First in a continuing series: Real estate terms defined

Your guide realized that he was throwing terms around too casually over the weekend when some clients asked for details on some technical terms that came up in the course of our home tour.

In order to provide the very best service to you, our readers and customers, and to share some insider jargon, I am pleased to provide this handy guide to some real estate terms:

Jingle Mail

Those certain letters, envelopes or packages received at a local bank that have a distinctive and unmistakable rattle, or “jingle”, of keys contained inside.  Most often from overstretched developers, but sometimes from landlords, homeowners, commercial property owners or anyone else that can’t make the mortgage payments on their property anymore, and therefore simply send the keys back to the bank.  Sometimes with a “Dear John” letter.

Earliest Citation:

Patricia Kosciuszko, spokeswoman for the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America in Washington, D.C., which represents mortgage insurance firms … said the mortgage insurance industry coined the term “jingle mail” because homeowners whose mortgages were worth far more than their homes literally mailed their house keys in to lenders.
—Pamela Yip, “Haunted by debt,” Houston Chronicle, November 1, 1992


Real Estate Porn

1. The overwhelming urge to look at houses on the Internet, in the newspaper and in magazines, to the detriment of other important things in your life.

2. The Casablanca test:  “I know it when I see it.”

Do you subscribe to feeds from real estate websites that promise to deliver the newest listings to your email in-box daily?

Do you have accounts at several different competing brokerage websites in the hopes of catching the perfect listing that will bring you ultimate happiness?

Do you look at real estate listings on the Internet alone? 

Do you look at real estate listings on the Internet at night?

Do you look at real estate listings on the Internet in your underwear?

Do you see houses on the street with for sales signs, or see houses in the newspaper, and then call a real estate agent to have the full listing sent to you?

If you can answer “yes” to two or more of the above questions, then you may have a problem with Real Estate Porn.