If a buyer or seller want 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.
An appraisal on your home is an unbiased estimate of how much a home is worth. When buying a home, the lender requires an appraisal by a third party (the appraiser) to make sure the loan amount requested is accurate. If the home’s appraised value is below what the buyer has offered, the lender may request the buyer pay the difference in cost.
An assessment is used to determine how much in taxes the owner of a property will pay. An assessor calculates the assessment of a home’s value by looking at comparable homes in your area and reviewing an inspection of the home in question.
An assignment is when the seller of a property signs over rights and obligations to that property to the buyer before the official closing.
Also known as a "just title," "good title," or a "free and clear title" -- a clear title doesn’t have any kind of lien or levy from creditors. It means there's no question of legal ownership of the property such as building code violations or bad surveys.
Closing is the final stage of the real estate transaction. The date is agreed upon when both the buyer and seller go under contract on the home. On the closing date, the property is legally transferred from seller to buyer.
Closing costs are usually comprised of between 2-5% of the total purchase price of the home. According to a recent survey by Zillow, the average homebuyer pays approximately $3,700 in closing costs. These fees are paid on or by the closing date.
If a buyer is having trouble getting approved for a loan, they can elicit the help of a co-borrower. This person is usually a family member or friend who's added to the mortgage and guarantees the loan. They're listed on the title, have ownership interest, sign loan documents, and are obligated to pay monthly mortgage payments if the buyer is unable to.
Comparable sales are used by an appraiser to establish how much a home is worth based on what other similar homes in the area have sold for recently. Only homes that have legally closed count as a comp -- and most lenders and insurance providers require appraisers to use at least three closed sales.
If a property is contingent, or the contract contains a contingency, certain events must transpire or the contract can be considered null. A contingency might be that the home must pass an appraisal or receive a clean inspection.
The sale of a home could also be contingent on the buyer selling their home by a specified date. If either the buyer or seller fails to meet the expectations of the contingency, either party can exit the contract.
Contingent vs. pending
When a property is contingent, it means the owner has accepted an offer -- but certain contractual expectations must be met or the offer will be void. If all contingencies are met, the property changes status to “pending.” While contingent offers are still considered active listings, pending offers are taken off the market and other offers will not be entertained.
A housing deed is the legal document transferring a title from the seller to the buyer. It must be a written document and is sometimes referred to as the vehicle of the property interest transfer.
The down payment is the amount of cash a homebuyer pays at the time of closing. Typical home loans require a 20% down payment. Some conforming loans will accept a 5% down payment, and FHA loans will accept a 3.5% down payment.
Earnest money deposit
Earnest money is a deposit (usually 1-2% of the home’s total purchase price) made by a homebuyer at the time they enter into a contract with a seller. Earnest money demonstrates the buyer's interest in the property and is generally deducted from your total down payment and closing costs.
Escrow is part of the homebuying process. It happens when a third party holds something of value during the transaction. Most often, the “value” the third party holds onto is the buyer’s earnest money check. When the transaction is complete (usually at closing), the third party will release those funds to the seller.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was enacted in 1970 and ensures fairness, accuracy, and privacy of personal information contained in files maintained by credit reporting agencies. The goal of this act is to protect consumers from having misinformation used against them.
Fair market value
A property’s fair market value is its accurate valuation in a free and open market under the condition that buyers and sellers are knowledgeable about the asset, acting in their best interests, and free of undue pressure to complete the transaction.
A home inspection is carried out by an objective third party to establish the condition of a property during a real estate transaction. An inspector will report on such things as a home’s heating system, the stability of the foundation, and the condition of the roof. The inspection is meant to identify major issues that might affect the value of the home and the stability of your and your lender’s investment and return.
A homeowner’s association (HOA) is usually found when you purchase a condominium, townhome, or other development property. To purchase the home, you must also join the HOA and pay monthly or yearly HOA fees.
These fees can cover common area maintenance, repairs, and general upkeep. The more amenities your building offers, the higher the HOA fees typically are.
When you purchase a home, it's also necessary to purchase homeowner’s insurance to cover any losses or damages you might incur, such as natural disaster, theft, or damage.
It also protects the homeowner from liability against any accidents in the home or on the property. Insurance payments are usually included in your monthly mortgage payments.
In real estate, the lender refers to the individual, financial institution, or private group lending money to a buyer to purchase property with the expectation the loan will be repaid with interest, in agreed upon increments, by a certain date.
A mortgage is the agreement between a borrower and a lender giving the lender the right to the borrower’s property if the borrower is unable to make loan payments (with interest) within an agreed upon timeline.
A sales is considered “pending” if all contingencies have been met and the buyer and seller are moving toward closing. At this point, it’s unlikely the sale will fall through, and the buyer or seller risk losing the earnest money if they walk out on the deal at this point.
Per diem or “per day” fees are charged if a loan isn’t approved by the date the loan was scheduled to be completed. These charges are payable to the lender during closing.
Before submitting an offer on a home (or even engaging with a real estate agent) you’ll likely be required to get pre-approved. This means a lender has checked your credit, verified your information, and approved you for up to a specific loan amount for a period of up to 90 days.
The principal of a loan is the amount of money owed on that loan. As you make monthly mortgage payments, your principal -- in theory -- goes down.
The amount of interest you pay on a monthly loan will affect how much of your monthly mortgage payment goes to paying down the principal. A high interest rate means you’ll pay less on the principal, meaning you’ll pay more on your loan over time.
A purchase agreement demonstrates a buyer’s intent to purchase a piece of property and a seller’s intent to sell that property. The document outlines the terms and conditions of a sale and holds each party legally accountable to meeting their agreement.
A home’s title represents the rights to the property. Those rights are transferred from the seller to the buyer during a real estate transaction and give the buyer legal rights to the property upon closing.
Transfer of ownership
In real estate, transfer of ownership refers to transfer of a property’s deed and title from the seller to the buyer at closing.
A home is “under contract” when a seller has accepted an offer from a buyer but the transaction has not yet closed.