As real estate professionals, one of our goals at the Rita Boswell Group is to make sure that you have access to the information and resources you need to make informed decisions when buying or selling a home in Columbus.

We understand that sometimes the jargon used by real estate industry professionals can be confusing, and we hope to make things easier for Columbus buyers and sellers.

To help you navigate the real estate market, we have put together a list of frequently used terms and phrases. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, please call or text Columbus Realtor Rita Boswell at 614-547-3229 with your question.

  • Active Listing: a property listing that is currently available for sale on the MLS as opposed to a Contingent or Pending listing, which is already under contract.
  • Appraisal: a written explanation of the fair market value for a property. Comparable home sales in the area are usually used to determine an appraisal.
  • Buyer’s Market: when there are more sellers than buyers. More homes on the market than buyers causes prices to decrease in order to attract buyers.
  • Contingent: When a home that is listed on the MLS is marked Contingent, it means the seller has accepted an offer, but there may still be provisions that must be met before the sale is closed.
  • Conventional Loan: a loan that is not guaranteed or insured by the government.
  • Deed: A written document for a property title to be conveyed from one party to another
  • Due Diligence: in real estate this usually refers to a buyer’s “due diligence period” which is the time for the buyer to analyze, research, and gather information about a property.
  • Earnest Money: this is money the buyer gives to the seller (or seller’s agent) to show good faith when making an offer to purchase a home
  • Escrow: a deed, bond, or other document kept in the custody of a third party, taking effect only when a specified condition is fulfilled.
  • FHA Loan: the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance provided by an FHA-approved lender. An FHA Loan enables qualified Americans to borrow money for the purchase of a home they would not otherwise be able to afford.
  • HOA: Home Owners Association
  • HOA Dues: the fees paid to a Home Owners Association to pay for the cost of yard maintenance, neighborhood amenities, and disaster insurance.
  • Home Inspection: the limited observation of a home completed prior to purchase. The home inspection will help the buyer identify areas needing repair or improvement before closing.
  • Homeowners Insurance: a type of property insurance that covers a private residence
  • HUD: the Department of Housing & Urban Development
  • Mortgage: the legal document promising a property to the lender as collateral for payment of the debt
  • Multiple Listing Service (MLS): this is the database used by real estate professionals to list properties for sale.
  • Pending Listing: This is a property on the MLS that is pending sale. The home seller has accepted an offer and all contingencies have been addressed. A Pending home is no longer Active
  • PITI: stands for Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance; this is usually a monthly payment on a mortgage to a lender. This is also used to pre-qualify a home buyer.
  • Points: a fee paid up front to the mortgage lender at closing to lower the interest rate over the lifetime of the loan. They may also be known as discount points or purchase points.
  • Realtor: this is the designation for a real estate agent that is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. A Realtor acts as an agent for the sale and purchase of buildings and land.
  • Staging: Improving a home’s appeal for potential buyers. Staging helps a property sell more quickly for more money.
  • Under Contract: Once a home seller has accepted an offer from a buyer and a contract has been signed, the property is Under Contract. It is possible for a home Under Contract to go back on the market.
  • VA Loan: A mortgage loan guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and issued by qualified lenders.