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Glossary of Buyer & Seller's Real Estate Terms

Like everything else in life real estate, mortgage lending and has a language or jargon unto itself. To better prepare yourself to understand the terms, list your home effectively, and negotiate the sale properly, learn as much of the jargon as you can. Not only will you be better prepared to make decisions, you will have a higher level of confidence when speaking to those more familiar with the subject.

Jump To: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Affordability Index
The metric by which the financial strength of an investor is gauged relative to buying a home. A rating of 100 puts an investor in a position to purchase a median priced home. A higher score gives them greater buying power, and a lower rating gives them less.

Amortization
The paying down of a loan, mortgage or other liability by making incremental payments over a set period of time. Typically these payments will cover both the interest and the principal, but more recently no interest loans have had a greater presence in the market place.
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Annual Percentage Rate - APR
What the yearly cost of a home loan or mortgage inclusive of interest, insurance and fees or points, expressed as a percentage.

Appraisal
An inspection of a property, by a licensed professional, to specifically determine itís the Fair Market Value. An appraisal may be needed at the time of purchase, sale, when being taxed or insured.

Appraiser
A trained and certified or licensed professional who will perform an appraisal for a fee. Also known as an evaluator.

Assign
The process used to transfer title ownership of a property or item to another.

Assignment of Mortgage
The document that validates the transfer, and responsibility for, a loan from the current holder to another party.

Assumable Mortgage
A mortgage that is transferred to another without revision. Once assumed the buyer will then be responsible to fulfill all the terms originally set for the seller and within the same time frame. The original mortgage lender has the right to refusal. The seller will need a written contract stating that they have the right to transfer the loan to a particular individual. At the time of transfer, the seller will then be absolved of all responsibility for the repayment of the loan. The buyer, assuming the loan, will undoubtedly have had to be qualified to do so. Assumable mortgages cannot have a due-on-sale clause.

Certificate of Title
When a title company or lawyer writes a statement in regard to the status of a title in question.

Chattel
Any property or asset, other than real property, also referred to as Personal Property.

Clear Title
Any title that is not encumbered by a lien or petition of ownership for any given property. This is one of the most basic criteria relative to the sale of any property - also known as just title, good title or free title.

Closing
Also known as the settlement, it is the when the transfer of title takes place between buyer and seller.

Closing Agent
Also known as a settlement agent, this person represents the buyer and assures proper transfer and documentation of the title of ownership.

Closing Cost

The total of all fees and expenses related to the transfer of property ownership and title that is in addition to the actual price of the property being transferred. These expenses can an include title and document searches, surveys, legal fees, inspections and the filing of these documents. Whether the buyer or seller is responsible for these fees is negotiated prior to the closing.

Closing Date
The date when a seller presents the deed for sale and the buyer pays for it.

Closing Statement

A document written by the settlement agent that details a real estate transaction at the time of closing. Inclusive of, but not limited to, escrow, points, fees, insurance coverage and validation, taxes and commissions.

Commission
The fee that agents and brokers charge sellers and buyers for their services relative to a real estate transaction.

Contingent Remainder
The future ownership of property that would be contingent on certain terms and criteria being acted upon before hand.

Contract for Deed
Also called a contract sale, this transaction transfer title of ownership to a property only after the buyer has paid down a specified number of the amortized payments.

Contract Sale
Also called a contract for deed, this transaction transfer title of ownership to a property only after the buyer has paid down a specified number of the amortized payments.

Conventional Mortgage

Most commonly refers to as a FRM, Fixed Rate Mortgage. A mortgage where the rate of interest does not fluctuate during the full term of the agreement. Relative to mortgages that are insured, a mortgage that is not insured by the government is a conventional mortgage.

Conveyance
When the title changes over from a seller to a buyer.

Debt
Loan notes, mortgages, bonds, and any and all other agreements to pay back money borrowed all constitute debt, and the implied repayment within a certain period of time within a framework of specific terms and rate of interest.

Deed
The legal document that is registered to convey title of a specific property.

Deed of Release
A type of deed used to validate the removal of a lien on a property.

Deed of Surrender
A deed that allows for the transfer of a property only for a temporary period of time.

Deed of Trust
In some states this document is used instead of a mortgage. The title is not conveyed to the borrower in this case, but to a trustee.

Deposit
Funds transferred in good faith to show intent to purchase.

Discharge of Lien
The lifting of an encumbrance or lien on a property after the claim has been paid.

Down Payment
The amount offered up-front to secure a mortgage, help off-set costs, and future amortized payments.

Due-on-Sale
A negotiated clause to a mortgage that demands a lender receives full repayment of the loan immediately upon the sale of the mortgaged property.

Easement
A right of access granted to non-owners to facilitate an agreed use of a property.

Economic Rent
The amount that would be realized from a property if it were to generate rental income.

Effective Age
The age an appraiser assigns a property relative to its condition due to wear and tear, and not its actual age.

Equity
The difference between what is still owed on a property, and what it is actually worth relative to its appraised value. Often times established in order to borrow against it.

Equity Mortgage
A mortgage negotiated in such a way that the lender offers a better interest rate on the mortgage in return for a percentage of the profits realized when the property is sold.

Escrow
Money, real estate, documents or assets of value that are put in the care of a third party to be surrendered at specified time according to a previous agreement or contract. Also, an account into which a homeownerís escrow money is held for the purpose of paying taxes and insurance on a property that is mortgaged.

Escrow Agent
An agent responsible for money, real estate, documents or assets of value that are put in their care that is to be surrendered to another at a specified time according to a previous agreement or contract.

Evauluator
A trained and certified or licensed professional who will perform an appraisal for a fee, also known as an appraiser.

Exclusive Listing
When a seller enters into a written agreement with a real estate agent to have the sole right to list and sell a property within a certain period of time. In most agreements the seller retains the privilege to sell the property themselves and not pay a commission.

First Mortgage

In the event of a default on mortgage payments, the first mortgage prevails over all others.

Fixtures

Anything that is attached to a property in such a manner as to cause damage if it is removed. Typically a fixture would have the same useful life as the property where it is situated.

Forfeiture
In the event of a breach of contract, promulgating a loss of money or property forfeiture is the resulting compensation.

Free and Clear
An unencumbered title to real property wherein the ownership is clear and free of lien; always required before a transfer of title can take place.

General Lien
A lien that pertains to all possessions of a lienee, and not just those that have created the debt, but not inclusive of real property or land.GNMA)

Good Title

Any title that is not encumbered by a lien or petition of ownership for any given property. This is one of the most basic criteria relative to the sale of any property - also known as just title, clear title or free title.

Government Mortgage
Any mortgage that is covered by a policy issued by the FHA, Federal Housing Administration, or guaranteed by the Rural Home Service or the Department of Veteranís Affairs.

Growing Equity Mortgage
A mortgage with a fixed rate of interest, but one that has escalating monthly installments.

Home Inspection
Unlike an appraisal, which determines the value of a property, a Home Inspection deals with the physical and mechanical state of a property. Home Inspections are conducted on behalf of a buyer who needs to determine the overall condition of a proposed investment before committing.

Housing Market Index
An index that is used to indicate the current state of the housing marketís supply and demand for new homes. Compiled of statistics culled from hundreds of builders, 50 points is considered an average demand on a scale of 0 to 100.

Illiquid
Anything that is not easily converted into available cash. Real Property falls within this definition.

Inspection
See Home Inspection.

Installment Sales Contract
An agreement between a buyer and seller wherein the buyer has immediate possession of the property purchased, but will not have the title deed transferred until after a number of payments have already been made to the seller.

Inspection
Any property or real estate that is only for the sake of investment and/or income purposes and will not be used or occupied by the owner.

Joint Mortgage
Any mortgage that has more than one person liable and responsible for the satisfaction of the agreement.

Judgement Lein
Any lien on property as directed by the court through a judgement.

Junior Mortgage
Any mortgage, other than the first mortgage, and one that would not be paid in case of a default on the part of the borrower, until the first mortgage is satisfied.

Just Title
Any title that is not encumbered by a lien or petition of ownership for any given property. This is one of the most basic criteria relative to the sale of any property - also known as good title, clear title or free title.

Land Contract
An amortized contract between a seller and a buyer that would not transfer ownership until all installments have been completed.

Lease Purchase Agreement

Often used by first time home buyers or those without substantial down payment funds. In this case the lease payments can be applied towards the purchase of the property when that time arrives.

Lien
Any legal claim to an asset that would be used to acquire a loan and needs to be paid in full upon the sale of a property.

Listing
Any agreement in writing that stipulates an arrangement between a property seller and their agent, authorizing the agent to market and sell a property within a specified period of time, which is most often 90 days.

Mortgage
Money lent for the purpose of buying real estate. Typically a mortgage will include an agreement for interest rate paid, term of the loan and protects the lender from default by use of a lien as collateral.

Median Priced

The midpoint of all the prices for homes sold in a given area during a specified period. Not to be confused with the average price, this is the point that indicates that half of all homes are higher priced, and half are priced lower than the median. The median price will tend to fluctuate with the market.

Mortgage Banking
The sale of packaged mortgages for the expressed sale to investors.

Mortgagee
The lender who issues credit in the form of a mortgage.

Mortgage Insurance
An insurance policy that is a policy either issued by a private insurer or the Federal Housing Authority, FHA, to secure a mortgage on the lenders behalf in the case of default by the borrower, mortgagor.

Mortgager / Mortgagor
The person or parties borrowing money in the form of a property mortgage.

Mortgage Lien
Any legal claim on a loan that must be fully satisfied when a mortgaged property is sold.

Mortgage Life Insurance
A policy purchased to indemnify a lender in the event that a borrower dies and his heirs can not repay the loan balance

Mortgagee Note
A note that proves a mortgage debt and specifies the terms by which it must be re-paid and satisfied.

Mortgage Rate
The amount of interest that is applied to a specific mortgage.

Negative Amortization
When a mortgage debt will increase gradually because of the monthly payments are not sufficient enough to contribute to the interest payment on the money borrowed and the balance increases exponentially of the first few years.

Net Income Multiplier
The current cost of a piece of a leased real property asset divided by the net income it can produce within a certain time frame and specifically calculated to determine the possible income realized by a landlord from rental properties. Not the same as the market price.

No Lien Affidavit
A validating document that assures a title is free and clear of lien and transferable.

Open-end Mortgage
Wherein a mortgager can borrow again against the principal amount already paid in.

Open Mortgage

A mortgage that allows for early re-payment satisfaction with penalty to the borrower. Benefits the borrower and not the lender.

Opinion of Title
A validating document that assures a title is free and clear of lien and transferable.

Overlying Mortgage
A second or junior mortgage that is subordinate to the original or senior mortgage taken on a property.

Owner Financing
When the seller secures a loan for or lends money to a buyer if the buyer is unable to get traditional financing form a bank or lending institution.

No-lien Affidavit
A long term mortgage, usually ten years or more. Also called an "end loan."

Package Mortgage
Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance. Also called monthly housing expense.

Perfect Title
Money is placed in a pledged savings account and this fund plus earned interest is gradually used to reduce mortgage payments.

PITI
Prepaid interest assessed at closing by the lender. Each point is equal to 1 percent of the loan amount (e.g., two points on a $100,000 mortgage would cost $2,000).

PMI
A legal document authorizing one person to act on behalf of another.

Purchase Agreement

Necessary to create an escrow account or to adjust the seller's existing escrow account. Can include taxes, hazard insurance, private mortgage insurance and special assessments.

Price Discount
A privilege in a mortgage permitting the borrower to make payments in advance of their due date.

Quiet Title
When a court verdict is needed to validate title ownership.

Recision
The cancellation of a contract. With respect to mortgage refinancing, the law that gives the homeowner three days to cancel a contract in some cases once it is signed if the transaction uses equity in the home as security.

Reconyenance
When a title, or transfers back, to a previous owner, often due to a borrower defaulting on an owner financed mortgage.

Recording Fees
Money paid to the lender for recording a home sale with the local authorities, thereby making it part of the public records.

Release Clause
A provision within a mortgage contract that frees a portion of a property when a previously stipulated amount of a mortgage has already been paid.

Real Estate
A piece of land, any dwellings or structure that may be on it and both the air and ground below it.

Real Estate Agent
A state licensed salesperson that is under the supervision of, and working for a licensed broker.  

Real Estate Broker

A state licensed person who is legally allowed to perform a sale or purchase of real property and accept fees for same. 

Realtor
Any real estate agent that is a registered member of the National Association of Realtors.

Realty
A piece of land, any dwellings or structure that may be on it and both the air and ground below it.

Sales Charge
The fees a broker will asses for the service of transferring real estate.

Seasonally Adjusted
Due to seasonal fluctuations within each real estate market adjustments must be made to account discrepancies that might arise when establishing a FMV, Fair Market Value, for property.

Sales Fee
The fees a broker will asses for the service of transferring real estate.   

Seller Financing
When the seller secures a loan for or lends money to a buyer if the buyer is unable to get traditional financing form a bank or lending institution.

Settlement
Also known as the closing, when title is transferred to the buyer form the seller.

Settlement Cost
Commonly referred to as the closing cost, it is the sum of all fees and expenses related to the transfer of property ownership and title that is in addition to the actual price of the property being transferred. These expenses can an include title and document searches, surveys, legal fees, inspections and the filing of these documents. Whether the buyer or seller is responsible for these fees is negotiated prior to the closing.    

Settlement Sheet
The document that shows all escrow payments, transfer fees, taxes, mortgage insurance and payments related to a real estate transaction for sale.  

Severalty
When a property is solely owned by an individual person.

Tax Lien
A document that gives evidence of an individual's ownership of property.
When a taxing authority places a lien on property or assets for taxes owed and not paid.

Title Binder
Interim insurance purchased to cover real property pending a closing and the permanent policy coming into effect.  

Title Claim
A company that is employed to investigate, validate and insure a claim of title for an owner.

Title Defect
When a title is encumbered by a lien or claim that could cause the title to not be valid or transferable.

Title Insurance
If there is a dispute of ownership, title insurance protects owners and lenders from loss.

Title Search
The examination of all registered records that confirm legal ownership of real property to assure the ability of unencumbered transfer.

Transfer
The change of real property ownership involving from a seller to a buyer.

Transfer Tax
A state assessed tax on the transfer of real property title.

Unencumbered Property
Any real property that has no mortgage, lien, claim or encumbrance against it and is free to be transferred to another by sale.

Unsold Inventory Index
This index, which indicates the pace of the market, is calculated by measuring how long it would take for all the homes currently on the market to be sold at the current rate of sales. A smaller index is a positive sign for sellers, while a higher number is good news for buyers.

Verification of Deposit (VOD)
A document that validates the solvency of a buyer for a lender.

Warranty Deed
Any deed that will assure a title is free and clear, unencumbered, issued by a seller to a buyer. 

   
 
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