Uncommon Origins of Some Common Real Estate Terms


land for sale word originsOK, so if you found your way to this website you probably have some interest in real estate. You may already be a real estate professional or just dream of owning a patch of land to call your own. Just like any business, the real estate business uses certain terms that are very specific to our day to day business. We talk about about things like real estate, mortgages and escrow without stopping to think about what these terms really mean and where they came from.

I’ve complied a short list of some common real estate terms and their uncommon origins that you might find interesting.

  • Real estateThe word “Real” is an old form of “royal” meaning “belonging to the king”. Back in the day, Kings owned all of the land under their control which was part of the ‘royal estate’.
  • Profit – comes from Latin meaning “to make progress” and isn’t that what we are all trying to do.
  • Money– came from Latin ‘moneta’ which originally meant “warning”. That’s interesting.
  • Mortgage In the word mortgage, the mort- is from the Latin word mori which means death and -gage is from the sense of that word meaning a pledge to forfeit something of value if a debt is not repaid. So mortgage – is literally a “death pledge”.
  • Bankrupt – Stemming from an old Italian term banca rotta”. The word banca” was a term for a “money lender’s shop” and rotta’ meaning “broken or defeated”. So literally it means “broken bank”.
  • Realtor – There actually is a patent on the word “realtor”. In 1948 the National Association of Real Estate Boards was issued a patent for the word “realtor”.
  • Oklahoma Sooners – Although we don’tactually use this term in the real estate business, it does have it’s roots inthe acquiring of property and I found it interesting. Before the opening of the OklahomaTerritory in 1889, the US government sealed of it’s borders temporarily to allow everyone a fair chance to claim free land. Some settlers broke the law and entered before the deadline – getting there sooner than anyone else.

So next time you take out a mortgage, just remember that you are really taking out a

“death pledge”. And considering the mortgage crisis in this country

today, that’s not so far from the truth.

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