Property wars - UK vs US
|Recently I was chatting to an English friend, who now lives in the US, about the property market over there. One thing that I have never realised was that while it was originally based on the English system of selling a house it now has many differences.||
So how does a real estate agent or “realtor” compare with an estate agent here in Milton Keynes. The rules for buying a house or flat are the same wherever you are in England, in the USA they can vary from state to state.
Buying or renting your home
To get a mortgage to buy a house in Texas you need a minimum 40% deposit, compare that to the UK. The difficulty in obtaining mortgages goes some way towards explaining the popularity of renting. Even after all the uncertainty the banking and property markets there are still 100 and even 120% mortgages around over here.
The USA where size really does matter
Then there’s the way we describe property. In the UK we’re used to seeing the number of bedrooms as the key part of the description of a house, whereas in USA they talk about the area of a property (in square feet).
In the USA you must be licensed to buy or sell a house for a client but in the UK there no such requirements. In the UK it’s generally the person selling the house who pays the agent. In the USA a house buyer may have an agent too, indeed a licensed real estate professional (a transaction broker) can represent both the buyer and home seller providing they disclose this fact in the official way!
Keyboxes are often used in the USA. These hold keys for the property and will usually located on or near the front door. The keybox will have a code to access the keys and that code will only be issued to the approved real estate agents. It enables a number of agents to market the property and show interested home buyers around the house. I wonder when that idea will make it’s way across the Atlantic.
What’s so real about real estate?
And finally why “real estate”? It seems to refer to the actual building and land element of a person’s wealth, as opposed to any other “stuff” they own. And the use of the word “estate” would appear to have been introduced only in the 20th century to sound more impressive than house or land agent as they were known previously.