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20 Real Estate Vocab Words You Need to Know

Wednesday, April 24, 2019   /   by Dixie Simon

20 Real Estate Vocab Words You Need to Know

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The decision to sell your home can come with a lot of questions. Real estate agents are here to help make the process a little easier. Here are some of the words that you will probably be hearing during this process. I suggest reading through and familiarizing yourself with these words, so you have background knowledge of what they are. Knowing these terms or refreshing them in your mind will give you more confidence in the process.

1. Inspection:
A thorough inspection that evaluates the structural and mechanical condition of a property. A satisfactory home inspection is often included as a contingency by the purchaser.

2. Appraisal:
A written analysis of the estimated value of a property prepared by a qualified appraiser. Contrast with the home inspection.

3. Closing Costs: Fees paid on the day of closing by both buyers and sellers. These fees cover everything from taxes, lender’s fees, and insurance.

4. Earnest Fees: A deposit from the buyer to the seller to show good-faith in the purchase. The deposit is held in escrow safely until purchase, and that payment usually goes towards the mortgage.

5. Equity:
A homeowner's financial interest in a property. Equity is the difference between the fair market value of the property and the amount still owed on its mortgage.

6. Survey: A drawing or map showing the precise legal boundaries of a property, the location of improvements, easements, rights of way, encroachments, and other physical features.

7. Contingencies: After an offer is accepted, finalization of the closing can be contingent on specific requests. Things like the inspection and the
appraisal can cause the sale to fall through.

8. Title: The bundle of rights for a piece of property, which will be handed to you by the title company.

9. Chain of Title:
 The history of all of the documents that transfer title to a parcel of real property, starting with the earliest existing record and ending with the most recent.

10. Title Insurance: Insurance that protects the
lender (lender's policy) or the buyer (owner's policy) against loss arising from disputes over ownership of a property. 

Related Article: Why Residential Property Disclosures

11. Escrow:
An item of value, money, or documents deposited with a third party upon the fulfillment of a condition. For example, the deposit by a borrower with the lender of funds to pay taxes and insurance premiums when they become due, or the deposit of funds or documents with an attorney or escrow agent to be disbursed upon the closing of a sale of real estate.

12. Real Estate Agent: A person licensed to negotiate and transact the sale of real estate.

13. Comparables: Recent sales of similar properties in nearby areas and used to help determine the market value of a property. Also referred to as “Comps.”

14. Open House: W
hen real estate offered for sale can be viewed by prospective buyers without an appointment. Open to the Public.

15. Offer: A written notice with the amount of money a buyer is willing to pay for a house.

16. Market Value: The amount of a properties value/worth based on condition, location, size, demand, economy, and other factors.

17. Market Price: The agreed upon price between
the buyer and the seller. Often, this can be different than the Market Value.

18. Counter Offer: An offer generated by the seller after a buyer submits the initial offer. A counter offer is responding to a buyers offer with different terms. The buyer does not have to agree to these terms and can back out of the contract if they do not agree.

19. Title Company: A company that holds the title of a property and ensures that it is legitimate. They will often be the mediator to maintain the escrow account while the purchase/sale of a home is 
going through.

20. Mortgage Lenders: The person or company lending money for a loan on a

While this may seem like a lot to take in, as a real estate agent, I deal with these situations daily. I know the in’s and out’s of the process and can help guide you through it all! No need to be worried or stressed or confused. I will be the mediator throughout the process. At the end of the day, knowing what some of these words mean can help relieve you of some of the natural confusion and stress that comes with selling your home.

Feel free to call or text me anytime. I am Happy to Help.

Dixie Simon

Haven Real Estate Group


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Haven Real Estate Group
Cambria Henry
304 W Pacific Ave; Suite 360
Spokane, WA 99201

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