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The amount of heat a door or window conducts between the inside air and the environment.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Also known as HUD.   This federal agency oversees the Federal Housing Administration and a variety of housing and community development programs.

A layer of wood between the sub-floor and the floor.

A title firm which conducts title searches but is not qualified to insure, and therefore issues policies of a qualified title insurer (underwriter) in return for a portion of the premium.

Underwriters' knot
A code-approved knot tied at the end of an electrical cord to prevent the wires from being pulled away from their connection to electrical terminals.

The process of analyzing a loan application to determine the amount of risk involved in making the loan; it includes a review of the potential borrower's credit history and a judgment of the property value.

Underwriting fee
A fee charged by mortgage lenders to verify information on the loan application and make a final decision about whether or not to approve the loan.

Undisclosed heir
A person who claims the right to a piece of property after the death of an owner without a will.

Undisclosed spouse
A marital partner who can claim the right to a piece of property but is not identified in the owner's will.

Unilateral contract
A one-sided contract.  If one party makes a promise to do something, the second party is not legally required to perform.  If the second party does comply, however, the first party is obligated to keep its promise.

Unrecorded deed
A deed that transfers ownership from one party to another without being officially recorded.

Unsecured loan
Any loan that is not backed by collateral.

Options offered to buyers in a new-home project that go beyond the standard carpeting, lighting, finish carpentry, and other amenities.

The process in which a property is zoned from a lower to a higher use.

Urban sprawl
The unplanned expansion of development over a large area.

Illegally excessive interest charged on any loan.