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"What Is Escrow?" And Other Real Estate Terms Explained

The home-buying process comes with its own lengthy lexicon. Certain terms used throughout the transaction between negotiations and paperwork can be overwhelming. Here, we dive in to a few terms that are worth knowing:


Addenda (Addendum): An attachment to the Purchase & Sale Agreement.

Agency: The relationship that a real estate agent has with a customer or client.

Buyer Broker: An agent who represents the buyer in a transaction.

CMA: Comparable Market Analysis, or an opinion of a home’s value.

Comps: Properties used as” comparables” on a CMA.

Disclosure: Verbal and/or written communication regarding agency, property condition, etc.

Down payment: Initial investment on a home loan.

EM deposit: Earnest money deposit, or good faith deposit provided as consideration when a buyer offers a contract to a seller.

FHA: A type of loan, government insured financing.

Key box: MLS electronic key which allows agents access to listed properties.

List (Listing): When a seller signs a listing agreement with a broker to market their property.

Listing Agent: Agent who takes a listing on behalf of the broker.

Lock-box: Another term for a key box.

Lock-in: A term to obtain the interest rate at today’s rate, or lock-in the rate.

MLS: Multiple Listing Service. An organization that distributes information on properties listed by MLS member brokers.

Property Profile: An informational/fact sheet about a property on the market.

Purchase and Sale Agreement: A contract between a buyer and a seller to purchase real property.

Transaction: A listing sold or the sale of real property.

VA: A type of loan, government guaranteed financing available to military veterans.

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