HOME SELLING GLOSSARY

A

Affidavit of title

This is a written statement essentially certifying that the recipient of this document possesses the property by title. Everything from marital status to relevant dates are included.

Agent

An agent would represent you in any negotiation, deal or transaction regarding the sale or purchase of a home. Here are some tips on choosing an agent.
Appraisal: The appraisal is the estimated market value as currently stipulated for any piece of property. Typically an “appraiser” determines this value through comparables around the community.

Assessed value

Assessors can also detail a particular value of real estate property, and that’s what this applies to. Assessors typically work for the county in which the property is located.

“As-Is”

This is important to know as a seller, given that it grants you the right to say that you will not have to make any repairs or correct any problems with your property upon sale.

B

Back-Up Offer

In the intense world of offers and price negotiations, sometimes a home seller may have multiple offers. A “back-up” offer is when you have a second offer as back-up in case your first offer happens to fall through for some reason.

Bidding War

Any home seller would love this situation, as it typically involves two or more buyers competing for your property by offering higher bids, as in an auction.

Brokerage

An agency managing both the buying and selling of property for clients. Typically, in this case, a brokerage firm would represent you in the sale of your property.

Buyer’s Agent

This would be the real estate agent representing the “buyer” of your property, negotiating contracts straight through closing.
Buyer’s market: Don’t hope for this stage in the real estate industry, benefitting the buyer in terms of low prices and a high supply of homes in the market for competition.

C

Capital Gain

If you have a high “capital gain,” you can celebrate; it means you’ve received a certain percentage of “profit” from the sale of your home because the sale was above the initial purchase price plus any fees.

Chain of Title

Part of what’s important in the real estate industry is knowing the “timeline” of any piece of property so that there’s no confusion of who owns what and when. The “chain of title” is basically that timeline, showing all previous owners and conveyances from the very beginning of construction of the home.

Closing

When you’re in the “closing,” that means the transaction is almost complete. The deed is delivered, documents are signed, and payment has been sent. Learn about closing costs for home buyers.

Closing Costs

Pay close attention to “closing costs” because those are the expenses beyond that of the actual price of the home. They can include agent fees, taxes and other expenditures, and both the buyer and seller can contribute to those costs to ensure completion of sale.

Closing Statement

There’s a verifiable document detailing all charges, credits and cash deposits for the transaction. That document is called the “closing statement.”

Commission

This is what is paid to a broker or agent upon sale of the house. Commission may be negotiable.

Commission Split

Oftentimes, a seller will agree on a “split” between both the buyer’s agent/broker and the seller’s agent/broker as far as commission is concerned.

Comparable

When evaluating the value of your property, looking at other similar homes and seeing how they’ve been priced on the market would determine how you’re going to price yours. The similar homes out there are considered “comparables.”

Competitive Market Analysis (CMA)

You’re a real estate rockstar if you can do this, as this is a very detailed evaluation of specific homes listed or sold on the market based on location, style and amenities similar to your own property. You complete this analysis to come up with an accurate price point.

Contingency

If there are certain requirements you expect from a buyer before a transaction is completed and a contract is bound, that would result in what’s called a “contingency” offer. It can go both ways, buyer or seller.

Cost Approach

You’ll need math skills for this, as you assess the value of your property by adding the appraiser’s estimate of a building to the actual land value, minus any depreciation. This is usually a good idea if a new house is built on your land.

Counteroffer

If a buyer makes an offer on your house and you respond with your own offer, that would be considered a “counteroffer.”

Curb Appeal

Essentially, how your home looks from the outside — everything from your front door to your front lawn — would be considered your “curb appeal.” Learn ways to increase your home’s curb appeal.

D

Days on Market

If your home has been on the market for 30 days, typically the listing would say “30 days on market.” Sometimes, it’s referred to as “DOM” on a listing.

Disclosures

Be sure to let any buyer know of all federal, state, county and local requirements of buying, owning, renting, or improving on a home, or anything else of relevance in the industry. It’s simply called “disclosure.”

Down Payment

When a buyer puts money upfront to the purchase of the home, that’s typically referred to as a “down payment.”

Dual Agent

When a real estate agent represents both the buyer and seller in a transaction.

E

Earnest Money

When a buyer offers money in “good faith” the moment an offer is made, it’s held in a trust account until closing commences.

Exclusive-Right-to-Sell Listing

Your agent would be designated as the only one allowed to sell your property.

Exclusive Listing Agreement

This involves a broker finding a buyer for your property. You would pay a commission with the listing agreement just for the broker to find a buyer as well.

F

Fiduciary Relationship

Understand that a represented buyer or seller has what’s called a “fiduciary relationship” with his or her agent, trusting that agent to act in his or her best interests in the prospect of buying your property.

L

Listing Appointment

This is what an agent would schedule with you to determine if you want that listing agreement to help find a buyer possibly interested in your property.

Lockbox

If you don’t feel too keen on holding onto the keys of your property (especially when you’re no longer living there), you can get a “lockbox” typically hanging from the doorknob with the keys in it. Usually, though, it’s used for agents to enter your property for the purpose of showing and selling the home during open houses.

M

Market Value

The “assessed” value, which is a determination by the local authority, and the “appraised” value, which is a determination based on comparables in the market, are different from the market value, as this value applies to what the property would actually cost under “normal market conditions.” Some may consider it the ‘fair value’.

Multiple-Listing Service (MLS)

When multiple brokers “share” a listing, that’s what the MLS is.

N

National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)

It speaks for itself. If you find a real estate agent from here, you’re golden.

P

Parcel identification number (PIN)

A county or city tracking number for a property.

Pending

When a contract has been agreed upon and completed (but the transaction has not taken place, yet), the deal is considered “pending.”

Q

Quit-Claim Deed

Your prospective buyer might request for this and you might be okay with it. It simply means that you, the seller, relinquishes any interest you may have on the property, even before closing.

R

Realtor

A real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. These agents abide by a code of ethics set by the NAR, and are often times top performing agents.

S

Staging

This applies to repainting your home in neutral colors, placing your furniture and accessories in appealing ways to feature the home without clutter, allowing prospective buyers to see the features that matter the most.

Survey

You could ask for the county to do this, as it typically involves measurement of lot lines, dimensions and positioning, just to determine how much property you actually have, even outside the actual structure. Encroachments and easements are also determined, such as pathways and additions outside the lot lines.

T

Title Search

If you’re not terribly certain that you actually own your property, you can, in fact, do an examination like this to investigate who actually owns it.

U

Under Contract

When you stipulate this in a listing, you ensure that a buyer has the exclusive dibs on a contract for purchase of the house. No buyer can make a better offer in the hopes of stealing the bid. A buyer may ask that you stipulate this on a contract.

Under Contract

When you stipulate this in a listing, you ensure that a buyer has the exclusive dibs on a contract for purchase of the house. No buyer can make a better offer in the hopes of stealing the bid. A buyer may ask that you stipulate this on a contract.

W

Walk-Through

Your buyer may want to do a final tour of the property just to check for any defects or problems that were missed in an initial showing. That’s what the “walk-through” is.

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