Real Estate Terms You Need to Know When Selling

Grasping real estate jargon can sometimes feel like learning a new language. However, understanding key terms can provide clarity during the selling process, leading to better decision-making and potentially more profitable outcomes.


An appraisal is an unbiased professional assessment of a property’s value. It is an integral part of the selling process as it determines how much your home is worth in the current market. The appraisal factors in various elements such as the property’s location, condition, size, and recent sales of comparable properties in the area. A licensed appraiser performs the appraisal, which is typically ordered by the buyer’s mortgage lender to ensure that the loan amount is not more than the home’s worth. As a seller, understanding your home’s appraisal value can guide you in setting a competitive asking price and negotiating potential offers.


Contingencies are conditions that must be met for a real estate transaction to proceed. They are included in the purchase agreement and provide protection for both the buyer and seller, allowing either party to back out of the contract under specific circumstances without penalty. One common contingency is the requirement to pass a property inspection. Others can include a financing contingency, which ensures the buyer secures adequate financing, and an appraisal contingency, which verifies that the property’s appraised value meets or exceeds the sale price. As a seller, you should fully understand any contingencies in your contract. Removing or reducing the number of contingencies can make your deal more attractive to buyers but may also increase your risk.


Escrow refers to the period in which a neutral third party, known as the escrow agent, holds onto funds and essential documents related to the real estate transaction. This occurs after the buyer and seller have reached an agreement but before the deal is finalized. During escrow, various tasks are carried out, including property inspections, title searches, and final walkthroughs. The escrow agent also ensures that all contingencies are met. Once everything is in order, the escrow agent disburses the funds and transfers the property title to complete the transaction. Understanding escrow is vital because it affects the timeline of your sale. While the duration of the escrow period can vary, sellers should anticipate around 30 to 60 days. Having patience and staying organized can ease stress during this crucial phase.

Selling your home is a significant financial decision. Understanding real estate terms like appraisal, contingencies, and escrow can lead to a smoother process, providing you with the knowledge to navigate negotiations confidently and secure the best deal for your property. Armed with this knowledge, you are now one step closer to a successful home sale.

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