Essential Real Estate Terms


A listing refers to any home that’s up for sale. Listings can be viewed online, and typically provide information about the home through details such as number of bedrooms, square footage, and price.


A contingency is a provision in a contract that must be fulfilled before a real estate transaction can close. There are many different types of contingencies, the most common of which are:

  • Sale contingency: When the sale of the buyer’s current home determines the success of their offer on a new home.

  • Financing contingency: When the buyer must submit approval of a loan application under a set amount of time in order to close.

  • Inspection contingency: When buyers are given the right to conduct a home inspection and negotiate further if there are any repair issues.


When documents or funds are held by a third party before closing on a home. The third party is either an attorney or a company that handles escrow arrangements.


The release of facts that may have been undisclosed, usually in reference to physical issues within the home being sold, such as leaks or potential flood damage. In the state of California, all residential property sellers must provide a Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement as well as lead-based paint or radon disclosures if applicable.


The MLS, or Multiple Listing Service, is a local service that indexes available real estate and provides detailed information about each listing that is available online to brokers and agents. Consumers can access limited MLS information by third-party data feeds through brokerage websites.


A walkthrough is the final home inspection performed by the buyer before closing. The purpose of a walkthrough is to make sure all requested repairs or maintenance have been performed prior to signing the closing papers.


When pursuing a mortgage, your lender will most likely require an appraisal of the home you are looking to purchase, conducted by a licensed home appraiser who will inspect the property and compare its value to homes in the area.

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