Thinking about or in the process of selling your home but having a hard time understanding some of the jargon related to the selling process? Well, I’m here to help. Here are the most common terms used during real estate transactions that every seller should know:

Appraisal – A document that gives a professional opinion of a property’s value based on specific factors at a specific point in time.

As Is – An offer or contract clause which states that the seller will not correct or repair any problems with the property. This term is also used in marketing materials and listings descriptions.

Back-up Offer – This is an offer that is accepted by a seller which is dependent on the voiding or fall-through of an accepted first offer on a listed piece of property.

Buyer’s Agent – This refers to the agent who represents buyers in real estate transactions, shows them properties, negotiates offers and contracts on their behalf and works with them to close escrow.

Closing – The end of a real estate transaction process. After escrow closes, the deed is delivered to the buyer, documents are signed by all parties and funds are dispersed to the seller.

Closing Costs – The fees paid after a real estate transaction closes escrow.

Comparative Market Analysis – A study done by real estate sales agents and brokers using active, pending and sold comparable properties within the same local community to estimate a listing price for a property.

Contingency – A provision in a contract that requires certain acts to be completed before the contract is binding. For example, a buyer may make an offer contingent on them selling their current home first.

DOM – The number of days the listing has been for sale on the market.

Dual Agency – This refers to the process of a real estate agent representing opposing principals (seller and buyer) at the same time.

Due Diligence – The process of gathering information about the legal status and current condition of assets being sold.

Earnest Money Deposit – This is money given to the seller by the buyer at the time the offer is made. It is used as a sign of the buyer’s good faith and intentions to purchase the property.

Escrow – A deed, bond or other document kept in the custody of a third party, such as a lender. It can only take effect after a specified condition has been fulfilled.

Home Inspection – This is completed by a professional home inspector who examines your home for integrity. The pro inspects things such as the home’s foundation, roofing, flooring, attic, plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems, etc…

Listing Agent – Also referred to as the selling agent, this person represents sellers in real estate transactions. They show the properties to buyers, negotiate offers and contracts on the seller’s behalf and work with sellers to close escrow.

List Price – The price of a property that’s listed through a seller’s agent using a listing agreement.

Market Value – This refers to the highest price a property may bring in when the market is competitive, assuming there are no unforeseen issues that negatively affect the price.

Multiple Listing Service – Also referred to as the MLS, this is a service for real estate professionals that compiles available properties for sale by its member agents and brokers.

Pre-Approval – A document provided by a bank or lender that shows they have been pre-qualified to purchase a home up to a specified price, based on the mortgage lender’s requirements. Some pre-approvals have pre-existing conditions the borrower must meet.

Pre-Qualification – The mortgage company tells a buyer before a formal mortgage application is completed how much money the buyer/borrower can afford to borrow. Some pre-qualifications have conditions that the borrower must meet.

REALTOR® – A registered trademark of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS that can be used only by its members.

Free Home Selling Guide

Looking for tips to help you prepare your home for the local Atlanta real estate market? Well, I’m here to help. Check out my free guide for Atlanta home sellers to help you get the most for your property and sell it fast.

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