Investing in real estate can be a very lucrative venture. Given that both land and properties tend to appreciate over time, most real estate investments ensure long-term wealth accumulation. This is a simple way to secure a comfortable retirement and financial freedom. 

However, there’s more to real estate investing than simply buying and selling or renting a property. Whether you’re planning to become a DIY landlord or a house flipper, you must comply with many laws and regulations. You also need to have a basic understanding of both legal and financial terminology. 

To help you navigate the intricate world of real estate more easily, the experts at Keyrenter Austin have written this guide. Keep reading to learn the key concepts every real estate investor should know. 

Financial Terms Explained

  • Absorption Rate: This is used to measure how quickly properties are sold in a real estate market. Typically, an absorption rate over 20% indicates a seller’s market, while one below 15% indicates it’s a buyer’s market.
  • Acquisition Cost: The total purchasing cost of a property or piece of land, including closing fees, real estate commissions, mortgage loan fees, and other additional expenses.
  • Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM): A type of mortgage loan where the interest rate on the balance fluctuates over time.

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  • Amortization: The gradual repayment of a loan through periodic installments, covering both principal and interest.
  • Appreciation: The increase in the value of a property or piece of land over time. Real estate properties can appreciate as a result of market trends and inflation, or due to improvements and renovations.
  • Capitalization Rate (CAP Rate): The rate of return on a real estate investment. It’s calculated by dividing the property’s net operating income by its purchase price.
  • Capital Gains Tax: A tax paid on the profits made from selling a property. The rate is calculated based on factors such as the duration of ownership before selling, taxable income, and the filing status.
  • Cash Flow: The net income generated from a property after deducting operating expenses such as mortgage payments, taxes, and maintenance costs.
  • Closing Cost: Additional funds an investor must pay when buying a real estate property, over and beyond the purchase price. These consist of a title search fee, title insurance, appraisal fee, underwriting fee, and origination fee, among others.
  • Debt-to-Equity (DE) Ratio: Gauge the loan-financed ownership against the owner’s equity in a real estate property, determining the balance between debt and ownership.
  • Depreciation: The decrease in a property’s value over time. Depreciation can be caused by factors such as unfavorable market conditions, decreased demand, or oversupply.


  • Due Diligence: The process of thoroughly researching and evaluating a property before making an investment decision. Due diligence typically encompasses inspections, financial analysis, and legal compliance.
  • Equity: The difference between a property’s market value and outstanding mortgage balance, used to represent the owner’s stake or ownership interest.
  • Escrow: When a neutral third party holds funds or documents until the completion of a real estate transaction.
  • Fixed-Rate Mortgage: A mortgage loan where the interest rate is locked at a specific value for the entire term.
  • Gross Rental Income (GRI): The total income an investor earns from a rental property, including rent and additional fees.
  • Gross Rental Yield: The ratio of the gross annual rental income to the property’s market value. It’s calculated by dividing the market value over the gross rental income and it’s usually expressed as a percentage.
  • Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC): An agreement that specifies a fixed borrowing limit and is backed by the current equity in a property and is made between a bank and a borrower.
  • Loan-to-Value Ratio (LTV): By contrasting the loan amount with the real estate property’s assessed worth, this statistic evaluates lending risk.
  • Market Analysis: An evaluation of local real estate market conditions, including supply, demand, and pricing trends, to make an informed investment.


  • Net Operating Income (NOI): The entire amount of money received from a property less all running costs, including taxes, maintenance, and mortgage payments.
  • Operating Expense Ratio (OER): A financial metric used to evaluate the efficiency of a real estate investment by comparing the total operating expenses of a property to its gross income.
  • Return on investment (ROI): Measurement used to evaluate the profitability of an investment. It’s calculated as the ratio of net profit to the initial investment.
  • 1031 Exchange: A tax-deferred exchange that eliminates capital gains tax and enables investors to reinvest the proceeds of the sale of one property into another that is comparable.

Bottom Line

As we conclude our exploration of crucial real estate terms, remember that knowledge is power in this dynamic market, enhancing your investment strategy. While managing properties remains complex, expert assistance can help the process. 

Partner with Keyrenter Austin for comprehensive property management services, ensuring your investment is in capable hands. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or a newcomer, familiarizing yourself with essential financial and legal terms is crucial to comply with laws and regulations, ultimately ensuring a profitable investment. 

For assistance in navigating the Austin, TX, real estate market, contact Keyrenter Austin—your key to making sound investments.