Real Estate Glossary
Below are some terms and their meaning, you may often hear in the real estate industry.
An authorized person who manages or transacts business for another. Laws governing real estate--especially relating to agents--vary considerably from state to state. While some standardization has been achieved, it is best to check the particulars in each state.
An agent who represents the buyer in a real estate transaction. A buyer agent may be paid by the buyer, seller, or listing agent at closing, provided all parties consent.
An agent representing both parties in a transaction. In almost every state, dual agency is illegal and unethical without the written consent of both the buyer and the seller.
The agent who represents the seller.
The agent who obtains a buyer. A selling agent may represent the buyer, or may be a subagent of the seller.
A salesperson who works for an agent.
Features that enhance the value or desirability of a property.
To pay a debt in periodic amounts until the total amount, including any interest, is paid.
A qualified party's opinion of the value of a property. This may include examples of sales of similar properties.
An increase in value
A process where disputes are settled by referring them to a fair and neutral third party (arbitrator). The disputing parties agree in advance to agree with the decision of the arbitrator. There is a hearing where both parties have an opportunity to be heard, after which the arbitrator makes a decision.
ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage)
A financing technique in which the lender can raise or lower the mortgage interest rate according to a set index, such as six-month Treasury bills.
Assessment / Assesed Value
An official valuation of property for tax purposes. Payments made by condominium or cooperative owners for their share of building maintenance expenses.
A mortgage with monthly payments often based on a 30-year amortization schedule, with the unpaid balance due in a lump sum payment at the end of a specific period of time (usually 5 or 7 years). The mort-gage may contain an option to “reset” the interest rate to the current market rate and to extend the due date if certain conditions are met.
Legally declared unable to pay your debts. Bankruptcy can severely impact your credit and your ability to borrow money.
An independent business person who sets real estate office policies, hires employees, determines their compensation, and supervises their activities.
The point at which real estate formally changes ownership. Closing costs are fees paid for services associated with a home's closing such as title insurance, surveying fees, recording fees, deeds, and affidavits.
CMA (Comparative Market Analysis)
A method of determining the value of a property by comparing the prices paid for similar properties.
Code of Ethics
A written standard of ethical conduct embraced by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, a trade organization of more than 700,000 members representing all branches of the real estate industry.
Compensation paid to a real estate agent (usually by the seller) for services rendered in connection with the sale, exchange, or lease of property.
Individual ownership of a portion of a building, with common areas shared by all owners. Maintenance fees called "assessments" are paid to the condominium association to maintain, repair, or improve the property.
A fixed-rate, fixed term loan that is not insured by the government.
An arrangement in which a corporation made up of residents owns a building. The buyer owns a proprietary lease, rather than real property, and a corresponding number of shares in the corporation.
A new offer as to price, terms, and conditions, made in response to a prior, unacceptable offer. A counter offer terminates an original offer.
A legal document transferring ownership of a property from one party to another.
Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure
The voluntary surrender of property by an owner or borrower to a lien holder (such as a bank) that eliminates the need to continue foreclosure action by the lien holder. The lien holder can refuse to accept the Deed in Lieu and file a Notice of Non Acceptance with the County Recorder.
Revealing what previously was private knowledge. Any statement of fact that is required by law.
A percentage of the purchase price the buyer pays in cash.
A buyer's partial payment to the seller as a show of good faith in completing the transaction.
The difference between the current market value of a property and the claims--such as the unpaid portion of a mortgage--that exist against it.
The closing of a real estate transaction through a neutral third party who holds funds and/or documents for delivery after specific conditions have been met.
A written agreement in which the seller appoints only one agent to market the property for a specific period of time.
An agreement between a mortgage holder and a borrower that specified a loan payment plan and halts the foreclosure action if borrower meets requirements and terms of the agreement. The payment plan generally includes provisions for repayment to the mortgage holder of all delinquent interest and fees and could include extending the life of the mortgage beyond it's original term.
The legal process by which property that is mortgaged as security for a loan may be sold to pay a defaulting borrower's loan.
A pledge made by one person (the guarantor) to ensure that another person (the obligor) will fulfill an obligation to a third party (the obligee).
Additions intended to increase the value of a property.
An examination of a property by the buyer, agent, title insurance company, or other interested party.
A charge or claim by one party on the property of another as security for the payment of a debt.
A written agreement between a property owner and a real estate broker authorizing the broker to find a buyer.
The price a property will command on the open market.
MLS (Multiple Listing Service)
A means by which agents are informed of the properties offered for sale by other agents.
A legal document pledging property as security for the payment of a loan.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS ®
A trade organization serving over 700,000 members from all branches of the real estate industry. Members subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics which governs their conduct.
Abbreviation for Notice Of Default.
Notice of Default
An official notice filed and recorded by a designated trustee at the request of a lender indicating lender has commenced foreclosure action.
A proposal to purchase property at a specified price and terms.
A lender's charge for establishing and processing a new mortgage loan. It is generally computed as a percentage of the loan and may be tax deductible.
Owner of Record
The person named in the public record as the owner of a property or mortgage.
A one-time charge paid to the lender for issuing a loan. Each point equals one percent of the loan amount and is used to obtain revenue in addition to the interest rate.
The amount of money upon which interest is paid.
A registered trade name that may only be used by members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, an organization with over 700,000 members who represent all branches of the real estate industry. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics which governs their conduct.
Obtaining a new loan to pay off an existing loan. Refinancing is a popular practice when interest rates drop.
To sell a property through negotiation with the bank or lender, who agrees to accept less than the full amount owed to satisfy the debt allowing the debt to be ‘paid off’, short. Short sales are subject to bank approval and are often used as options in lieu of foreclosure.
Lawful ownership of property.
An insurance policy that protects against losses arising from title defects such as forged or misfiled documents
An examination of the public records to determine whether the current title is clear or defective.
A final inspection of a property before it changes ownership.