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Understanding Real Estate Terminology

Appraisal: The process of determining the value of a property by a licensed professional.

Closing: The final step in executing a real estate transaction. On the closing date, the ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer.

Closing Costs: Closing costs are fees paid at the closing of a real estate transaction. Closing costs are incurred by either the buyer or the seller. Some examples of closing costs are (but not limited to) Attorney fees, appraisal fees, pro-rated property taxes.

Contract Contingency: A contingency is a provision in a real estate contract that creates contingency and actions as part of the contract.

Comparative Market Analysis: An examination of the prices at which similar properties in the same area recently sold.

Counteroffer: Generated by a home seller after a buyer has submitted an offer to purchase and the offer includes terms that they want to change.

Deed: A deed is the written document which transfers title/ownership or an interest in real property from one person to another.

Deposit: A deposit is made to a seller that represents a buyer’s good faith to buy a home.

Land Gains Tax: Is a tax on the gain from the sale or exchange of Vermont land that was help by the seller(s) for less than six years.

Lead Based Paint Disclosures: This form is required to be issues to all potential buyers for residential properties built before 1978.

MLS: The multiple listing service (MLS) is a service used by a group of real estate agents. It is a database for agents to help their clients buy and sell property.

Offer: Sets out the basic and proposed terms and conditions between the buyer and the seller in a real estate transaction.

Property Inspection: It is a an examination of the condition of a property by a licensed inspection professional.

Property Transfer Tax: When a home purchase closes, the home buyer is required to pay, among other closing costs, the Vermont Property Transfer Tax.

Purchase and Sale Contract: This contract is an enforceable agreement between two parties to buy and sell.

Radon: A naturally occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. You can’t see or smell radon. Testing is the only way to know your level of exposure.

Realtor: Identifies a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors and adheres to its strict code of ethics.

Seller’s Property Information Report (SPIR): A report completed by the seller, based on the seller’s knowledge of the property condition.

Underwriting: The process for evaluating a loan’s application to determine the risk involved for the lender.

Zillow: Internet based – a home search engine with real estate listings from both Realtors and others. Can typically have a 30 day lag time from the MLS updated data.

Zestimate: An average value based on interest information which works best in tight communities often found in urban areas.