US Real Estate Glossary of Terms

US Real Estate Glossary of Terms


Here is a glossary of terms commonly used in the US real estate industry: 

  1. Appraisal– An estimate of a property's value, usually performed by a licensed appraiser, based on comparable property sales and other factors. 
  2. Closing– The final step in a real estate transaction where all necessary documents are signed, funds are transferred, and ownership of the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer. 
  3. Escrow– A third-party account where funds are held during a real estate transaction, managed by a neutral party until all conditions are met and the transaction is completed. 
  4. Earnest Money– A deposit made by the buyer to demonstrate their serious intention to purchase the property, typically held in escrow until closing. 
  5. Title– Legal ownership of a property. A title search is conducted to ensure there are no existing claims, liens, or encumbrances that might affect the transfer of ownership. 
  6. Mortgage– A loan used to purchase real estate, where the property itself serves as collateral. The borrower makes monthly payments to the lender over a specified period.
  7. Amortization– The process of gradually paying off a mortgage loan through regular payments that include both principal and interest, with the balance decreasing over time. 
  8. Interest Rate– The percentage charged by a lender on the amount borrowed, which determines the cost of borrowing. 
  9. Homeowners Association (HOA)-- An organization that manages and enforces rules and regulations for a community or condominium complex, often requiring residents to pay dues for maintenance and amenities.
  10. Listing– A property that is being offered for sale or lease by a real estate agent or broker. 
  11. Buyer's Agent– A real estate agent who represents the buyer's interests in a real estate transaction. 
  12. Seller's Agent– A real estate agent who represents the seller's interests in a real estate transaction, also known as a listing agent. 
  13. Multiple Listing Service (MLS)-- A database used by real estate agents to list properties available for sale. It enables cooperation and compensation between buyer's and seller's agents. 
  14. Closing Costs– Fees associated with the purchase of a property that are paid at the closing, including appraisal fees, title insurance, attorney fees, and more. 
  15. Contingency– A condition or requirement that must be met before a real estate contract becomes legally binding. 
  16. Foreclosure– The legal process by which a lender repossesses and sells a property due to the borrower's failure to make mortgage payments. 
  17. Home Inspection– An assessment of a property's condition by a professional inspector to identify any issues or needed repairs. 
  18. Property Tax– Taxes paid by property owners to local governments, usually based on the assessed value of the property. 
  19. Zoning– Local regulations that dictate how land and properties can be used within a certain area, such as residential, commercial, industrial, etc. 

It is important to remember that real estate terminology can vary based on location and specific circumstances, so it's always a good idea to consult with a local real estate professional for detailed advice. 

International Real Estate Consultants is happy to offer expert advice on the entire process of purchasing US real estate, with no upfront fees.

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