Real Estate Glossary A

Abandonment - The voluntary surrender or relinquishment of possession of real property with the intention of terminating one's possession or interest, but without vesting this interest in any other person.

Abatement - A reduction or decrease in amount, degree, intensity or worth.

Absorption rate - An estimate of the rate at which a particular classification of such as new office space, new housing, new condominium units and the like  will be sold or occupied each year.

Abstract of judgment law - The summary of a court judgment that creates a lien against a property when filed with the county recorder.

Abstract of title - A concise, summarized history of the title to a specific parcel of real property, together with a statement of all liens and encumbrances affecting the property. The abstract of title does not guarantee or assure the validity of the title of the property. It merely discloses those items about the property, which are of public record, and thus does not reveal such things as encroachments, forgeries, and the like.

Accelerated cost recovery system - A tax calculation that provides greater depreciation in the early years of ownership of real estate or personal property.

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

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

Accretion - The gradual and imperceptible addition to land by alluvial deposits of soil through natural causes, such as shoreline movement caused by streams or rivers.

Accrued - That which has accumulated over a period of time such as accrued depreciation, accrued interest or accrued expenses.

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

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 - Latin for "according to valuation," usually referring to a type of tax or assessment.

Addendum - An addition or change to a contract.

Additional principal payment - Extra money included in the monthly payment to help reduce the principal and shorten the term of the loan.

Add-on interest - The interest a borrower pays on the principal for the duration of the loan.  The interest a borrower pays on the principal for the duration of the loan.

Adhesion contract - A contract, which is very one-sided and favors the party who drafted the document.

Adjustable-rate mortgage (arm) - A loan with an interest rate that is periodically adjusted to reflect changes in a specified financial index.  A loan with an interest rate that is periodically adjusted to reflect changes in a specified financial index.

Adjusted cost basis - The cost of any improvements the seller makes to the property. Deducting the cost from the original sales price provides the profit or loss of a home when it is sold.

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

Administrator - A person given authority to manage and distribute the estate of someone who died without leaving a will.

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

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

Aeolian soil - Soil that is composed of materials deposited by the wind.

Affiant - A person who makes a sworn statement.

Affidavit - A sworn statement reduced to writing and made under oath before a Notary Public or other official authorized by law to administer an oath.

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

A-frame design - Interior style that features a steeply peaked roofline and a ceiling that is open to the top rafters.

Agency closing - The process by which a lender uses a title company or other firm as an agent to complete a loan.

Agreed boundary - A compromise boundary to which property owners agree in order to resolve a dispute.

Air rights - The rights to the use of the open space or vertical plane above a property. Ownership of the land includes the right to all air above the property.

Alcove - A recessed section of a room, such as a breakfast nook.

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

Allowances - Budgets offered by builders of new homes for the purchase of carpeting and fixtures.

Alternative mortgage - Any home loan that does not conform to a standard fixed rate mortgage. rate mortgage.

Aluminum siding - A metal covering that provides an alternative to paint for owners of wood homes.

Aluminum-clad windows - Wooden windows with aluminum covering the exterior.  Wooden windows with aluminum covering the exterior.

Amenities - Features, both tangible and intangible, which enhance and add to the desirability of real estate.

Amenities - Parks, swimming pools, health club facilities, party rooms, bike paths, community centers and other enticements offered by builders of planned developments. club facilities, party rooms, bike paths, community centers and other enticements offered by builders of planned developments.

Americans with disabilities act - 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 that lenders use to calculate a borrower's monthly payment.

Amperage - The strength of an electrical current.

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

Annual - Something that happens once a year.

Annual mortgagor statement - A yearly statement to borrowers that details the remaining principal and amounts paid for taxes and interest.

Annuity - The payment of a fixed sum to an investor at regular intervals.

Anticipatory breach - A communication that informs a party that the obligations of the original contract will not be fulfilled.

Appraisal fee - The fee that an appraiser charges to estimate the market value of the property.

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

Appraised value - An opinion of the current market value of a property.

Appurtenant - Belonging to; adjunct; appended or annexed.

Arbor - An area shaded by trees, shrubs or vines on a latticework structure.

Arch - A curved structure that supports weight over an area, such as a doorway.

Architect - A licensed professional who designs homes, buildings and other structures.

Architectural fees - The fee an architect charges for services. In general, architects charge for their services by the hour, by the square foot, or by a percentage of the project budget.

Arpent - A French measurement of land equal to .84625 acres.

Asbestos- A fire - resistant mineral used for insulation and home products that has been found to pose a health hazard.

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

Asking price - A seller's initial price for a property.

Assessed valuation - The value of real property as established by the state government for purposes of computing real property taxes.

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.

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

Assignment - The transfer of the right, title and interest in the property of one person, the assignor, to another, the assignee. In real estate, there are assignments of mortgages, contracts, agreements of sale, leases, and options, among others.

Assignor - A person who transfers rights and interests of a property.

Assumable mortgage - A mortgage that can be transferred to another borrower.

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.

Assumption of mortgage - The act of acquiring title to property which has an existing mortgage on it and agreeing to be personally liable for the terms and conditions of the mortgage, including payments.

Attachment - The legal process of seizing the real or personal property of a defendant in a lawsuit, by levy or judicial order, and holding it in the custody of the courts as security for satisfaction of the judgment, which the plaintiff may recover in any action upon a contract, express or implied.

Attorney-in-fact - One who is authorized by another to act in his place under a power of attorney.

Average price - The price of a home determined by totaling the sales prices of all houses sold in an area and dividing that number by the number of homes.

Aviation 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.

 

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