Emily Hu's Blog
It can feel like real estate has its own language. After all, there is a reason agents take courses and need to become licensed!
And for a first-time buyer, I understand that it can be overwhelming and very confusing to keep track of all of this new information on top choosing the home of your dreams and planning a move.
Which is why I’ve created this quick and dirty list of real estate terms every first time home buyer needs to know.
Let’s get started:
A kick-out clause gives the seller the option to continue showing a house after a buyer has made their offer but is slowing down the process with the sale of their own home. The seller can then “kick out” that offer if someone else puts in a more desirable, and readily available, one.
A title-search is simply a search to pull up relevant information to the title of a house. It helps to determine the history of the home and if there are existing regulations in place that affect the property.
Escrow is a neutral third party used to handle transactions throughout the buying/selling process. They hold all related documents and funds until the day of the sale.
Earnest money is usually held in an escrow account and represents your commitment to the sale of a house you have made an offer on. Typically, the amount out down is between 1-3% of the asking price. It is also called “good faith money”.
An appraisal determines a property’s market value. Only a licensed appraiser can pull a report of this information for you. This is the report a lender will use to determine whether or not to lend money to a borrower.
Closing costs are paid at the actual sale of the house. The “closing” is when the title is transferred from the seller over to the buyer. The cost covers all of the fees that were incurred throughout the buying and selling process. A few examples of these fees are the home inspection, appraisal, and escrow.
A comparative market analysis or CMA is a report pulled from a database your real estate agent has access to. This is then used to determine the offering and asking price of homes.
A contingency is when in order to move forward with a sale there are specific requirements the buyer must complete first. Common contingencies are: waiting on an inspection, pre-approval or signing.
Disclosures are required by law. But what are they? A disclosure means a seller has to inform potential buyers of and problems that would affect the value of the property.
Due diligence is doing the work of fully understanding the property you are interested in before buying it. This includes obtaining insurance, reviewing all documents carefully and walking the property.
During a home inspection appliances, plumbing and electrical work are tested. The heating and cooling system are also inspected. This doesn’t affect the monetary value of your home. This is a way for you to determine what state a home is in and if it is worth the financial investment to you.
When you’re ready to buy a house, it would be easy to just pick a house and sign the papers, right? Too bad it doesn’t work anything like that! Besides getting your finances in order, there are plenty of things that you should do ahead of time to get yourself ready to buy a home. Choosing a relator should be high on that list of priorities.
Do Your Research
There’s plenty of ways for you to search for a home before you even start in order to decide what you might like before you even set out with a realtor. Once you start working with a realtor, they’ll be able to set up alerts for you to get via e-mail where you’ll be able to see new properties that have just been listed and price changes to previously listed properties.
Let Your Realtor Do Their Job
Realtors are experts in homes. It is in their job description! Your realtor will do the research on prices and property details. An important aspect of the housing search is finding the price of similar homes in the area. This is key to making your offer. Your real estate agent has all of the information that you need.
Hang Out With Your Realtor During The House Hunt
When we say that you’ll have a close relationship with your realtor during the home search process, we mean it. Coordinate with your realtor to go to open houses. Your agent will either accompany you to the open house or make appointments for private showings of properties. Even if you have to bring your child and a carseat, your agent will be more than happy to accommodate you!
Mention Properties You See When You’re Out And About
The realtor has your criteria of what you’re looking for in a home. However, if you’re out and see a home for sale that intrigues you, write down the address and contact your agent about it. They can either arrange a private showing of the property or advise you otherwise. Many times, a property may be out of your price range or have strange circumstances. However, occasionally, agents and computer software miss things! It’s always good to be on the lookout and seek more information.
Don’t Hesitate To Really Look Around A Property
Although you may feel that you’re being a bit invasive by opening drawers, closets and doors in a home, it’s very important to! You need to see how you can make the best use of the storage space within the home for yourself. You’ll also want to make sure there’s no significant damage or hidden features that you’re missing out on.
Most importantly, remember that your realtor will be your ally throughout the house hunting process. You want to make the best use of the great resource that your realtor is!
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