So you’re thinking about your very first home purchase? That’s great! Let me help you out by explaining some of the lingo associated with buying a home.

Real estate salesperson: Another name for a real estate agent, usually one that is not a designated REALTOR®.

REALTOR®: A real estate broker or sales associate who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. This means that he or she must uphold the standards of the association and its code of ethics. Not all real estate agents are REALTORS®.

Offer: An agreement presented by the buyer to a seller to purchase real estate (purchase a home). This is also known as sales contract. In Illinois it’s called the Residential Real Estate Purchase and Sale Contract.

Contingent: An offer on a home has been accepted, but a final sale is contingent upon certain criteria. (typically the appraisal, home inspection and/or mortgage approval).

Temporarily off the market (TEMP): The seller/owner has removed the home for sale for an undetermined period, usually because of improvements/repairs. The intent is to return the home to active status.

Closed: The home is sold and no longer actively for sale.

Expired: The seller’s listing agreement with the agent has expired.

Closing Cost: These are fees paid at the closing table, either by the seller, buyer or both. They include taxes, insurance and other lender expenses.

Counteroffer: The rejection of the original/current offer on a sales contract, with terms for a new offer. This can come from the buyer or seller. Once a counteroffer is made, the previous contract is no longer valid.

CMA: Comparative Market Analysis. A CMA is a report that shows the price and amenities of recently sold homes comparable to a subject home. The sold prices, known as comps, can help home sellers or home buyers determine how much a home is worth in the current market. Usually prepared by a real estate agent, REALTOR®, or appraiser.

Earnest Money: Monies paid by the buyer and held by the Broker or title company in a trust or escrow account. The amount is reflected on the sales contract. 

Showing: Appointment made by the real estate agent working with a home buyer, so they can preview the home with the buyer.

Home Inspection: Examination of and written report noting a home’s condition. It is performed by a qualified home inspector selected by the buyer.

Lock box: Locked key-holding device placed on a home for sale. Real estate professionals access the key to a home for showings after obtaining permission from the listing agent.

Multiple Listing Service: A online site, commonly referred to as MLS, that only real estate professionals have access to. Homes for sale are listed here by agents. Agents use it daily to find homes for buyers. Via agreement, homes on the MLS may be found on websites like Realtor.com, and others.

I hope you found this helpful. I have expertise in representing first-time homebuyers in the Chicagoland area. Making the right decisions for your first home purchase can establish your long-term security and prosperity. Please reach out for trusted, patient, guidance.