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THREE Peat! – Even More Ways to Describe Complicated Crap

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THREE peat

For me, it’s a bit like getting a Christmas present. I almost feel like our friends at National Mortgage News are offering me a smiling challenge. Here’s why …

Last year, I took the opportunity to post a spoof on their slideshow: 10 Mortgage Abbreviations Everyone in the Industry Should Know. Then, a few months later, they offered 10 more abbreviations every mortgage pro must know, which gave me the chance to do it again here! And now, we have 10 purchase market abbreviations every mortgage pro must know: How can I possibly resist? This time, let’s adopt a before and after approach so the “improvement” is more noticeable!


  • CMA Comparative market analysis
  • FSBO For sale by owner
  • BTSA Bonus to selling agent paid by listing agent
  • COE Close of escrow
  • HOA Homeowners association
  • MLS Multiple listing service
  • FMV Fair market value
  • TIC Tenants in common
  • EMD Earnest money deposit
  • PID Public improvement district



(Also known as AI but not the trendy mortgage business AI, or artificial intelligence. We used little real or fabricated intelligence here!) 🙂


No, no we are not referring to the Country Music Awards, or a Certified Management Accountant, or a Certified Medical Assistant. See, this is exactly why all of this terminology needs to be redone. Here we go.

In this reference, a comparative market analysis is the activity real estate agents undergo in order to determine a fair price for a home that will be sold. It compares the pending sale to sales of other like-properties that have recently been on the market in the same area.

But let’s be honest here. If Uncle Joey passed away and all his family lived hours away in nicer places and had no desire to move, they might sell a house they inherited at a much lower price than the neighborhood deemed appropriate. Or, if the tiniest and most humble house on the street happened to be the birthplace of [fill in your favorite celebrity, sports icon, or political legend here] then the sale of that abode may yield more than if I grew up there. Or, sad but true, if the property was the location of a heinous crime made public on news media, then the CMA may be CM WAY down.

Therefore, let’s call it what it is … CMA has now officially been renamed as ECS (pronounced EEEKKKSS) and standing for Educated Crap Shoot. There, absolutely NO confusion with Carrie Underwood will ever happen again!

For Sale By Owner


This reminds me of a joke. Let’s take a quick chuckle break …

When a real-estate agency hadn’t sold our house, we decided to do it ourselves. I placed ads in the local papers, spray painted a “For Sale” message on a sign board and posted it outside.

When my husband came home that evening, he told me, laughing, that my sign was the most truthful one he had ever seen. Confused, I rushed outside to take a look. In my haste I had printed – “For Sale by Ower.”

We’ll leave this one as FSBO, but redesign what it stands for. From For Sale By Owner, to For Sale By Ower.


BTSA, or bonus to selling agent, is now better known as TIIR for The Icky Itsy Rule, pronounced teer. Why would anyone give a bonus to a selling agent who will paid a goodly sum anyway? According to USLegal.com. It …

 “... is used to provide extra incentive for real estate agents to show a particular listing. It is a compensation offered to a real estate agent who brings a buyer to the transaction.”

But as I kept Googling, I found many articles posted from home buyers who felt used, abused, and otherwise unhappy with this arrangement. So that makes it kind of icky; hence the inclusion of that word in the “new” word! The word itsy is included because BTSA kind of, sort of sounds like Bitsy, don’t you think? And itsy bitsy reminds me of the old “Itsy Bitsy Spider” song that teaches all our little ones about frustration, and gives them an early definition of insanity--doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. And, no, I don’t drink as I compose these!


According to mortgage101.com, Close of escrow means

“... essentially that a real estate transaction has been completed and that the sale is final.”

COE is the time when, in most cases as the home buyer, you have to move out of your former home, apartment or parent’s basement, and move into your new home. So things like utilities must be turned on. Furniture must be procured and moved. Pets have to be transported and acclimated. Change of address cards may need to be sent. Whew! You need an orchestra conductor or at least a YouTube video! But you’re probably doing all of this yourself! Wow! YOU are the true Maestro!! And there it is! We’ll rename Close of Escrow as MMM for Maestro Moving Mountains. Next time I know someone buying a home, I shall ask them when MMM happens!

Orchestra Conductor


Yes, this mean the same as prostitute. Just kidding; I was temporarily reminded of Eddie Murphy's ancient R Rated SNL skit.

But I recall doing some mortgages for condos where I needed the Home Owners Association information and, well, feeling like I got a little banged up in the process. Apparently some HOAs in New Jersey and New York do not have phones or fax machines or email addresses that work … you get the picture.

However, being on the other side, I’ve seen HOAs solve many problems for unit owners-- like arranging needed roof replacements, vanquishing noisy neighbors or pets, providing gorgeous landscaping, or plowing snow. So the HOA is either a roadblock and an occasionally arrogant impediment to obtaining home loan financing, or the savior of the owners and a large part of the reason they didn't buy a SFD?

All of that kind of reminds me of those theater comedy/tragedy masks, where we get “both sides”:

Comedy Tragedy Masks

In ancient Greek literature, Thalia was the Muse of comedy (the laughing face), and Melpomene was the Muse of tragedy. So let’s rename HOA as TMA for Tragedy Muse Association! (Come on, you got some free education out of this one!)


Get this. The multiple listing service allows consumers to search a database of homes for sale everywhere in the US. Rght? Well, no.

I continue to be flabbergasted (and isn't that a fine word?) that New York City has yet to embrace MLS. It’s too long and feeble an explanation for here, involving square footage and the bigger real estate firms there. We’ll just call MLS what it is, and that’s Used Everywhere But Flabbergasted in New York, or UEBFINY (pronounced Ube-Fin-ee).


Here it is from Investopedia, so that Fair Market Value is not confused with CMA ECS in #1 above.

Fair market value is the price at which a buyer and seller are willing to exchange a good. If certain conditions are met, an item’s fair market value will represent an accurate valuation of the good being exchanged. Those conditions are:

Both parties know the relevant facts about the item
The trade serves the best interests of both parties
Both parties are free of any pressure to make the trade
The transaction is not so rushed that the buying party does not have time to make an informed decision

For example, a homeowner puts her house up for sale. She is asking for $300,000. A prospective buyer offers $270,000. The two negotiate, and finally agree on a price of $282,000.”

In the example above, it is quite possible the Fair Market Value of a home is $282,000 but the ECS (formerly CMA) is $320,000 based on sales of similar properties locally. As my dad used to say, the FMV is what someone will actually PAY you, not necessarily what something is worth. Let’s call it, then, the PP, for Pay Price.



TIC this time means tenants in common. But, just for a second, I bet you thought it referred to those tiny arachnids that live by feeding on the blood of mammals, birds, etc. But wait a minute! Perhaps there are vague similarities. The online legal dictionary tells us that:

“Tenancy in Common is a specific type of concurrent, or simultaneous, ownership of real property by two or more parties. ... All tenants in common hold an individual, undivided ownership interest in the property. This means that each party has the right to alienate, or transfer the ownership of, her ownership interest.”

So if ticks owned homes, ticks could also be TICs! (sorry)  Anyway, having had pets almost all of my life, the word tick connotes a truty negative image. So let’s change this one immediately.

To best illustrate TICs, we need to think of what happens when property owners die.  If the property was owned in a joint tenancy and someone dies, the “home” automatically gets transferred to the remaining surviving owners. Similarly, if a married couple owns a home and one spouse passes, tenants by the entirety have rights of survivorship and the surviving spouse immediately becomes the sole owner of the property. But with TICs, each joint owner owns a specific share in the property, and after  the death of an owner, that share can be left to anyone, not necessarily the other owner(s).

This is just way too much about people dying, too morose. Let’s lift it up by instead calling it LOF for Living Ownership Finale, pronounced as a good solid chuckle.


TRUE story … early in my mortgage career, I had an elderly client who was purchasing a condo. She had lived in an apartment her entire life and knew almost nothing about the home buying process. While I slowly and in great detail attempted to explain everything to her, I failed. After discussing the Earnest Money Deposit, she teared up and told me she knew NO ONE named Ernest who would give her money towards her home purchase. Nope, I am not kidding. By the way, lovely Mary Ann (NO E! On ann) is still thriving in the same condo, 20 years later.

Earnest money is, of course, the early and initial deposit paid to the seller which shows good faith (the yes-I’m-really-buying-this-place cash). And there it is! Goodbye Ernest, hello YIRB dollars! Yes I’m Really Buying!! YIRB even rhymes with curb, as in curb-side appeal! Even Mary Anne could understand that.



First I made the obvious mistake and, for additional detail for the blog and because I was unfamiliar with this one, I Googled PID. Oh no. I now know WAY more about pelvic inflammatory disease than I have ever wanted to know.

A refined Google search of Public Improvement District resulted in additional interest. Almost the entire first page includes PIDs (of the non human kind) in Texas. Hmmm

But, powering through (ha, see a recent blog) I found this information re: New Mexico:

“Public Improvement Districts (PIDs) are created to help developers finance infrastructure in new communities such as roads, parks and other amenities.

Bonds are sold to finance these improvements and property owners are each assessed a portion of the bonds. This assessment is added to an owner's property tax bill and paid off over time.

New Mexico state law requires that sellers of homes within PIDS disclose certain information to the buyer before accepting offers. There are currently 11 PIDs in the Greater Albuquerque Area.”

Ah, now I remember. Suppose a builder purchases 100 acres in a city. But the land is not near major highways, is without amenities, etc. However, the town wants this builder to construct houses, condos etc. there. If this acreage has been designated as being part of a PID, then it is possible the local government can issue bonds to pay to construct the necessary accompaniments. And, yes, the ultimate home buyer ultimately pays the price for those, or at least a large portion of the price over time.

Let’s rename these designated locations as BUPs. Yes, it sounds like a little warm, furry, snuggly doggie. But it stands for Buyer Ultimately Pays. How’s that?

Except for the years 2007 through probably 2010 (although the cynical pessimists among us would say “continuing today”), Louis J. Glickman, a widely known real estate investor and philanthropist, always said,"The Best Investment On Earth Is Earth." I just think they need to rename the terms associated with all of that!

Let’s conclude today’s frivolity with this:

“A small real estate broker was dismayed when a brand new real estate franchise just like his opened up next door and erected a huge sign which read TOP AGENTS. He was appalled when another competitor opened up on his right side, and announced its opening with an even larger sign, reading LOWEST COMMISSIONS. The small real estate broker panicked, until he got an idea. He put the biggest sign of all over his own brokerage. It read…MAIN ENTRANCE.

Happy Realtor Joke

About Kathleen Heck

Kathleen Heck has worked with hundreds of top sales professionals, authors, corporate executives, educators, and management level professionals. She started her career as a college and high school educator. Later she changed industries and moved to financial services, first as a Mortgage Loan Officer and then rising to lead of team of over 2000 financial professionals. She is the author of "After the Beep" and "Meltdown: I Need a Plan". Currently serving as the President of the Croyance Group, Ms. Heck is a Certified Professional Coach and holds several Masters Degrees and a PhD. See more at Croyancegroup.com

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