Let’s Talk Real Estate – Terminology For The Consumer

In the middle of a discussion with a client, have you ever said a term that is common within the industry and could immediately tell that your clients thought, “Huh”?

Regardless if your clients are first time home buyers or seasoned movers, it’s likely they will ask you to clarify a term once or twice throughout the transaction.

Be proactive by downloading and sharing this document with them which highlights the most commonly used, client facing real estate terms from A-Z. Your clients will appreciate the effort and you will be able to speak freely about all things real estate!

Real Estate Terminology  

  • Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) — The interest rate is tied to a financial index making themonthly mortgage payment go up or down over time
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR) — The percent of interest that will be charged on a homeloan.
  • Appraisal — A report highlighting the estimated value of the property completed by a quali-fied 3rd party. This is typically done for the benefit of the buyer to ensure the property isworth what they are paying.
  • Association Fee/HOA Fee — In addition to a mortgage, certain housing communities such astownhomes have a monthly fee associated with maintaining the common areas and ameni-ties.
  • Balloon Mortgage — A long-term mortgage loan that starts small but has a large paymentdue at maturity.
  • Closing — This is the final meeting where the buyer and seller sign the necessary paper-work, complete the transaction, and release/take possession of the property. Usually therepresenting agents and attorneys attend.
  • Closing Costs — The buyer and seller have expenses associated with the transaction otherthan that of the actual cost of the home. For example, the buyer has a variety of fees duefor obtaining a new loan and the seller must pay commission to both agents.
  • Closing Disclosure — A form that provides the final details about the mortgage loan. It in-cludes loan terms, projected monthly payments, and how much the extra fees will be.
  • Collateral — Something of value (in this case your home) that is held to ensure repaymentof a mortgage or loan.
  • Commission — A percent of the sale price of the home that is paid to agents. The seller payscommission to both the buyer and listing agent.
  • Comparables — Homes in the area of interest that have recently sold that have similar fea-tures.
  • Contingencies — Conditions which must be met in order to close. Contingencies are typicallytied to a date, referred to as a deadline. If the contingency is not satisfied the contract maybe canceled.
  • Counteroffer — The response from the seller in regard to an offer.
  • Debt to Income Ratio — A lender will look at a borrowers debt versus income to determinethe amount of loan they are eligible for and if they can repay their debt plus the home loan.
  • Down payment — A percent of the cost of the property that is paid up front as a part of themortgage.
  • Earnest Money — The deposit made from the buyer to the seller when submitting an offer.This deposit is typically held in trust by a third party. Upon closing the money will generallybe applied to the down payment or closing cost.
  • Escrow — This term has multiple meanings; earnest money is typical held by a third partyuntil closing in “escrow”. It can also be referred to as the time period from when the con-tract is written and accepted by the seller to when the home sale actually closes.
  • Equity — The difference in the market value of a home versus what is owed on the home.
  • FHA — A mortgage that is financed through a private lender and insured by the FederalHousing Administration, often requiring a lower down payment and income to qualify.
  • Fixed Rate — The interest rate will remain the same for the entire life of the mortgage.
  • Home Equity Line of Credit — A loan or line of credit that is determined based on the equityor homes value after subtracting the loans owed.
  • Home Inspection — The process in which a professional inspects the seller’s home for issuesthat are not openly apparent, then creates a report for the buyer to review.
  • Home Protection Plan — An annual service that covers the cost of repairs or replacementsto items covered in the plan; items like stoves, washer/dryers, etc.
  • Hybrid — A loan that starts with a fixed rate period, then converts to an adjustable rate.
  • Mortgage Insurance — Insurance written in connection with a mortgage loan that protectsthe lender in the event the borrower cannot repay their loan. This is usually not required ifthe borrower has 20% or more for the down payment.
  • Mortgage Note — A promise to pay a sum of money at a standard interest rate during a spe-cific term that is secured by a mortgage
  • Multiple Listing Service (MLS) — The national list of real estate properties that are availablefor sale. These are the most reliable sources to receive up-to-date listing information.
  • Pre-Approval — The process in which a buyer must provide a mortgage professional the ap-propriate information on income, debts, and assets that will be used to make the initialcredit only loan decision.
  • Pre-Qualification — Once approved for a loan, this is the process in which the maximum saleprice, loan amount, and month payments are calculated for the borrow. This not a loan ap-proval however, it useful to know prior to searching for a home.
  • Principal — The underlying amount of the loan which is actually borrowed.
  • Property Taxes — These are the taxes that are enforced by the city, town, county, and stategovernment entities. These taxes are included in the total monthly mortgage payment andare held in escrow by the lender.
  • REO — Real estate owned properties or foreclosed properties currently owned by a financialinstitution such as the bank that made the loan to the previous owner
  • Reverse Mortgage — This is specifically for seniors and it allows them to convert the equityin their home to cash.
  • Short Sale — A situation when the seller’s lender is willing to accept an offer and allows thesale to be completed for an amount less than the mortgage amount owed by the seller.
  • Title — A legal document proving current and proper ownership of the property. Also re-ferred to as a Title Deed, this document highlights the history of property ownership andtransfers.
  • Underwriting — The process in which the potential home buyer is evaluated for their finan-cial ability to obtain and repay a loan. This normally consist of a credit check and appraisalof the property.
  • VA Loan — Loans that are given to Americans who have served in the armed forces. Theyare administered by the Department of Veteran Affairs.

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