ABC's of Real estate

A - Appraisal

An appraisal is a licensed appraiser's opinion of a home's value based on comparable recent sales of homes in the neighborhood. Appraisals are usually ordered on behalf of a buyer's lender. Keep in mind, a lender cannot lend more than the home's appraised value. If the home appraises below your offer price, the seller will likely need to lower the price to the appraised (true) value of the home. 

B - Buyer's Agent

A Buyer's Agent, sometimes referred to as a Selling Agent (confusing, I know.) represents the home buyer's best interest at all times. Buyer's Agents help their clients negotiate the purchase of a home and many other important factors; ie: Purchase price, possession time, appraisals, inspections, fixtures and much more. Best of all, Buyer's Agents represent their clients at no charge to the Buyer's. These types of agents are paid by the home seller. 

C - Closing Costs

Closing costs are the expenses and fees associated with the purchase and sale of a home, such as taxes, title insurance, appraisal, lender fees, and other services carried out during closing. Buyer's can estimate these expenses to be roughly 3% of the purchase price. Example: $150,000 home x 3% = $4,500 in closing costs. Keep in mind, closing costs are separate from the down payment. These are two entirely different costs. 

D - Dual Agency

A dual agent is one that represents both the home seller and the home buyer. Generally speaking, this is not a good idea. A listing agent (agent to the sellers) has an obligation to sell a home for the most amount of money. A buyer's agent (agent to the buyers) has an obligation to purchase a home on the best possible terms for the buyer. This often times creates a conflict of interest. 

E - Earnest Money Deposit

Also known as "Good faith deposit". 

The earnest money deposit, or EMD for short, is a small deposit held by your title company or real estate agent's brokerage as a testament of good faith to the seller's that you are interested in pursuing the purchase of their home. There are specific contingencies put in place to protect a home buyer from losing their EMD throughout the closing process. However, if a buyer backs out of a home purchase by contingencies not covered, you will forfeit your EMD. Click here to learn more about your EMD and how it's protected or forfeited. 


This is a slang and/or quick way of saying "For Sale by Owner". Pronounced "Fis-bo" 

A home owner decides to sell their home on their home so they don't have to pay the traditional commissions due to a listing agent. When done correctly, this can save a home owner thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, most for sale by owners don't "do it" correctly and end up costing themselves thousands of dollars. 

G - Great!

You're doing great if you've read this far!! There's nothing real estate related that starts with a G. 

H - Homeowners Association (HOA)

Many condos, neighborhoods, developments, or unique properties (think lake homes), have what's called a homeowners association. This association is generally in charge of many things like the surrounding land, lakes, roads, clubhouses, pools, common areas, etc. As a result, they charge the homeowners a fee depending on the need(s) of the association. 

I - Inspection

As a buyer, it's advised to have a professional inspection performed upon the home you're buying. An inspection is typically done within the first ten days of having an offer accepted.

J - Jumbo Mortgage

This is really a finance term but it's generally used on financed home purchases above $500,000. If you want to learn more about jumbo loans, I'd suggest reaching out to a lender that you trust for more information. Don't know one? I can help with that! 

K - Kitten

This is a baby cat. They are adorable. 

Unfortunately, there aren't any K terms to provide. 

L - Listing Agent

A listing agent is the real estate agent that represents the seller. Listing agents list homes for sale on the regional Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and negotiate the best possible price and terms for their client. 

M - Mortgage

A mortgage loan covers the funds borrowed from a mortgage lender to finance the purchase of a home. Conventional loans and FHA loans are just a couple different types of mortgage loans available.  Not sure which loan option is the best for you? I can put you in contact with an excellent lender to help you discover what's best for you and your situation. 

N - Net Sheet

A net sheet is often times provided by listing agents to prospective clients (home sellers) to help articulate how much a home seller will net after all fees are paid and the home is sold. 

O - Offer

When a buyer wants to make an offer on a home it's done on regional purchase agreement (contract). This contract covers various topics like down payment, financing terms, taxes, etc. All of these topics should be discussed between the buyer and their agent prior to making any offer. 

P - Pre-Qualification

A pre-qualification letter is a required document to purchasing a home. The pre-qualification letter thoroughly explains that a buyer is financially able to purchase a home. These letters can be obtained from a mortgage lender. 

Q - Quitclaim Deed

A quitclaim deed is a legal document that transfers ownership from one party to another. This transfer is not guaranteed by any party, nor does it guarantee exactly what is being transferred. These are most commonly used in a divorce where one individual is being given the home. The two people involved know what is being transferred. This is not a recommended way of transferring real property when dealing with unknown sellers. 

R - Realtor

A Realtor is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. Not all real estate agents are Realtors. Realtors have specific codes and standards they must abide by and take additional education to continue to maintain their Realtor status. 

S - Seller's Disclosure

A seller's disclosure is a document filled out by the home seller and provided to all interested parties in the purchase of a home. This document should be filled out completely and provide helpful information about the quality of the home. Buyer's are required to initial and sign the seller's disclosure prior to closing on the home. 

T - Title Insurance

Title insurance compensates the insured buyer or lender if title defects, liens, or competing claims of ownership on a property arise after closing. If you have title insurance and you lose your home due to a title dispute, an owner's policy could compensate you for that loss and help cover legal fees related to the dispute. 

U - Under Contract

Under contract means the purchase agreement has been accepted either as a buyer or seller. 

V - Vanilla

It really is the best kind of ice cream. Sorry chocolate lovers. 

W - Walkthrough

It's standard to ask for a final walk through of a property prior to closing on the home. This is a great opportunity to make sure all negotiated repairs have been completed and the condition of the home is still the same from when you first made the offer. These are not required by the home seller.  

X - Xylophone

The xylophone is a member of the percussion family of instruments. 

Y - You're almost done

You rock for making it down this far! 

Z - Zero

There are zero common real estate terms remaining!!!