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  by W. Troy Swezey

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Purchasing a home can be a complicated and confusing process, especially for first-time buyers. Throughout the process, first-time home buyers will encounter a variety of unfamiliar real state terms. There are several key terms associates with purchasing real estate that are helpful to learn.

For example, many buyers confuse the terms broker and salesperson. A broker is a properly licensed individual, or corporation, who serves as a special agent in the purchase and sale of real estate, a salesperson is an individual employed or associated by written agreement by the broker as an independent contractor. The salesperson facilitates the purchase or sale of real estate.

Once you decide to purchase, a salesperson will prepare a sales contract to present to the seller along with your earnest money deposit. The sales contract is the document through which the seller agrees to give possession and title of property to the buyer upon full payment of the purchase price and performance of agreed-upon conditions. The earnest money is a buyer’s partial payment, as a show of good faith, to make the contract binding. Often, the earnest money is held in an escrow account. Escrow is the process by which money is held by a disinterested party until the terms of the escrow instructions are fulfilled.

After the buyer and seller have signed the contract, the buyer must obtain a mortgage note by presenting the contract to a mortgage lender. The note is the buyer’s promise to pay the purchase price of the real estate in addition to a stated interest rate over a specified period of time. A mortgage lender places a lien on the property, or mortgage, and this secures the mortgage note.
 
     
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