Real Estate Terms and Definitions

Real Estate Agent:

A real estate agent is a licensed professional who acts as an intermediary between buyers and sellers in a real estate transaction. When an agent represents a buyer, they are known as the "Buyer's Agent," and when they represent a seller, they are known as the "Seller's Agent." Their role is to provide guidance and assistance to their clients in the buying or selling process, including helping to negotiate offers, handling paperwork and contracts, and providing expert advice on the local real estate market.

Listing Agent:

A listing agent is a licensed real estate professional who works exclusively for the seller of a property. The listing agent is responsible for marketing the property, finding potential buyers, and negotiating the best possible terms and price on behalf of the seller. In addition to these duties, the listing agent also provides guidance and advice to the seller throughout the entire sales process, from listing the property to closing the deal.

Buyers Agent:

The buyer's agent, also known as the selling agent, is a licensed professional who represents the home buyer in a real estate transaction. Their role is to assist the buyer in negotiating the best deal possible, protect them from potential pitfalls, and guide them through the escrow process. Unlike the seller's agent, who represents the seller, the buyer's agent has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the buyer throughout the entire transaction.


A Realtor is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). To become a member, the agent must adhere to a strict code of ethics set forth by NAR. The code includes obligations to clients, customers, the public, and other Realtors. By joining NAR, Realtors gain access to valuable resources and networking opportunities within the industry.


A real estate listing is a public advertisement or announcement made by a real estate agent or broker that a particular property is available for sale or rent.

Pre-Approval Letter:

The first step in the home buying process is obtaining a pre-approval letter from a bank, which confirms that you are eligible and serious about purchasing a home. This letter is important as it informs sellers that you are a qualified buyer who is able to secure financing for the purchase of a home.


A real estate offer is a formal proposal made by a potential buyer to purchase a property from the seller. Along with the offer, the buyer typically provides a Pre-Approval Letter, Proof of Funds, and a personalized letter detailing why the home is a perfect match for them and their family. The offer outlines the proposed purchase price and any contingencies, such as inspections or financing requirements, that must be met for the sale to proceed. If the seller accepts the offer, the transaction moves forward to the next stage of the home buying process.


Escrow is a third-party process designed to reduce the risk of fraud during a real estate transaction. An escrow company acts as a neutral intermediary and holds funds and documents related to the transaction until all the conditions of the sale have been met. The escrow company will only disburse the funds and release the documents when both the buyer and seller are satisfied with the terms of the agreement. This ensures that both parties can proceed with the transaction with confidence, knowing that their interests are protected.


A home inspection is a crucial part of the home buying process, during which a professional inspector or the buyer themselves, examine the property for any hidden flaws or potential problems. Typically, this inspection takes place during the first 17 days of the Escrow period in a real estate transaction. It is highly recommended that the buyer obtains a home inspection report as it can help avoid unexpected expenses and make an informed decision on the purchase of the property.


A real estate appraisal is a professional opinion on the determined value of a property, provided by a licensed appraiser. The appraisal helps to determine the fair market value of the property and is often required by the lender before approving a mortgage loan. If the appraised value of the property comes in below the amount of the offer, the lender may decline to fund the deal or require the buyer to make up the difference in cash.


A contingency is a condition or action that must be satisfied or completed for a real estate contract to become binding. Some common contingencies in a real estate contract include loan, appraisal, inspection, and house sale contingency.

Closing Costs:

Closing costs are the expenses associated with a real estate transaction that go beyond the purchase price of the property. These costs may include loan origination fees, discount points, appraisal fees, title insurance, taxes, and deed-recording fees. It's important for buyers to budget for closing costs in addition to their down payment to ensure a successful and smooth transaction.

Multiple Listing Service “MLS”:

The MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is an online database where real estate agents list properties for sale. It is a valuable resource that helps buyers' agents find homes for their clients and allows listing agents to determine the strength of the market and estimate the value of a property using data from the MLS.

Christopher Hysell is the owner and operator of, a website dedicated to showcasing his expertise as a licensed California real estate agent (DRE License #01992879) in the city of Glendora, CA. He is affiliated with Realty ONE Group Masters, a reputable real estate brokerage. We are committed to providing Equal Housing Opportunities for all individuals.

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