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The part of a building facing a street or courtyard.

A real estate professional who assists in a transaction but does not have a agency relationship with that party.  Also known as transaction broker or intermediary.

Fair Credit Billing Act
Federal law that governs credit and charge card billing errors.

Fair Credit Reporting Act
Federal law designed to regulate procedures and prevent old or inaccurate information from staying in consumer credit files.  This act provides individuals the right to inspect their own credit files, although the credit bureau may charge a fee.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Federal law outlawing debtor harassment and and regulates collection agencies, original creditors' collection offices (if separate) and creditors' lawyers.

Fair Housing Act
A law that prohibits discrimination in all facets of the homebuying process on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.

Fair market value
The hypothetical price that a willing buyer and seller will agree upon when they are acting freely, carefully, and with complete knowledge of the situation.

Fannie Mae
Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA); a federally-chartered enterprise owned by private stockholders that purchases residential mortgages and converts them into securities for sale to investors; by purchasing mortgages, Fannie Mae supplies funds that lenders may loan to potential homebuyers.

Farmer's Home Administration (FMHA)
A U.S. Department of Agriculture agency that provides credit to farmers and rural residents.

A flat board that runs horizontally along the eaves of a roof, typically capping the ends of the roof rafters to give the roof edge a more finished look and provide a base for attaching gutters.

Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB)
The former name for the regulatory and supervisory agency for federally chartered savings institutions.  This agency is now called the Office of Thrift Supervision

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC)
The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation is commonly known as Freddie Mac.  This corporation buys mortgages from lending institutions, pools them with other loans and sells shares to investors.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
This government agency provides low-rate mortgages to buyers who make a down payment as small as 3 percent.

Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) also know as "Fannie Mae"
A tax-paying corporation created by Congress that purchases and sells conventional residential mortgages as well as those insured by FHA or guaranteed by VA.

Federal Reserve Board
A group of economists and other experts who set the nation's monetary policy.  The boards most powerful tool to control inflation is the power to control interest rates.

Fee simple / Fee simple absolute
Also called fee simple absolute, this type of ownership is the maximum interest a person can have in a piece of real estate.  It entitles the owner to use the property in any manner they see fit, in accordance with state and local laws.

A term referring to the way windows are arranged in a building.

FHA loans
Federal Housing Administration; established in 1934 to advance homeownership opportunities for all Americans; assists homebuyers by providing mortgage insurance to lenders to cover most losses that may occur when a borrower defaults; this encourages lenders to make loans to borrowers who might not qualify for conventional mortgages.

FHA Mortgage Insurance
Requires a fee (up to 2.25 percent of the loan amount) paid at closing to insure the loan with the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).  In addition to the one time fee, the FHA also requires an additional insurance fee of up to 0.5 percent of the current loan amount, paid in monthly installments.  The lower the down payment, the more years the fee must be paid.

Fiduciary duty
The relationship of trust that buyers and sellers expect and due from a real estate agent.

Field changes
Modifications made on the construction site that do not match blueprints.

In most states, title insurers file rate schedules, title insurance policies and endorsement forms with the State Insurance Department or other state agency and then may use such items or rates starting within a specified period of time after filing. Rates so filed usually are mandatory.

Fill dirt
Soil brought in to solidify a finished foundation.

Filled land
An area where the ground has been raised by adding dirt, gravel or other fill material.

Finish grade
A finish that prepares a lot for landscaping.

Fire wall
A buffer composed of fire-resistant material.

Firm commitment
A written promise made by a lender to loan money for the purchase of property.

First mortgage
The primary mortgage on a property.  As the most senior voluntary lien, the first mortgage takes priority over all other voluntary liens.

Fixed time
The specific weeks in a year that an owner of a timeshare arrangement has access to accommodations.

Fixed-rate mortgage
A mortgage with payments that remain the same throughout the life of the loan because the interest rate and other terms are fixed and do not change.

A house that needs improvement and/or remodeling that usually sells at a below-market price.

Personal property permanently attached to a house.

Flat fee
A set fee charged by a broker instead of a commission.

Flat roof
A roof with a level surface.

Flip switch
An electrical switch operated by pushing the control knob up or down.

Float arm
A wire-like device in some types of toilets that attaches a float ball to the ball cock.

Float ball
A round or oval ball that floats on top of the water inside the tank of some toilets. When it reaches its highest position it shuts off the flow of water.

Float floor drain
A drain that diverts water from the basement to a collection area. Water is then removed with a sump pump.

Floating slab
A concrete floor that is not connected to the foundation wall.

Floating wall
Walls built to withstand movement in the basement floor.

Flood certification
The process of determining whether a property is located within a known flood zone.

Flood insurance
Insurance that protects homeowners against losses from a flood; if a home is located in a flood plain, the lender will require flood insurance before approving a loan.

Flood plain
Flat, flood-prone areas located along waterways.

Floor area ratio
The calculation of the floor area of all homes or buildings in a project.

Florida rooms
Enclosed porches built on the side or back of a home.

A chimney designed to exhaust unwanted gasses and byproducts from a combustion appliance such as a furnace or water heater.  A fireplace also has a flue to carry away smoke.

Flush valve
The passageway between a toilet tank and bowl.  When you flush a toilet the water rushes through the flush valve into the bowl.

Flush valve seat
The seal in the passageway between a toilet tank and bowl.  A stopper, flapper, or seat ball plugs the flush valve seat.  When you flush a toilet, the seat is opened and water rushes through the flush valve into the bowl.

A concrete foundation that supports a structure.

For Sale By Owner (FSBO)
A selling method whereas the owner of the property acts as the selling agent and handles the sales process directly with the buyer or buyer's agent.  This is most commonly done y owners in order to avoid having to pay a listing commission.

An action a lender may pursue to delay foreclosure or legal action against a delinquent borrower.

Legal process by which a lender ends the borrower's interest in a property after a loan is defaulted.  The lender may sell the property and keep the proceeds for mortgage and legal costs, using excess proceeds to satisfy other liens or return to the borrower.

The relinquishing of property rights by a delinquent borrower.

A common penalty for the violation of conditions or restrictions imposed by the seller upon the buyer in a deed or other proper document. For example, a deed may be granted upon the condition that if liquor is sold on the land, the title to the land will be forfeited (that is, lost) by the buyer (or some later owner) and will revert to the seller.

The support structure of a house.

The entrance hall to a home or building.

The construction of the skeletal framework of a house.

Freddie Mac
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLM); a federally-chartered corporation that purchases residential mortgages, securitizes them, and sells them to investors; this provides lenders With funds for new homebuyers.

Freehold estate
An estate in which ownership is for an indeterminate length of time.

French doors
Two adjoining doors inlaid with glass that open from the middle.

Front footage
The measurement of a parcel of land by the number of feet of street frontage.

Front-end ratio
A lender calculation that compares a borrower's monthly housing expense (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance) to gross monthly income.

The portion of property that borders a roadway or body of water.

FSBO (For Sale By Owner)
A selling method whereas the owner of the property acts as the selling agent and handles the sales process directly with the buyer or buyer's agent.  This is most commonly done y owners in order to avoid having to pay a listing commission.

In real estate, revealing all the known facts which may affect the decision of a buyer or tenant. A broker must disclose known defects in the property for sale or lease.

Full-service broker
A real estate broker who performs all transaction services including listing and selling.

Fully Amortized ARM
An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) with a monthly payment that is sufficient to amortize the remaining balance, at the interest accrual rate, over the amortization term.

Functional obsolescence
A loss in value to an improvement resulting from functional problems caused by age or poor design.

An enclosed heating device powered by coal, oil, propane or natural gas.

Furring strips
Strips of wood used to support walls, ceilings, or floors on irregular or masonry surfaces.

A small device in an electrical circuit that is designed to shut down the circuit in the event of an electrical overload or short circuit.