A written analysis of the estimated value of a property prepared by a qualified appraiser typically done after an offer has been written and accepted by the seller. Most are arranged through the bank where the financing is obtained.

Appraised Value
An opinion of a property’s fair market value based on an appraiser’s knowledge, experience and analysis of the property.

Closing Cost
All of the costs associated with the final sale of a property including agent fees, origination fees, title insurance fees, survey fees and taxes.

CMA – Comparative Market Analysis (Comps)
This is a report of similar homes in the area that were recently sold or are currently on the market which is used to help determine an accurate value for your home.

Earnest Money Deposit
This is the money you provide along with your offer on a house as a show of good faith. The deposit usually accounts for one to two percent of the property’s purchase price. An escrow agent holds the deposit until the sale goes through.

An item of value, money or documents deposited with a third party to be delivered upon the fulfillment of a condition. For example, the deposit by a borrower with the lender of funds to pay taxes and insurance premiums when they become due, or the deposit of funds or documents with an attorney or escrow agent to be disbursed upon the closing of a sale of real estate.

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.

Fair Market Value 
The highest price that a buyer, willing but not compelled to buy, would pay, and the lowest a seller, willing but not compelled to sell, would accept.

Home Inspection
A thorough inspection that evaluates the structural and mechanical condition of a property. A satisfactory home inspection is often included as a contingency by the purchaser.

Home Warranty
Similar to any warranty, sellers and buyers can pay a fee to protect the home against future issues like plumbing or heating.

Mortgage Broker
An individual or company who brings 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.

A one-time charge by the lender for originating a loan, typically one percent of the amount of the mortgage.

Pre-Approval Letter
A letter of approval from the lender for a buyer’s home loan specifying how much money they can borrow. This is used to show sellers that they have the financing in place to purchase the home, which often gives them a leg up on competing buyers.

A radioactive gas found in some homes that in sufficient concentrations can cause health problems.

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.

Real Estate Broker
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.

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