Commonly Used English Terms for Buying a House in the U.S.

  • Dittany Zhang Seltzer
  • 09/2/21
Even if your English is great, the professional terminology involved in buying a house should not be underestimated! The following Chinese and English comparison list is for your reference.

1. The Type of Property

Real Estate: 房地产
Single-Family Residence (SFR) / house: Independent villa
Townhouse: 联排别墅
Condo/Condominium: Apartment
Multi-Family Residence (MFR): 多户公寓
Income Property: 收入地产
Hotel: 酒店
ShoppingCenter/Plaza: 购物中心
Office Building: 办公大楼

2. The Transaction Method

Standard Sale: Regular sale house
Foreclosure: 法拍屋, When the homeowner cannot repay the loan, the bank forces the sale
Short Sale: A foreclosure house sold at a loss (the owner is the seller, but the selling price is determined by the bank or creditor)
Bank Owned (REO): Foreclosure houses held by banks

3. House Facilities

Garage: 车库
Attached: Conjoined (Attached garage: The garage connected to the house)
Detached: Separate, Independent
Bedroom: Room, 卧室
Bathroom: 卫生间
Kitchen: 厨房
Kitchen Appliances: 厨房设备

There Are Mainly the Following7 Kinds of Appliances Included in the Price:

  1. Cabinets: 橱柜
  2. Oven: 烤炉
  3. Dishwasher: 洗碗机
  4. Stove: 炉灶
  5. Microwave: 微波炉
  6. Exhaust fan: Rangehood
  7. Garbage disposer: 垃圾搅拌处理机
Pool & Spa: Swimming and Surfing hot tub
Frontyard: 前院
Backyard: 后院

4. Others

There is a view far away from the house such as a mountain.
View: Mountain view; Ocean view: Sea view; No view: 没风景
Lot size: The size of the area (including front and back yards)
SqFt (square footage): Square feet-net living area of ​​the house (excluding garage)
Note: 1 square meter = 10.76 square feet, A rough algorithm can be calculated with 10: a 2000 square foot house is equivalent to 200 square meters.

5. Names of Occupations and Institutions in Real Estate Transactions

Buyer: 买房人,买方
Seller: 卖房人,卖方
Real Estate Agent/Realtor: 房地产经纪人/Agent
Real Estate Consultant: (Real estate agent, Expert consultant)
Listing Agent: Real Estate Agent
Buyer's Agent: Buying a House Agent
Lender: Lending Bank
Loan Broker: Loan Agent (or Company)
Escrow Officer: 过户公证人员
Escrow Company: 过户公证公司 
Title Company: 产权公司
Home Inspector: 房屋检查专家
Appraiser: 估价师

6. Common Terms in the Process of Buying a House (Arranged in the Order of Buying a House)

MLS (multiple listing service): A comprehensive information service network for listed real estate
(This is a dedicated real estate information exchange platform for members of various real estate associations)
Listing: Listed Houses
Search Criteria: 搜房条件/standards
Open House: A listed house open to everyone
Caravan: A house viewing day set specifically for real estate agents
Make an Offer: Bid
Purchase Agreement: 购房协议书 (Filled out and signed when quoting, California has more than ten pages of clauses)
Counteroffer: 还价
Addendum: Additional Terms
Deposit: 押金 (sincere money paid at the time of quotation, generally 3% of the list price)
Down Payment: 首付
Interest Rate: Loan Interest Rate
Loan Amount: 贷款额
All-cash Offer: Full Cash Purchase
30 Years Amortization: 30年分期付款
Purchase Price: 购买价
Offer Accepted: The purchase agreement is accepted (agreement acceptance price)
Open Escrow: Enter the transfer process/link
Cancel Escrow: Cancel the contract (terminate the transfer process)

Contingency: Additional Conditions: Including the Following Three;

  1. Loan contingency: loans are subject to conditions, but cash purchases are not required;
  2. Appraisal contingency: Appraisal is subject to conditions;
  3. Home inspection contingency: conditions attached to a house inspection
Note: Generally speaking, the buyer has 17 days to remove all contingencies after entering the transfer process, which means that if the loan is not available within 17 days, or the expert valuation is not in place, or After the house inspection is not satisfied, the buyer can cancel the contract and get the deposit back.
Disclosure: Before the transaction, the seller must let the buyer know about all existing or past problems with the house. Otherwise, it is easy to cause lawsuits.

How to Hold Title: (Determine) the Holding Method of Property Rights (There Are the Following Four:)

  1. Joint Tenancy: Joint ownership of property rights (it can be any number of people, and it is also the most commonly used method of holding between husband and wife in the United States)
  2. Tenancy in Common: Joint property rights (can be any number of people)
  3. Community Property: Husband and wife share property rights (only for husband and wife)
  4. Community Property With Right of Survivorship: The joint property rights of husband and wife that can be inherited by the spouse (only for husband and wife)
Title Insurance: 产权保险
Preliminary Title Report: Preliminary report on property right certification
Home Inspection; 检查房屋
Termite Inspection: Termite pest inspection
Termite Repair: Termite pest treatment
Home Warranty: Home warranty insurance (this is a one-year home maintenance insurance that the buyer should require the seller to purchase) HOA (homeowners association): community management fee
Mello Roos: Special additional tax
Property Tax: Real estate tax, generally about 1.25% of the purchase price per year
Homeowners Insurance: Homeowners insurance, very cheap
Loan Document: Loan materials (refers to related contracts, legal documents, etc.)
Close Escrow: End the transfer process (the transfer process is generally 30-45 days, the cash transaction can be shortened)
Record: Filing (referring to registering with government agencies and becoming a real homeowner)
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