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“Not only did James do a fantastic job for us we will always be thankful for the lesson he taught us.”

“James showed us how to let go of the part of the real estate business that was just taking up our time. By trusting his vision and putting his strong, extremely competent and creative talents to work for us, we finally learned to hire others who were better than us to do things that were using up our time. Not only did James do a fantastic job for us we will always be thankful for the lesson he taught us.”

Eric Weaver

“Ryan was there every step of the way”

“Ryan made the journey of finding a perfect apartment seamless. Flexible, timely, agile, and all around a wonderful person to work with, his style of customer relationship had no time-limits — from the weekends calls to late evenings emails, while I was different time-zones, Ryan was there every step of the way — a consummate professional who facilitated exactly what I was looking for in an apartment. I believe I’ve found my real estate broker as long as he’s in the DC area for the years to come.”

David

“He created some of the best marketing pieces I’ve seen in my 25 years”

“I worked with James for years as he provided marketing, design and social media services for our real estate brokerage and directly to our agents. He created some of the best marketing pieces I’ve seen in my 25 years in the business and added much value to our endeavors during our collaboration.”

Patrick Carlisle

“I’m grateful for his positive spirit, can-do attitude, creative genius and OCD-level work.”

“Being a real estate agent requires the ability to juggle many things at once. Agents need to focus on their clients’ needs, and should delegate what they can as soon as they can. I simply cannot provide great customer attention if I’m preoccupied with my website or social media. Enter James Kastner. James not only unburdened me but he took my website and social media sites and ran with them. His elegant and creative design propelled my site into something more than I hoped for. And social media? Forget about it! I’m all over the place – key in this short-attention-span society. James has given me what I feel is priceless: peace of mind. I’m grateful for his positive spirit, can-do attitude, creative genius and OCD-level work. It’s always perfect, error-free and on point. Thank you, James!”

Mary Macpherson

“He has tried-and-true recommendations that he is more than willing to share”

“My husband and I worked with James to find our new home in DC. We were new to the market and had lots of different thoughts about what we were looking for. James was incredibly patient as we traveled from neighborhood to neighborhood, from free-standing houses with yards to condos with street parking! James continues to be very helpful with brainstorming renovation ideas, giving recommendations for contractors/painters/glass workers. He has tried-and-true recommendations that he is more than willing to share. During the negotiation and settlement process, James was 100% present the whole time, keeping us up-to-date and running every decision past us. He took the time to explain each aspect of the bidding process, each point on the contract, and every step of the settlement process. We never felt pressured to increase our number or establish an escalation clause before the offer was submitted. James has a fabulous understanding of the bidding process and was able to predict (I sweat he has a crystal ball) how the seller would respond to different bids, inspection reports, etc. My husband and I would wholeheartedly recommend James to anyone looking to buy in the DMV area. When we are ready to move to another place we will definitely be using James to help us sell and buy somewhere else. We cant wait to have him over for dinner in our new place! Thanks for everything, James!”

Erin P.B. Katz

“Molly has been an outstanding Realtor throughout the whole process of helping me buy a new place.”

“Molly has been an outstanding Realtor throughout the whole process of helping me buy a new place. It was my first time buying and I had so many clueless questions but Molly made all of my questions important and addressed them immediately. The process of buying a place could be a little frustrating but she makes it all easy and fun and fast forward 5 months, I have a condo that I really like. She is patient and never pushy, this is very important because no one wants to be pushed and buy a place that they will end up not liking. I really had a great experience of buying a place with Molly and she went above and beyond every time. I couldn’t wish for a better Realtor and experience. You would be lucky to have her as your agent.”

Kali Ferede

“He improves everything that he touches!”

“I employed James to manage and deliver my real estate print, social media and online marketing. James is a brilliant, savvy idea generator, brimming with creativity and energy. His excellent editing and writing skills result in marketing copy that is direct and full of impact! James delivers visually appealing results and he improves everything that he touches!”

John Solaegui

“If you’re looking to buy or sell your home I highly recommend that you choose Molly Branson as your agent”

“If you’re looking to buy or sell your home I highly recommend that you choose Molly Branson as your agent. First, Molly is friendly and easy to work with. She always made time to answer our questions and was very clear about where we were in the process of selling our condo. Molly also did a great job showing our condo. She used everything from advertising on social media, phone calls with her network of agents, and two open houses. Our condo was on the market for two days and sold over list price. We plan to use her as an agent again and will definitely recommend her to our friends.”

Jason Trentacoste

“At each step of the process, we never felt pressured”

“As first time homebuyers, we were intimidated by the market and unfamiliar with the process, but we love DC and were open to living in a variety of neighborhoods. We were looking for someone who would be patient while we learned the ropes and who would help us feel confident in a highly competitive market.

We found all that and more with Ryan. He helped guide us through many properties around the District to more fully understand what we were looking for in a house and a neighborhood.

At each step of the process, we never felt pressured to make an offer or any other decision with which we were not completely comfortable.

Ryan was able to educate and empower us with his knowledge of the market, and his engaging personality helped us thoroughly enjoy the experience from start to finish.

After looking for just about a month and putting in two offers, we were under contract for an amazing house in Petworth. We’re so thankful Ryan was in our corner advocating for us every step of the way.”

Adam & Rebecca Evans

“Highly recommended and we would plan on using her as our agent again in the future!”

“We used Molly as our agent for both selling/buying, upgrading from a condo in DC to a house in Maryland. We first met Molly at an open house and were impressed by how much she remembered from our short conversation in the follow-up email she sent to us later that day. Throughout everything we appreciated Molly’s honesty and how she listened to our thoughts and concerns — she never came across as condescending or as if our concerns didn’t matter to her. When it came time to put an offer in on the house she was very aggressive in beating out a competing offer, which we appreciated since we had never been in that situation before. Molly also communicated with us constantly throughout the process and responded instantly whenever an issue came up. Highly recommended and we would plan on using her as our agent again in the future!”

David Garber

“Thank you to all of the team.”

“Ryan and his team made our transition to finding the right tenants and property management easy and a welcoming experience. We know our home while being rented will be in good hands! Thank you to all of the team.”

Steven and Beth Fabbri

“Flexible, timely, agile, and all around a wonderful person to work with”

“Ryan made the journey of finding a perfect apartment seamless. Flexible, timely, agile, and all around a wonderful person to work with, his style of customer relationship had no time-limits — from the weekends calls to late evenings emails, while I was different time-zones, Ryan was there every step of the way — a consummate professional who facilitated exactly what I was looking for in an apartment. I believe I’ve found my real estate broker as long as he’s in the DC area for the years to come.”

David Mazaheri

“Thank you to all of the team”

“Ryan and James made our transition to finding the right tenants and property management easy and a welcoming experience. We know our home while being rented will be in good hands! Thank you to all of the team.”

Steven

“He’s fun to work with, and smart as a whip.”

“James did marketing work for some of my real estate development properties, and was consistently energetic, focused, and creative. He’s fun to work with, and smart as a whip. No hesitation giving him a strong recommendation.”

Joel M. Karr

“Randy and Daren are an incredible team!”

“Randy and Daren are an incredible team! They thoughtfully walked us through the listing process and staged our Capitol Hill home beautifully — and completed the sale in just five days! Now that we’re looking for a home, we’ve been impressed with their diligence, consideration, and honesty at every step of the process.”

David White

“Randy and Daren are fantastic; they’ve exceeded my expectations and then some!”

“Randy and Daren are fantastic; they’ve exceeded my expectations and then some! They guided this first time homebuyer beautifully through the process. I felt that my concerns were their concerns; emails and phone calls were answered very quickly and I was never left wondering what was happening. Every step from online listings, viewings, finances, bid/offer letters, and plenty of things I would not know to ask. They are extremely patient, professional and made me feel like I was their only client! I do not have enough words to explain my gratitude for their help in finding my perfect “castle” condo!”

Irina Royter

“They got us into the exactly right property for us.”

“We lucked out meeting Daren and Randy at a new home buyer’s seminar. They explained the process and when we were finally ready to look seriously, we called them and asked them to be our buyers agents. It was the best decision we made! We told them what we were looking for and they targeted neighborhoods and properties in our price range. Our wish list was crazy for what we wanted to spend, but we managed to pull it off in the end. When we toured each property, they provided their honest assessment. Their eye for detail and ability to identify problems steered us away from shoddy flips and lurking problems. They negotiated hard and when we lost the bidding war on a house we liked, they provided encouragement and convinced us we would find the house for us. While we couldn’t see it at the time, they were right. When we did find the perfect place (and we did find it!), we were able to move quickly and put together the winning offer. They worked hard behind the scenes, sometimes very late into the night to put together offers quickly and accurately. They even helped us with financial documents to quickly get the financing secured. Even when we were traveling we worked with them to make sure we could submit offers quickly. Now that the sale is done, they continue to be helpful finding resources to make home ownership easier. Aside from their knowledge, research and understanding of the market, Randy and Daren are just great guys who we always enjoyed talking to and being around them. There’s so much more I can say about how much we enjoyed working with them and how they got us into the exactly right property for us. The bottom line is this: great agents, great guys, we were so lucky to have found them and I’d work with them again in a heartbeat!”

Candace Archer & Jenn Nichols

“James is a real go-getter with genius ideas!”

“James is a real go-getter with genius ideas! He has helped me advance my real estate business in numerous ways. He is always ready to jump in and help with anything from marketing to social media to prospecting and lead generation. He is a delight to work with – fun, smart, professional and did I say fun?”

Deborah Lopez

“We found all that and more with Ryan and James.”

“As first time homebuyers, we were intimidated by the market and unfamiliar with the process, but we love DC and were open to living in a variety of neighborhoods. We were looking for someone who would be patient while we learned the ropes and who would help us feel confident in a highly competitive market.
We found all that and more with Ryan and James. They helped guide us through many properties around the District to more fully understand what we were looking for in a house and a neighborhood. At each step of the process, we never felt pressured to make an offer or any other decision with which we were not completely comfortable. They were able to educate and empower us with their knowledge of the market, and their engaging personalities helped us thoroughly enjoy the experience from start to finish. After looking for just about a month and putting in two offers, we were under contract for an amazing house in Petworth. We’re so thankful they were in our corner advocating for us every step of the way (including pushing back on settlement and personally climbing on the roof to show the seller that inspection items were not addressed correctly and made sure they were fixed!).”
Adam & Rebecca

“James’ mind works at another level from the rest of us humans”

“James’ mind works at another level from the rest of us humans. Because of his creativity, my sales material was unique, compelling and always impressive.”

Shelly Sutherland

“They work hard at it. They made me feel completely at ease throughout the whole buying process.”

“I’m a pretty competitive person. I do Ironman competitions, plus a whole host of other races and fitness challenges. I work hard at it. Randy and Daren are the Iron-men of real estate. They work hard at it. They made me
feel completely at ease throughout the whole buying process. I was a first time home buyer and pretty nervous. But they seem to just have a way about them that put my mind at ease. But the best thing is just smart they work.
The strategy they implemented got me the home I wanted, and I went up against 6 other offers. I’m truly grateful. And so is Hannah, my 2 year old lab. We now live in my dream two bedroom condo in the heart of Bloomingdale!”

Jack Tisne

“Molly was patient and flexible, and stepped in when she needed to in order to make the transaction happen”

“Molly was patient and flexible, and stepped in when she needed to in order to make the transaction happen. She had great ideas which totally worked out, and was never upset or put out…even when we had to contact her with an emergency while she was on vacation.”

Vickie Drake

“He is passionate, creative, out of the box thinker, with a can-do attitude”

“We hired James and Intersect to build our website and on line presence for our real estate business. He is passionate, creative, out of the box thinker, with a can-do attitude!”

Alla Gershberg

“Daren and Randy always had thoughtful, fresh and creative proposals – truly impressed.”

“I listed my property on Riggs Place with Daren and Randy. They staged it, inside and out, and then marketed it with videos, social media, and who knows how many other ways. I was very impressed. But where I was most impressed were their skills in negotiating. I think far too many times today, people are afraid to think outside the box. Daren and Randy always had thoughtful, fresh and creative proposals – truly impressed.”

Jesse Hauer
23Todd

Sellers

MarketingOn the MarketPricingFAQGlossary

Staging

We stage all of our properties at no cost to our clients. Utilizing an ever-changing, high-end inventory of furniture, we personally work in the space with our own supply accessories, linens, art and rugs. Staging is a crucial element in drawing out the property features and the highest and best use of the home.

Photography

All of our photo shoots are directed by a professional photographer with a careful eye as to how the photos and styling will be conveyed on the property website, your business portfolio website, the Slate Properties network and thousands of other websites across the Internet.

Professionally Designed Print Materials

We personally design (remember, James used to own a real estate marketing company in San Francisco), our own print materials. We no longer call it a brochure, it’s a booklet. Your property will be featured in it’s own booklet that is at least 8 pages and will include as many photographs as possible, floor plans, neighborhood history and local amenities. We will add pages as necessary. We take great pride in constantly staying ahead of our competition with creative layouts, graphics, folds and design.

Property Signage

It’s more than just a sign in your yard. We label your home with “value point signage”. We design and have signage professionally printed so that it is branded to your property and is easily seen and recognizable by guests. And yes, we will put a sign in your yard with a rider for your property website, too.

Internet Strategy

As buyers have increasingly gone on-line, we have worked hard for over a decade to create the most distinctive and most comprehensive online marketing program in the business. Our listings are showcased not only on websites, but social media and email, as well. Your property must be easily found online and without any barriers to viewing the information or photography. Each property site is synchronized to your portfolio site, as well as social media channels and email lists.

Custom Website

We will engage the development of a custom website, from a company we founded and sold, for your property with a keen understanding of a user’s experience, from the placement of links to site accessibility from all operating systems, browsers and devices, to include mobile. We purposefully do not use “Flash” so that the website can be viewed on devices where that program is not supported (ie: iPads and iPhones), as well as to encourage indexing by search engines. We also include a floor plan on the website.

Social Media

Our intention with social media is not to target just individual buyers, but those who might bring a buyer to the property – agents, neighbors, fans of businesses in the area. By targeting those who are connected to shops, restaurants and other businesses, as well as organizations, through social media, we can expose your property to prospects who already enjoy the area.

  • Your property website
  • SlatePropertiesDC.com
  • DistrictResidential.com
  • MRIShomes.com
  • WashingtonPost.com
  • Realtor.com
  • Trulia.com
  • Zillow.com
  • Yahoo.com
  • Facebook.com
  • Craigslist.com
  • LinkedIn.com
  • Twitter.com
  • …and globally via IDX feed to thousands of sites.

On-Market: Week 1

  • Input property in Multiple Listing Service, complete with photo captions and virtual media
  • Email 4500 local agents and Craigslist advertising
  • Launch property on Slate Properties network and social media
  • Catered “Grand Opening” reception, Thursday 6-9 pm
  • Brokers’ Tuesday tour open house – 12:00 am-12:30 pm
  • Public open houses – Saturday 2-4 pm (house cleaning prior) and Sunday 1-5 pm

On-Market: Weeks 2-3

  • Private showings
  • Follow-up with brokers and potential buyers
  • Web updates for open house
  • Open house email and Craigslist advertising
  • Public open house – Sunday 2-4 pm

On-Market: Week 4

  • Review competitive properties, market conditions and trends
  • Review and revise marketing plan and pricing strategy, as needed
  • Re-order photos on MLS and website; freshen copy
  • Private showings
  • Follow-up with brokers and potential buyers
  • Web updates for open house
  • Open house email and Craigslist advertising
  • Public open house – Sunday 2-4 pm

The list price of your home is always your decision. In our conversation, we will arm you with recent, comparable sales (the past 6 months, as this is what the appraiser will use) that reflect a similar square footage, bedroom and bathroom count and condition. Note: the key word here is “similar.” We will find a range of properties, view them objectively, make allowances for the differences, and determine our best recommended price in order to generate the most interest for your home.

10 out of 10 homeowners view their property as more valuable than the highest priced sale in their area. The danger of over-pricing a property is that it can ultimately lead to a lower-than-market sale price after sitting on the market for an extended period. The market will react more quickly to a property priced at a fair market value, or even slightly lower. If a property is underpriced, the market will correct, just as it will if we are overpriced. An underpriced property that is not effectively marketed will likely only achieve the list price. We always want to create as much activity as we can in order to create a micro-market for the property and ultimately, a competitive, multiple-offer situation.

Q: How are real estate agents paid?

A: Real estate agents (and the brokers with whom they are licensed) are usually paid a commission. A commission is a fee, often calculated as a percentage of a home’s sale price, paid to a real estate broker. The broker then divides this fee, sharing it with the real estate agent and cooperating broker/agent (if any) in the transaction. An agent skilled in marketing, negotiating, and in closing the transaction often can make you more money than the fees you pay them. By law, there is NO set commission schedule for real estate transactions. However, a common fee is 6% of the sale price (split 3% to the listing agent broker and 3% to the selling agent broker). Your listing agent will be happy to discuss sales commissions in more detail and answer any questions.

Q: How are buyer’s agents compensated?

A: It used to be that seller-only agency was “customary” in residential real estate. The real estate commission was thought to be paid by the home’s seller, deducted from the home sale proceeds at the time of closing. Real estate agents and brokers represented the interests of the property’s seller; the buyer was unrepresented in the transaction – and usually not even aware that this was the case!

This “conventional wisdom” changed across most of America, during the 1990s: without buyers, nothing sells. The real estate commission is derived from the proceeds of the home sale, and is really paid by both buyer and seller. Both parties are entitled to an “agency relationship,” and the representation it entails.

With the advent of buyer agency, homebuyers are now able to be fully represented by a real estate agent in the purchase of property. In most states, it’s rare that buyers would pay their agent/broker directly for services in finding and purchasing a home. If a broker does charge buyers a direct fee, it should be outlined in an exclusive agency agreement that the buyer signs when engaging the broker.

When a buyer is represented by a real estate agent, she/he comes to terms on which services the buyer-client is seeking, and the manner in which the agent will be compensated for providing those services. In most cases, a fee or commission is still derived from the seller’s proceeds of sale, and shared between the seller’s (listing) and buyer’s (selling) agents and brokers.

Q. What typically goes into a listing agreement?

A. The listing agreement is between the real estate company and a home’s seller. Think of it as your legal instructions to the people who will market your home and represent you in its sale. It must include beginning and end dates for the term of the listing, the conditions to which you, the listing agent and the real estate company agree, and a price (usually a percentage of the eventual sale price) you’re willing to pay for services rendered.

Q. How important is the condition of my property to its sale?

A. The answer to this question depends upon your priorities. Are you hoping to extract the maximum sale price for your home? If so, condition and appearance can both be very important. If, however, you’ve let “deferred maintenance” catch up with you, your priorities may be different. You may wish to sell your home in “as is” condition, allowing its buyer to repair/replace items as she/he sees fit. In this case, your ultimate sale price will be less than what the same buyer would be willing to pay for your home in mint condition.

Q. Should we leave our home when showings (or open houses) are being conducted?

A. Generally speaking, yes. If it causes you no undue hardship, it’s easier for a real estate agent to show your home without you present. The agent is better able to “demonstrate” your home’s features and benefits, painting a realistic picture for the buyers to envision themselves living there. Your absence will also allow your prospective buyers to focus on the house and its attributes – rather than on being polite to you.

Q. What is an Agency Disclosure?

A. An Agency Disclosure is a state-required document, disclosing to you as a principal in a real estate transaction (in this case, the seller) whom the agent(s) in that transaction represent. A state’s Agency Disclosure simply notifies you of that state’s agency laws; it does not obligate you to work with any particular agent or broker.

Q. What is the MLS, and how does it benefit me?

A. A Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, is a database that makes it easier to reach a large number of buyers and increase your property’s exposure. It’s a system which participating brokers at the real estate board agree to share commission on the sale of houses listed by any one of them. For example, if your house is listed with one broker and another finds the buyer who purchases it, they split the commission. You benefit because more people have an interest in selling your house and your home is exposed to more buyers since Realtors have access to MLS.

Q. Should I buy first … or sell first?

A. Do you need the equity that’s built up in your present home to complete the purchase of your new home? If so, you either need to sell first or consider a bridge loan or house sale contingency. We strongly suggest that you engage a real estate agent with whom you can enter a trusting relationship. Then discuss this question with him or her, touching on every aspect of what it may mean for your particular situation.

Q. How can I prepare my house for sale?

A. The selling process usually starts months before a property is actually put on the market. It is a good idea to look at your home through the eyes of a potential buyer. This will help you decide what needs to be cleaned, painted, repaired or tossed out. Your agent can help you make these decisions and list your home at a fair price when it’s ready.

Q. How can I find out what my home is worth?

A. Your agent has a thorough knowledge of the current real estate market, and will prepare a professional market analysis of your home to help you set a competitive price. Your associate will also help you stage your home for showing to buyers. It is extremely important to view your home as a potential buyer would. Professional staging features your home in the best light, increasing its marketability.

Q. As a seller, what do I have to disclose about the condition of my property?

A. The best policy is truth when it comes to disclosing the condition of your property. You must disclose all known material defects of the property. Normally, these are noted on a Seller Disclosure Form (SDF). This is a form included in the seller compliance manual and is completed by the seller and Realtor. If an item is not covered on the SDF, you must still make disclosures about known material defects. Even if a matter has been repaired, you should still disclose the previous defect and a report of the repairs completed. By disclosing all problems up front, you can avoid any surprises that many times provokes a lawsuit.

Q. When is the best time to put my home on the market?

A. Peak selling seasons change from year to year and sometimes weather has a lot to do with it. Often early spring and early fall are the prime listing seasons because houses tend to show better in those months than they do in the heat of the summer or the cold of winter. Keep in mind there are more houses on the market during the prime seasons, so you’ll have more competition. You shouldn’t base your decision to sell on what season it is because each selling situation is unique.

ADJUSTABLE RATE MORTGAGE (ARM): The interest rate on this type of mortgage is adjusted up or down depending on a specified financial index.

AGENT: Acts on behalf of another, representing that person’s interests and serving as an intermediary

AMORTIZATION: Used in describing paying off the loan balance – A method of equalizing the monthly mortgage payments over the life of the loan, even though the proration of principal to interest changes over time. Generally, in the beginning of the loan term the portion of principal repayment is very small and interest repayment is very high. Typically, that relationship is reversed at the end of the mortgage term

ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (APR): The actual finance charge for a loan, including the points and loan fees in addition to the stated interest rate

APPRAISAL: An experts judgment of the value of a property

ASSUMPTION MORTGAGE: Loan type where the Buyer assumes liability for an existing mortgage note held by the Seller. This is usually subject to the lender’s approval.

ASSESSED VALUE: The value placed on a property by a municipality for tax purposes. The assessed value can vary greatly from the appraised or market value

BALLOON PAYMENT: A large principal payment due all at once at the end of some loan terms

BROKER: A real estate professional who has a higher level of training than a real estate agent. The Principal Broker generally is the legal representative of the office

CAP: The limit on how much an interest rate can change in an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)

CLOSING DISCLOSURE: What was once two forms, the Truth in Lending Statement and the HUD-1, has become a combined document. The Closing Disclosure Form (CD) discloses to the borrower an estimate of the annual cost of the loan AND the total cost of the loan over the full term – including all costs and fees associated with obtaining the loan. It also outlines all charges being assessed to both the buyer and the seller.

COMMISSION: A fee, usually a percentage of the transaction, paid to a broker for services performed

CONDOMINIUM: A type of real estate ownership where the owner has title to a specific unit and shared interest in common areas

CONTRACT: A binding legal agreement between two or more parties that delineates the conditions for the exchange of value (Example: Money exchanged for title to a property)

CONVERSION CLAUSE: A provision that allows converting an ARM to a fixed-rate loan after a specified interval

DEED: A legal document that formally conveys ownership of property from Seller to Buyer

ESCROW: A fund or account held by a third-party until conditions of a contract are met

FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC: Privately owned corporations created by Congress that buy mortgage notes from local lenders and are responsible for the guidelines a majority of lenders use to qualify borrowers

FINANCE CHARGE: The total cost, including all fees, points, and interest payments a borrower pays to obtain credit

FIXED RATE MORTGAGE: Interest rates on this mortgage type remain the same over the life of the loan term

FIXTURE: A recognizable entity (kitchen cabinet, toilet, light) that is permanently attached to property and belongs to the property when it is sold

HAZARD INSURANCE: Compensates for damage from specified hazards such as fire and wind

HOME INSPECTION REPORT: Prepared by a qualified inspector, this report evaluates a properties mechanical , electrical, and plumbing systems

INTEREST: The cost of borrowing money – usually expressed and a percentage over time

LIEN: A secondary claim on property until a debt is satisfied

LISTING AGREEMENT: A contract whereby an owner engages a real estate agent for a specified period to sell property, for which the agent receives a commission

MARKET VALUE: The price that is established by present economic conditions, location, and general trends

MARKET PRICE: The actual price at which a property sold

MORTGAGE: Security claim by a lender against property until the debt is paid

MRIS: A system that provides to its members detailed information about properties for sale

NEGATIVE AMORTIZATION: A method of calculating fixed monthly payments in combination with a variable interest rate. When monthly payments are not enough to cover interest costs, unpaid interest is added to the principal balance

Origination Fee: An application fee for a processing the mortgage loan

PITI: Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance. The sum becomes the basis for monthly mortgage payments

POINT: One percent of the loan principal. It is charged typically in addition to interest and fees

PREPAYMENT PENALTY: A fee paid by a borrower who pays off the loan before it is due

PREQUALIFICATION: Information estimate of how much financing a potential borrower might expect to obtain. The prequalification is done before you begin looking at properties

PRINCIPAL: Amount of money borrowed for which interest is charged

PRORATE: Divide or assess proportionately. For example, real estate taxes will be prorated on your Closing Disclosure through the day of settlement

SETTLEMENT: All financial transactions required to complete contract performance / obligations

TITLE: The document that indicates ownership of a specific property

TITLE INSURANCE: Insurance policy that protects against loss from defects in title. Title insurance is paid for an effective as of settlement

TITLE SEARCH: Detailed examination of the entire Title document history to make sure there are no encumbrances