10 Real Estate Terms Sellers Need to Know

There are some key words used in a real estate transaction that aren’t necessarily normal in everyday life. Take a look at these 10 real estate terms sellers need to know when listing their house for sale. Knowing the jargon relieves some stress.

1. Appraisal

A determination of the value of something, in this case, the house you plan to buy. A professional appraiser makes an estimate by examining the property, looking at the initial purchase price, and comparing it with recent sales of similar property.

2. Closing Costs

All settlement or transaction charges  that home buyers  need to pay at the close of escrow when the property is transferred. These typically include lender’s fees and points or prepaid interest, a prorated share of the property taxes, transfer taxes, credit check fees, homeowners’ and title insurance premiums, deed filing fees, real estate agent commissions, inspection and appraisal fees, and attorneys’ fees.

3. Appreciation

increase in the value or worth of an asset or piece of property that’s caused by external economic factors occurring over time, rather than by the owner having made improvements or additions.

4. MLS

A computer-based service, commonly referred to as MLS, that provides real estate professionals with detailed listings of most homes currently on the market. The public can now access much of this kind of information through websites like

5. Zoning

The local laws dividing cities or counties into different zones according to allowed uses, from single-family residential to commercial to industrial. Mixed-use zones are also used. Zoning ordinances control  size, location, and use of buildings within these different areas and have an effect on traffic, health, and livability.

6. Contingency

A provision in a contract stating that some or all of the terms of the contract will be altered or voided by the occurrence of a specific event, usually by specific dates leading up to the closing.

7. Escrow

The holding of funds or documents by a neutral third party prior to closing your home sale. This is typically done by a title company.

8. Home Inspection

an examination of the condition of a real estate property. A home inspector assesses the condition of a property, including its heating / cooling systems, plumbing, electrical work, water and sewage, as well as some fire and safety issues.

9. Title

Ownership of real estate or personal property. With real estate, title is evidenced by a deed (or other document) recorded in the county land records office.

10. Earnest Money

A deposit made to the seller showing the buyers good faith in a transaction. Typically held in a trust or escrow account.  

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments what other words you think home sellers should know..