Big words ..Simple definition of Real Estate terms - Part 1

Real Estate Agent with Samson Properties VA0225077251

You might have read and heard these big words in the Virginia Real Estate listings. Below are the definition to help you understand what these terms in simple language:

Master suite: It started as the head of the family sleeps in the room, which has a private bath and a private closet space. More and more master suites are becoming a home within a home.  Lot of home buyers is looking for huge master suites with luxurious baths and lavish closet space.


Egress Basement: 
Egress Basement means ability for anyone in the basement to be able to escape in a way other than the stairway to the upstairs.  This gives occupants more than one option should there be an emergency that requires fast and safe evacuation.  With newer building codes both at National and local levels there are more than various method you can have an egress exit out of your basement.

Here are few types of exits:

Walk out level: The daylight basement frequently uses a sliding glass door or French doors to provide ground level access to the rear yard. The land is typically flat or leveled near the exit. Many homeowners prefer the walk out level since it provides additional light in the basement. However the drawback is the main level the deck will be constructed at a significant height.

Walkout Stairway level: Typically found in houses built on lots which slope down from the front of the home to the rear. Similar to the walkout level basement it may have sliding glass door or French doors to provide ground level access to the rear yard through a stair case.



Egress Windows: Also known as well window. In a case where the walk out or walk out stairs in not doable you can have a well window/Egress window access. The window is large enough for an occupant to escape. Some egress windows may have a ladder to climb out.


Powder room:
Originally this room was a closet size ladies room in public. In a home this is another term for half bath that has a toilet and the sink. Powder room is located on the main level of the home .


Furnace/Heat Pump:
These are central cooling and heating appliances of the home. Major difference between the two is Furnaces typically has natural gas source of energy and Heat pumps runs on electricity.
There have been long standing argument which one is better for the home. Depending on your region and size of the home you may want to talk to your home inspector or HVAC specialist what will work in the home your own or purchasing.

French Door: A door whose panel consists of glass panes throughout its length surrounded by narrow stiles. Most home owner preferred to install these doors in study/library room or in some cases in the basement exit door. French doors do offer an open and airy feeling to the rooms since it lets additional light come through.

A dormer window refers to a portion of the roof that protrudes and has a window for viewing on the end.
Dormer windows are often added just for the appearance and appeal it gives to the home. From the street it will make the home look much larger and appear to be letting plenty of light into the home when in fact the dormer windows may be fake. In new construction they are offered as an option since the attic space is not sufficient enough to be finished they are more for beauty than any use. However in older homes they can help to turn your roof/attic  into a livable place and can add light and air to your new living space.




Pull Down Attic Stairway:
Most of the new homes or the older homes will have Attic space in the single family or townhomes in Virginia homes. Newer homes offer attic space for storage (which is not recommended) and in older homes they can be finished into a living space. To access these roof space depending on the layout of the roof thrust you may have a pull down stair case similar to shown in the picture or a board that needs to be pushed away to put a ladder against and climb up. In larger homes with zone heating, attic usually has heat pump.





Dual Zone:
In larger homes even in some town homes, one unit of the central heating and cooling appliance may not be sufficient to heat and cool the home. The building codes will require adding additional heat pump or furnace to avoid over load on a sole unit. When an additional unit is added the main unit will be used to control the temperature in the lower level or basement level and main level. Typically second unit will be in the attic and will be used to control temperature in upper level. In an estate home or an older home where addition is added a third unit may be installed specific for that room.

I will add more big words simple definition in may part 2 series. Stay tuned!

Would like to see any specific word in the list or need help understanding any Real Estate terms please feel free to email me at

Posted by

Associate Broker

NVAR, Life Time Top Producer
NVAR,Multiple Million Dollar Sales Club Member
Samson Properties
Cell - 703-625-4949
Email -
Residential real estate agent serving Northern Virginia in Fairfax & Loudoun county over a decade and almost $100+M in sales volume experience. 


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real estate terms
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Rob D. Shepherd
Windermere/lane county - Florence, OR
Principal Broker ABR, GRI

Open Floor Plan is a big one in our area when requesting home features they require.

Sep 02, 2010 03:35 AM #1
Ritu Desai
Samson Properties - Ashburn, VA
Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949

I will add the floor plan definition in my next list. thanks for the suggestion!

Sep 02, 2010 03:44 AM #2
Ralph Gorgoglione
Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes - Kihei, HI
Hawaii and California Real Estate (800) 591-6121

Hey Ritu,

This is a great idea to provide definition for terms that are sometimes not completely understood.

You've inspired me to write a similar type of blog.

Sep 02, 2010 03:44 AM #3
Bill Travis
Captain Bill Realty, LLC - Gilbert, AZ

I like that you included pictures with the definition. It would be hard for someone who doesn't know what a dormer is to understand it from a definition, unless they lived in an area were dormers are prevalent

Sep 02, 2010 03:48 AM #4
Ritu Desai
Samson Properties - Ashburn, VA
Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949

Ralph, great I look forward to reading your blog!!

Sep 02, 2010 03:52 AM #5
Ritu Desai
Samson Properties - Ashburn, VA
Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949

Val, I agree it is very hard for anyone to picture what we are talking about. A picture def. adds meaning to the definition.

Sep 02, 2010 03:53 AM #6
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

This is a good one, not just for consumers, but for agents filling out the MRIS information!  I find the "Daylight Walk-Out" description to be somewhat abused! 

Sep 02, 2010 04:05 AM #7
Ritu Desai
Samson Properties - Ashburn, VA
Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949

Pat, you are right one of the miss entered information is day light basement. Buyers and agents often ges confused and can cause a sale of home.

Sep 02, 2010 07:27 AM #8
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Ritu Desai

Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949
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