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10 Terms You Need to Know to Sell Your Home

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Although the formal settlement happens on closing day when you sell your home, the settlement process actually begins when the seller accepts a buyer’s offer. The settlement process takes anywhere from 30 to 90 days when you sell your home through a real estate agent, but a homebuying company can expedite the process, often times in as little as one week.

Following is a glossary of settlement terms you’ll need to familiarize yourself with in order to sell your home, whether you’re using a real estate agent, a homebuying company, or both.

  1. Settlement/Closing: This is the final day of the homebuying and selling process in which the title is transferred, the deeds and mortgages are signed, any outstanding liens are paid, and money is dispersed to the proper parties. For more information check out the following video on the settlement process.
  2. Closing Costs: All the fees associated with a home sale, including the realtor’s fee and fees for title transfer, loan processing, surveying, and recording the deed. The realtor’s fee is traditionally paid by the seller, while the other fees are usually paid by the buyer.
  3. Settlement/Closing Statement (also known as HUD 1): A balance sheet summarizing all the debits and credits that each party involved in a real estate transaction is entitled to.
  4. Title Company: An impartial third party company that coordinates the interests of the buyers, sellers, real estate agents, and mortgage lender to make sure that all the requirements of the settlement are satisfied.
  5. Escrow: A percentage of the down payment money that is held by a title company during the negotiation and settlement processes.
  6. Title Abstract: A summary of the history of a property and its ownership, including any liens that exist on the property.
  7. Lien: A liability on a property used as security for a debt. All liens on a property must be settled before the closing can be finalized.
  8. Title Insurance: Protection against loss that can occur as a result of liens or title defects.
  9. Deed Restrictions: Specific limits defining the uses and development of a property.
  10. Real Estate Attorney: A lawyer who provides legal advice beyond the scope of a real estate agent, including title, tax, zoning, construction, and deed restriction issues.

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