Confused about some of the terms being used when checking out homes? Use our Real Estate Glossary to help find the definitions of some of the terms, jargon and lingo you're bound to come across!
The price that the seller is willing to accept for selling the house without countering for a higher price. This means that if a home is listed for $1.5m, the seller will sell it at this price rather than countering at $1.6m or more.
An opinion of what a property could sell for based on factors such as the current market conditions, demand and supply, the property features, and the sale price of comparable properties. Usually, the market value of a home is always more in the eyes of the seller than that of the buyer.
A multiple listing service (MLS) is a database or repository of properties that are available for sale. Established by cooperating real estate brokers and agents, MLS has the most relaible and comprehensive data available for those looking to buy or sell a home. Brokers can use this system to look at one another's listings and connect home buyers to sellers.
A contingency is a clause/condition in the sale agreement that must be met in order for the real estate transaction to be completed. If the contingencies in the contract are not met, the contract becomes void.
A Closing Disclosure (CD) is a a form that lists the final details of your mortgage loan including the loan terms, monthly interest payments, additional fee and more. The lender provides the CD to the homebuyer at least 3 days prior to closing the loan as a final document containing the actual details.
Comparable Properties or Comps refer to recently sold properties than can be used to determine the value of similar available properties. It helps a seller/buyer determine the fair value of the home they are selling/buying based on other homes with similar characteristics that were sold recently.
In simple terms, Close of Escrow (COE) is the transfer of home ownership from the seller to the buyer. It is the completion of the real estate transaction and marks the final sale of the home.
A real estate professional who assists the agent in by managing all the administrative tasks required in a real estate transaction. From opening escrow, to managing paperwork, to meeting deadlines, and closing the contract, a TC or transaction coordinator performs all the administrative duties.
A Mother-in-law unit is similar to an accessory dwelling unit except that it is attached to the main single-family home. A basement apartment is the perfect example of a MIL unit. A mother-in-law suite comes with an attached bathroom and can also sometimes have a separate entry, a small kitchen and a living area.
An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a secondary dwelling unit on the same grounds as your primary single-family house. It could be in the form of a a small cottage in the backyard, or an apartment over the garage. It is important to note that an ADU cannot be sold separately like a condominium. The owner of the home and ADU is the same and it is part of the same property as the main home.
Selling a home as-is means that the seller will sell the home in its current condition, and will make no changes or improvements to the home before the sale. Usually, a home is sold as-is when the seller can't afford to fix the flaws before the sale, or the home has gone through foreclosure and is now in possession of the lender.
Renegotiating your existing mortgage loan, or paying off your existing loan by taking on a new loan. Typically, homeowners refinance mortgage loans to take advantage of lower interest rates, or to shorten the term of their mortgage.
The fee that buyers and sellers pay, over and above the price of the property, to complete a real estate transaction. These include costs such as credit check fee, insurance, real estate commission, taxes, and appraisal fee.
A mortgage where the interest rate does not change over the lifetime of the loan. This makes budgeting easier for homeowners who want to have a predictable payment month on month.
It is the value assigned to a home by the municipality in order to assess property taxes. This takes into consideration the sale price of comparable homes, square feet area, home features and inspections. Typically, the assessed value is lower than the market value of the property.
A legal process that allows lenders to take ownership of the mortgaged property if the buyers defaults on the loan. The lender can exercise the right to sell the property to recover the loan amount.
A document detailing how much loan a lender will be willing to give to a potential home buyer after evaluating their credit history. SP: This is a document you'd get from a lender if you are interested in buying a home. It indicates they have pre-approved you for a loan up to a specific dollar amount (for instance, up to $600,000) based on two things: how much money you make and your credit score. The process to get a pre-approval letter can be quite quick. A buyer provides the pre-approval letter alongside an offer they make on a house. Once your offer is accepted, there is a vigorous underwriting process by which a lender makes a final decision on the loan amount and interest rate they can offer to you.
Escrow refers to a neutral third party that handles the property transaction, funds, and other related documents during the sale of a home, and ensures that the change of ownership is properly recorded in the public records. Being "in escrow" refers the period of time when funds are being held by the third party account before the final transfer to the seller. This gives the buyer time to perform due diligence on the property while also allowing the seller the confidence that once the due diligence is completed, the buyer has sufficient funds to close the deal.
Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is a type of insurance that you might be required to buy as a condition of a conventional mortgage loan. Most lenders require PMI when a homebuyer makes a down payment of less than 20% of the home's purchase price. PMI costs can range from 0.25% to 2% of your loan balance per year, depending on the size of the down payment and mortgage, the loan term, and the borrower's credit score.
Sellers are required by law to disclose any and all flaws in the home, that the sellers or their agents are aware of, to the buyer.
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