If you’re actively searching for a home, you’ve probably poured over dozens or even hundreds of listings. Real estate listings include quite a bit of information, so abbreviations are a popular way to shorten the write-up. However, this can be confusing if you’re not familiar with all of the acronyms.

Learning some of the most common real estate abbreviations will help you read and understand listings more quickly. Here are 20 acronyms you should know:

Debt to Income Ratio

1. DTI: Debt to Income Ratio

Your debt to income ratio is the number of monthly debt payments you have compared to your monthly income. Mortgage lenders consider your DTI to determine whether or not you can afford your mortgage payments, so keeping your DTI as low as possible will increase your chances of approval.

Certificate of Occupancy

2. COO: Certificate of Occupancy

The certificate of occupancy is a document issued by your local zoning or building department that confirms that the home is ready for occupancy. To receive the COO for your home, it must be compliant with the building codes and safety standards in your area.


Annual Percentage Rate

3. APR: Annual Percentage Rate

The APR includes your mortgage interest and other charges you pay when you take out your loan, such as closing costs, loan origination fees, and mortgage insurance. It is expressed as a percentage.

Multiple Listing Service

4. MLS: Multiple Listing Service

The MLS is a database that real estate agents use to share and find information about properties for sale. It’s generally the best source of information about local home listings, but access is restricted to industry professionals.

Single Family Home

5. SFH: Single Family Home

Also called a single-family residence, or SFR, a single-family home is a home with only one living unit.

Multi-family Home

6. MFH: Multi-family Home

A multi-family home is a property that has two to four living units. This could be a small apartment building, a townhouse, a duplex, or any other residential building.

Commercial Real Estate

7. CRE: Commercial Real Estate

CRE is a broad term that includes virtually all properties except single-family homes and multi-family homes. Residential properties with more than four units, office buildings, hotels, and industrial spaces are all considered commercial real estate.

For Sale by Owner

8. FSBO: For Sale by Owner

FSBO homes are listed and sold by the homeowner without help from a real estate agent. This helps homeowners save on commission and fees, but it can also increase the risk of mistakes during the transaction.

Comparative Market Analysis

9. CMA: Comparative Market Analysis

A CMA is a detailed breakdown of a property’s value that is calculated based on how it compares to similar properties in the area. It also reflects the current state of the real estate market.

After Repair Value

10 ARV: After Repair Value

ARV is the expected value of a property after it goes through repairs, upgrades, or renovations. This term is commonly used for investors who flip houses for profit. If you plan to buy an investment property for renovation, your lender may ask for the ARV to determine your loan amount.

Return on Investment

11. ROI: Return on Investment

ROI is the ratio of the net profit to the cost of the investment. For example, a $100,000 investment that gains $20,000 in value has a 20 percent ROI.

Net Operating Income

11. NOI: Net Operating Income

NOI is a metric used in commercial real estate to represent the profitability of a property. You can calculate a property’s NOI by subtracting the operating expenses from its rental revenue. For example, if your rental property brings in $15,000 per month with $10,000 in operating costs, the NOI is $5,000.

Rent to Own

12. RTO: Rent to Own

RTO is a type of lease that gives the tenant the option of buying the home after their rental period. Some or all of the rental payments go toward building equity in the home.

Owner Occupied

13 OO: Owner Occupied

In an owner-occupied home, the owner of the property lives on the premises in one of the rental units. You might also see the acronym NOO, which stands for non-owner occupied.

About the Author
Whether you’re renting a co-op or buying a mansion, my 26+ years of award-winning experience and my love for this city and it's neighbourhoods can help you make the right decisions.

I can help you to price property, find property, negotiate deals, qualify buyers, acquire financing, prepare your home for sale, market your home, find contractors, and more.