Colleen O'Hara Team

Homebuyer’s Glossary

Certainly! Here’s a glossary of common real estate terms to help buyers understand the jargon used in the industry:


  1. **Appraisal:** A professional assessment of a property’s value, typically conducted by a licensed appraiser.


  1. **Buyer’s Agent:** A real estate agent who represents the buyer’s interests in a real estate transaction.


  1. **Closing:** The final step in a real estate transaction where all documents are signed, and ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer.


  1. **Closing Costs:** Fees and expenses associated with the closing of a real estate transaction, including title insurance, attorney fees, and lender charges.


  1. **Contingency:** A condition that must be met for a real estate contract to be binding, such as a satisfactory home inspection or financing approval.


  1. **Deed:** A legal document that transfers ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer.


  1. **Earnest Money:** A deposit made by the buyer to demonstrate their serious intent to purchase the property.


  1. **Escrow:** An account where funds are held in trust until the closing of a real estate transaction.


  1. **Fixed-Rate Mortgage:** A mortgage with a constant interest rate throughout the life of the loan.


  1. **Home Inspection:** A thorough examination of a property’s condition, typically conducted by a licensed home inspector.


  1. **Listing Agent:** A real estate agent who represents the seller and lists the property for sale.


  1. **Mortgage Pre-Approval:** A lender’s confirmation that a buyer qualifies for a mortgage loan up to a specified amount.


  1. **Multiple Listing Service (MLS):** A database used by real estate professionals to list and search for properties.


  1. **Offer:** A proposal by a buyer to purchase a property, including the purchase price and terms.


  1. **PITI:** An acronym for Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance, which are the components of a monthly mortgage payment.


  1. **Title Insurance:** Insurance that protects the buyer and lender against any defects in the property’s title.


  1. **Closing Disclosure:** A document that outlines the final terms and costs of the mortgage loan, provided to the buyer three business days before closing.


  1. **Escrow Agent:** A neutral third party responsible for holding funds and documents during a real estate transaction.


  1. **Homeowners’ Association (HOA):** An organization that manages and enforces rules in a planned community or condominium complex.


  1. **Lien:** A legal claim on a property to secure a debt, such as a mortgage or unpaid property taxes.


  1. **Prepayment Penalty:** A fee imposed by a lender if a borrower pays off a mortgage loan before the specified term.


  1. **Appreciation:** An increase in the value of a property over time.


  1. **Seller’s Market:** A real estate market where there are more buyers than available properties, leading to higher prices and increased competition.


  1. **Buyer’s Market:** A real estate market where there are more properties for sale than buyers, potentially leading to lower prices and favorable terms for buyers.


  1. **Dual Agency:** When a real estate agent represents both the buyer and the seller in a transaction, which can present conflicts of interest.


Understanding these common real estate terms can help buyers navigate the homebuying process with confidence and clarity.

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