It is good for me to remind myself periodically that each industry has terms that are used that might not be fully understood outside the industry in which they are used. Real estate is no different. I have experienced people that are much smarter than me that didn’t fully understand some terms that Realtors throw around on a daily basis. With that in mind, here is a short primer for anyone looking a home in Alexandria.
“Level”. When an Alexandria Realtor states that a lake lot is “level” it isn’t the topography of the land that is being referred to. They are referring to how the land meets with the shoreline. The most in demand lake lots have the feature where there are no steps down from the land into the lake or it has very few steps.
“Elevation”. Like “level” elevation is used to convey how the lakeshore is positioned in relation to the buildable part of the lot or a particular location of the lot. If you hear “there is quite a bit of elevation” it means there are many steps down to the shoreline. Sometimes lots will have partial elevation meaning some of the lake frontage may be level or have moderate elevation and the rest of the frontage has a bluff.
“List”. List is the word Realtors use when a property owner signs a listing agreement with a real estate brokerage to sell. If I were tell you “I just listed a home at Lake Darling” I am telling you that an owner of a property with lake frontage at Darling has signed a listing agreement to have me help them sell their lake property.
“Pending” or “Pended”. We use these words to describe “listings” where the seller has accepted a Purchase Agreement but the sale hasn’t closed yet. Often you will still see properties appear as “Active” (see below) but they may not be available as there a Purchase Agreement has been accepted that has an Inspection Contingency. What this means is there is a specified period for a buyer to have inspections performed. The contract is enforceable by the buyer but the contingency gives them the power to cancel the contract or renegotiate with the seller. Not long ago the Alexandria MLS required listings with an accepted Purchase Agreement that was contingent on inspection to be marked immediately as “Pending”. What this meant was the listing then wouldn’t appear on sites such as mine and Zillow. Now, brokerages have the option to keep the listing status as ‘Active’. The only way to find out the true status is to contact any Realtor member of the Alexandria MLS. It has been a problem as you can imagine. Many listings appear to have very long inspection periods. Some don’t get marked as ‘Pending’ until the day the sale actually closes. Our MLS staff does their best but it is tough for them to monitor. If caught, a brokerage will receive a fine but it isn’t a significant amount. It could be accidental but a cynical view, and I feel pretty strongly is an accurate view, is that some brokerages will be very slow to change the status within the MLS as having more active listings increases the chances of inquiries from buyers that can then be directed to other active listings. At my company we keep listing statuses current within the MLS. It is better cooperation with our fellow Realtors and it is better for the public too.
“Active”. Active means a listed property is available to possibly buy or the seller has accepted a Purchase Agreement but there is an active inspection period.
Are there any other terms used by Realtors that aren’t crystal clear to you? Leave a comment below and I will do my best to explain.