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Property Listings 101: What the Details Really Mean


When unpacking the many terms and lingo in real estate listings, it can get cumbersome deciphering what each means. This is especially true when property listings feature an array of acronyms you've never heard of before.

We've compiled a set of acronyms you may encounter and how they'll affect the homebuying process.


Don't let this first acronym fool you—it's not an indication that this property is a stinker despite its close proximity to "bomb." In fact, it stands for "Back on Market," which means the property had returned to the market after a pending sale that fell through. This is typically due to the sale falling out of escrow or experiencing contract issues in the post-acceptance period.


Nope, we're not talking about classic cars—"REO" actually refers to "Real Estate Owned." When included in a real estate listing, this generally means that the property is owned by a financial institution rather than an individual. Commonly, this is due to a default on the borrower's part or a foreclosure.


So a listing indicates that a "CMA" has been performed on the property or that the price is reflective of a "CMA"—what does this actually mean to a buyer? No, they're not referring to their collection of Country Music Awards. In fact, this acronym stands for "Comparative Market Analysis," a report that outlines how the home and its price/value compare to other similar properties in the area.


This one is perhaps less common than the others, but it's important to know its origins nonetheless. "EAL" stands for "Exclusive Agency Listing," which means that the owner of the home in question has granted his or her real estate agent's firm the exclusive rights to market or sell the home, while retaining the right to evade a commission in the event the seller finds a buyer him or herself first. Though you may see it in a listing, it will have almost little to now effect from a homebuyer perspective.


One last acronym to clear up for you, homebuyers—when a listing includes the letters "AWC," what are we dealing with from a prospecting perspective? This nickname stands for "Active with Contract," which indicates that an offer has been accepted on the property, but the seller is seeking potential backup offers in the event the accepted one doesn't pan out. If the house and price is right, this might be an opportunity to be this seller's plan B!

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