There is a concert of Coldplay happening in an auditorium in Mumbai next week. Mr X is a very big fan of Coldplay and he went to ticket counter but unfortunately, all the tickets have been sold out. He was very disappointed. Only seven days left for the concert but he is trying all possible ways including black market where prices were more than the actual cost of a ticket. Luckily his friend is the son of an influential politician of the city and his friend has given a letter from that politician to organizers recommending one ticket to Mr.X at actual price. He is happy now. So still 6 days are left for the concert. However, in the black market, tickets are available at a higher price than the actual price.
Many day traders who trade futures, also trade options, either on the same markets or on different markets. Options are similar to futures, in that they are often based upon the same underlying instruments, and have similar contract specifications, but options are traded quite differently. Options are available on futures markets, on stock indexes, and on individual stocks, and can be traded on their own using various strategies, or they can be combined with futures contracts or stocks and used as a form of trade insurance.
Another example involves buying a long call option for a \$2 premium (so for the 100 shares per contract, that would equal \$200 for the whole contract). You buy an option for 100 shares of Oracle (ORCL) for a strike price of \$40 per share which expires in two months, expecting stock to go to \$50 by that time. You've spent \$200 on the contract (the \$2 premium times 100 shares for the contract). When the stock price hits \$50 as you bet it would, your call option to buy at \$40 per share will be \$10 "in the money" (the contract is now worth \$1,000, since you have 100 shares of the stock) - since the difference between 40 and 50 is 10. At this point, you can exercise your call option and buy the stock at \$40 per share instead of the \$50 it is now worth - making your \$200 original contract now worth \$1,000 - which is an \$800 profit and a 400% return.
The market value of that home may have doubled to \$800,000. But because the down payment locked in a pre-determined price, the buyer pays \$400,000. Now, in an alternate scenario, say the zoning approval doesn’t come through until year four. This is one year past the expiration of this option. Now the home buyer must pay the market price because the contract has expired. In either case, the developer keeps the original \$20,000 collected.
The fee you are paying to buy the call option is called the premium (it's essentially the cost of buying the contract which will allow you to eventually buy the stock or security). In this sense, the premium of the call option is sort of like a down-payment like you would place on a house or car. When purchasing a call option, you agree with the seller on a strike price and are given the option to buy the security at a predetermined price (which doesn't change until the contract expires).