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.

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"l" Terms

A home's surroundings can range from a shrub-studded emerald lawn to a native-plant xeriscape. It is a major component of curb appeal.
A professional who holds a degree in landscape architecture, which involves training in horticulture, landscape design and planning.
A professional who carries out the plans of a landscape architect or a landscape designer.
A landscape designer has training in horticulture and landscape planning, but does not necessarily hold a degree.
A fee a lender imposes on a borrower when the borrower does not make a payment on time.
A fee a lender collects after a payment due date has passed.
An invisible problem in a piece of property such as bad wiring, termite damage or lead paint.
A metallic chemical element present in older dwellings, primarily in the form of lead-based paint and lead plumbing. Exposure to lead has been found to be a health risk.
A binding agreement that contains the terms and conditions of a renter's occupancy.
A lease that contains the right to purchase the property for a specific price within a certain time frame.
The sale of a property in which the seller immediately begins to rent the property from the buyer. That is, the seller no longer has ownership of the property but maintains residence and/or use for the duration of the rental agreement.
An arrangement in which the borrower does not own the property but possesses a long-term lease.
Blemishes on a piece of property, such as a zoning violation or fraudulent title claim.
A specific way of identifying and locating a piece of real estate that is acceptable to a court.
A bank, savings institution or mortgage company that offers home loans.
A formal statement that the buyer intends to purchase the property for a certain price on a certain date.
The use of a small amount of cash - down payment - to buy a piece of property.
A borrower's debts and financial obligations.
A policy that protects owners against any claims of negligence, personal injury or property damage.
A claim laid by one person or company on the property of another as security for money owed.
A limit on the amount that a loan rate can move during the term of the mortgage. For example, the rate on an adjustable-rate mortgage that begins at 5 percent and has a lifetime cap of 6 percentage points cannot rise above 11 percent, even if rates on fixed-rate mortgages soar to 20 percent.
Real estate syndicates and other investment groups use this type of ownership. A general partner makes the group's investment decisions, oversees the investment and is principally liable for any losses.
Cash and all other assets that can be converted to cash relatively quickly. Liquid assets can include money in savings and checking accounts, money-market accounts, and most certificates of deposit.
When a real estate deal goes awry, one party often is entitled to liquidated damages, a sum of money set out in the purchase contract in that event.
A piece of property placed on the market for sale by a listing agent.
The known number of houses for sale within a given market.
An arrangement in which two unrelated people purchase a home.
An officially designated dwelling in which the occupant conducts a home-based business or enterprise.
A technical measure used by lenders to assess the relationship of the loan amount to the value of the property.
The first step toward submitting a home loan requires the borrower to itemize basic financial information.
A fee charged by lenders for making a loan application.
The amount of principal that a borrower owes.
A promise by a lender or other financial institution to make or insure a loan for a specified amount and on specific terms.
Any change in the terms of the loan, any change in the property, or any change in borrower's liability for the loan.
An official representative of a lending institution who is empowered to act on behalf of the lender within certain limits.
Most lenders charge borrowers an origination fee - or points - for processing a loan. A point is 1 percent of the total loan amount.
A fee charged by some lenders for gathering information to enable the lender to process the loan.
The amount of time set by the lender for a buyer to pay a mortgage. Most conventional loans have 30-year or 15-year terms.
When interest rates are volatile, many borrowers want to lock in an interest rate and many lenders will oblige, setting a limit on the amount of time the lock-in is in effect.
A low concentration of housing units in a specific area.
A mortgage that requires only minimal verification of income and assets.
A home loan that requires the borrower to make only a small down payment before obtaining the financing needed to purchase a house.
An offer made to a seller that is substantially below market value. The longer a property stays on the market, the more likely there are low offers.
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