When buying a new home, I’m sure you may have felt like in addition to saving for a down payment, applying for a mortgage and finding your perfect home, there was something you may not have anticipated; learning a new language. 

When you entered the real estate world your head might have started spinning trying to figure out the secret language of home buying.

Terminology and acronyms such as; APR, ARM, DOM, and PMI get thrown around like nothing.  At some point, you might think you need to download a translation app on your smartphone, especially if this is your first home buying experience.

For reference these acronyms stand for:

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): How much loan costs annually. The APR includes the interest rate, points, broker fees and certain other credit charges a borrower is required to pay.

Adjustable Rate (Known as an ARM): A mortgage that offers a lower initial rate and lower payments, but eventually adjusts and fluctuates along with interest rates for the life of the loan.

DOM (Days on Market): Days on market indicates how long the house has been for sale or on the market.  This information could come in handy when it comes to negotiating an offer.

Private Mortgage Insurance/PMI: Insurance that protects the lender in the event that the buyer defaults on their loan. This insurance is required if the buyer does not put down 20 percent on a home.

Once you move into the luxury home market clients are introduced to the “normal” home buying language and then home buying terminology that includes what could be considered slang (only in the highest sense of the word) that describes all of the products and features available in upscale homes, typically priced at $1 million and above.

The amenities available in a $300,000 home will more than likely not be the same as that of a $3 million home.  When is the last time you saw an MLS; Multiple Listing Service advertisement (for those who didn’t know) for an infrared sauna, a saline pool, invisible appliances, a helipad or a dumbwaiter?

Those distinct features are the reason luxury home buyers may be in need of their own glossary of real estate terms.  Below you will find a list of the most common luxury home descriptions.  If you’re lucky your new home may include more than a few of these high-end amenities.

Al Fresco Dining – Outdoor dining. In the context of luxury homes, this often means dining on an open-air veranda, courtyard, terrace, or balcony.

Balustrade – A rail and the row of balusters or posts that support it, as along the front of a gallery.

Beverage Centers – Once tied down to a solitary refrigerator in the kitchen, beverage centers now make appearances all over the house: game rooms, master bedrooms, family rooms. With espresso machines, wine chillers, and mini-refrigerators all a short walk away, drinking a beverage has never been so luxurious.

Butler’s Pantry – Historically, a butler’s pantry was a small room between the formal dining room and the kitchen where the family silver and formal china were stored. The butler often slept here, as it was his job to guard the silver. Today, the space has evolved into a wet bar and prep area, as well as a display area for design elements and decorative items.

Catering Kitchen – Hosting large events on a regular basis requires ample space for food preparation and servers away from the eyesight of guests, yet still close to the action of the party. Catering kitchens provide that amenity for those elegant hosts who know how to throw the best parties.

Dumbwaiter – A small elevator used to convey food (or other goods) from one floor of a building to another.

Infinity pool – A swimming pool who’s positioning gives the impression that it merges into the surrounding landscape.

Invisible Appliances – Appliances, such as a refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, or washer and dryer, with exteriors disguised to match the cabinetry, the idea being that it feels more welcoming.

Sub-Zero – Sub-Zero brand refrigerators, freezers, and wine storage are designed with advanced technologies and are popular in luxury homes due to their sealed systems, advanced temperature controls, and humidity systems.