Over the years we’ve helped thousands of people find their dream home or their investment property. We’ve helped simplify the process for first time home buyers and worked with returning clients. Our goal isn’t just to help a client find the house they are searching for but to eliminate any confusion. Like any industry, real estate has its own language that can be confusing the first time you hear it.

We think knowledge is power so let us empower you by translating the language of buying/selling a home so you understand some of the terms you’re likely to hear in the home buying process.

Acceptance: Simply put an acceptance means accepting the terms of an offer. Once a seller signs an offer, the home is officially under contract.

Appraisal: An appraisal will be conducted to determine the value/worth of a property. This involves, among other things, an on-site visual inspection and a comparison of recent sale prices for similar properties This should be done by a qualified specialist with expertise in the area. *An appraisal is an opinion of value.

Closing costs: These are the final settlement or transaction charges that home buyers need to pay to close the deal. These can include fees, taxes, insurance premiums, commissions above and beyond the price of the home. Some closing costs are tax-deductible

Contingency: This is written into a contract stating that a specific event or condition must be met in order for the sale to proceed. Contingencies in real estate deals are most often financial, dependent on a home inspection or state that a buyer must first sell their current home before they can purchase the new one. 

Counteroffer: A simultaneous rejection of an offer by the seller along with an alternative term the seller deems more desirable for the buyer to consider. Legally a counteroffer completely voids the original offer.

Disclosure: Making previously hidden or secret information known. In many states, major physical defects  or hazards of a home must be disclosed by the seller. 

Earnest money deposit (EMD): Your real estate agent may refer to this as a ‘good faith’ deposit. It’s a monetary commitment to the contract commonly made at the time of the purchase offer. If there is a breach of contract the seller keeps the earnest money.

Escrow: Escrow is an account set up by the lender to hold funds or documents from the buyer pending completion of the sale.

Homeowners’ association: (HOA) A neighborhood organization made up of residents managing the common areas of a subdivision or condominium complex. The HOA regulates the covenants and restrictions that apply to the property.

House closing: Closing is when all the paperwork is signed by both buying and selling sides, the deed is off to the city to be recorded and the house is officially yours. Click here to know exactly what you can expect at closing.

Multiple listing service: (MLS) A computer-based service providing detailed listings of most homes on the market. 

Title: A document that proves ownership of a property and thereby your right/ability to sell.

If you hear a term you don’t understand make sure to talk to your real estate agent about it. A good agent will be happy to explain any term. Still have questions, give us a call.