Many disciplines are involved in the purchase of real estate.  These include professional home inspectors, escrow agents, title insurance, and real estate agents.  In addition, specific rules and laws apply.

There is much to learn and it is ever-changing!

This Buyer's Guide is a resource that gives an oversight to the entire process.  It does not cover all possible considerations and does not purport to replace professional guidance that buyers may need with tax and legal considerations.  

What are some tips on negotiation?

The more you know about a seller's motivation, the stronger a negotiating position you are in. For example, seller who must move quickly due to a job transfer may be amenable to a lower price with a speedy escrow. Other so-called "motivated sellers" include people going through a divorce or who have already purchased another home.   Remember, that the listing price is what the seller would like to receive but is not necessarily what they will settle for. Before making an offer, check the recent sales prices of comparable homes in the neighborhood to see how the seller's asking price stacks up. 

Some experts discourage making deliberate low-ball offers. While such an offer can be presented, it can also sour the sellers and discourage them from negotiating at all.

Do sellers have to disclose the terms of other offers?

Sellers are not legally obligated to disclose the terms of other offers to prospective buyers but are allowed to do so by law.

What do all of those real estate acronyms in the ads mean?

If you find yourself stumbling over weird acronyms in a real estate listing, don't be alarmed. There is method to the madness of this shorthand (which is mostly adopted by sellers to save money in advertising charges). Here are some abbreviations and the meaning of each, taken from a recent newspaper classified section, including:

  •  assum. fin. -- assumable financing
  •  dk -- deck 
  •  gar -- garage (garden is usually abbreviated "gard")
  •  expansion pot'l -- may be extra space on the lot, or possibly vertical potential for a top floor or room addition. Verify actual potential by checking local zoning restrictions prior to purchase.
  •  fab pentrm -- fabulous pentroom, a room on top, underneath the roof, that sometimes has views
  •  FDR -- formal dining room (not the former president)
  •  frplc, fplc, FP -- fireplace
  •  grmet kit -- gourmet kitchen
  •  HDW, HWF, Hdwd -- hardwood floors 
  •  hi ceils -- high ceilings
  •  In-law potential -- potential for a separate apartment. Sometimes, local zoning codes restrict rentals of such units so be sure the conversion is legal first.
  •  large E-2 plan -- this is one of several floor plans available in a specific building
  •  lsd pkg. -- leased parking area, may come with an additional cost
  •  lo dues -- find out just how low these homeowner's dues are, and in comparison to what?
  •  nr bst schls -- near the best schools 
  •  pvt -- private
  •  pwdr rm -- powder room, or half-bath 
  •  upr- upper floor 
  •  vw, vu, vws, vus -- view(s) 
  •  Wow! -- better check this one out.

Real Estate's Ambiguous Language You Oughtta Understand," Glennon H. Neubauer, Ethos Group Publishing, Diamond Bar, CA; 1993.

Click on the categories below for specific information:

Contingencies in Real Estate Purchases

Inspections for Real Estate Purchases

Other Considerations

For additional information on purchasing a home, click on the red buttons on the home page labeled "Buying" and "Selling."

Donna States
Donna States
Broker Associate
No Address Provided Torrance CA 90505