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.
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.
“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.
Back on market (BOM): Sometimes, properties are removed from the market but can be placed back in due to a price change or reduction. As a home seller, you would want to make sure to stipulate that on a listing.
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.
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.
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.
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 disclosure: A summary and breakdown of all fees paid before or at closing. A few of the fees the disclosure includes are: agreed purchase price of the home, mortgage payoff, liens you must pay off, cost of any unpaid taxes, amount of seller concessions you agreed to in the purchase contract and the standard seller closing costs.
Commission: This is what is paid to a broker or agent upon sale of the house.
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.”
Comparitive 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.
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.”
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.”
Earnest money: When a buyer offers money in “good faith” the moment an offer is made, it’s held at the title company until closing commences.
Escrow account: Escrow is opened with the title company after the contract on the home has been agreed upon by both parties, and becomes the depository for all monies, instructions and documents pertaining to the sale of the home.
Exclusive-right-to-sell listing: Your agent would be designated as the only one allowed to sell your property.
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.
For Sale By Owner (FSBO): A way to sell real estate without using an agent. FSBO sellers do this so they don’t have to pay an agent commission.
Inclusions: To “sweeten the deal,” perhaps, you, as the seller, can include anything from the washing machine to the above-ground swimming pool. Such additions to a contract would be considered “inclusions.”
List date: Whenever you officially list your property on the market.
List price: Whatever price you list for the property.
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.
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.
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): REALTORS market and retrieve all homes for sale by all participating brokers in the MLS database system. MLS systems contain hundreds of fields of information about the features of a property. These fields are determined by real estate professionals who are knowledgeable and experienced in oour local market, whereas public real estate websites contain only a small subset of property data.
Pending: When a contract has been agreed upon and completed, but the transaction has not closed yet, the deal is considered “pending.”
Preview appointment: Sometimes a buyer’s agent will check out your property before a buyer actually sees the house. That’s what a “preview appointment” is.
Real Estate agent: The hired person representing the buyer or seller in the purchase or sale of a property.
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 NAR.
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.
Transaction: When you have an interested buyer, who makes an offer and you either counteroffer or you just accept, leading to closing or escrow, that sums up everything involved in a real estate “transaction.”
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.
Walk-through: Your buyer may want to do a final tour of the property to verify that inspection items have been taken care of and make sure that all of the seller’s items have been removed from the home.