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Real Estate Investing Terms: Defined

Real Estate Investing Terms Table Of Contents
























Real Estate Investing Terms 

These are some of the fundamental terms every investor, new and seasoned, should know like the back of their hands. 

And if you are on the newer side to investing in real estate, check out our newbie guide to real estate investing.

real estate investing glossary


1031 Exchange

  • Definition: A swap of one investment property for another that allows capital gains taxes to be deferred.
  • Why It Matters: In real estate investing, the 1031 exchange can be an excellent wealth-building tool. It lets investors roll the gains from a sold property into a new one without immediate tax implications. This process enables the investment to grow tax-deferred, compounding potential profits over time.
  • Real-World Application: For instance, if an investor sells a property for $400,000 that was originally purchased for $300,000, they can use a 1031 exchange to defer paying capital gains taxes on the $100,000 profit by investing it into a new property.


Absentee Owner

  • Definition: A property owner who does not live in the property they own.
  • Why It Matters: Absentee owners might be more motivated to sell, especially if the property is not generating income or is difficult to manage from a distance, making these properties potential investment opportunities.
  • Real-World Application: An investor might look for properties with absentee owners in their local area, then reach out to these owners to see if they're interested in selling.

Absorption Rate

  • Definition: The rate at which available homes are sold in a specific real estate market during a given time period.
  • Why It Matters: Absorption rate is crucial for understanding the dynamics of the housing market. It can provide insights into supply and demand trends and indicate whether it's a buyer's or seller's market. It allows investors to strategize about pricing and timing their sales.
  • Real-World Application: For instance, if there are 100 homes in a market, and 10 sell every month, the absorption rate is 10%. A low absorption rate implies properties are selling slowly, which could suggest it's a buyer's market.


  • Definition: The process by which loan principal is gradually paid down through a schedule of fixed payments.
  • Why It Matters: Amortization is vital for investors because it directly impacts cash flow and the profitability of an investment over time. Understanding how amortization works can help investors plan their budgets and measure the true cost of their loans.
  • Real-World Application: For example, if an investor takes out a $200,000 mortgage at a 4% interest rate for 30 years, the amortization schedule will detail how each monthly payment will partially cover interest costs and partially reduce the principal balance.

After Repair Value (ARV)

  • Definition: The estimated value of a property after all repairs and renovations are completed.
  • Why It Matters: ARV is a critical number for investors who specialize in rehabbing and selling properties (flippers). It helps them estimate the potential selling price of the property post-rehab, which, in turn, aids in calculating potential profit and deciding whether the deal is worth pursuing.
  • Real-World Application: For instance, if a property costs $100,000, needs $20,000 in renovations, and the ARV is $150,000, an investor can expect a potential profit of $30,000 before accounting for selling and holding costs.


  • Definition: The increase in property value over time.
  • Why It Matters: Appreciation can contribute significantly to an investor's return on investment. Properties in areas with high appreciation rates can yield substantial profits over time. It's a passive way investors build equity and wealth.
  • Real-World Application: For example, an investor who purchases a property for $200,000 in an area experiencing a 5% annual appreciation rate would see the property's value increase to $210,000 after one year, increasing their net worth without any active work.


Bridge Loan

  • Definition: A short-term loan used to meet immediate financing needs until more permanent financing can be arranged.
  • Why It Matters: Bridge loans are crucial for real estate investors as they provide fast, flexible financing to secure properties quickly. They're especially useful in competitive markets where the ability to close swiftly can make or break a deal.
  • Real-World Application: An investor might use a bridge loan to purchase a $300,000 property at auction. Once they secure more stable, long-term financing, they can pay off the bridge loan.

BRRRR Strategy

  • Definition: An acronym for "Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat," a strategy for growing a real estate portfolio.
  • Why It Matters: The BRRRR strategy is a popular method among real estate investors to grow their property portfolios without tying up substantial capital in each property. It's an efficient approach to gain long-term rental properties while recycling the same capital.
  • Real-World Application: For instance, an investor might buy a distressed property for $100,000, spend $20,000 on renovations, then rent it out. After the rehab, if the property's new appraised value is $150,000, they could refinance to recover most or all of their initial investment.


Capital Expenditure (CapEx)

  • Definition: Large, one-time expenses for repairs or improvements that increase a property's value.
  • Why It Matters: CapEx is important because it can impact the profitability of an investment property. These costs must be factored into the financial analysis to ensure the property's income can cover both operational expenses and CapEx while still providing a good return.
  • Real-World Application: An investor might purchase a property that requires a $15,000 roof replacement. This cost would be considered CapEx and should be accounted for in the investment analysis.

Capital Gains Tax

  • Definition: A tax on the profit made from selling an asset like real estate.
  • Why It Matters: Capital gains tax can take a significant bite out of an investor's profits when selling a property. Understanding how it works and how to minimize it through strategies like the 1031 exchange is crucial for maximizing returns.
  • Real-World Application: For example, if an investor buys a property for $200,000 and later sells it for $250,000, they would owe capital gains tax on the $50,000 profit.

Capitalization Rate (Cap Rate)

  • Definition: The ratio of net operating income to property asset value.
  • Why It Matters: Cap rate is a fundamental concept in real estate investing, serving as a quick and useful tool for evaluating and comparing the potential return on various properties.
  • Real-World Application: If a property is listed for $400,000 and generates $40,000 in net operating income annually, the cap rate would be 10%. This percentage is useful for comparing potential investment opportunities.

Cash Flow

  • Definition: The amount of cash that comes in from a property after all expenses are paid.
  • Why It Matters: Positive cash flow is the lifeblood of the rental property investment strategy. It's the monthly profit left after all the bills have been paid, and it can provide a regular, passive income stream for investors.
  • Real-World Application: For example, if an investor rents out a property for $1,200 per month and their total expenses (mortgage, taxes, insurance, maintenance) amount to $1,000, their positive cash flow is $200 per month.

Cash-on-Cash Return

  • Definition: A rate of return often used in real estate transactions that calculates the cash income earned on the cash invested in a property.
  • Why It Matters: The cash-on-cash return is a key metric in real estate investing, providing investors with an analysis of their investment's performance. It helps investors understand the yield from their property in relation to the initial cash investment.
  • Real-World Application: If an investor puts down $20,000 on a property and makes $2,000 in profit in one year after expenses, the cash-on-cash return would be 10%.


  • Definition: The final step in a real estate transaction where the title is transferred from seller to buyer.
  • Why It Matters: The closing process finalizes the real estate transaction and transfers ownership, making it one of the most important aspects of purchasing a property. Understanding what happens at closing helps investors navigate the process smoothly.
  • Real-World Application: At closing, an investor may sign a mortgage agreement, pay closing costs, and receive the deed to the property, officially making them the property owner.

Commercial Property

  • Definition: Real estate intended for business purposes.
  • Why It Matters: Commercial properties can be an excellent investment choice. They often come with longer leases and higher income potential compared to residential properties, although they can also have higher initial costs.
  • Real-World Application: An investor could purchase a small office building and lease out spaces to businesses, providing a steady stream of rental income.

Comparables (Comps)

  • Definition: Recently sold properties similar to a target property in size, location, and amenities used to determine market value.
  • Why It Matters: Comps are vital in the real estate industry for determining the fair market value of a property. They provide a benchmark that helps investors make informed decisions about whether a property is a wise investment.
  • Real-World Application: An investor wants to determine the after value repair (ARV) of a potential purchase property. So they "run comps" to determine the value of similar, nearby properties. This helps her determine what she could sell the property for, once she makes repairs to make her property similar (or comparable) to those nearby properties.


  • Definition: A provision in a real estate contract that specifies the contract would cease to exist upon the occurrence of a certain event.
  • Why It Matters: Contingencies in a contract offer protection to the buyer, allowing for the termination of the agreement under specific circumstances. They are key to mitigating risks in real estate transactions.
  • Real-World Application: A common example is an inspection contingency, which allows the buyer to terminate the contract if a home inspection uncovers significant issues.


Debt-to-Equity Ratio

  • Definition: A measure of a company's financial leverage, calculated by dividing total liabilities by shareholder equity.
  • Why It Matters: This ratio is important in real estate investing because it gives an indication of the financial health of a company or project. A lower debt-to-equity ratio often indicates a more financially stable investment.
  • Real-World Application: For example, if a real estate company has $2 million in total liabilities and $5 million in shareholder equity, its debt-to-equity ratio would be 0.4.

Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI)

  • Definition: A personal finance measure that compares an individual's debt payment to their overall income.
  • Why It Matters: Lenders use the DTI to assess a borrower's ability to manage monthly payments and repay loans. A lower DTI indicates greater borrowing capacity and less risk for the lender.
  • Real-World Application: For example, if a borrower's monthly debt payments total $2,000 and their gross monthly income is $6,000, their DTI is 33%.


  • Definition: A legal document that confirms property ownership.
  • Why It Matters: The deed is the legal instrument that transfers the title of a property from the seller to the buyer. It's essential to ensure the deed is clear of issues to confirm ownership rights.
  • Real-World Application: During closing, the buyer will receive a deed, which should be recorded in the local county records to confirm their legal ownership of the property.


  • Definition: A tax deduction you can take for wear and tear on your investment property over time.
  • Why It Matters: Understanding depreciation is crucial for maximizing the tax benefits of real estate investing. It allows investors to offset rental income, which can significantly reduce tax liability.
  • Real-World Application: For example, the IRS currently allows residential rental properties to be depreciated over 27.5 years. So, if a property is valued at $275,000, you could potentially deduct $10,000 each year for depreciation.

Distressed Property

  • Definition: Property that is under a foreclosure order or is advertised for sale by its mortgagee.
  • Why It Matters: Distressed properties can provide great investment opportunities, as they can often be purchased below market value. However, they may also require substantial rehabilitation.
  • Real-World Application: For instance, a real estate investor might buy a distressed property at a significant discount, renovate it, and either sell it for a profit or rent it out for a steady income stream.

Driving For Dollars

  • Definition: The act of driving around neighborhoods to find potentially undervalued or distressed properties to invest in.
  • Why It Matters: This is a proactive approach to finding real estate investment opportunities that are not listed on the market. It's a time-tested way for investors to find deals with less competition.
  • Real-World Application: An investor could spot a home that appears neglected or abandoned, then contact the owner directly to negotiate a potential sale.

Due Diligence

  • Definition: The process of evaluating a prospective real estate investment before buying.
  • Why It Matters: Due diligence is essential for minimizing risk and uncovering potential issues that could impact the profitability of an investment. This process helps investors make informed decisions.
  • Real-World Application: During due diligence, an investor may inspect the property, review title records, survey the land, and evaluate potential rental income and expenses.



  • Definition: The difference between the property's market value and the outstanding loan amount.
  • Why It Matters: Equity is the portion of the property that the owner truly owns and can be used to secure financing or can be cashed out upon selling the property. Building equity is a primary way investors build wealth in real estate.
  • Real-World Application: If a property is worth $300,000 and the owner owes $200,000 on their mortgage, the owner has $100,000 in equity.

Equity Crowdfunding

  • Definition: A method of raising capital for a new venture by soliciting small individual investments or contributions from a large number of people.
  • Why It Matters: Equity crowdfunding has made real estate investing more accessible to the average person. It allows individuals to invest small amounts in real estate projects and potentially earn a share of the profits.
  • Real-World Application: An investor could use an online platform to invest $500 in equity crowdfunding for a commercial real estate development. They would then receive a return proportional to their investment.


  • Definition: An account held by a third party while buyer and seller finalize a deal.
  • Why It Matters: An escrow account ensures that all parties meet their obligations before the transaction is finalized. It protects the buyer's funds and the seller's property until all conditions of the sale are met.
  • Real-World Application: When purchasing a property, the buyer will typically put earnest money into an escrow account. These funds are then used for the down payment and closing costs at closing.


Fair Market Value (FMV)

  • Definition: The price a property would sell for on the open market.
  • Why It Matters: FMV is a key concept in real estate investing. Knowing the FMV of a property helps investors analyze deals, make offers, and determine potential profitability.
  • Real-World Application: If comps show similar properties selling for around $250,000, an investor could use this information to negotiate a purchase price below this FMV.

Fix and Flip

  • Definition: A strategy of buying a property in need of repairs, renovating it, and selling it for a profit.
  • Why It Matters: This strategy can be profitable for investors with the skills and resources to effectively manage renovations. The potential for higher profits often comes with higher risk and a more active role for the investor.
  • Real-World Application: An investor might buy a distressed property for $100,000, invest $50,000 in renovations, and sell the property for $200,000, earning a gross profit of $50,000.


  • Definition: The practice of buying a property with the goal of selling it for a quick profit, typically after making necessary renovations and improvements.
  • WhyIt Matters: Flipping real estate can provide substantial profits in a relatively short time if done correctly. However, it requires a deep understanding of the real estate market, renovation costs, and the ability to sell quickly.
  • Real-World Application: An investor might buy a rundown property in a hot real estate market, spend a few months renovating it, then sell it at a substantially higher price for a profit.

Foreclosure Property

  • Definition: A legal process where a lender reclaims a property due to non-payment of a mortgage.
  • Why It Matters: Foreclosed properties can often be purchased below market value, providing opportunities for investors to flip or rent them for a profit. However, these properties can come with their own set of challenges, such as repair issues or complicated purchasing procedures.
  • Real-World Application: An investor could buy a foreclosed property at an auction, rehabilitate the property, and then sell or rent it, potentially making a significant profit.


Gross Rent Multiplier (GRM)

  • Definition: A ratio that shows the number of years it would take to pay off a property in full from rental income.
  • Why It Matters: GRM is a quick and simple way for investors to assess the value of a property. A lower GRM may indicate a potential investment opportunity, but like all metrics, it doesn't give a full picture on its own and should be used in conjunction with other indicators.
  • Real-World Application: If a property is listed for $200,000 and the annual gross rental income is $20,000, the GRM would be 10. This means it would theoretically take 10 years of rent to pay off the property (not considering expenses).

Gross Yield

  • Definition: The total annual income an investment generates, expressed as a percentage of the property's cost or market value.
  • Why It Matters: Gross yield provides a straightforward way for investors to compare potential return on different properties or investment strategies. However, it does not account for expenses, so it should be considered as part of a larger analysis.
  • Real-World Application: If an investment property is purchased for $200,000 and it generates $20,000 in rental income annually, the gross yield would be 10%.


Hard Money Loan

  • Definition: A short-term, asset-based loan used by investors to finance property acquisitions and renovations.
  • Why It Matters: Hard money loans can provide fast, flexible financing for real estate investors, especially those looking to flip houses. They're based largely on the property's value rather than the borrower's credit, allowing investors with less-than-perfect credit to still finance deals.
  • Real-World Application: An investor might use a hard money loan to quickly buy a property at auction, then repay the loan with more traditional financing or the proceeds from selling the property after rehab.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

  • Definition: A line of credit secured by your home.
  • Why It Matters: A HELOC can provide flexible financing for real estate investors, allowing them to tap into the equity of one property to finance the purchase or improvement of another.
  • Real-World Application: An investor might use a HELOC on their primary residence to finance a down payment on a rental property, effectively leveraging one property to purchase another.


Income Property

  • Definition: A property purchased or developed to earn income through renting, leasing, or price appreciation.
  • Why It Matters: Income properties form the foundation of many real estate investment strategies. These properties can provide a steady stream of passive income and potential appreciation gains.
  • Real-World Application: An investor might buy a single-family home or apartment building with the intention of renting out the units to tenants, earning rental income each month.


Joint Tenancy

  • Definition: A type of ownership where two or more people share the ownership of a single property.
  • Why It Matters: Joint tenancy allows investors to pool resources and share the risk when buying property. It's important to understand the implications of joint tenancy, including the right of survivorship, which allows the property to pass to the surviving owners upon one owner's death.
  • Real-World Application: Two friends might decide to invest in a rental property together as joint tenants, sharing the down payment, mortgage payments, and rental income.

Joint Venture (JV)

  • Definition: A business arrangement between two or more parties to pool resources for a specific task or project.
  • Why It Matters: JVs allow real estate investors to share resources and risks. They can enable larger deals that might be beyond the reach of an individual investor.
  • Real-World Application: For instance, an experienced property flipper might enter a JV with a money partner, where the flipperprovides the expertise and the partner provides the capital to finance the deal.



  • Definition: In real estate, a lead is a potential sales contact, an individual or organization interested in buying, selling, or renting a property.
  • Why It Matters: Leads are the lifeblood of real estate investing. They represent potential deals, whether it's a homeowner looking to sell, a distressed property about to hit the market, or a tenant looking for a rental.
  • Real-World Application: A lead may come from various sources like direct mail campaigns, online advertising, or personal referrals. The ability to generate and effectively follow up on leads can greatly impact an investor's success.


  • Definition: The use of borrowed capital to increase potential returns.
  • Why It Matters: Leverage allows investors to make larger investments than they could using only their own capital. While it can amplify profits, it can also increase risk, so it's important to use leverage wisely.
  • Real-World Application: For example, an investor could use a mortgage to finance 80% of a property purchase, only needing to put down 20% of the purchase price, thus leveraging their available capital to control a larger asset.


  • Definition: A claim or legal right against assets that are used to secure a loan.
  • Why It Matters: Liens are important because they can prevent a property from being sold or refinanced until the lien is removed or paid off. As part of due diligence, investors should always check for liens on a property before investing.
  • Real-World Application: For instance, a property might have a lien placed on it by a contractor who hasn't been paid for work done on the property. This lien must be cleared before the property can be sold.

Loan-to-Value (LTV)

  • Definition: The ratio of a loan to the value of the purchased property.
  • Why It Matters: LTV is a key risk assessment tool used by lenders. A lower LTV typically results in more favorable loan terms since the lender assumes less risk.
  • Real-World Application: If an investor purchases a $200,000 property with a $150,000 loan, the LTV is 75%. If they can increase their down payment to reduce the loan amount to $140,000, the LTV drops to 70%, potentially securing better loan terms.

Long-Term Rental

  • Definition: A property that is rented out for long periods, usually a year or more.
  • Why It Matters: Long-term rentals can provide consistent cash flow and allow the property owner to generate wealth over time through appreciation and principal paydown. They typically require less hands-on management than short-term rentals.
  • Real-World Application: An investor might buy a property in a stable neighborhood, rent it out on an annual lease, and earn steady rental income while the property appreciates in value over the years.


Motivated Seller

  • Definition: A property owner who needs to sell quickly, often leading to the potential for a below-market purchase price.
  • Why It Matters: Motivated sellers can provide excellent investment opportunities, as they may be willing to sell their properties at a discount in exchange for a quick, hassle-free sale.
  • Real-World Application: An investor might find a motivated seller who needs to relocate quickly for a job. The investor can offer a quick cash sale, potentially acquiring the property below market value.


Net Operating Income (NOI)

  • Definition: The total income generated from a property, minus operating expenses.
  • Why It Matters: NOI is a key metric in evaluating a real estate investment's profitability. It helps investors to understand how much income a property will generate before accounting for financing costs.
  • Real-World Application: For example, if a property generates $25,000 per year in rent and has operating expenses of $5,000, the NOI is $20,000.

Non-Recourse Loan

  • Definition: A type of loan that is secured by collateral, which is usually the property. If the borrower defaults, the lender can only seize the collateral, not pursue the borrower's other assets.
  • Why It Matters: Non-recourse loans can limit an investor's risk. If an investment goes wrong, the lender can take back the property but can't go after the borrower's other assets.
  • Real-World Application: An investor might take out a non-recourse loan to finance a rental property. If the rental market crashes and they can't make their loan payments, the lender can only seize the property, not the investor's personal home or other assets.


Off-Market Property

  • Definition: Real estate that is not advertised publicly for sale.
  • Why It Matters: Off-market properties can offer great investment opportunities as there's often less competition, potentially leading to better purchase prices. Finding these properties often requires strong networking skills and local market knowledge.
  • Real-World Application: An investor might find an off-market deal through a real estate agent or personal contact. This could be a property that the owner is considering selling, but hasn't listed yet, providing the investor with an opportunity to make an offer before the property hits the market.


Passive Income

  • Definition: Income that requires little to no effort to earn and maintain.
  • Why It Matters: Real estate can be a great source of passive income, especially rental properties. The goal of passive income is to generate continual earnings that require minimal effort to maintain.
  • Real-World Application: An investor who owns a portfolio of rental properties might hire a property management company to handle day-to-day operations, allowing them to earn income from the properties with minimal effort.


  • Definition: A collection of investments held by an individual or a company.
  • Why It Matters: A diversified real estate portfolio can spread risk across different types of properties and geographic areas, potentially increasing returns and providing a more steady income.
  • Real-World Application: An investor's real estate portfolio might include a mix of single-family rentals, multi-family properties, commercial properties, and REIT shares, providing a balanced mix of investments.


  • Definition: A lender's conditional agreement to lend a specific amount to the borrower.
  • Why It Matters: Getting pre-approved can give real estate investors a competitive advantage when making offers, as it shows sellers that they have the financing in place to close the deal.
  • Real-World Application: Before shopping for a new investment property, an investor might get pre-approved for a mortgage. This gives them confidence in their budget and can make their offer more attractive to sellers.


  • Definition: A period of time between when a borrower defaults on a mortgage payment and when the lender begins the foreclosure process.
  • Why It Matters: Pre-foreclosure can be an opportunity for investors to find properties below market value. Homeowners might be motivated to sell before the property goes into foreclosure.
  • Real-World Application: An investor might find a list of pre-foreclosure properties in their local area and reach out to the homeowners to offer to buy the property.



  • Definition: The original amount of a loan, before interest.
  • Why It Matters: Understanding how principal works is key for investors as it forms part of their loan repayment. Each mortgage payment reduces the principal, building the investor's equity in the property.
  • Real-World Application: For example, if an investor takes out a $200,000 loan to purchase a property, that $200,000 is the principal. With each mortgage payment, they'll gradually reduce this principal amount, increasing their ownership stake in the property.

Private Money Lender

  • Definition: A non-institutional individual or company that loans money for the purpose of investing in real estate.
  • Why It Matters: Private money lenders offer an alternative financing option for real estate investors. They often provide more flexible terms and quicker access to funds than traditional lending institutions, but typically at a higher interest rate.
  • Real-World Application: An investor looking to purchase a property quickly might turn to a private money lender for financing, enabling them to secure the property without the lengthy approval process often associated with traditional lenders.

Probate Properties

  • Definition: Properties that are going through the legal process of transferring the estate of a deceased person without a will.
  • Why It Matters: Properties in probate can be an opportunity for investors as the heirs might be willing to sell the property below market value in order to quickly settle the estate.
  • Real-World Application: An investor could monitor probate court records to find potential properties to invest in. They could then contact the executor of the estate to express their interest in buying the property.

Property Management Company

  • Definition: A professional firm that manages properties on behalf of owners, handling tasks like finding tenants, collecting rent, and managing repairs.
  • Why It Matters: Hiring a property management company can be beneficial for investors who don't have the time or expertise to manage properties themselves. It can turn an active investment into a more passive one, but it does come at a cost, typically a percentage of the rental income.
  • Real-World Application: An investor with several rental properties might hire a property management company to handle day-to-day operations, freeing them to focus on finding new investment opportunities.


Real Estate Investment Group (REIG)

  • Definition: A group that invests in real estate properties, often pooling the resources of several investors.
  • Why It Matters: REIGs can be an effective way for individuals to invest in real estate without having to take on the full responsibility of owning and managing properties. It allows investors to diversify their portfolios and share the risks and returns.
  • Real-World Application: An individual might invest in an REIG that buys and manages apartment buildings, gaining exposure to the rental market without the need to directly manage properties.

Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)

  • Definition: A company that owns, operates, or finances income-producing real estate, allowing individuals to invest in portfolios of properties.
  • Why It Matters: REITs make it possible for individual investors to earn dividends from real estate investments without having to buy, manage, or finance any properties themselves. They're a way to invest in real estate with the liquidity of publicly-traded stocks.
  • Real-World Application: An investor might buy shares in a REIT that focuses on commercial real estate, earning income from the rent these properties generate.


  • Definition: The process of replacing an existing mortgage with a new loan, typically with better terms.
  • Why It Matters: Refinancing can help investors lower their monthly payments, pay off a loan faster, or pull out equity to finance other investments.
  • Real-World Application: If interest rates drop significantly, an investor might refinance their rental property to reduce their monthly mortgage payments and increase their cash flow.

Rent-to-Value (RTV) Ratio

  • Definition: A calculation used by real estate investors to determine the profitability of a property, calculated by dividing the monthly rent by the property's value.
  • Why It Matters: The RTV ratio helps investors evaluate rental income potential. Higher ratios may indicate higher cash flow potential, but can also indicate higher risk areas or older properties that may have more maintenance.
  • Real-World Application: If a property is worth $100,000 and rents for $1,000 per month, the RTV ratio would be 1%. This helps investors quickly compare potential rental income across different properties.

Return on Investment (ROI)

  • Definition: A measure of the profitability of an investment, calculated by dividing the net profit by the total investment cost.
  • Why It Matters: ROI is a critical metric for real estate investors, allowing them to measure the performance of their investments. It helps investors understand the yield from their property in relation to the initial and ongoing investment.
  • Real-World Application: If an investor buys a property for $100,000 and spends $20,000 on repairs, the total investment is $120,000. If they then sell the property for $150,000, the net profit is $30,000 and the ROI is 25%.


Seller Financing

  • Definition: A real estate agreement where the seller handles the mortgage process instead of a financial institution.
  • Why It Matters: Seller financing can be advantageous for investors, as the terms can be more flexible than traditional financing. It's especially useful when a buyer can't secure a traditional mortgage.
  • Real-World Application: If a seller owns a property free and clear, they might offer seller financing to attract more buyers and potentially get a higher sale price.

Short-Term Rental

  • Definition: A property that is rented out for short periods, typically less than six months, often through platforms like Airbnb.
  • Why It Matters: Short-term rentals can provide higher income than traditional rentals, but often require more management and come with different regulatory considerations.
  • Real-World Application: An investor might buy a property near a beach and list it on Airbnb as a vacation rental, providing a significant income during the peak tourist season.


Title Insurance

  • Definition: A form of insurance that protects the holder from financial loss sustained from defects in a title.
  • Why It Matters: Title insurance is crucial in protecting real estate investors against potential title issues such as fraud, errors in public records, or previous liens, ensuring that they have clear ownership of the property.
  • Real-World Application: When buying a property, an investor would typically purchase title insurance. If a previous owner's unpaid contractor lien is later discovered, the title insurance would protect the investor from financial loss.

Turnkey Property

  • Definition: A fully renovated home or apartment building that an investor can purchase and immediately rent out.
  • Why It Matters: Turnkey properties can be an easy entry into real estate investing for beginners or for those who prefer a hands-off investment. They typically require less work and expertise than a fixer-upper.
  • Real-World Application: An investor looking for passive income might buy a turnkey property from a company that not only renovates properties but also offers property management services.



  • Definition: The process through which lenders assess the creditworthiness and risk profile of a potential borrower.
  • Why It Matters: The underwriting process determines whether investors get approved for a loan and what interest rate they pay. It's essential for securing financing for real estate investments.
  • Real-World Application: During underwriting, a lender might review an investor's credit score, income, and debt levels to determine whether to approve a mortgage for a rental property purchase.


Vacancy Rate

  • Definition: The percentage of all available units in a rental property that are vacant or unoccupied at a particular time.
  • Why It Matters: The vacancy rate is an important factor in calculating the potential returns on a rental property. A high vacancy rate can significantly affect an investor's return on investment.
  • Real-World Application: If an investor is considering purchasing an apartment building in a location with a high vacancy rate, they might need to charge lower rent to attract tenants, which would impact their potential income from the property.



  • Definition: A real estate investment strategy that involves finding discounted properties, putting them under contract, and then selling the contract to another buyer.
  • Why It Matters: Wholesaling can be a way to earn money in real estate without needing a lot of capital, but it requires strong marketing and negotiation skills. It's a way to get started in real estate investing with minimal risk.
  • Real-World Application: An investor might put a distressed property under contract for $100,000 and then sell that contract to a flipper for $110,000, earning a $10,000 wholesale fee.



  • Definition: Government regulations that dictate how real property can and cannot be used in certain areas.
  • Why It Matters: Zoning laws impact where investors can build or renovate properties. Understanding zoning regulations is crucial when determining the potential uses and value of a property.
  • Real-World Application: Before buying a plot of land to build rental properties, an investor would need to check the local zoning laws to make sure multi-family buildings are allowed in that area.