Amortization: Paying off a debt, such as a mortgage, by installments. The conventional amortization period for a mortgage is anywhere between 15 and 25 years. The shorter the amortization period, the less interest you have to pay.
Appraisal: An estimate of a property’s value.
Asking (list) price: The price placed on the property for sale by the seller.
Blended payments: Payments consisting of principal and interest components, paid during the amortization period of a mortgage.
Broker: A person licensed by the provincial or territorial or state government to trade in real estate. Real estate brokers may form companies or offices, which appoint sales representatives to provide services to the seller or buyer, or they may provide the same services themselves. In some areas, brokers are referred to as agents.
Buyer’s Agent (also known as “Buyer’s Broker” or “Purchaser’s Agent”): A person or firm representing the buyer. A Buyer’s Agent’s primary allegiance is to the buyer. The buyer is the Buyer Agent’s client.
Buyer Brokerage Agreement: A written agreement between the buyer and the buyer’s agent, outlining the agency relationship between the two parties and the manner in which the buyer’s agent will be compensated. In some states or provinces, a buyer agency relationship arises automatically, without a written agreement establishing the relationship.
Client: The person being represented by an agent. The agent owes the client the duties of utmost care, integrity, confidentiality and loyalty.
Closing: The day the legal title to the property changes hands.
Commission: An amount agreed to by the seller and the real estate broker/agent and stated in the listing agreement. It is payable to the broker/agent on closing and shared, if applicable, among those salespeople involved in the sale.
Customer: A person who receives valuable information and assistance from a real estate broker or salesperson, but is not represented by that individual.
Debt-Service Ratio: The measurement of debt payments to gross household income which may include, in addition to the main wage earner’s salary, salaries of other wage earners, commissions, bonuses, overtime, etc.
Dual Agent: A real estate broker or salesperson who acts as agent for both the seller and the buyer in the same transaction. Both buyer and seller are the agent’s clients.
Equity: The difference between the value of the property and the amount owing (if any) on the mortgage.
Financial Institutions: Banks, credit unions, insurance or trust companies.
Gross Debt Service: The amount of money needed to pay principal, interest, taxes and sometimes, energy costs. If the dwelling unit is a condominium, all or a portion of common fees are included, depending on what expenses are covered.