Glossary of Real Estate Terms
Abstract of Title
A complete historical summary of the public records relating to the legal ownership of a particular property from the time of the first transfer to the present.
Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)
Also known as a variable-rate loan, an ARM is one in which the interest rate changes over time, relative an index like the Treasure Index.
Agreement of Sale
Also known as a Contract of Purchase, Purchase Agreement or Sales Agreement, according to location or jurisdiction. A contract in which a Seller and Buyer agree to transact under certain terms spelled out in writing and signed by both parties.
The process of reducing the principal debt through a schedule of fixed payments at regular intervals of time, with an interest rate specified in a loan document.
A professional appraiser’s estimate of the Market Value of a property based on local market data and the recent sale prices of similar properties.
The value placed on a home by municipal assessors for the purposes of determining property taxes.
The final steps in the transfer of property ownership. On the closing date, as specified by the Sales Agreement, the buyer inspects and signs all documents relating to the transaction and the final disbursements are paid. (Also referred to as the Settlement.)
The costs to complete a real estate transaction in addition to the price of the home. These may include: points, taxes, title insurance, appraisal fees and legal fees.
A clause in the Purchase Contract that describes certain conditions that must be met and agreed upon by the Buyer and Seller before the contract is binding.
An offer made in response to a previous offer that rejects all or part of it while enabling negotiations to continue towards a mutually acceptable Sales Contract.
A mortgage that is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Government.
A ratio that measures total debt burden. It is calculated by dividing Gross Monthly Debt repayments, including mortgages, by Gross Monthly Income.
The money paid by the buyer to the lender at the time of closing. The amount is the difference between the sales price and the mortgage loan. Requirements vary by loan type. Smaller down payments (less than 20%) usually require mortgage insurance.
A deposit given by the Buyer to bind a purchase offer and which is held in escrow. If the property sale is closed, the deposit is applied to the purchase price. If the Buyer does not fulfill all contract obligations, the deposit may be forfeited.
Legal right-of-access to use of a property by individuals or groups for specific purposes. Easements may affect property values and are sometimes part of the deed.
The value of the property, less the loan balance and any outstanding liens or other debts against the property.
Funds held by a neutral third party (Escrow Agent) until certain conditions of a contract are met and the funds can be paid out. Escrow accounts are also used by loan servicers to pay Property Taxes and Homeowner’s Insurance.
A type of mortgage loan in which the interest rate does not change during the entire term of the loan.
Professional inspection of a home, paid for by the Buyer, to evaluate the quality and safety of its plumbing, heating, wiring, appliances, roof, foundation, etc.
A claim or charge on property for payment of a debt. With a mortgage, the lender has the right to take the title to your property if you don’t make the mortgage payments.
The amount a willing Buyer would pay a willing Seller for a home. An appraised value is an estimate of the current fair market value.
Purchased by the Buyer to protect the lender in the event of default (typically for loans with less than 20% down). Available through a government agency live the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or through Private Mortgage Insurers (PMI).
The date, as specified in the Sales Agreement, that the Buyer can move into the property. Generally, it occurs within a couple days of the closing date.
A letter from a mortgage lender indicating that a buyer qualifies for a mortgage of a specified amount. It also shows a home seller that you’re a serious buyer.
The amount of money borrowed from a lender to buy a home, or the amount of the loan that has not yet been repaid. This does not include the interest paid to borrow.
A detailed, written document which makes an offer to purchase a property, and which may be amended several times in the process of negotiations. Which signed by all parties involved in the sale, the Purchase Offer becomes a legally-binding Sales Agreement.
The right to, and the ownership of, property. A Title or Deed is sometimes used as proof of ownership of land. “Clear Title” refers to a title that has no legal defects.
Insurance policy that guarantees the accuracy of the title search and protects the lenders and homeowners against legal problems with the title.
A historical review of all legal documents relating to ownership of a property to determine if there have been any flaws in prior transfers of ownership or if there are any claims or encumbrances on the title to the property.
Truth-in-Lending Act (TILA)
Federal law that requires disclosure of a Truth-in-Lending Statement for consumer loans. The statement includes a summary of the total cost of credit.
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As a first time home buyer, I was initially pretty intimidated and nervous about the whole process. Thankfully Blake, Curt, and April were incredibly accommodating and helpful from start to finish. I never felt as though I was being rushed to make a decision and was grateful that my vision for what I wanted of my first home was respected and taken into account. They were always available to answer any question I had, even after closing when I didn’t know who else to ask. I cannot say enough awes…
We are so thankful for the team at Joyner Fine Properties. In the Spring of 2014 they helped us locate and “seal the deal” with the home of our dreams. Curt, April and the rest of the team worked tirelessly on our behalf until the deal was complete. There were obstacles in our path and they navigated each one with grace. Joyner Fine Properties truly cares about the client and we are living examples of this.
We would like to thank Chris on the sale of our first home and purchase of our second home. My wife and I were very impressed with the diligence and devotion to us as our real estate agent during this process. Chris was very accommodating to our busy schedules during showings and very responsive to our calls throughout the whole process. We were so delighted with the services and we highly recommend Chris to any family looking for a professional agent that is committed to meeting their expect…
We had our share of ups and downs selling our property, and April [Lane] was right there with us every step of the way with expert advice and immediate responses to our questions and concerns. April is a wealth of information and it has been a pleasure to work with her; I would definitely enlist her services again.
Your team did a great job selling our condominium. They put together a professional website, interfaced with prospective buyers and their agents, and negotiated effectively on my behalf.
April, I cannot thank you enough. You were able to work with me while I was deployed. Within a mater or short months you had given us an idea of what the areas where like and how we could make a living in Virginia whenever I got back. Then once you had worked hard you showed me that you were able to go the distance for me and my family. No amount of thank you’s will ever come close to the gratitude that I feel towards you and your family for enduring the stresses of helping some Marine wit…
Chris and the team at Joyner exhibited professional patience and diligence when assisting us with the purchase of our new home. From the first tour through the closing signature, Chris was able to comfortably navigate an unfamiliar process for my wife and me. Entering into such a large investment requires the best of advisers and Chris proved to be just that.
Dear Curt, Blake, and April; I just wanted to thank you for all the hard work. You guys did a great job managing the sale process and I couldn’t be more pleased with the result. The sale price and time to close both exceeded my expectation and I am sincerely appreciative. Should you ever need a referral from a former client, please don’t hesitate to reach out – you’ll receive a glowing review. Thanks again!
Curt was a joy to work with. He was always available and helpful. He steered me away from things he should have and ultimately helped me find the perfect house!
April Lane is one of the best realtors we have ever had the pleasure of working with on the sale of our home. She handled everything from start to finish in a responsible manner. She has the knowledge from the sellers point of view as well as the buyers point of view. A caring, friendly realtor ready to lend a hand in any way she can to CLOSE the Deal! Highly recommend her and her firm!