for fabulous.

A façade is a structure’s exterior walls.

The fair market value is an agreed-upon purchase price under free-market conditions: reasonable competition among buyers; limited pressure on the seller.

Fam is the abbreviation for family.

Fee-simple ownership is the enjoyment of full rights to real property.

A fiduciary assumes the responsibility of trust for the benefit of another individual, which is then referred to as their fiduciary responsibility.

The finance charges to a borrower include an origination fee, a service charge, discount points, a credit report fee, the often forgotten finder’s fee (to the mortgage broker), New York City mortgage tax, and, of course, interest.

A financial statement concisely accounts for an individual’s or a corporation’s financial activities.

Financing allowed, abbreviated as fin., is a co-operative apartment house’s, arbitrary, but binding purchase-price percentage that may be mortgaged.

Firm indicates that a seller will not compromise further on the asking price.

Fixed expenses are deducted from gross rental income, including real-estate taxes, building fees, and insurance, to determine gross profit from an investment property.

A fixed-rate mortgage’s interest rate remains constant.

A fixture is personal property that cannot be separated from real property, because it is semi-permanently attached and can only be removed when specifically excluded in the contract to purchase.

Fl is the abbreviation for floor number, as in hi-fl.

Fl-thru is the abbreviation for a row house’s entire floor.

A flip tax is exacted on each transfer, and is held in a reserve fund for capital improvements.

Floor area ratio, abbreviated as f.a.r., is the zoning regulation controlling a building’s size—its bulk and height—according to lot size and location; every zoning district restricts allowable floor area.

A foreclosure proceeding seeks to enforce a past-due mortgage or lien payment.

A formal dining room, abbreviated as fdr, is a commodious space designed for entertaining.

A foyer is an apartment entrance.

Fpl is the abbreviation for fireplace.

Fraud refers to an intentional misstatement of material fact.

A French door has glass planes.

A French window, described as “casement style,” opens into a room.

A full-service building, abbreviated as F/S, is one that employs a full-time doorman, live-in superintendent, and a daytime porter to maintain and clean and to remove garbage.

Fully amortizing mortgages are ones that are paid down at full term.



Gal is the abbreviation for gallery, a large entrance foyer or raised dining area.

Gar is the abbreviation for indoor parking.

Garden, abbreviated as grdn, connotes one intended for the enjoyment of an apartment house’s collective occupants; a private garden (pvt grdn) is a garden for the use of one apartment’s occupants exclusively; garden view (grdn vu) describes the exposure of a first- to third-floor unit, not street-facing, with denied access to the outdoor space beyond it.

A general agent manages an owner’s property.

Grace period is the span of 30 days following the receipt of written board of directors’ approval, in which time the seller’s attorney schedules to close at the convenience of the principals, their lenders, and the apartment house’s management company.

A gratuity to the staff of a full-service building, in the form of an annual Christmas gift, is expected of owners and occupants, in addition to tips for prompt service requested and provided throughout the year.

The grid system is Manhattan’s wonderful, practical, and very un-unique, urban-planned layout of streets and avenues.

A ground lease, or, in Manhattan terminology, land lease, is a long-term agreement as to the use of land.

Grt is the abbreviation for great.

A guarantor is a relative who assumes responsibility for maintenance, rent, or mortgage payments.

GV is the abbreviation for Greenwich Village.



Half-baths comprise only a toilet and sink.

A handyman is a staff member assigned to perform various small jobs throughout a luxury apartment house.

A health club, abbreviated as HC, is an exercise facility within a residential apartment house.

Hght is the abbreviation for height.

Hi, the abbreviation for high, often used as a prefix with floor and ceiling.

A high ceiling is defined as one more than nine feet high.

A historic district is a designated landmark section within an established neighborhood.

Holding hands describes a broker’s careful oversight of a buyer or seller, once an offer is accepted.

The Home Buyer’s Guide is a booklet citing government regulations concerning the financial aspects of a mortgage settlement.

A home equity conversion mortgage, referred to as a reverse mortgage, allows an owner to convert equity into cash by receiving monthly payments against a property’s value.

A home equity loan or line of credit or second mortgage, against the equity of a property, requires board of directors’ approval in a co-operatively-owned apartment house.

A home/office is a windowless space large enough for a desk and chair.

Homeowner’s insurance is combined personal-liability and hazard protection, which covers damage to an owner’s apartment and its contents caused by another owner, as in the case of a water leak or fire, or which augments a general-ownership insurance policy.

House rules and policies are regulations pertaining to residing in a multiple-dwelling structure.

Hse is the abbreviation for house.



To identify a property is to have narrowed a dwelling quest and now be targeting a specific property.

An illiquid asset is not readily convertible into cash, such as art, jewelry, and furs; stock investments, bond holdings, money-market funds, and certificates of deposit are liquid assets.

An improvement is a physical change that increases property value.

In contract means that a property has a binding, fully executed agreement in place.

Incl is the abbreviation for included and is used exclusively when gas and electricity charges, other utilities, or specified amenities are a part of the monthly charges.

An income property produces cash flow generated by the collecting of rent.

The inflation rate is the increased amount of money necessary to purchase same goods and equal services.

Informed consent is the accepting of a broker’s services in exchange for a fee by a renter or seller.

An instrument is a legal document.

An insured mortgage includes a private-mortgage insurance (P.M.I.) clause guaranteeing monthly payments.

An interest in real property is the ownership of it.

An interest-only mortgage does not pay down, or amortize, the principal, which is paid entirely at the end of its term.

Interest rate is the percentage charged for the use of money.

Interim financing is a temporary bridge, or short-term swing loan, using equity in owned property, before a standard mortgage is in place, or before a present home is on the market for sale.

An investment property’s value is based on both short-term rental income and long-term value appreciation; a condop and condominium’s recent rental and sales history are both considerations.

An investment-worthy property pays a short-term return from current rental income while appreciating in value, known as “upside potential.”

What is irrevocable cannot be canceled; what is invalid is not enforceable.

Isolating a property connotes sufficient interest to make an offer.



Jac is the abbreviation for Jacuzzi.

Joint tenancy is ownership between two people that includes the right of survivorship, or sole ownership by the survivor, whereas severalty connotes a title in a single name.

A judgment is a court decision requiring payment of a debt; placing a judgment, or claim, against real property is making a property collateral—security that the debt will be paid.

A jumbo loan exceeds a regulated limit and carries a higher interest rate.



K is the symbol for 1,000.

A keyed elevator is used in non-doorman loft buildings for access to unshared floors.

A kickback is an unauthorized, likely illegal fee in exchange for providing a service.

Kit is the abbreviation for kitchen.



A land-lease apartment house was built based upon rights by lease rather than title to land.

A landlord is the owner of a rental property.

Landmark designation connotes a significant building.

A lease is the document outlining the rights and responsibilities between a landlord and a tenant.

Lender refers to the original lending institution.

A lessee is a tenant; a lessor is a landlord.

Let connotes permission to be rented or leased.

To leverage an investment property is to purchase it with borrowed funds.

Liabilities are financial obligations.

A library, abbreviated as lib, is a reception room smaller than a living room or parlor, often used as an additional bedroom.

A lien is a claim against a property.

A lis pendens, or pending lawsuit, involving real property is recorded as a notice of lis pendens, or a general warning that a property title is the subject of legal action.

A listing is a property on the market for sale or available for rent.

Lite is the abbreviation for light.

Living room, abbreviated as LR, is the contemporary term for the area used as a gathering place for family and friends, previously referred to as the front parlor or sitting room.

Lndry is the abbreviation for laundry facility.

Lo is the abbreviation for low.

A loan is borrowed money.

A loan commitment is a lending institution’s obligation to grant a principal amount.

The loan origination fee is the finance charge, above and beyond interest, imposed by a lender; loan service is the payments to a lender for the use of its capital.

A loan pre-approval letter is a lender’s opinion—not a pledge—that the loanseeker is creditworthy up to the amount stated; a time period and an interest rate are not stated.

A loan-to-value ratio places a percentage of the current sales price as compared to the loan amount.

Location is the underlying real-estate principle that, to a great extent, a property’s value is determined by where it is situated.

A lock-in rate is a guaranteed interest rate available to a borrower on a specified instrument and for a stated period of time.

A loft is a living space—generally built-out in former commercial or light-manufacturing industrial structures with ceilings more than 17 feet, or approximately five meters, high—converted from one large, adaptable, open area into a multiple-room residence.

A lot is a land parcel on which a building sits.

Lot-line windows are on two structures’ common wall; they are constructed with fire-retardant frames and glass; chicken wire prevents breakage in the event of a fire.

Lrg is the abbreviation for large.

Lux is the abbreviation for luxury.



M is the abbreviation for million; MM is the abbreviation for multiple millions.

Maintenance, abbreviated as mt, is the per-share monthly charge for the operatation of a co-operative-ownership apartment house.

Maisonettes, or small houses, are ground-floor apartments with separate entrances, enjoying the amenities of apartment-house living with the privacy afforded by row houses.

A managing agent is an apartment-house property overseer, independent of the board of directors and usually representing a management company or firm, contracted with the expressed duty of collecting fees, enforcing policies, organizing daily operations, and providing long-term maintenance.

A mansard is a double-sloped roof, wherein a steeper, lower portion contains dormer windows and the upper slope is flat.

Margin is the difference between income and expense for an investment property, or the stable, or constant, difference between an adjustable-rate-mortgage index and an interest rate.

Market price, or market value, is the amount offered by a willing buyer and agreed to by a seller, provided that both are performing under normal conditions and in reasonably good mental health.

Marketing is a brokerage firm’s promoting its exclusive listings.

A maid’s room, abbreviated as mds rm, is a small bedroom accessed through a kitchen or pantry.

Mkt is the abbreviation for market.

Mrbl is the abbreviation for marble.

A master bedroom, abbreviated as MBR, is the larger sleeping space, commonly hosting the head of the household, among two or more bedrooms.

An agreeable meeting of the minds is the object of all real-estate negotiations.

A misrepresentation is a false oral representation or written statement, or an intentional omission of fact.

Moldings are decorative, multi-contoured bands which trim walls, doorways, and entrances.

A mortgage broker arranges a loan between a lending institution and a purchaser.

A mortgage instrument is the document granting a set mortgage-principal amount wherein a real-estate property title serves as collateral, ensuring that the mortgagor (obligor) will fulfill the obligations and satisfy (make full repayment) the mortgagee (obligee), according to prescribed terms and conditions.

Mortgage points comprise a one-time charge—calculated as a percentage of the principal amount and paid up front—to cover the lender’s business costs; the origination fee is an additional service fee over and beyond costs.

A mortgage-qualifying ration is a calculation of a buyer’s creditworthiness, using housing cost as a percentage of income, including monthly debt, such as average credit balances, loans, and revolving credit balances.

A mortgage satisfaction document is generated by a lender immediately following final payment.

Mortgage tax is levied by New York City at every conveyance of real property purchased with a loan.

A multiple dwelling is a structure shared by three or more residents.

A multiple-listing service, abbreviated as mls, is sponsored by a real-estate organization and allows property listings to be shared among brokers.

Mutual assent means that parties to a contract have come to an agreement: an offer has been made and accepted.



N is the abbreviation for north.

A negative amortization, or payment cap, is a minimum payment that does not meet a revised or fluctuating interest rate, which causes a deferred shortfall and is added to the principal balance yet paid down.

Neighborhood is a Manhattan area designation with a harmonious character.

Net income equals gross income less expenses.

A net listing allows a broker to illegally share proceeds of a sale above a specified amount in lieu of a commission.

Net profit is a financial gain after all liabilities and taxes are paid.

Net worth equals assets less liabilities.

No board of directors’ approval indicates that a sponsor converting from rental to co-ownership—not an individual owner—is selling a unit previously occupied by a renter.

A no-points loan includes a lender’s costs with principal to be repaid.

A note is the portion of a mortgage instrument that calls for the borrower to repay the loan, and includes the time period and interest rate.

A novation contract is one substituted for a prior contract.

Null and void indicates that a contract is invalid.



Occupancy is the right to possess a property; an occupant is the person(s) residing.

Of Human Interest is the Re:Real Estate’s department which highlights the benefits of living in Manhattan.

An offer, or promise, to another party—the offeree—is conditional upon acceptance and a promise in return (to the offeror).

Offer and acceptance indicates that two parties are ready, willing, and able to enter into a contract, and the price, closing date, and conditions have been agreed upon.

An offering plan and prospectus, along with subsequent amendments and a proprietary lease, are the legal documents regarding co-ownership submitted to the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

On-site brokers represent a builder or management company at a particular building.

An open house is a practical promotional tool that allows multiple interested purchasers the opportunity to inspect a property at a single time.

An open kitchen is not separated from a main-living space by a door, and was initially common in lofts converted into residences.

An open listing is a property for sale or rent without broker representation, and without written commitment from the owner—whether an individual, developer, or management company—to pay the broker’s commission for procuring the buyer or renter.

An opening offer is an initial bid.

Oppty is the abbreviation for opportunity.

An option to renew is a clause within a lease that establishes terms for renewal.

An oriel is a bay window projecting beyond a building’s façade, often used in the second and third floors of row houses.

Original details intact connotes that a pre-war apartment’s ornamental detailing—moldings, hardwood floors, and wood-burning fireplace—has not been removed.

Original room count indicates that a pre-war apartment has been reconfigured, and one or more smaller rooms have been combined; the adjustment applies to the number of rooms—not the living space.

The origination fee is the lender’s charge to grant a loan.

Origination principal balance defines the mortgage amount before the initial payment.

O’sized is the abbreviation for oversized.

Owner pays, abbreviated as OP, is an inducement from an owner, management company, or developer to a tenant, offering to pay a portion or all of the commission due a broker.

Ownership is the right to possess and control, or to dispose of, a property at will.



Paperwork refers to a body of financial records and statements to be submitted, reports and documents reviewed during the due-diligence phase, and applications necessary to purchase a co-owned property.

The parlor floor of a row house is the second and grandest level.

A pass-through kitchen includes an entrance to the dining area for ease in serving.

A payment-change date occurs during the month immediately following that of a notice of an adjusted interest rate.

A penthouse, abbreviated as PH, sits on an apartment house’s roof, and is set back, often with a wraparound terrace; it has become synonymous with luxury.

A periodic cap is a limit to an increase and/or decrease in the periodic rate charged during a given period, regardless of whether the index used to calculate the mortgage-rate fluctuation becomes adjusted.

Personal property is any item other than a real-estate property, referred to as real property.

Pets allowed denotes a regulation among the house rules and policies, regarding dogs, cats, and birds as house pets.

A pied-à-terre is a dwelling that is not the owner or renter’s primary residence.

The Plat Book is a compilation of property maps, or plats, on public recorded.

A playroom, abbreviated as plyrm, is a communal area for co-owners’ or tenants’ children and their friends.

Pointing is the mortar fill between stone masonry and bricks; re-pointing is the repairing of its gradual damage due to natural causes.

A daytime porter is responsible for keeping full-service buildings clean and removing garbage; a full-staffed building includes a daytime handyman as well; a B-building staff overlaps these chores, even with the superintendent assuming some menial tasks.

Positive misrepresentation is the act of making a false statement.

Possession is the occupancy of a property, with the legal right to do so; in broker’s parlance, it refers to the time a purchaser or tenant may occupy a property.

Post-war connotes apartment houses built between the late 1940s, when grand-scale housing construction began, and the early1970s when nonstop residential-housing construction stopped altogether; the slowdown resulted in the end of the 21-floor-luxury-apartment-house era, and in the rise to prominence of the 40-floor residential tower.

A powder room, abbreviated as pdwr rm, comprises a toilet and sink, and is near the entry, or foyer, for use by guests.

Power of attorney, abbreviated as P.O.A., is the appointment of a third party to act in lieu of an individual.

Pre-approval occurs when, under current circumstance, an underwriter has completed an individual’s review and would agree to lend up to a stated principal amount with specific real property as the collateral.

Prepayment is the paying down of the principal balance prior to its due date, when the loan reaches full amortization.

A prepayment clause cites the prepayment penalty, or surcharge, for paying down a mortgage before it has reached full term.

Prequalification is a written opinion regarding a purchaser’s creditworthiness after the consideration of a credit report score, debt and income flow, and liabilities and assets, readily available as cash, as well as those illiquid.

Pre-war, abbreviated as PW, connotes an apartment house erected before hostilities broke out in Europe during the mid-1930s; furthermore, the pre-war designation includes a subset, from a prior luxury-apartment-house boom between 1903 and 1917, also when hostilities broke out in Europe.

Price is the amount a seller agrees to accept for solicited property.

One’s primary residence is the one in which taxes and voter registration are filed.

Prime rate refers to the most favorable interest rate a lender is able to offer.

A principal is either an individual appointing a representative, or an amount of money paid or received.

Principal, interest, taxes, and insurance, abbreviated as P.I.T.I., comprises the four elements included in a conventional mortgage.

Private mortgage insurance, abbreviated as P.M.I., is required when the cash-down portion is less than 20 percent of the sale price.

Prk is the abbreviation for park.

A property’s profit can be twofold: the short-term gain—rental income less expenses—and the long-term increase in market value following its sale.

Property refers to an apartment, row house, or loft listing for sale or rent.

A proprietary lease provides the terms and conditions, attached to corporate shares, which entitle a co-operative owner to occupy a particular unit in its apartment house.

Proration is the settling of unused prepaid expenses, such as utilities and— especially—real-estate taxes, between a buyer and seller at closing.

The prospectus, offering plan, and amendments is a bundle of general descriptions and an outline of specifications, prepared as required by the Attorney General’s Office in order to sell co-ownership units.

A Pullman kitchen is configured on one wall, and is used in smaller apartments.

Purchase price is the amount—whether in cash or borrowed—that is paid for real property.

The purchaser is the buyer.

Pvt is the abbreviation for private.



A qualified fee-simple title includes language to the effect of “as long as.”

Queen Anne–style row houses, of light-colored brick; arched, rusticated-stone entrances; and bay windows became commonplace in the late 1880s, replacing the French-derived Second Empire as vogue.

Quiet-enjoyment rights have special meaning in multiple dwellings, in that no titleholder has an enforceable right to disturb their co-owners.



A real-estate attorney, or lawyer, is a specialist in the legal matters pertaining to the purchase or sale of real property.

A real-estate broker—whether an organization, an individual broker, or a salesperson associated with a brokerage firm—acts as an agent for others who seek to sell or purchase real property.

A real-estate investment trust, abbreviated as R.E.I.T., is the granting of loans by shareholders, with real property as collateral.

Real-estate market is the general term for local real-property-sales activity.

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, abbreviated as RESPA, regulates loans for which real estate is used as security.

Real property is anything attached to land, and its interest, benefits, and inherent rights.

Reality of consent connotes that two parties are ready, willing, and able to sell or to buy real property.

Realized gain is net profit; recognized gain is taxable profit.

Reconciliation is an appraiser’s adjustments when correlating a comparative market analysis, or comps, of a target property.

A recognition agreement, between a co-operative corporation and a purchaser’s lender, evidences ownership in the corporation with the right to possess the apartment collateralizing the loan.

Recording is the registering of a deed and title for public record.

Regulation Z defines the Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act rules and guidelines requiring lenders to fully disclose the terms, conditions, percentage rate, and any other charges to a borrower.

Relocation, abbreviated as relo, refers to a corporate-sponsored move to Manhattan from another locale.

To renew is to make a rental lease effective for an additional period—rarely at an equal rental price.

Renovations, abbreviated as reno or renov, are updates and improvements to an apartment.

A rent-stabilized lease, abbreviated as R/S, is subject to a state-legislature-set guideline regarding any increase, reviewed annually; such leases are automatically renewable by a tenant; a rent-stable tenant is entitled to increase guidelines on a renewal, as long as the monthly rent remains less than $2,000; it applies only to tenants with declared income of less than $165,000 on at least two of their prior three annual income-tax returns.

A rental building has apartments available only for lease—not sale.

A rental commission is a broker’s fee for procuring a tenant for a landlord.

The rental price is the monthly charge, by a landlord, for the occupancy of an apartment.

Repossession is the taking back of a property due to breach of a contract, particularly associated with nonpayment of a mortgage loan.

Representation is the equivalent of agency.

Rescission is the cancellation of a contract.

A reserve fund is capital held by a board of directors for unforeseen expenses; a fund grows by levied flip-tax revenues and, to a far lesser extent, the general ownership’s monthly fees—because a cash shortfall requires an assessment.

R.E.T. is the abbreviation for real-estate taxes, and applies only to condominium ownership.

Revocation is the withdrawal of an offer.

Revolving credit or debt allows the purchasing or borrowing of funds against a pre-approved, unsecured credit line.

A rider is an addendum that covers supplemental terms.

Right of first refusal provides that a condominium board of directors may authorize a unit to be purchased—at contract price, on behalf of the co-owners—rather than approve a specific applicant.

The right to sublet, or assign, a residential apartment by the primary leaseholder, or tenant, is not permitted in a Manhattan lease.

Risk factor is potential loss.

Riv is the abbreviation for river.

Rm(s) is the abbreviation for room or rooms.

Room count is the Building Department code applicable to a space, which must have both a window and doorway; half- or full bathrooms, as well as entrance foyers, are not counted as rooms.

A rosette is a carved or painted floral decorative ornamentation.

A row house is one among homes in an unbroken line, sharing two common walls—as opposed to a detached house without a party wall; although technically correct, the term is lackluster compared with town house and brownstone—and is rarely applied to single-family Manhattan houses.

RSD is the abbreviation for Riverside Drive.



Sale price, or purchase price, is the recorded price.

A sales-comparison approach is the equivalent of a comparative market analyses.

A sales contract is interchangeable with contract to purchase.

A sash holds a glazed windowpane in place.

The Second Empire style introduced the French mansard roof, immediately following the American Civil War.

A second mortgage is always subordinate to a primary mortgage.

A security deposit, traditionally one month’s rent, is held by a landlord and returned to a tenant upon vacating, following an inspection of the premises for damage.

Self-dealing activity, especially disclosure of an interest in a property, is illegal.

A seller’s agent or broker holds fiduciary responsibility and works for the best interests of a property owner; a buyer’s agent or broker works for the best interests of a purchaser; dual agency connotes a single broker working for both the buyer and seller, rather than acting as a single agent working for a single party.

Sep is the abbreviation for separate.

Servants’ quarters are a series of maids’ rooms, often with a servants’ hall, in which a staff takes its meals.

Service refers to an apartment house’s attended positions, in particular the door, elevators, and additional appurtenances provided.

A service entrance is a separate egress, through which parcels and packages are delivered; individual apartments may also have a second door, directly from the kitchen to a service hall, for the removal of refuse, and with access to a service elevator.

A service fee is paid by a borrower to cover a lender’s business cost, paid at the closing or added to the principal amount.

Servicing a mortgage is the making of payments by borrowers.

A settlement, or closing, is the transfer of title deed to a buyer.

A settlement statement, to an out-of-towner, is the closing statement.

A setup comprises the pertinent information, photographs, and house plan of a property.

Severalty connotes that one person is on the title; joint tenancy includes the right of survivorship for either party within a couple.

Shares are a co-operative apartment house’s allocation of co-ownership responsibility, which corresponds to a unit’s size, position in the building, and unique features, such as private outdoor space, and serve to define its expense-portion allocation.

A short-term rental is one that is furnished, with a definite term, or time period, ranging from three months to less than one year.

A sill, or window sill, is a bottom ledge.

A simplex is a standard apartment, existing on a single level.

The situs, or location, of every Manhattan property is recorded in the Plat Book (of maps), according to its lot and block number.

So is the abbreviation for south.

A sole proprietorship is one by a single owner/investor.

Spectacular, abbreviated as spec, is a commonly used superlative.

A sponsor is an individual or corporation responsible for the conversion of a rental property to one of co-ownership.

Square footage, abbreviated as SF, defines a unit’s size.

Staging is the cosmetic preparation of a property that is to be shown for sale; a professional stager may be engaged to ensure that the property’s best features are highlighted and its flaws downplayed.

A stoop comprises the exterior steps leading to a row house’s front door.

Stu is the abbreviation for studio, a two- to two-and-one-half-room apartment.

Subletting is the assigning of a lease to a third party.

A superintendent, whether full-time, part-time, or live-in, is in charge of the operation and maintenance of an apartment house.

Supply and demand is the economic principle that the greater the supply, as compared to market demand, the lower the value; it follows, then, that the smaller the supply or greater the demand, the higher the value; by evaluating a property’s scarcity factor, an appraiser adjusts the market value for supply in relation to demand.



Tax abatements, or temporary tax credit, are an inducement offered to developers to encourage building activity, which is passed along to purchasers.

The tax-deductible portion of co-operative fees comprises items prepaid by the corporation, for real-estate taxes and interest on an underlying mortgage.

Tax-deductible expenses are deducted from gross income to derive net income.

A tenant, or lessee, is the occupant of an apartment.

Tenements are the bundled ownership rights in real property; also, the dark, poorly ventilated, and shabbily constructed apartment buildings whose construction was banned in 1901.

Term is the duration of a lease or loan.

A term or straight-term mortgage requires interest-only payments until said term ends.

Terms are limitations to sales contracts and the conditions regarding the sales price or the form of payment.

Terra cotta is glazed or unglazed clay which has been molded into ornamental details, such as roof tiling.

A terrace, abbreviated as terr, is private outdoor space at a building’s setback or on its roof.

A time is of the essence letter, from either a buyer or seller’s attorney to the corresponding attorney, indicates that a grace period is ending and that a closing date must be agreed to and set.

A title is evidence of ownership; also, the right to possess real property.

Title insurance protects both a buyer and lender from losses due to a disputed or defective title, and is issued by a title company, which takes responsibility for the title search, to ensure that “the seller” is, in fact, the owner, and to certify that no unpaid liens or claims are in place.

Title-transfer tax is a levy on property transactions by deed; co-operativeapartment-house share transfers are not taxed; condominium title transfers are.

Tool Chest is the Re: Real Estate department in which where verifiable facts and helpful hints for buying, investing, or renting in Manhattan are found.

A town house, abbreviated as TH, is differentiated from a row house as being wider than one standard—25-foot—city lot, and by the extensive custom details to the façade and the sumptuous materials employed throughout the interior.

A transaction is a sale.

Transfer of ownership is real property’s changing hands; transferability is the ability of a seller to actuate a sale.

Triple-mint condition applies to properties whose overall conditions are excellent (X), with kitchens in excellent condition (XX), as well as their bathrooms (XXX).

A triplex apartment is one that comprises three levels.



An underlying mortgage is the equivalent of a first mortgage when a wraparound mortgage is in place.

Unencumbered property is free of any lien or claim.

Unintentional misrepresentation is an innocent false statement regarding material fact.

A unit is a single apartment in a residential building.

Unsold shares remain in the conversion sponsor’s possession with two specific rights attached: subletting is allowed, and—for one time only—no board of directors’ approval is necessary for the shares to be conveyed.

The useful life of an investment property is determined by its covering costs, and its market value’s remaining investment-worthy.

Utilities included indicate that gas, electricity, and/or cable television is included within the rent, maintenance, or common charges.



Vacancy rate is the empty rental units as a ratio to those let, or under lease.

A valid contract is one that is legally enforceable.

Valuable consideration is any factor, particularly desirable attributes, which add to a property’s value, such as a fully protected water or park view.

A valuation approach comprises all know facts, including location, age, square footage, and condition, which indicate its value in exchange—the current market price.

Vested describes an individual’s right to withdraw funds from retirement plans, which then becomes a liquid—rather than illiquidasset.

A view, abbreviated as vu, of a park, river, or skyline is categorized as either full or partial; “oblique” describes vaguely seen.

A contract that is void has no legal effect.

A voidable contract may be abrogated without legal consequence.



A walk-through is the final property inspection by the buyer and takes place immediately before closing.

A walk-through or galley kitchen has two means of egress: the foyer and the dining area.

A walk-up is a non-elevator building.

A warranty is a guarantee as stated.

WBF is the abbreviation for wood-burning fireplace.

W/D is the abbreviation for washer and dryer.

WEA is the abbreviation for West End Avenue.

WEIK is an acronym for windowed eat-in kitchen.

Window treatments are not included in Manhattan rentals; they went out the window, so to speak, at the same time landlords stopped wallpapering apartments for tenants.

Wndw(d) is the abbreviation for window(ed).

A wraparound mortgage provides funds that supplement a first mortgage, or underlying mortgage.



Yield is an investment property’s short-term return.



Zoning comprises the package of local rules regulating the parameters of a lot’s height and density—the floor-area ratio.