A system of paying off the mortgage that combines interest and principal for your payments, rather than just paying off the interest first. Typically you pay more interest at the beginning and more principal at the end of a loan term.
When you apply for a mortgage, your lender will require an appraisal of the home you want to buy. A licensed appraiser will estimate the home’s value based on comparable homes that have sold in the area and an investigation of the property.
The dollar value assigned to your home by a public tax assessor for the purposes of city/state taxes. This number is typically different from the value assigned by a private home appraiser and sometimes different from what a home will sell for on the market.
Profit on the sale of an asset that is subject to taxation. Capital Improvements. Major improvements made to a property that are written off over several years rather than expensed off in the year in which they are made.
The money the buyer has left over after the down payment and all those closing costs.
The meeting in which the sale of a property is completed. Buyers and sellers sign documents and exchange funds, this is sometimes called a settlement.
All of the miscellaneous expenses and fees paid by the buyer (and sometimes seller) when a deal closes. Some examples of these expenses include commissions, mortgage fees, recording fees, title insurance, and more.
When you put in an offer on a home, you can specify certain conditions that must be met before the deal will go through – these are called contingencies. You have to make sure you can actually get the loan (a financing contingency), that the inspection doesn’t show anything too crazy (inspection contingency), and that the appraised value is close to what you’re offering to pay (appraisal contingency). Those are just a few common examples; there are several other types of contingencies, which you should discuss with your agent.
This stands for Comparative Market Analysis, sometimes these are also referred to as ‘comps.’ This is a report of similar homes in the area that were recently sold or are currently on the market. This is used to help determine an accurate value for your home.
This document conveys the title of the property to the purchaser. Different terminology may be used in different provincial jurisdictions.
Designated agency is when one agent within the firm represents the seller and another represents a buyer. Only your designated agent represents your interests.
When a real estate agent represents both parties in a real estate transaction, it is what’s known as dual agency.
The difference between the home’s fair market value, and the unpaid balance of the mortgage. Equity increases over the life of the loan. For example, if your home is worth $100,000, and you owe $50,000 still, the other $50,000 is your equity.
An account set up by the lender that receives monthly payments from buyers to pay for things like insurance or taxes.
A mortgage that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Along with VA loans, an FHA loan will often be referred to as a government loan.
Personal property that becomes real property when attached in a permanent manner to real estate.
Similar to any warranty, sellers and buyers can pay a fee to protect the home against future issues, like plumbing or heating.
After you’ve made an offer on a home, you’ll need to schedule an inspection, which costs around $500 – $800, depending on the market. The inspector will go through every nook and cranny, and review things like the plumbing, electrical, foundation, walls, heating, and appliances.
The cost the lender charges you for borrowing money. Usually referred to as a rate.
Real estate agents frequently refer to homes for sale as “listings.” A “listing” on a website shows information about the home, like the price and number of bedrooms. You can browse listings on Redfin.com in major metropolitan areas across the U.S.
Multiple Listing Service. An MLS is an organization that collects and distributes home sale information to its members. MLS data is used to populate home listing sites, like this one. Membership is not open to the public, and there is more than one MLS covering the country.
An independent individual (or company) who brings together borrowers and lenders together. Unlike a mortgage banker, a mortgage broker does not fund the loan. Instead, the broker originates and processes the loan, and places it with a funding source, such as a bank.
Property in an investment property, such as carpeting, draperies, refrigerators, etc., that can be depreciated over a shorter useful life than the structure itself.
The amount of money borrowed to buy your home. If you purchased a $100,000 home with a 10% down payment, your principal is $90,000. That is the amount you need to pay back, plus interest.
A point is equal to 1% of the value of a mortgage loan. Buyers have the option of buying discount points by paying more money up front in exchange for a lower interest rate.
PMI is an insurance premium paid by the buyer to the lender to protect the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. Once you have 20% equity in the home, this insurance is discontinued. PMI allows people to have access to homes that they don’t yet have a 20% down payment for.
A professional who has earned a real estate license in their state, usually it requires a minimum number of classes and a test, though requirements vary by state. Agents work under the supervision of a broker.
A Realtor is a real estate agent that is a member of the national association of Realtors. This means they uphold the standards and code of ethics of the organization. Not all agents are Realtors.
A Real Estate Agent that has taken education beyond the agent level and passed a state broker’s exam, as well as meet the minimum number of transactions required by their state. Broker’s can be affiliated with an agency, work on their own, or can hire agents to work for them.
An insurance policy that protects owner or lender interest in the property from unexpected claims of ownership.