Common Real Estate Terms

Addendum 

If a buyer or seller wants to change an existing contract, they might add an addendum outlining the specific part of the contract they’d like to adjust and the parameters of that change. The rest of the contract stays the same, regardless of the addendum. 

 

Appraisal 

A written justification of the price paid for a property, primarily based on an analysis of comparable sales of similar homes nearby. 

 

As-is 

A property marketed in “as is” condition usually indicates that the seller is unwilling to perform most if not all repairs. It could also mean that it is priced “as is”, which is typically lower than market pricing in the area. 

 

Contingency 

If a property is contingent, or the contract contains a contingency, certain events must transpire or the contract can be considered null. 

 

Earnest Money Deposit 

A deposit made by the potential home buyer to show that he or she is serious about buying the house. 

 

Homeowner’s association (HOA) 

A homeowner’s association is a private association that manages a planned community or condominium. When you purchase a property that is managed by an HOA, you agree to abide by the HOA’s rules and pay its monthly or annually HOA dues. If you fail to pay and/or comply, they often have the ability to file a lien against the property and/or foreclose on the property. 

 

Inspection 

An inspection happens when buyers pay a licensed professional inspector to visit the home and prepare a report on its condition and any needed repairs. The inspection often happens as part of the due diligence period, so buyers can fully assess if they want to buy a particular home as is, or ask the seller to either complete or pay for certain repairs. 

 

Option period  

A termination option period (known as “option period”) is a form of a due diligence period. However, it is only available to a buyer who separately purchases this right for a negotiable amount of money and for a negotiable period of time. 

 

Pre-Approval 

Down Payment Assistance Programs HoustonA loosely used term which is generally taken to mean that a borrower has completed a loan application and provided debt, income, and savings documentation which an underwriter has reviewed and approved. A pre-approval is usually done at a certain loan amount and making assumptions about what the interest rate will actually be at the time the loan is actually made, as well as estimates for the amount that will be paid for property taxes, insurance, and others. A pre-approval applies only to the borrower. Once a property is chosen, it must also meet the underwriting guidelines of the lender. Contrast with pre-qualification 

 

REALTOR® 

An actively licensed real estate agent and REALTOR® are often used interchangeably, although not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®. A REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and promises to uphold the Code of Ethics of the association and to hold each other accountable for when serving the public, customers, clients and each other, with a high standard of practice and care. 

 

Rent-back 

Rent-back, or leaseback, refers to an arrangement whereby the buyer, who is now the new homeowner, agrees to allow the seller, the now-tenant, to stay in the house beyond the close of escrow. The terms are negotiated prior to the situation occurring and will often involve a lease deposit, a daily rental rate, and a length of time allowable. 

 

Seller Concession 

Sellers may offer concessions to incentivize buyers to purchase the home or sweeten the deal. 

 

Seller Disclosure 

A seller’s disclosure is a disclosure by the seller of information about the property, or which could affect a buyer’s decision to purchase the property, all of which to the best of the seller’s knowledge. 

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