If you’ve been looking to buy a home recently, or even just been binge watching (watching all at once) Selling Sunset, you’ve probably heard a lot of home buying vocabulary! The words and phrases you need to buy a home can be tricky, especially if you’re working in your second language. We covered some home buying vocabulary before, but there’s so much more you need to know!

Who’s the person who shows you around the house? What is it called when you see a house in the newspaper or online? There’s so much important home buying vocabulary that it can be hard to know where to start! We’ll break it all down (make it smaller, easier) for you here, so that you can speak English with confidence when you’re buying a home.

Realtor (ˈriːəltɚ)

A realtor, or a real estate agent, is a person who sells houses for and to people. It can be really good to have a realtor help you when buying a house, because they know the whole process of home buying. They will help you to find a house by taking you to see houses that are for sale in your area. They will give you a tour of the house and tell you details about it, so that you can decide whether you’d like to buy it or not. Not everyone uses a realtor when looking to buy a home, but many find it really useful!

For example:

  • She decided that she wanted to change careers and become a realtor. She studied really hard, and got her license in April!
  • My realtor was really great when we were looking for our house. She really went above and beyond to help us find our house! I can give you her details, if you’d like.

Listing (ˈlɪstɪŋ)

How do you know which houses are for sale in your area? By looking at listings! Listing just may be the most important home buying vocabulary word, since this is where everything gets started! A listing is an advertisement for a home. It shows all the important details of the house, such as where it’s located, how big it is, how many rooms it has, and how much it costs. You can look through many different listings to see which houses you like, and which ones you want to see in person. Your realtor will also look at listings to help you find the right home.

For example:

  • Sometimes I like to look at house listings for fun. I like to see what’s around in case I ever have the money to buy a house.
  • He ever looks at houses in person that don’t have photos in the listing. He always thinks that there will be something wrong with those houses.

Put in an offer/bid (ˈpʊt ˈɪn ən ˈɔːfɚ/ˈbɪd)

What happens when you see a house that you really like and want to buy? Then you would talk to your realtor and put in an offer or a bid on the house. To put in an offer or a bid is another important home buying vocabulary word, and means to tell the person selling the house how much you’re willing to pay for it. Then the seller will either accept (say yes) or reject (say no) your offer. There’s usually room for negotiation (discussing to come up with a solution) with the seller, meaning that you can get the house for less than the asking price (how much the seller wants). However, if multiple people are interested in the house, you could end up paying more than asking! Have you put in an offer on a house before?

For example:

  • I really liked this house that I saw last week. I put in a bid quickly, but someone else was willing to pay way more and the seller took their offer instead.
  • He went to see a house he wanted to buy, but it needed a lot more work (renovations) than the seller originally said. He put in an offer below asking price, and the seller accepted.

Commission (kəˈmɪʃən)

A commission is a certain percentage of money made from a sale that goes to the seller. Realtor’s tend to work on commission, meaning that they make their money from the percentage they get of house sales. Typically, realty commissions are between five and six percent of the house sale. This commission is then split between the realtor representing the seller and the realtor representing the buyer. Because realtors work on commission, they can make a lot of money from selling houses! The more expensive a house is, the higher the commission!

For example:

  • She sold a house for $2 million, which means she got a $60,000 commission! Maybe it’s time for me to switch jobs and become a realtor!
  • I don’t mind working on commission, because it encourages me to make sales. If I don’t sell, I don’t get paid. It’s a great motivator for me to sell houses.

Title/deed (ˈtaɪtl̩/ˈdiːd)

Once you’ve bought a house, you’ll get the title, or deed, to it. A title or deed is a piece of paper that gives the history of ownership for a piece of property. Alongside the ownership information, a title will also have details about the property, the conditions of the sale, and the purchase price. The title is also legal proof that you own the house. It’s important to have the title to a house when you buy it, because you want to be able to prove that you bought it!

For example:

  • I always make sure to keep all my important papers in one place, including the deed to my house. That way I know where everything is when I need it.
  • He was so excited when he got the title to his new home. It was the first time he owned a piece of property, and having the title made it official!

Have you ever bought a home? Did you need any of this home buying vocabulary during the process? Share your home buying experiences with us in the comments below!

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Check out these other popular blogs: Banking English VocabularyMusic Idioms in EnglishHow to Use Quotation Marks, or these 10 Common Latin Words in English!

Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and would love to be able to buy a home! Now to just find a good realtor to put this home buying vocabulary to good use…

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