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Residential Real Estate

Residential real estate includes both new construction and the resale of homes. The most common category is single-family homes, but this umbrella term also includes condominiums, co-ops, townhouses, duplexes, triple-deckers, and—in some states—larger apartment buildings and vacation homes.


A residential real estate transaction begins with the hiring of a real estate broker and seller, who will handle the logistics of advertising and the building’s sale. However, “sale by owner” properties also exist, wherein the owner sells the property on his or her own but with legal counsel. A buyer is introduced to the property by either encountering advertisements, viewing signs outside the property, or by contacting a real estate agency or agent.


When a buyer expresses interest in a specific property, they may hire a broker to represent him/her in handling the logistics. Interested buyers may also get pre-approval for a mortgage loan of a certain amount from a financial institution. A written purchase offer is then produced, either by the buyer or the broker; the broker will then advise the buyer as to the value of potential contingency clauses, which may include mortgage commitment or the arrangement of inspections in order to determine the property value.


Multiple offers may result in bidding, and appraisals may be conducted by third-party individuals in order to determine the sale. A sale closing then ends the escrow period, completing the transfer of ownership to the buyer. At this time, the money changes hands and a number of closing costs are paid.