Terms to Know When You’re Looking to Buy

As Realtors, we act as both buyer’s and seller’s agents all the time but, in my opinion, and in the opinion of all of us at Nest Realty, never at the same time. Legally we can do it, but ethically? It’s a slippery slope.

Coming Soon

When it comes time to buy your first house (link), there’s a few terms that get thrown around. You’ll be expected to know what they mean like it’s all your first language and not the Realtor-speak we’ve become accustomed to.  It really helps to understand what the people around you are talking about.

Buyer’s Agent

The buyer’s agent represents you, the buyer. I hope, especially if it’s me, that you’ll come to know and trust this person for your homebuying needs. I like to say that you’re going to date your agent for a while, so you’d better like them – if you don’t, get another one!

As the buyer agent, sure we help you search for properties, we walk through them with you, and we fill out the contracts … all the stuff you see on HGTV. We will also negotiate with the Seller’s agent when it’s time to make an offer, working towards getting you the deal that accomplishes your goals. More than all of that, though, the real worth of a good agent is helping you drink from the firehose of information that’s coming at you, answering all your questions and helping you navigate the process. If we can do all of that, we’ve done our job well.

Seller’s Agent

The “Seller’s Agent” represents the person selling the property. They are the ones whose name appears on a yard sign and is eager to show the property to prospective buyers. They should be the one working with you to establish the marketing plan, the pricing strategy, and constantly monitoring how well the home is performing next to the competition.

Think of Coming Soon as a teaser to the real show. It’s a property’s opening act–there to drum up interest before a home  really goes on the market.

In competitive areas, a “Coming Soon” sign can help encourage prospective buyers and drive up the value for the seller. If you do see this on a home you’re looking to buy–be ready. Side note – some markets, including the New River Valley, are reconsidering the use of Coming Soon advertisements, and whether they are in the best interest of the consumer.


The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a technology that makes Real Estate transactions more efficient. Think of it as the Google of real estate search in the New River Valley. It’s where brokers list the information about a property, allowing other licensed agents and brokers to share in that information and, through the magic of technology, consumers far and wide via websites like, Zillow, Trulia, and dozens hundreds more.

If a home is listed as “Coming Soon”, it isn’t yet on the MLS. Once it appears, your Realtor can provide you with information and also learn a lot that might help guide buyers to–or far far away from–a property. We live and breath the MLS and use it everyday … it’s the most frequently used tool in our toolbox.

Under Contract

We’ve been saving the most asked two for last! What’s the difference between “Under Contract” and Closed?

“Under Contract” is easier to understand than it seems. It simply means that a buyer has made an offer and a seller has accepted, contingent on the terms on the contract. It hasn’t sold yet, technically, but both buyer and seller have agreed to terms, and are working toward closing.

A house is “Under Contract” while all of the nitty gritty homebuying stuff happens. There’s a lot of steps that we’ll cover in another post, but it’s things like the appraisal, inspection, and final approval of your mortgage, as well as removing any other conditions established by the buyer.


Closed! That’s an exciting day for everyone involved. It’s the day when you sit in an office and sign more papers than you ever thought possible. With a good Realtor, it can be a fairly straightforward process. There may always be a hiccup or two but for the most part, we’ve learned to maneuver what goes wrong, and with the right team in place you might even know about the hiccup!

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