By Dan St. Yves

Hey, if you’re a long-time Realtor, this column may not interest you at all. You’ve long since earned your stripes in the trenches and you know what you’re talking about when you step into almost any given situation.

If, however, you’re relatively new, perhaps you are still trying to wade through all the confusing jargon in the industry and don’t want to step into a minefield where your uncertainty could trigger dire consequences for yourself or your client(s).

In the spirit of trying to be helpful while being funny in this space, I hereby offer up a Realtor Dictionary, and in the further spirit of continuing education, I’m adding in multiple choice options, just like your real estate exam!

Please, thank me later. For now, focus, and concentrate on picking the CORRECT definitions.

Appraised Value:
  1. a home’s fair market value, based on an appraiser’s knowledge.
  2. a whopper of an over-valuation if your clients are about to put in an offer on said property.
  3. a misspelling of braised.
Assessed Value:
  1. a tax-assessed value of a property, somewhat more arbitrary than an appraised value.
  2. a value that can be higher or lower than the actual value one might expect from a sale, often vastly so, depending either way if you are a seller or a buyer.
  3. a bureaucratic evaluation of value based on a spun wheel of randomized numbers, darts thrown at a board filled with more randomized numbers, or the winning pick from a game of Eenie Meenie Miny Moe.
  1. could mean the head of your agency, as agents work for brokers – or it could mean a mortgage broker. Or in Quebec it could be a salesperson.
  2. could be anyone who helps “broker” a deal, as that is a vernacular for the process.
  3. what many new Realtors are after their first year in the business, compared to where they started.
Clear Title:
  1. a title on a home free of encumbrances, such as liens or other legal questions regarding ownership.
  2. a sporting match where participants have to leap over legal documents.
  3. any title printed on microfiche or Saran Wrap.
  1. compensation for work performed in your duties as a Realtor, pre-negotiated ahead in almost every case.
  2. compensation for work performed in your duties as a Realtor, pre-negotiated at the last minute when clients balk.
  3. the Holy Grail.
First Mortgage:
  1. exactly as it would appear, the first mortgage in priority against a property.
  2. something that The First Family doesn’t have on their first, second or third homes.
  3. the only one you were aware of before a sale, but hardly the only one after the lawyer searches the title on closing day.
  1. a failure to ensure that payment is made on a mortgage on the prescribed date.
  2. sometimes, when one spouse assumes a payment is made, it is default of de other one who did not pay it on time.
  3. Option B was bad enough, I don’t think I have another bad pun worse than that one.


  1. Hey Carolyne!

    Thanks for your comment, I’ll have to track down and view the presentation.

    Now more than ever I think the weight of words affects everything we do….


  2. Hi Dan –

    a symbiotic relationship topic :)


    Lera Boroditsky: How language shapes the way we think | TED Talk

    Would REM readers think this topic might apply to our industry? Is what we said what we meant? Did what side of the bed we got up on affect our language? Did due-north have anything to do with it?

    The world of linguistics is beyond fascinating and contributes to what makes us who we are and how we think. And how we as humans communicate one with another.

    Languages travel as people migrate, and re-engineer by accommodating whatever current environment one finds oneself in. Languages, whatever their base adopt their surroundings and recreate as the need presents itself. There was language long before the written word. And the spoken word was always in permanent motion. Mispronunciation was adopted as a new/old word and spellings subsequently became altered, and changed meanings resulted.

    I believe this speaker speaks volumes in this presentation, giving us in our industry an opportunity to digest her words, her examples and her body language, perhaps as it might apply to our industry. Just something to think about, maybe.

    I often refer to the words of wisdom someone offered: “It’s not what you (anyone) said that matters; it’s what I (you) heard that counts.” (Not necessarily the same thing.) And that’s nothing to do with the semantics of our language. It’s just an “is.”

    Carolyne L 🍁

Leave a Reply