Real Estate Glossary B

Back fill - Soil used to solidify the foundation of a structure.

Back title letter - A letter that a title insurance company gives to an attorney who then examines the title for insurance purposes.

Back-to-back escrow - Arrangements that an owner makes to oversee the sale of one property and the purchase of another at the same time.

Backup offer - A secondary bid for a property that the seller will accept if the first offer fails.

Backwater valve - A valve in a sewer line that prevents sewage from flowing back into a house.

Balance sheet - A statement that shows the assets, liabilities and net worth of an individual.

Balloon loan - A mortgage in which monthly installments are not large enough to repay the loan by the end of the term. As a result, the final payment due is the lump sum of the remaining principal.

Balloon-frame construction - A type of framing used in two-story homes in which studs extend from the ground to the ceiling of the second floor.

Balustrade  - Railing held up by a set of posts on a porch or stairway.

Bankruptcy - A proceeding in which an insolvent debtor can obtain relief from payment of certain obligations. Bankruptcies remain on a credit record for seven years and can severely limit a person's ability to borrow.

Bargain and sale deed - A deed, which recites a consideration and conveys all of the grantor's interest in the property to the grantee.

Bargain sale - The sale of a piece of property for less than market value.

Base line and meridian - An imaginary set of lines used by surveyors to locate and describe land under the Rectangular Survey Method of property description used in most mainland states.

Baseboard - Any board or molding found at the bottom of an interior wall.

Baseboard electric heat - Heating units installed in the floor that can be controlled by a central thermostat.

Basement - The area of a home below ground level.

Basis - The financial interest, which IRS attributes to the owner of an asset for purposes of determining annual depreciation and gain or loss on sale of the asset.

Basis point - A basis point is 1/100 hundredth of one percentage point. For example, the difference between a loan at 8.25 percent and a mortgage at 8.37 percent is 12 basis points.

Bay - The opening between two columns or walls that forms a space.

Bay window - A window that projects outward in a curve.

Bearing wall - A wall that supports its own weight in addition to other parts of a structure.

Before-tax income - Total income before taxes are deducted.

Bench mark - A mark affixed to a permanent reference or monument, such as an iron post or a brass marker (usually embedded in a cement sidewalk), used to establish elevations and altitudes over a surveyed area.

Bequest - Personal property given to a person through a will.

Betterment - An improvement that increases a property's value as opposed to repairs that maintain the value.

Bidding war - Offers from multiple buyers for a piece of property. Agents also sometimes compete to list a house for sale.

Bilateral contract - A contract in which each party promises to perform an act in exchange for the other party's promise to perform.

Bilateral contract - A contract in which the parties involved give mutual promises. Also called "reciprocal" contracts.

Bill of sale - A written agreement by which one person sells, assigns or transfers his right to, or interest in, personal property to another.

Binder - A report issued by a title insurance company that details the condition of a home's title. and provides guidelines for a title insurance policy.

Biweekly mortgage - A mortgage that requires payments every two weeks and helps repay the loan over a shorter term.

Blanket insurance policy - A policy that covers more than one person or piece of property.

Blanket mortgage - A mortgage, which is secured by several structures or a number of lots. A blanket mortgage is often used to finance proposed subdivisions or development projects, especially cooperatives.

Blighted area - A neighborhood that has deteriorated.

Blind nailing - Nails driven into a wall and concealed with putty.

Blue ribbon condition - A house maintained close to its original condition. Also called mint condition.

Blueprint - A type of paper-based reproduction usually of a technical drawing, documenting architecture or an engineering design. More generally, the term "blueprint" has come to be used to refer to any detailed plan.

Board and batten siding - Siding is composed of 8 to12  to 12 inch wide wooden boards nailed vertically to create a barn

Board foot - Measurements of lumber that is the equivalent of 144 cubic inches.

Board of equalization - A state board charged with ensuring that local property taxes are assessed in a uniform manner.

Boilerplate - Form language used in deeds, mortgages and other documents. Individual parties can add details.

Bona fide - A legal term that refers to actions or persons that are honest and in good faith.

Bond - An agreement that insures one party against loss by acts or defaults of another party.

Book value - The value of a property as a capital asset based on its cost plus any additions, minus depreciation.

Boot - Money or other property given to make up any difference in value or equity between two exchanged properties.

Boring test - An analysis of soil in which holes are bored into the ground and samples are removed.

Borough - A section of a city that has authority over local matters.

Borrow  - Sand, gravel or other material used for grading.

Borrow pit - The hole at a site that has been excavated.

Boulevard - A street lined with trees or constructed with a landscaped median.

Boundaries - The perimeters or limits of a parcel of land as fixed by legal description, which is usually a metes and bounds description.

Boundary - The dividing line between two adjacent properties.

Braced framing - A construction method in two-story homes in which the frame is reinforced with posts and braces. story homes in which the frame is reinforced with posts and braces.

Breach of covenant - The failure to obey a legal agreement.

Breach of warranty - A seller's inability to pass clear title to a buyer.

Break-even point - The point in which the owner's rental income matches expenses and debt.

Breast height - The height at which the diameter of a tree is measured: four feet, six inches above the ground.

Breezeway - A roofed passageway with open sides.

Brick - Building material made from clay molded into oblong blocks and fired in a kiln.

Bridge loan - A short-term loan for borrowers who need more time to find permanent financing. term loan for borrowers who need more time to find permanent financing.

Broker - One who acts as an intermediary between parties to a transaction. A real estate broker is a properly licensed person who, for a valuable consideration, serves as an agent to others to facilitate the sale or lease of real property.

Brokerage - That aspect of the real estate business, which is concerned with bringing together the parties and completing a real estate transaction. Brokerage involves exchanges, rentals, trade-ins and management of property, as well as sales. ins and management of property, as well as sales.

Broom clean - The ideal condition of a building when it is turned over to an owner or tenant.

Brownstone - A vintage row house constructed of red sandstone.

Budget mortgage - A mortgage with payments set up to cover more than interest and principal reductions.

Buffer strip - A parcel of land that separates two or more properties.

Buffer zone - A strip of land separating one parcel from another.

Builder upgrades - Extra house features or better finishing materials that a builder offers.

Building and loan association - An organization that raises money to helps its members purchase real estate or construct a building.

Building code - A comprehensive set of laws that controls the construction or remodeling of a home or other structure.

Building inspector - A city or county employee who enforces the building code and ensures that work is correctly performed.

Building line or setback - Guidelines that limit how close an owner can build to the street or an adjacent property.

Building moratorium - A halt on home construction to slow the rate of development.

Building paper - A thick, water-resistant paper that serves as insulation. resistant paper that serves as insulation.

Building residual technique - A method of determining the value of an improvement normally used in appraising income property.

Building restrictions - Regulations that limit the manner in which property can be used.

Built-ins - Appliances or other items that are framed into a home or permanently attached.

Bulk transfers - Any transfer in bulk, and not in the ordinary course of the seller's business, of a major part of the materials, inventory or supplies of an enterprise.

Bulkhead - A retaining wall designed to hold backwater from the ocean or another body of water.

Bungalow- A small one - story house or cottage. story house or cottage.

Business days - Days of the week excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays; normal working days.

Butterfly roof - A roof formed by two gables that dip in the middle to resemble a butterfly's wings.

Buy-down mortgage - A home loan in which the lender receives a premium as an inducement to reduce the interest rate during the early years of the mortgage. 

Buyer broker - A real estate broker who exclusively represents the buyer's interests in a transaction and whose commission are paid by the buyer rather than the seller.

Buyer's market - A slow real estate market in which buyers have the advantage.

Buyer's remorse - An emotion felt by first time homebuyers after signing a sales contract or closing the purchase of a house.

Bylaws - The rules and regulations that a homeowners association or corporation adopts to govern activities.


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