Real Estate Terms You Need to Know
If you're new to the real estate game, there's lots to know before buying, selling, or investing in property. Real estate is an involved arena, and there's plenty of specific language and jargon related to the industry. Brush up on these 20 common terms which are used frequently in the real estate field and you'll feel better prepared to make your next property moves properly!
Amenities: All the "perks" which enhance what a building has to offer are the amenities. Think doorman, garage, storage space, gym, etc. The more of these that come with the purchase, the more you'll feel you're getting for your money.
Appraisal: A licensed appraiser will give an evaluation on the worth of a property based on the study of recent sales of properties in a similar category. The seller can use this determination to generate a reasonable and competitive asking price on their property.
Closing: More like an opening to new beginnings, the closing is the action when the ownership of the property exchanges hands from the seller to the buyer, along with a signed contract.
Commercial Zones: No, not a McDonald's ad during your favorite prime time programming, but areas where a property can be used for retail shops, eateries, and other businesses, rather than residential living.
Commission: A brokers cut of the work they've put in to market and sell a property. Traditionally, the commission will be a specific percentage of the purchase price for the property.
Contract: This legal agreement between the buyer and the seller includes the offer, the acceptance, and the description of the property in question, and must be signed by all parties in order to be legally valid. Be sure to read every bit of fine print and consult with a lawyer if required or recommended before signing on the dotted line.
Counter-Offer: While this sounds like what one may be willing to spend on a kitchen counter, it's actually a new offer made for a property when the prior one was not up to snuff. A counter-offer can be made by either the buyer or the seller until the two parties reach an agreement… or not.
Fixture: Anything attached to the property permanently is considered a fixture, and is generally accepted to come with the sale price of a property. Appliances, lighting, etc. fall into this category unless otherwise agreed upon in the contract.
Floor Plan: This is a drawn out or computer-generated plan of the property space with dimensions, room sizes, and placement, and where the doors, windows, and room partitions are located. This is helpful to plan for furnishings and to get an idea of the space layout before seeing it in person.
Full Bath: While a tub filled to the brim with warm water and bubbles is one definition, when it comes to real estate jargon, a full bath means that the bathroom contains a toilet, a sink, and a tub or shower. A half-bath would not have the tub or shower.
Lease: When you rent a property from the owner, this is considered a lease. Payments are typically made on a monthly basis and often include other facilities such as heating, electric, water, etc.
Lot: A section of land that is part of a listing is considered to be the lot. Often this is measured in acres. If you are seeking a large area for a home or property with plenty of space surrounding it, seek out a generous lot.
Maintenance: If you plan to purchase in a co-op, there will be a monthly maintenance charge to pay for the costs for the building's general needs. This includes taxes, mortgage, operational costs, even a doorman if applicable. Factor this charge into your monthly costs to ensure you've planned your spend accordingly.
Penthouse: Usually one of the grander spaces in a building, the penthouse is on the top floor of a building and is often the most expensive. If you're ready to move on up, consider the penthouse for luxury living and a smart long-term investment.
Pied-a-Terre: Some people purchase or rent a place that they seldom or periodically stay at, and is not used as their primary residence. This is called a pied-a-terre and is often used by those who travel for work, vacation in the same area year after year, or for investment purposes. Subletting is sometimes allowed so the owner may make money on the place when not in use personally.
Realtor: AKA a real estate agent, this person must be part of the National Association of Realtors and assists the buyer or seller with the purchase or sale of their property via marketing, listings, and showings. They will make a commission off the sale of the property.
Sublet: An apartment owner can rent their place to a tenant provided this action is allowed by the building. The owner may live elsewhere or in another portion of the property.
Title: This document proves that a person owns or has the right to a property. The title will change hands at time of closing.
Tenant: The tenant has temporary use of a property which belongs to another owner. A renter or sub-letter would be examples of tenants.
Valuation: Once appraised, the valuation is the estimated worth or price of a property. Be sure to acquire a reliable person or service to provide this information to you before selling or buying.
Now that you are more real estate educated, it's time to make the move to buy or sell with knowledge and confidence. Now close that deal!
Looking for a job? In addition to encountering those annoying never-ending job interviews you may find yourself face-to-face with an artificial intelligence bot.
Companies worldwide increasingly use artificial intelligence tools and analytics in employment decision-making – from parsing through resumes and screening candidates to automated assessments and digital interviews. But recent studies claim that AI does more harm than good.
While AI screening tools were developed to save companies time and money, they’ve been criticized for placing women and people of color at a disadvantage. The problem is that many companies lack appreciable diversity in their data set, making it impossible for an algorithm to know how people from underrepresented groups have performed in the past. As a result, the algorithm will be biased toward the data available and compare future candidates to that archetype.
The City’s Automated Employment Decision Tools (AEDT) law is designed to offset the potential misuse of AI and protect job candidates against discrimination. It was enforced on July 5th, 2023 in New York City - with other cities and states expected to gradually follow suit. Employers must now inform applicants when and how they encounter AI. Furthermore, companies have to commission a third-party audit of the AI software used, and publish a summary of the results to prove that their systems aren’t racist or sexist. Job applicants are able to request information regarding what data is collected and analyzed by the AI. Violations of the law can result in fines of up to $1,500.
Replacing Human Hiring Decisions
However, should a job applicant want to opt-out of such impersonal judgement by a bot, the new law's scope is quite limited.
While the law specifies that instructions for requesting an alternative selection process must be included in the AI screening disclosure, companies aren't actually required to use other screening methods. Not to mention that the law only applies to AI in hiring and not any other employment decisions. It also wouldn't apply if the AI, for example, flags candidates with relevant experience, but a human then reviews all applications, making the ultimate hiring decision.
Some civil rights advocates and public interest groups argue that the law isn’t extensive enough and that it’s even unenforceable. On the other hand, businesses say that it’s impractical, costly, and burdensome, and that independent audits aren’t feasible.
Responsible use of AI in hiring
Although this law may be a good first attempt to assign more regulatory guardrails around AI, it remains to be seen if it ensures the responsible use of AI in hiring processes. At the end of the day, perhaps recruiting talent should remain a human-made decision.
The good news is that AI can help companies without harming potential job candidates in many ways – such as connecting new employees with internal organizational information and company benefits during onboarding. Or helping employees to do their jobs more effectively rather than replacing them.
There’s all this talk about solo travel. And for good reason — no wasting precious time waiting for others to get their act together, take the plans out of the group chat and actually buy the tickets. Going solo, you can be spontaneous. You can plan your trips according to your precise tastes. You can hop on any flight and fly awayyyyyy.
But what if each time you flew you’d get a free ticket? That’s what you get with the Southwest Companion Pass.
Award status, upgrades, lounge access — there are many perks in the frequent flier game. But one of the coveted holy grails is the Southwest Companion Pass.
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
The Companion Pass is part of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. You get to choose one person to be your “companion,” and they fly with you for free (plus some taxes and fees) on every flight. That’s right. Two for the price of one. That’s half off each ticket if you split it! Whether you’re flying with a partner, family member, friend, or anyone else, they can tag along for free.
And it gets better: once you earn the pass, you can reap the rewards for that full calendar year … AND the next. That’s why people go mad trying to earn a companion pass during the early months of the year. The sooner you qualify, the longer you can use it.
There are also no blackout dates. There are no limits. And if you didn’t purchase the ticket (think: work travel, your companion, or a generous benefactor), there are no restrictions! As long as you’re the one on the plane, your companion can also … be on the plane.
You can also switch out your designated companion 3x a year. So, no need to stay in a relationship simply to get the most out of your companion pass! Ghost and fly away — with a whole new companion!
If this sounds too good to be true — it’s not. But there is one small catch. It’s kinda tough to earn this mega reward.
How to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass?
You can qualify for the pass in one of two ways:
- Fly 100 qualifying one-way flights
- Earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year.
Clearly, this is no small feat — especially if you’re trying to qualify ASAP.
So how do you actually earn the Southwest Companion Pass?
Don’t worry, there’s a path to earning this amazing reward without climbing on 100 flights or spending an exorbitant amount of money.
Earning 135K reward points may seem completely impossible, but it’s easier than it sounds. Simply sign up for a Southwest Credit Card and turn those spending habits into a rapid rewards account. Through the Rewards Priority Credit Card, earn points when using local transit and commuting, plus score major points and miles whenever you spend.
Stay with me here. This is not some scheme to get you into credit card debt. Many airline cards come with potential savings, giantic rewards, awarding you points, and cashback with every purchase you make that can be redeemed for travel. And often they can come with passive sign-up bonuses. If you spend a specific amount of money within a certain timeframe of opening the card, you can be in for a windfall of points.
Now that’s where the companion pass comes in:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Priority Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
- Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest has three personal cards and a business card. Each of these cards offers rewards between 30K-80K points. In the past, people could open two cards and get a bonus that granted enough points to almost meet the minimum. However, with new restrictions on personal cards, you can only get one bonus every 24 months. Boo!
However, this doesn’t apply to business cards. If you’re eligible, have good credit, and not likely to spiral into insane credit card debt, you can open a business card and a personal card, and accrue 100K+ points. The Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card will get you points after you spend money in no time.
Now to earn the rest of them.
The secret to gaining these credit card points is to plan your card sign-ups around big purchases. Just before a recent move, I opened a card . . . and the rewards came rolling in — a small balm to ease the pain of how exorbitant moving can be.
Put everyday spend — especially big purchases or bulk items — on your Southwest credit card and watch your award points quickly add up. Typically, you earn 1 point per $1 spent on your Southwest card and 2 points per $1 on actual Southwest purchases.
But there are other ways to earn points, including:
- Flying Southwest: Booking travel on Southwest earns more points. The cost of this travel will be worth it with your companion pass
- Shopping from Rapid Rewards Partners: Purchases with Southwest’s “Home & Lifestyle” and “Shop and Dine” Partners also earn Companion Pass qualifying points. While you shouldn’t make gratuitous purchases, browse Southwest’s partners to see if you could earn extra points for items you'd be purchasing anyway. All this, simply from enrolling in their Dining Program and shopping with their partners.
So there you have it! And since it’s almost Spring, get to earning and soon you’ll be flying two for the price of one!