Accountant: Has a formal accounting education, where a bookkeeper may not. An accountant will handle your day-to-day financial needs including the preparation of your financial statements. Accountants can also prepare tax returns.

Agency bonds: The most popular and well-known are the bonds of mortgage associations, nicknamed Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But many federal and state agencies also issue bonds to raise money for their operations and projects.

Amex (American Stock Exchange): The rival New York Curb Exchange was founded in 1842. It's name said it all: trading actually took place on the street until it moved indoors in 1921. In 1953, the Curb Exchange became the American Stock Exchange.

Amortization: Gradual repayment of a debt by periodic installments that cover both principal and interest.

Annual percentage rate (APR): The effective rate of interest for a loan. The APR reflects all the costs of financing - including points, origination fees, and other finance charges - and is usually higher than the interest rate alone.

Appraisal: A estimate or opinion of the value of a property by an impartial person skilled in the analysis and valuation of real estate.

Asset: Something that puts money in your pocket whether you work or not. Assets include real estate, businesses, and paper assets such as dividend-producing stocks.

Assumable loan: An existing loan on a property that the seller is able to pass on to the borrower.



Balloon loan: Mortgage loan in which the remaining amount is fully due and payable at a specified, predetermined date. Balloon loans may have a better interest rate, but you will have to be prepared to pay the remaining balance of the loan in full (or obtain a new loan) at the specified time.

Baltex index: A new index rolled out by the Baltic exchange related to the shipping industry.

Blue chips stocks: Is a term borrowed from poker, where the blue chips are the most valuable, and refers to the stocks of the largest, most consistently profitable corporations. The list isn't official - and it does change.

Bonds: May be tax-free Municipal Bonds, U.S. Government issued Treasuries or Corporate Bonds which reflect debt by the issuing authority in exchange for interest payment to the purchaser.

Bookkeeper: Keeps track of your bookkeeping records. In most cases you'll want a "full charge" bookkeeper - one who can pay bills, properly code them, track accounts receivable and payable, do payroll and prepare financial statements and tax returns.

Book value: Is the difference between the company's assets and liabilities. A small or low book value from too much debt, for example, means that the companies profits will be limited even if it does lots of business. Sometimes a low book value means that assets are under estimated; experts consider these kinds of companies good.



Call options: Buy - The right to buy the underlying item at the strike price until the expiration date. Sell - Selling the right to buy the underlying item from you at the strike price until the expiration date. Known as a writing call.

Cap: The limit, expressed as a percentage, on the amount of an increase charged by a lender under the terms of an adjustable rate mortgage. Caps protect the borrower from large, unexpected interest rate increases.

CAP (capitalization) rate: This is the Net Operating Income divided by the purchase price. It does not take debt into account. It is an indicator of the value of the property. A general rule of thumb is the higher the CAP rate the lower the price of the property relative to its value. The lower the CAP rate the higher the price relative to its value.

Capital gain: The difference between the price at which you bought an investment and the price at which you sold it, less improvements made and other money in the investment.

Capitalism: Economic system which includes private property ownership and free market forces to determine the price of goods and services. Capitalists raise capital and take risks by leveraging other people’s money and other people’s time for the opportunity to make a profit.

Cash: Savings account, money market funds, certificates of deposit.

Cash flow: The difference between the money flowing into your pocket as income and the money flowing out as expenses and debt. Cash flow may be either positive or negative.

Cash-on-cash return on investment (CCR): This is the amount of annual cash flow divided by the amount of cash you have put into the deal (primarily the down payment). It is shown as a percentage.

Cash on cash return (CCR): In real estate, it's a percentage figure determined by dividing the annual cash flow of a property by the amount of cash put into the property (typically the down payment and closing costs.)

Certified public accountant (CPA): Has passed a state exam, which gives them the CPA designation. There are many types of CPAs and specialties. Not all CPAs are tax specialists. CPAs may help you with management issues in your company (as controller or chief financial officer) audit your financial statements for loan purposes (auditor), or help you with tax planning. (Known as Chartered Accountant in other countries)

Closing: The process by which ownership of a property passes from the seller to the buyer. Closing includes the delivery of a deed, financial adjustments, the signing of notes, and the disbursement of funds necessary to complete the sale.

Closing agent: A third-party agent of your choosing (an attorney, escrow agent, representative of the title company, or a professional closing agent), who handles all aspects of the actual transaction.

Closing costs: The expenses incurred in the completion of a real estate transaction.

Commodities: Resources which include gold, silver, copper and other precious metals or food products such as pork bellies, wheat, corn, etc.

Common stocks: Equity issued by a company that gives the buyer ownership in the company. Stocks may or may not pay the buyer a dividend.

Communism: A totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian government party controls state-owned means of production.

Contingency: A condition in an offer sheet or contract that must be met before the deal can go forward.

Corporate bonds : Are readily available to investors as companies use them rather than bank loans to finance expansion and other activities.

Cost segregation: An accounting strategy which allows you to depreciate your property at an accelerated rate.

Counter offer: A response to an offer to purchase a property that introduces new or different terms and conditions.

Credit report: An Assessment, provided by a local retail credit association, of an individual's ability to repay debt.

Currency: A generally accepted form of money, which is issued by a government and circulated within an economy. Used as a medium of exchange for goods and services, currency is the basis for trade.



Debit: The mortgage or loan on a property.

Debit Card: A card used for making payments that looks similar to a credit card, but is more like a check in the sense that funds are withdrawn directly from the bank account it is attached to, or from the remaining balance on the card. Also known as a bank card or check card.

Debt or debt service: The debt or mortgage payment on a property.

Deferred maintenance: Necessary repairs and upkeep that have been left undone by the seller. Maintenance that has been deferred can represent an opportunity in a deal, allowing you to negotiate a lower price.

Deflation: A decline in prices, which is often caused by a reduction in the supply of money or credit. Deflation is often accompanied by increased unemployment.

Democracy: A government by the people. Rule of the majority

Derivative: A contract whose value is based on the performance of an underlying financial asset, index, or other investment.

Dividend: Distribution of earnings to shareholders, prorated by class of security and paid in the form of money, stock, script, or, rarely, company products or property.

Dividend yield: Annual percentage of return earned by an investor on a common or preferred stock. The yield is determined by dividing the amount of annual dividends per share, called the indicated dividend, by the current market price per share of the stock.

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA): An index which measures the market performance of it's 30 component stocks over time.

Down payment: Cash paid by the buyer at closing, representing a percentage of the purchase price. Different types of loans may require different percentages of down payment.

Due diligence: A research process that provides accurate and complete information regarding the physical, financial, and legal attributes of a property.



Earned income: Income that you work for.

Earnings per share: Are calculated by dividing the number of shares into profit. If earnings increase each year, the company is growing.

Equities: Ownership interest processed by shareholders in a corporation-stock as opposed to bonds.

Equity: The value of a real estate property less the mortgage and other liabilities related to it.

Escrow: Money or property put into the custody of a 3rd party until certain conditions are met.

Estoppel certificate: A written statement by each tenant outlining the amount of rent being paid and whether any concessions have been promised to the tenant during the rest of the term of the lease.

Eviction: The process of legally removing a tenant from a rental unit or rental property. Evictions are granted for the non-payment of rent or other breach with the terms of the lease.



Fascism: A political philosophy that exalts nation, and often race, above the individual. It stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

Financial statement: There are several types of financial statements. An Income statement shows a detailed account of income and expenses for a particular period of time. A balance sheet includes the assets and liabilities at a particular time. A statement of cash flow details cash coming in and cash going out. Individuals, properties and businesses all have their own financial statements.

Financing terms: This specifies the type of loan (new, seller financing, assumable, etc.) available, the amount to be financed, as well as an estimated interest rate.

Fixed rate mortgage: A mortgage loan whose interest rate is fixed for a portion or the entire term of the loan. The interest rate will usually be higher that of an adjustable rate mortgage.

Fixer-upper: A property that needs repairs and renovation.

Foreclosure: A legal process whereby a mortgage is terminated and possession of the property is taken over by the lender. Foreclosures usually occur for failure to make payments.

For Sale by Owner (FSBO): a property being sold without contracting a real estate agent professional's services.

Futures: Are obligations to buy or sell a specific commodity - such as corn or gold - on a specific day for a preset price.



Gross income: Stated as monthly and/or annually, this is the total of all income from all units whether they are actually rented or not.



Harper index: A collection of information set out in single lines as if it were statistical data.

Hedge fund: Private investment partnership (for US investors) or an offshore investment corporation (for non US tax exempt investors) in which the general partner has made substantial personal investment, and whose offering memorandum allows for the fund to take both long and short positions, use leverage and derivatives, and invest in many markets.

Hyperinflation: A period of rapid inflation that leaves a country’s currency virtually worthless.



Inflation: Prices of goods and services increase as the value of the currency falls, often caused by excessive money supply.

Initial Public Offering (IPO): Taking a company public, which means making it possible for investors to buy the stock, the management makes an initial public offering.

Intellectual property: An original creative work, such as an invention, a product or a company brand, that is tangible and can be protected by a patent, trademark or copyright.

Internal rate of return (IRR): This is a return on an investment that assumes all the income (passive/cash flow) you receive is immediately reinvested so that you would be getting a return on that money as well.

Interest: The amount, expressed as a percentage of the total, that a lender charges a borrower for a loan.

Investing: The act of committing money or capital to an endeavor (a business, project, real estate, etc.) with the expectation of obtaining additional income or profit.







Labor unions: An organization of workers joined to protect their common interests and improve their working conditions. A portion of workers’ dues is often given to specific political parties for the purpose of influencing legislation that favors the workers.

Lease: A legally binding, contractual agreement between landlord and tenant for the occupancy of a rental property. A strong lease stipulates all terms and conditions of the landlord - tenant relationship.


  1. The degree to which an investor or a business uses borrowed money. High leverage means greater risk.
  2. In real estate, borrowing money from a financial lender to purchase a property is a form of leverage. You put down a small percentage of money, the bank loans you the rest, and you purchase 100% of the property.


Liability: Something that takes money out of your pocket. Liabilities include items such as credit card debt, home mortgages, car loans, school loans etc.

Loan servicing: The paperwork involved in handling mortgage loans.

Loan-to-value ratio (LTV): The amount of a mortgage loan compared to the value of the property purchased. A $100,000 house with a loan of $80,000 has an 80% loan-to-value ratio.

Loss to lease: This occurs when you are charging rents below what the market is charging. To calculate subtract the actual rents you are receiving from the market rent.



Maturity: The date when a loan is due in full.

Mortgage: A written agreement that gives the lender an interest in the property as security for a loan.

Mortgage broker: Professionals who match financial institutions with money to lend to investors who want to borrow.

Municipal bonds: More than 1 million municipal bonds are issued by states, cities, and other local governments to pay for construction and other projects. The not-so-secret charm of municipal bonds is their tax exempt status. Investors do not have to share their earnings with the IRS-or state taxing authorities.

Mutual funds: Professionally managed portfolio of Stocks or Bonds.



National Association of Securities Dealers (NASDAQ): The principal home of top US growth companies as well as International companies trading shares in the US NASDAQ real-time quotes are transmitted through and International computer and telecommunications network to more than 1.3 million users in 83 countries.

Negative gearing: Gearing is borrowing. Negative gearing is borrowing when the maintenance costs exceed the income. Investors use the temporary loss as a strategy to reduce their tax burden, hoping to earn a capital-gain profit when they eventually sell.

Net operating income: The total collected income less the total operating expenses.

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE): The New York Stock Exchange provides facilities for stock trading and rules under which trading takes place. It has no responsibility for setting the price of a stock. That is the result of supply and demand, and the trading process.

Notice: A period of time, stipulated in writing, before a stated action will take place. Leases usually specify the amount of the notice the landlord must give the tenant before inspecting the property, charging late fees or beginning the eviction process.

Note (Promissory): A promise to pay a sum of money, over time, in increments or in one lump sum, usually together with interest, which may or may not be secured by some form of collateral, real or personal.



Offer sheet: Also known as a letter of intent, a proposal to enter into an agreement to purchase a specific property from another party.

Operating expenses: This includes all the expenses attributed to the operation of the property.

Origination fees: Charges to a borrower, stated as a percentage of the loan amount, for costs and fees associated with issuing the loan.

Other income: This is additional income collected in the form of laundry, parking, vending machines, etc.

Over the counter (OTC): Stocks in more than 28,000 small and new companies are traded in the over-the-counter market. The term originated at the time when you actually bought stock over the counter from a local broker.



Passive income: Income you receive from businesses you invest in, royalties and rental real estate investments. It is income you are not working for.

Point: One percentage of a mortgage loan amount. A point is an additional charge by the lender at the time of loan origination as a placement or service fee.

Portfolio income: Income derived from paper assets such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.

Price per unit: The asking or purchase price of a property divided by the total number of rental units.

Price per square foot: The asking or purchase price divided by the total rentable square footage.

Preferred stock: Are also ownership shares issued by a corporation and traded by investors. They are sold initially by the corporation and then traded among investors.

Private equity: Equity capital that is not quoted on a public exchange. Private equity consists of investors and funds that make investments directly into private companies or conduct buyouts of public companies that result in a delisting of public equity.

Private mortgage insurance (PMI): Insurance against default issued by a private company on conventional mortgage loans. Such insurance is usually required when the down payment is less than 20%.

Pro forma: A projected financial statement showing income, expenses, and financing terms typically based on anticipated, not actual, numbers.

Prospectus: Formal written offer to sell securities that set forth the plan for a proposed business enterprise or facts concerning an existing one that an investor needs to make an informed decision.

Put options: Buy - The rights to sell the underlying item at the strike price until the expiration date. Sell - Selling the rights to sell the underlying item to you until the expiration date. Known as writing a put.

PITI: Abbreviation for principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. The acronym is used to describe what may be included in the monthly repayment of a mortgage loan.





Real estate: Land and buildings.

Real estate purchase contract: Also known as an agreement of sale, a legally binding agreement between buyer and seller stipulating the terms and conditions of the sale of a real estate property.

Rent per square foot: Divide the rent of a unit by the total number of square feet of that unit. The rent per square foot gives you a more accurate picture when comparing rents of similar properties.

Repayment penalty: A fee charged to the borrower if the mortgage loan is paid off before it's full term.

Return on investment (ROI): The amount of income you receive from an investment divided by the total amount invested into the investment.

Return on equity: Is a percentage figured by dividing a company's earnings per share by its book value.

Reverse split: a reverse split you exchange more stocks for fewer - say ten for five - and the price increases accordingly. Reverse splits are sometimes used to raise a stock's price.



Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): In the wake of the great depression and the stock trading scandals that it exposed, the US government created Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 1934. It's mission is to regulate the activities of stock traders.

Selling short: Sale of a security or commodity futures contract that is not owned by the seller; a technique used (1) to take advantage of an anticipated decline in the price or (2) to protect a profit in a long position.

Seller financing: The seller acts as the bank and finances any portion of the purchase price for the buyer. The buyer pays the seller the principal and interest agreed upon.

Service contract: A written agreement for a maintenance provider- such as a landscaper, plumber, electrician, or handyman - to perform routine maintenance repairs, and/or emergency service. Service contracts are worthwhile if you own several properties and have frequent service requests. Stockbroker: Employee of a stock exchange member broker/dealer who acts as an Account Executive for clients.

Socialism: Economic system which is based on cooperation rather than competition. Focuses on central governmental planning and distribution and takes care of citizens’ personal lives, using taxpayers’ money.

Stock split: More shares created at a lower price per share. Stockholders profit if the price goes back up.

Strategic default: The property owner intentionally defaults on mortgage payments rather than continue to make payments on a property with a greatly reduced value.



Tax advantages: Any type of investment, account, or plan that is either exempt from taxation, tax deferred, or offers other types of tax benefits.

T-Bonds and T-Notes: These long term debt issues of the Federal Government funding to keep operations running and to pay interest on national debt.

T-Bills: Treasury bills are the largest component of the money market - the market for short term debt securities. The government uses them to raise money for immediate spending at lower rates than bonds or notes.

Term: The period of time until a loan must be repaid.

Title deed: A legal document showing ownership to a specific property.



Unit mix: The type of units of a property - i.e. studio, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom/1 bath - and the quantity of each type of unit.

Underwriting: The formal approval or denial of a loan based on the purchaser's ability to pay off the loan and the value of the property as collateral.

U.S. Treasury bonds: The U.S. treasury offers three choices: bonds, bills and notes. A key difference is their term, from 13 weeks to 30 years.



Venture capital: Important source for financing start-up companies or others embarking on new Turnaround ventures that entail some investment risk but offer the potential for above average future profits; also called risk capital.

Vacancy rate: A figure representing either the percentage of units unrented or the percentage of time a single unit remains unrented during the year. If your gross income is $1000 and your vacancy rate is 10% then you will collect $1000 - $100 or $900 in income.



Wealth: As defined by R. Buckminster Fuller, the number of days you can survive without working for money, while still maintaining your same standard of living.







Zoning laws: Regulations governing land use, population density, a building size and use. Set by local governments, zoning laws typically change as communities develop.