What do all these terms mean anyway?
Buying or selling a home is very personal and can be emotional. But, it is also an important and major transaction that can get confusing. And legal jargon can make your head spin (we know!) and a lot of times Google isn't much help either. That's why it is important to have someone who can not only facilitate the closing process, but can simplify terminology but advise you during each step of the transaction. Here are a few biggies:
- Real estate or real property: land and the buildings on the land
- Real estate law: governs who may own and use the land
- Title: a legal term describing who officially owns the land
- Mortgage: a loan that covers the price of a house. The new homeowner must give the lender partial ownership of the house as collateral (security that you will repay the loan).
- Foreclosure: the process by which the lender takes control of a house if the owner fails to pay back the mortgage. (their collateral)
- Closing: the meeting in which ownership of real estate is officially transferred between parties
- Escrow: money or property held by a third, "disinterested" party (not uninterested! just someone that doesn't have a stake in the transaction) for safekeeping
- Real Estate Agent: a professional licensed to negotiate and conduct real estate transactions
Hiring a real estate attorney is essential in real estate transactions, but attorneys are a valuable resource to help you navigate your mortgage options, obtain title insurance (important!! more on that next!) and just make the closing process easier so you can be confident in your decisions.
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