If you are buying or selling a home, then you may have come into contact with some real estate lingo that isn’t familiar to you. In fact, some of these terms may not only be unfamiliar, they may also be downright confusing. But as someone who is entering into the real estate market, it is essential that you understand the language. Here are some of the most common terms you’ll encounter when buying or selling a home as well as their definitions.
As the term suggests, the buyer’s agent is the real estate professional who is representing the buyer during a home purchase. A buyer’s agent is responsible for helping buyers find homes to visit and assisting during the entire closing process. The seller typically pays the commission for the buyer’s agent.
A listing agent is the real estate professional who is representing the seller in a real estate transaction. They help the seller prep their home for the market and assist with the closing process. The seller also pays the commission for the listing agent.
If you are a buyer, then you need to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will help you determine how much you can afford and will signal to a seller that your offer is serious. When you obtain a pre-approval from a lender, they will provide you with a letter that you can submit with your offer.
Earnest money is the money that the buyer pays to the seller when an offer has been accepted on a home. It is usually between one and three percent of the purchase price. Earnest money helps to protect the seller should the buyer walk away from the deal. When the deal is closed, the earnest money is usually applied to the down payment.
When a home is “in escrow” it means that it is under contract and a third party is watching over the entire transaction. The escrow agent is responsible for holding all money, documents, and instructions until closing. During closing they disburse all money and supervise the transfer of the deed.
An inspection is part of the closing process. The buyer schedules the inspection, and a home inspector prepares a report stating the condition of the property and recommended repairs. This allows buyers to determine if they want to move forward with the purchase or negotiate with the seller because of issues that need to be addressed.
An appraisal also happens during the closing process. An appraiser is a third party hired by the lender who assesses the value of a home. This helps the lender to determine whether or not the home is worth the amount of the loan being offered.
The closing is the point at which the sale of the home is finalized. A closing date is set that allows the buyer to conduct their inspection and the lender to perform the underwriting process including the appraisal. During the closing, both the buyer and the seller sign all the final paperwork and the buyer receives the keys to the house.