When you got your real estate license, you may have reviewed many real estate terms such as “appraisal,” “mortgage,” etc. And while many of those will be applicable in your real estate career in New York state, there are many other terms that are fairly NYC-specific. For some example, small towns don’t have “condops” or a “Classic six.” Take a look at these fundamental concepts as you start your NYC real estate career.

Administrator — A court appointee who is responsible for disposing of the property of a person who has died without a will.

Classic Six — A prewar apartment with six rooms including the kitchen, master bedroom, second bedroom, living room, formal dining room, and small staff room, known as the “maid’s room,” which is usually off the kitchen. For the purposes of room count, bathrooms do not count as rooms, though a Classic Six usually has two bathrooms, and sometimes a small half bath near the staff room. A renovated classic six may have the maid’s room converted into a breakfast area or removed entirely to enlarge one of the other rooms. (See types of NYC apartments).

Co-brokerage Agreement — An agreement that outlines the terms of cooperation between brokerage firms, and that specifically addresses how a broker that represents a buyer will be compensated. Many New York City firms are signatories to a co-brokerage agreement from REBNY, the Real Estate Board of New York. This agreement is considered to be “universal” in that two firms that are signatories do not need to sign a separate agreement for each transaction. If you are buying or selling in partnership with a firm that you are not familiar with, make sure that that firm and your firm have a co-brokerage agreement in place.

CondopsCondops are buildings with co-ops alongside commercial condos. The financial statements will often show two condominium units — the residential condominum unit (which is then organized as a co-op) will have one set of financial statements, and the commercial condominium unit another.  The term “condop” is often used as well to indicate land-lease co-ops that operate with “condominium” — usually intended, in this context, to mean “sublet-friendly” — rules.

Dual Agency — When an agent or broker represents more than one party in a transaction; a broker who represents both the buyer and the seller of a piece of real estate is a dual agent. Dual agency may lead to conflicts of interest, but it is legal in New York State. You will, however, need to inform both the buyer and the seller of the dual agency and obtain their written consent to the arrangement. (See more about dual agency).

Earnest Money — Also known as a “contract deposit,” it’s the money that a buyer pays into escrow when the contract is signed as a pledge that he or she will fulfill the terms of the contract. The earnest money is usually part of the down payment, which is the amount of money that the buyer is paying in cash. A buyer of a million-dollar apartment might put down a 10 percent contract deposit (that is, $100,000) and then show up to closing with an additional 15 percent down payment ($150,000 in our example) and a mortgage loan for the remainder of the purchase price (in this case, 75 percent, or $750,000). (See more about earnest money).

Financing — The percentage of the purchase price that the co-op or condo will allow to come in the form of a mortgage or share loan. If a building allows 70 percent financing, then the buyer must put the rest of the purchase price (in this case, 30 percent) down; you can also say that the buyer must make a 30 percent down payment.

Fixture — Personal property that has been permanently attached to real property. Fixtures will transfer with an apartment unless they are specifically excluded from the transfer in the real estate contract. If you are the selling broker, ask your clients if there are any fixtures that they want to remove and take with them. A common example would be a dining-room chandelier. Make sure that the removal of the fixture is listed in the deal sheet, and, subsequently, the contract of sale.

Listing Agreement — A contract between a brokerage and a potential seller for the sale of an apartment. A listing agreement will probably include: name of the brokerage; duties that the brokerage plans to undertake to sell the apartment; responsibilities of the seller; commission that the seller will pay if the apartment is sold, and an expiration date.

Maintenance Fees —  These are monthly charges in a co-op. Similar to a condominium’s common charges, maintenance covers upkeep of the building, community utilities (e.g., lights and electricity in the hallways) and wages of staff or contract workers like the superintendent. Unlike common charges, maintenance also includes property taxes. (See more about maintenance fees).

Managing Agent — The person or firm hired by a building’s board to oversee the affairs of the building. A building’s managing agent may be the point of contact for purchase or rental applications.

Power — Usually short for “power of attorney” (often abbreviated POA), this is a legal document authorizing someone else in your place. Often out-of-town buyers or sellers will grant a POA to a representative (often their attorney or a friend, but sometimes you as their real estate agent) to enable that person to close on a transaction on their behalf.

Prewar — An apartment or townhouse built before World War II. Usually (but not always) solidly constructed, with high ceilings, floor or molding details, and smaller windows than apartments built after World War II (which are known as postwars).

Sponsor Unit — An apartment that is being sold directly by the person who developed or converted the building. Often these units have been occupied by long-term tenants and are in need of renovation. However, in co-ops, the buyer of a sponsor unit is often allowed to bypass the board interview, so these units are often suitable for buyers who are nervous about the interview process.

Virtual Staging — The process of electronically altering photos of an apartment to show what it would look like with furniture (or different furniture) in it. Virtual staging may help a buyer envision how to place furniture in an empty apartment. Photos that are “virtually staged” should be labeled as such.

Waiver of RFR — In a condominium, it’s a document that must be obtained from the condo board before closing can proceed. When a condominium unit is sold, the condo association has a Right of First Refusal of the sale. That is, if the board finds a potential buyer financially unsuitable, or if it wishes to own the apartment to house building staff, the board can refuse to approve the sale and instead the association can buy the apartment itself. This rarely happens, but the process of getting the board to sign a waiver which states that the association is not exercising its right to buy unit X itself can be a slow one, taking 30 days or so.