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!

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Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

via Tiffany & Co.

When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

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Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

Road Trip Road TripThe Orange Backpack


5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.