Last week we talked all about vocabulary to rent an apartment in English. With that vocabulary already under your belt (learned, understood), we thought we would focus on vocabulary for buying a house in English this week.

Buying a house is different to renting an apartment and you’re going to need some new vocabulary in order (be to able) to do so. If you’re switching (changing) from renting an apartment to owning a home, be prepared for some differences across the board (from beginning to end).

Here’s some of the vocabulary for a buying a house in English that you may need:

Open House

When you’re looking for a house, you’ll probably go to a few open houses! An open house is a chance to visit houses for sale and see what they look like on the inside. Attending an open house is a good opportunity to examine the houses you’re interested in buying, so that you can decide exactly which house is best for you.

For example:

  • We’re going to a few open houses on Saturday to check out some of the properties we were interested in.
  • Do you want to come to the open house with me?


Most of the time, a house is much more expensive than an apartment, so you’re more than likely going to need to borrow some money in order to afford (have the money) to buy the house. This is where a loan comes into play. A loan is money that you borrow from the bank in order to pay for something very expensive. Students in the U.S. take out loans to pay for their college education, for example, and many people take out a loan to pay for a house.

Loans are paid back to the bank over time and usually have an interest rate (percentage you will pay extra) attached to them as well, so you end up paying back more to the bank than you initially borrowed.

For example:

  • Would you like to apply for a home loan today?
  • How much did you take out in loans to pay for college?



mortgage is similar to a loan in a way, but while a loan can be used to pay for anything, a mortgage is a loan from the bank usually only used to buy real estate. With a mortgage, the bank essentially owns your house and you pay back the bank in installments (payments broken up) over a set number of years. Once you’ve finished paying off your mortgage, you own your house. Hopefully you’ll only ever need this vocabulary for buying a house!

For example:

  • How much longer do you have to pay on your mortgage?
  • I took out a 30-year mortgage on my house.

Down Payment

When you buy a house, you’ll have to make a down payment when you put an offer on the house in order to get a mortgage. A down payment is a set amount of money that pay to show the sellers that you are serious about buying their property. Think of it like a deposit that tells the person you’re buying from that you’ll pay the rest of the cost as well.

For example:

  • The down payment was a bit high, but the house was worth it!
  • Can you tell me how much the down payment will be, please?


Finally, once you’ve found your dream home, it’s time for the closing. The closing is when all the contracts and paperwork is filled out and the house is finally yours! After the closing, it’s your house and you’re free to move in. Enjoy your new digs (house)!

For example:

  • The closing is on Saturday at 11 a.m.
  • We closed on the house last week and we’re going to move in tomorrow.

Have you ever gone house hunting in English? Have you used any of this vocabulary for buying a house in English? We’d love to hear your house hunting stories!

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Check out these other popular blogs: TV English VocabularyBanking English VocabularyEnglish Comma: Basic Rules, or these Commonly Confused Words used in English!

Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and loves the flexibility of NOT owning a house!  

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