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A la carte real estate services
Professional real estate services that are rendered one transaction at a time.

A-frame design
An interior style featuring a steeply peaked roofline and a ceiling open to the top rafters.

The voluntary relinquishment of rights of ownership or another interest (such as an easement) by failure to use the property, coupled with an intent to abandon (give up the interest).

A reduction or decrease. Usually applies to a decrease of assessed valuation of ad valorem taxes after the assessment and levy.

Absentee Owner
Landlord who lives elsewhere.

Absorption rate
The rate at which rentable space is filled.

A summary of money judgment obtained in court. When this summary or abstract is recorded in the office of the county recorder, in some states the judgment becomes a lien on the debtor's property, both presently owned or after acquired.

A summary prepared by a licensed abstractor of all documents recorded in the public records of the political subdivision where the land is located. An abstract in some states or areas is reviewed by an attorney or other experienced title examiner to determine the status of title. Virtually every abstractor today provides actual copies of the records rather than an abstract of each document. The process of reviewing all publicly recorded transactions to determine whether any title defects exist that could interfere with a clear transfer of property ownership.

A summary.

Accelerated cost recovery system
A tax calculation that provides greater depreciation in the early years of ownership.

Accelerated depreciation
A bookkeeping method that provides faster property depreciation in the early years of ownership.

Clause in a deed of trust or mortgage, which accelerates or hastens the time when the indebtedness becomes due. For example, some deeds of trust contain a provision (an acceleration clause) stating that the note shall become due immediately upon the sale of the land or upon failure to pay interest or an installment of principal and interest.

The seller's written approval of a buyer's offer.

Any means by which a person can enter property.

The degree to which a building or site allows access for people with disabilities.

Recording of instruments with the county recorder by a title company merely as a convenience to a customer and without assumption of responsibility for correctness or validity.

The gradual addition to the shore or bank of a waterway by deposits of sand or silt.

A formal declaration before a duly authorized officer (such as a notary public) by a person who has executed an instrument that such execution is his own act and deed. An acknowledgment is necessary to entitle an instrument (with certain specific exceptions) to be recorded, to impart constructive notice of its contents and to entitle the instrument to be used as evidence without further proof. The certificate of acknowledgment is attached to the instrument or incorporated therein.

The volume of material needed to cover an acre of land one foot deep.

A measurement of land equal to 43,560 square feet.

Act of God
Action occurring without the intervention of man which could include but not be limited to hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, lightning storms etc.

Active solar system
A system that utilizes electric pumps or fans to transfer solar energy for storage or direct use.

Actual age
The number of years a structure has been standing.

Ad valorem tax
Tax based on assessed property value.

An addition or change to an existing contract between two (2) or more parties.

Additional principal payment
Additional funds outside of the scheduled loan payment to reduce the principal balance and shorten the term of the loan.

Mortgage loans under which the interest rate is periodically adjusted to more closely coincide with current rates . The amounts and times of adjustment are agreed to at the inception of the loan. (Also called: adjustable rate loans, adjustable rate mortgages (ARM's), flexible rate loans, variable rate loans.)

Adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)
A home loan with an interest rate that periodically adjusts to reflect changes in a specified financial index.

Adjusted cost basis
The addition of any improvement costs a seller makes to a property.  Deducting this cost figure from the original sales price will provide the realized profit or loss upon sale.

Adjustment period
The amount of time between interest rate adjustments in an adjustable-rate mortgage.

ADMINISTRATOR - A person appointed by the probate court to carry out the administration of a decedent's estate when the decedent has left no will. If a woman is appointed, she is called an administratrix.

Administrator's deed
A legal document that an estate administrator uses to transfer property.

A person given authority to administer and distribute the effects of an estate left who dies without a will.

A process of acquiring title to real property by possession for a certain (statutory) period of time, in addition to fulfilling other conditions.

Adverse use
The access and use of property without the owner's consent.

Aeolian soil
Soil composed of materials deposited by the wind.

A person who makes a sworn statement.

A written statement or declaration, sworn to before an officer who has authority to administer an oath.

A substitution for an oath granted to people based on religious reasons.

Affordability Analysis
An analysis of a consumers ability to afford the purchase of a home.   This analysis usually includes the review of a potential borrower's income, liabilities and available funds.

Agency closing
When a lender uses a title company or other firm as an agent to complete a loan.

Agency disclosure
Most states require agents who act for both buyers or sellers to disclose who they are working for in the transaction.

The relationship of trust that exists between sellers, buyers and their agents.

One who has authorization, either expressed or implied, to act for or represent another party, usually in business matters, such as issuing title insurance policies on behalf of a title insurer for a portion of the premium.

Agreed boundary
A boundary property owners agree on in order to resolve a dispute.

A written contract entered into between the seller (vendor) and buyer (vendee) for sale of real property (land) on an installment or deferred payment plan. It is also known as an agreement to convey, a long form Security Agreement or a real estate installment contract.

Air handler
The blower equipment in a furnace, heat pump, or similar appliance designed for circulating heated or cooled air through a central heating system.

Air lot
A designated airspace over a piece of property.

A recessed section of a room.

Alienation clause
A loan provision requiring the borrower to pay the balance of the loan in a lump sum if the property is sold or transferred.

Mineral salt found in soil.

Alkaline soil
Soil containing a higher concentration of mineral salt than natural acid.

Rate which includes charges for title insurance, searching or abstract fees and examination fees.

A lane behind a row of buildings or between two rows of buildings.

A dollar amount offered by builders of new homes for the purchase of carpeting and fixtures.

American Land Title Association. Organization composed of title insurance firms that sets standards for the industry, including title insurance policy forms used on a national basis.

Alternative mortgage
A home loan program that does not conform to standard fixed-rate mortgage terms.

A change to either alter, add to, or correct part of an agreement without changing the principal idea or essence.

Enticements offered by builders of planned developments.Common amenities include swimming pools, health clubs and business centers.

a feature of the home or property that serves as a benefit to the buyer but that is not necessary to its use; may be natural (like location, Woods, water) or man-made (like a swimming pool or garden).

American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)
Professional association of independent home inspectors. Members must meet defined education and performance requirements.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
A law passed in 1990 that outlaws discrimination against a person with a disability in housing, public accommodations, employment, government services, transportation and telecommunications.

Amortization tables
Mathematical tables used to calculate a borrower's monthly payment.

Amortization term
The length of time required to amortize the mortgage loan expressed as a number of months. For example, 360 months is the amortization term for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

repayment of a mortgage loan through monthly installments of principal and interest; the monthly payment amount is based on a schedule that will allow you to own your home at the end of a specific time period (for example, 15 or 30 years)

A loan that is paid off (both principal and interest) by regular payments that are equal or nearly equal.

The strength of an electrical current.

The basic unit used to measure electric current.

Anchor bolt
A large steel bolt anchored in concrete and attached to a building to prevent the structure from moving.

Annual assessments
The process of placing a value on property for the sole purpose of taxation.  Also refers to a levy against property for a special purpose, such as street lighting or sewer assessment.

Annual mortgagor statement
An annual statement to borrowers detailing the remaining principal balance and amounts paid for taxes and interest throughout the year.

calculated by using a standard formula, the APR shows the cost of a loan; expressed as a yearly interest rate, it includes the interest, points, mortgage insurance, and other fees associated with the loan.

The payment of a fixed sum at regular intervals.

Anticipatory breach
A communication informing a party to a contract that one or more obligations of the original contract will not be fulfilled.

Antioxidant compound
A substance applied to aluminum wiring connections to seal and promote conduction.

Application fee
An application fee is charged by some lenders and may include charges for items such as property appraisal and/or a credit report unless those fees are reported separately.

Appraisal fee
The fee that a professional real estate appraiser charges to appraise, or estimate the market value of, a property.

Appraisal report
A written report on the value of a property based on recent sales of comparable property in the area.

An estimate of value of property resulting from analysis of facts about the property. An opinion of value.

Appraised value
A professional opinion of the current market value of a property.

An increase in the value of a home or other property.

An attorney whose opinion is acceptable to a title company as the basis for issuance of a title insurance policy by the insurer. The insurer, rather than the attorney, executes the policy.

APR (annual percentage rate)
A measure of interest that expresses the cost of a mortgage as a yearly rate on the loan balance. The APR assumes the loan is held for its full term. For adjustable-rate loans, the APR assumes the loan's index doesn't change from its initial value.

A method of resolving a dispute in which a third party renders a decision.

A licensed professional who designs residential and commercial property structures.

Architectural fees
The fee charged by an architect for services.  A common way of billing by architects is to charge for their services by the hour, by the square foot or by a percentage of the project budget.

ARM (adjustable rate mortgage)
Adjustable Rate Mortgage; a mortgage loan subject to changes in interest rates; when rates change, ARM monthly payments increase or decrease at intervals determined by the lender; the Change in monthly -payment amount, however, is usually subject to a Cap.

ARM index
A publicly published number used as the basis for adjusting the interest rates of adjustable rate loans (ARM).

A term used by tax assessors to describe a list of properties in a certain category sold within a defined period of time.

As-is condition
The purchase or sale of a property in its existing condition.

ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors)
A professional association of independent home inspectors whose members must meet and maintain defined education and performance requirements.

Asking price
A seller's initial sales price.

The combining of two or more adjoining lots into one larger tract.

Assessed value
A tax assessor's determination of the value of a home in order to calculate a tax base.

Assessment rolls
A list of taxable property compiled by the assessor.

The estimated value of a piece of real estate or a special levy placed in addition to taxes.

An official who determines the assessed value of a property.

Items of value which include cash, real estate, securities, and investments.

The transfer of rights to pay a debt from one party to another, with the original party remaining liable for the debt if the second party defaults.

A person who transfers rights and interests of a property.

Assumable mortgage
a mortgage that can be transferred from a seller to a buyer; once the loan is assumed by the buyer the seller is no longer responsible for repaying it; there may be a fee and/or a credit package involved in the transfer of an assumable mortgage.

Assumption clause
A provision that allows a buyer to take responsibility for the mortgage from a seller.

Assumption fee
A fee the lender charges to process new records for a buyer who assumes an existing loan.

The act of conveying real property; taking title to a property with the buyer assuming liability for paying an existing note secured by a deed of trust against the property.

Automatic extension
A clause in a listing contract stating that the agreement will automatically continue for a certain period of time after the expiration date (very rare)

Automatic flue damper
A device in the flue of a heating unit that closes to prevent heat loss when the unit is not in operation.

Avigation easement
An easement over private property near an airport that limits the height of structures and trees.

Awning windows
Single-sash windows that tilt outward and up.