Greece Home Kefalonia

Real Estate Terminology

Agent - (pronounce: Mesetis and ktematomesetis). An individual who represents a seller, a buyer or both in the purchase or sale of real estate.

Appraisal - (pronounce: ektemesi). An estimate of value of a Real Estate property by a professional third party. Virtually all non-owner financed mortgages will require an appraisal and is generally paid for by the buyer. 

Contract Value - (pronounce: Antekemeneki Aksia). The value of a property as determined by the local tax jurisdiction which is used to determine the amount of your property taxes.

Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) - (pronounce: Sygreteki Analysi Agoras). A comparison of the prices of similar houses in the same general geographic area. A CMA is used to help determine the value of a property, either for a seller or a buyer.

Closing - The process that effects the final transfer of the deed from the seller to the buyer, as well as finalize all aspects of the mortgage of the property.

Closing Costs - (pronounce: eksoda agoras). Funds needed at the time of closing (separate from and in addition to the down payment). Loan origination fees, discount points, Attorney fees, recording fees and pre-paids are some items that may be included. They often will total from 15% to 20% of the Contract Value price of the home.

Contingencies - (terms & conditions, pronounce: ori). These are conditions--or "safety valves" written into Real Estate offers and contracts to prevent a buyer from being forced to buy a house that is unsatisfactory--either for its legal status or financially or to force the buyer to pay for the purchase in cash if the bank does not prove his /her mortgage loan. Examples of contingencies are (at offering) "This contract is subject to the buyer obtaining a satisfactory whole house technical and legal inspection." or (at final purchase contract) "Subject to the buyer being able to obtain a mortgage."

Apartment or Condominium - (pronounce: diamerisma). Housing where the owner owns only the unit in which they live--from the interior walls inward, generally--as well as a portion of the common area.

Debt to Income Ratio - The ratio of a borrowers total of debt as a percentage of their total gross income.

Deed - (Title of ownership, pronounce: Titlos idiokisias). The document that, when recorded with your local government, determines ownership of a property. Transferred from seller to buyer at closing.

Earnest Money - (pronounce: Kaparo or Arravonas). Money that is submitted with an offer to purchase which indicates a buyer's seriousness and good faith. In virtually all cases, earnest money will need to be submitted at the time of the offer and remains in escrow until the time of closing, at which time it becomes part of the down-payment.

Equity - The difference between the value of a property and the total of any outstanding mortgages or loans against it.

Escrow - Funds held in reserve both prior to closing (for example the earnest money and deposit) by a third party. In Greece, "escrow" refers to the Earnest Money.

Fixed Rate Mortgage - (pronounce: Stathero Epitokio). A mortgage loan where the interest rate is established at its origination and continues unchanged through the life of the loan.

Amortization - (pronounce: tokohreolisia). The schedule of loan payments that establishes the amount of payment to be applied to the principal and the amount to be applied to interest, usually on a monthly basis, for the full term of the loan. 

Variable Rate Mortgage (VRM) -  (pronounce: Kymenomeno Epetokio). A mortgage in which the Interest rate is adjustable, meaning that the rate can go up or down according to prevailing financial market conditions.

Foreclosure - (pronounce: katashesi) The process through which a lender takes back property from a defaulting owner and re-sells it.

Homeowner's Association - An owners group, whether in a condominium, townhouse or single family subdivision that establishes general guidelines for the operation of the community, as well as its standards.

Inspection - (technical inspection, pronounce: tehnikos elenhos). A whole house inspection of a home being considered for purchase which looks for defects in the property. In Greece it refers only to a technical inspection by a civil engineer.

Interest - (pronounce: epitokio). That portion of a mortgage payment that is the "charge" for using the lender's funds.

Lien - (pronounce: asfalistika metra or vary). A legal claim against a piece of property that can prevent it from being sold unless the lien is satisfied (paid off). Liens can be filed by unpaid contractors or other debtors in a legal process so that they will be paid when a property is sold.

Listing - A property for sale by a Real Estate Brokerage and Agent.

Loan Origination Fee - (pronounce: eksoda daniou). A charge imposed by the lender, payable at closing, for processing the loan.

Lock-in - (pronounce: kledoma epitokiou). An agreement by the lender at the time of mortgage application or shortly thereafter, to write the mortgage at a specific interest rate, whether rates rise or fall up to the date of closing. Obviously a good move if rates are rising, not so good if they are falling. Lock-ins have specific expiration dates, such as 30, 60 or 90 days in the future.

LTV (Loan to Value) - (percentage of mortgage cover, pronounce: pososto kalepsis daniou). The ratio of the amount of the mortgage as a percentage of the value of the property.

MLS (Multiple Listing Service) - A listing (almost always computerized) of all the properties for sale by Real Estate Brokerages in a given geographical area. An MLS system does not exist in Greece.

PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) - (pronounce: asfalia daniou). The payments for PMI are included in your mortgage payment, it protects the lender should you default on the loan.  Most banks in Greece do not require a PMI.

Pre-approval - (pronounce: proengrysi daniou). The first stage of a mortgage application where the lender will run a basic credit report and determine your debt to income ratio in order to see how much mortgage you qualify for.

Principal - (pronounce: kefaleo daniou). The amount borrowed for a mortgage loan. Your monthly mortgage payment will be applied to both the interest and the principal.

Property Tax - (pronounce: foros akinitis periousias). An annual tax paid to the government based on the amount of the property assessment. Generally paid as part of the mortgage payment.

Recording - (pronounce: prosemiosi). The act of entering deed and/or mortgage information into public record with your local government jurisdiction.

Sub-Agent- A Real Estate Agent who is working with a buyer but who represents the seller in the transaction or the opposite around.

Title Insurance - Protects your title--your ownership rights--from claims against it. Title insurance does not exist in Greece as of now.

Zoning - (pronounce: zones rythmistikou). Laws that govern specifically how a zoned area can be used. For example, an area may be zoned for single family residential, condominiums, commercial or retail, or a mix of two or more uses.

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