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Having a solid grasp of real estate terminology can be very helpful when you’re buying or selling a home in Westside Los Angeles. To help you understand some of the more commonly used terms in a real estate transaction, we have prepared a list of important terms you should be familiar with.

  • Appraisal – An estimate of a property’s value on a specific date given by a person, often after a property has been professionally inspected.
  • Assessment – Valuing a property for taxation purposes.
  • Bankruptcy – A legal remedy for individuals with qualified debt exceeding their assets. It is designed to give people another chance to manage their financial life. A person filing bankruptcy can seek relief from a court, as they can get complete discharge of their debt.
  • Buyer’s market – A situation wherein buyers have the advantage over sellers, usually in an area with many available houses and only a few buyers.
  • Broker – A professional who oversees transactions during a real estate purchase.
  • Buyer agent – An agent representing a buyer during a real estate transaction.
  • Contract of sale – Refers to the document detailing a seller’s agreement to ownership of the home for the buyer, as well as a buyer’s agreement to payment.
  • Closing – The final step in a real estate transaction. Usually involves signing several documents by both the buyer and seller.
  • Escrow – A service offered by a third party to handle funds until both brokers from the buyer and seller have fulfilled their part of the contract. An escrow company may be hired by either party.
  • Freddie Mac – Another term for Federal Home Loan Mortgage.
  • Homeowner’s insurance – Protects homeowners from damage to property which could decrease the home’s value.
  • Interest rate – The amount of money added to a loan, in addition to its principal amount. Most mortgages have interest rates as low as four percent.
  • Listing agent – An agent representing the seller.
  • Mortgage – A loan acquired by the buyer to secure financing for their home purchase.
  • Open house – A specific time wherein a property is opened to the public by the seller or realtor for viewing.
  • Real estate agent – A real estate agent is a state-licensed professional who assists with buying or selling homes. Most real estate agents are under a real estate company, and are paid on commission.
  • Realtor – A real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors, or NAR. These members are the only ones allowed to refer to themselves as realtors.
  • Selling agent – An agent who looks for a buyer. Can represent a buyer, or be a subagent of a seller.
  • Seller’s market – An area where sellers have the advantage. Usually in areas with only several good homes available, but with many potential buyers.
  • Subagent – A secondary agent under the listing agent tasked to assist with a real estate transaction.
  • Turnkey – A term for a real estate transaction where an owner makes all improvements for the property before a buyer agrees to close on the sale.