Buyer and Seller Resources

Real Estate Lingo 101


One of the things that we at Mike Bain have come across in our real estate experience is how confusing the industry jargon can be — not only first-time home buyers, but to seasoned buyers and sellers, too. PITI, FSBO, FHA—it's enough to throw anyone for a loop.

To help you navigate the buying and selling process a little better, we've put together a list of the 20 top terms and phrases used in real estate transactions. Here's your chance to master the lingo and breeze through negotiations!

Appraisal - Written explanation of a property's fair market value, often based on comparable home sales in the area.

Appreciation - The increase in value of a home based mostly on inflation and market conditions.

Buyer's Market - A market with more sellers than buyers. Too many homes on the market without enough buyers causes lower prices, since homes are harder to sell.

Conventional Loan - A loan not insured or guaranteed by the government.

Deed - A written document for a title to real estate that can be conveyed from one party to another.

Due Diligence - Taking care before signing a contract to research, analyze, and gather information about a property.

Earnest Money - Money you give to the seller (or seller's agent) to show your good faith when making an offer on a home.

Escrow - A bond, deed, or other document kept in the custody of a third party, taking effect only when a specified condition has been fulfilled.

FHA Loan - Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance, which is provided by an FHA-approved lender. Enables qualifying Americans to borrow money for the purchase of a home that they would not otherwise be able to afford.

HOA - HOA is the abbreviation for Home Owners Association.

HOA Dues - Fees paid to your Home Owners Association to cover the cost of yard maintenance, disaster insurance, and neighborhood-wide amenities.

Home Inspection - A limited observation of a home made prior to purchasing that includes any areas needing improvement or attention.

Homeowner's Insurance - Type of property insurance covering a private residence.

Mortgage - A legal document promising a property as collateral for repayment of a debt.

Multiple Listing Service (MLS) - Database of current homes on the market used by real estate professionals.

PITI - The abbreviation for principal, interest, taxes and insurance; usually a monthly payment on a mortgage to a lender. Also used to pre-qualify a buyer.

Points - A fee paid up-front to the lender at closing to lower the interest rate over the life of the loan. Also known as discount points or purchase points.

Realtor - A member of the National Association of REALTORS who acts as an agent for the sale and purchase of buildings and land; a real estate agent.

Staging - Preparing a home for sale by improving the property's appeal for potential buyers.

VA Loan - A mortgage loan issued by qualified lenders and guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

We're Here to Help 

Real estate transactions can be challenging when you don't understand the landscape, but we're here to help. Whether you're buying your dream home or selling your current property for an upgrade, you'll want an experienced and knowledgeable real estate team at your side.

At Mike Bain , we have the experience and industry-leading resources to help you reach your Wilmington real estate goals. Contact us at (910)367-1671 and let us get to work exceeding your expectations.