We're sure you don't like jargon - and neither do we. But it's a fact of real estate life. This glossary is here to help you make sense of it. And we've put a special emphasis on terms that reflect today's housing market.

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z

"c" Terms

A clause in a loan agreement that allows a lender to ask for the balance at any time.
Cylindrical chambers with bulbs recessed into the ceiling.
A clause that details the conditions under which each party may terminate the agreement.
A projecting structure supported on one end, such as a balcony.
A limit on the amount the interest rate or monthly payment can increase in an adjustable-rate mortgage.
A wood-frame or shingled house with a steep roof and several windows projecting from the second floor.
Money used to create income, such as funds invested in rental property.
The cost of making improvements on a property.
Profits an investor makes from the sale of real estate or investments.
A tax placed on the profits from the sale of real estate or investments.
Any improvement that extends the life or increases the value of a piece of property.
A mathematical formula that investors use to compute the value of a property based on net income.
The percentage rate of return estimated from the net income of a piece of property.
A group of real estate agents who tour a house that has been recently listed for sale.
A roof that covers a driveway or other parking area.
A window hinged on its sides to allow it to swing open vertically.
The amount of cash a rental property investor receives after deducting operating expenses and loan payments from gross income.
The refinancing of a mortgage in which the money received from the new loan is greater than the amount due on the old loan. The borrower can use the extra funds in any manner.
A check the bank draws on itself rather than on a depositor's account.
A high open ceiling formed by finishing exposed roof rafters.
A formal notice, that asks a court to suspend action until the party which filed the challenge can be heard.
A legal principle derived from Latin than means let the buyer beware.
The standard height of a ceiling is eight feet.
A device that generates cold air through an outside unit that is connected to ductwork inside the house.
A document which shows that the bearer has a specified amount of money on deposit with a bank, stock-brokerage firm or other financial institution.
An index based on the interest rates on six-month CDs. It used to determine the interest rate for some adjustable-rate mortgages.
A document issued by the Veterans Administration that verifies the eligibility of a veteran for a loan program.
A document which states that a home or other building has met all building codes and is suitable for habitation.
A document issued at a judicial sale, which entitles the buyer to receive a deed after court confirmation of the purchase of the property.
A written opinion on the status of a piece of property based on an examination of the public record.
The official record that details the ownership history of a piece of property.
Decorative trim installed on a wall about 32 inches above the floor, which protects against scuffs from furniture.
The adjustment schedule on an adjustable-rate mortgage.
A modification of the construction contract to authorize a change in the work, an adjustment in the amount of the contract or a change in the contract time. The owner, architect and contractor must sign the change.
A lien on personal property used as collateral for a loan.
A block made of ash and cement that is used in construction.
Cinders used below a basement or around a foundation to promote drainage.
An electric fuse that activates or deactivates a circuit.
A tank used to store rainwater.
A tax that varies in rate depending on the use of the property.
A property that does not have liens, defects or other legal encumbrances.
The final procedure in which documents are signed and recorded, and the property is transferred.
Expenses incidental to the sale of real estate, including loan, title and appraisal fees.
A document which details the final financial settlement between a buyer and seller and the costs paid by each party.
An invalid encumbrance on real property.
A method of squeezing more homes into less space.
Individual housing units that are clustered around a common building where residents share cooking and other activities.
Coverage that involves the use of two or more insurers.
A person who signs a promissory note with the borrower and assumes responsibility for the loan.
A second party who signs a promissory note and takes responsibility for the debt.
A change to a will that adds or subtracts provisions or clarifies portions of the document.
The structural element that connects roof rafters.
Additional security that a borrower supplies to obtain a loan.
The series of steps a lender takes to bring a delinquent mortgage up to date.
The action of two or more people to break the law.
A slender upright structure that consists of a base, a round or square shaft and a capital.
The support base for a load-bearing column. The footing is usually made of reinforced concrete.
An outer door with interchangeable screen and glass panels.
A window with interchangeable screen and glass panels.
A financial institution that provides a broad range of services, from checking and savings accounts to business loans and credit cards.
An area that is zoned for businesses.
The mixing of money held in trust with other funds.
The negotiable percentage of the sales price of a home that is paid to the agents of the buyer and seller.
A promise by a lender to make a loan with specific terms for a specified period.
The fee a lender charges for promising to make a loan.
An area inside a housing development that is owned by all residents.
A body of laws based on custom, usage and rulings by courts in various jurisdictions.
Fees paid by the owners of a condominium project or planned-unit development to maintain, repair, improve or operate common areas.
A project composed of individually owned units that share usage and financial responsibility for common areas.
Property accumulated through the joint efforts of husband and wife. It is a classification of property peculiar to certain states.
A federal law that encourages financial institutions to loan money in the neighborhoods where minority depositors live.
The distance and time it takes a person to reach the workplace.
Properties used as comparisons to determine the value of a certain property.
An estimate of the value of a property based on an analysis of sales of properties with similar characteristics.
A term for a buyer who is legally fit to enter into a sales contract.
The interest paid on the principal balance in a mortgage and on the accrued and unpaid interest of the loan.
The process of pouring concrete into forms on the ground, allowing the forms to harden and then raising the material to a vertical position to form walls.
The process the government uses to take private property for public use without the consent of the owner.
A promise by a lender to make a loan if the borrower meets certain conditions.
Individual units in a building or development in which owners hold title to the interior space while common areas such as parking lots, community rooms and recreational areas are owned by all the residents.
The change in title from a single owner of an entire project or building to multiple owners of individual units.
A metal pipe that houses electrical wiring.
A binding written agreement between two parties to have a judgment entered and recorded.
A court-appointed guardian.
Anything that is legal, has value and induces a person to enter into a contract.
The funding that an owner arranges for the construction of a project.
Drawings and specifications from an architect that provide detailed requirements for the construction of a project.
Short-term loans a lender makes for the construction of homes and buildings. The lender disburses the funds in stages.
The conversion of a construction loan to a longer-term traditional mortgage after construction has been completed.
A design that features streamlined shapes, large unadorned windows and industrial materials.
Pieces of property that are adjoined.
A condition specified in a purchase contract, such as a satisfactory home inspection.
A property listing with a special condition attached.
A fee that must be paid if a certain event occurs.
An agreement between two or more parties that creates or modifies an existing relationship.
A contract in which the seller agrees to defer all or part of the purchase price for a specified period of time.
A contract the buyer initiates which details the purchase price and conditions of the transaction and is accepted by the seller. Also known as an agreement of sale.
The individual who contracts for the construction of a home or project.
A voluntary obligation such as a mortgage or trust deed.
Any restrictions imposed on the amount or type of new development in an area.
A long-term loan a lender makes for the purchase of a home.
A mortgage which starts as an adjustable-rate loan, but allows the borrower to convert the loan to a fixed-rate mortgage during a specified period of time.
The transfer of title of property.
A tax imposed on the transfer of real property.
A real estate broker who finds a buyer for a property that another broker has listed.
A business trust that holds the title to a cooperative residential building and grants occupancy rights to shareholders in the corporation.
Any loans related to a cooperative residential project.
A project in which a corporation holds title and sells shares representing individual units to buyers who then receive a proprietary lease as their title.
A reinforcement placed in the corner where two walls intersect.
The effect on the value of a property because it is situated on a corner or near a corner.
A horizontal molding that projects from the top of a structure or wall.
An arrangement by which employers pay to transfer and move employees.
Necessary or desired repairs to remedy problems uncovered by a home or specialized inspection.
A construction contract that determines the builder's profit based on a percentage of the cost of labor and materials.
A small, one-story house.
A response to an offer.
A legal assurance or promise in a deed or other document, or implied by the law.
Rules and regulations for a development, such as acceptable landscaping or improvements that can be made to individual units.
An architectural style that evolved as part of the Arts and Craft movement near the turn of the century.
The space between the ground and the first floor of a home, usually no higher than four feet.
Innovative home-financing arrangements that help sell a property.
The money a lender extends to a buyer for a commitment to repay the loan within a certain time frame.
A record of an individual's current and past debt payments.
Insurance that pays off a mortgage in the event of the borrower's death.
The degree of credit worthiness assigned to a person based on credit history and financial status.
A credit bureau report that shows a loan applicant's history of payments made on previous debts. Several companies issue credit reports, but the three largest are Trans Union Corp., Equifax and Experian (formerly TRW).
Large companies that gather financial and credit information from various sources about individuals who have applied for credit.
Nonprofit cooperative organizations that provide banking and financial services, including mortgages, home improvement loans and home equity loans, to their members.
An individual or institution to which a debt is owed.
The strengthening of a structure by bracing cross members between beams.
A street or alley that is closed at one end.
A dome-like structure that sits on top of a roof.
A deficiency in a property that is easy or inexpensive to fix, such as chipping paint.
The first impression of a house as seen from the street.
An exterior wall that encloses a yard or other area but does not provide any structural support to a home.
A builder who constructs a home or building based on plans created by the owner.
A structure designed by an architect hired by the owner.
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