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Relocation and Real Estate Definitions

The following definitions are typical terms used to express relocation and real estate terminology.

also see Moving Definitions >


Abstract of Title A summary of the conveyances, transfers, and any other facts relied on as evidence of title and ownership of Real property
Acceleration Clause A clause in trust deed or mortgage giving the lender the right to call all amounts owed, immediately due and payable.
Acceptance A legal term referring to the acceptance of an offer. A buyer offers to buy and the seller accepts the offer.
Acknowledgment A formal declaration of an executed contract or instrument.
Ad Valorem According to Value. A method of imposing a tax on the ownership of real property.
Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM) A mortgage whose interest rate changes periodically based on the changes in a specified index.
Adjustment Date The date on which the interest rate changes for an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).
Adjustment Period The period that elapses between the adjustment dates for an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).
Adverse Possession The possession and occupancy under an evident claim or right, in denial or opposition to the title of another claimant.
Affidavit A written and sworn to declaration before an officer with authority to administer an oath or affirmation.
Affirmation A solemn declaration made under the penalties of perjury by a person who conscientiously declines taking an oath.
Agency The relationship between a client and an agent that authorizes represention in the clients interests.
Agent One who acts for another.
Agreement of Sale A written contract between seller and buyer in which they reach a meeting of minds on the terms and conditions of the sale.
Amortization The repayment of a mortgage loan by installments, with regular payments to cover the principal and interest.
Amortization Term The amount of time required to amortize a mortgage loan, expressed as a number of months. For example, for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the amortization term is 360 months. 
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) The percentage cost of a mortgage stated as a yearly rate, including such items as interest, mortgage insurance, and loan origination fees (points).
Mortgage Application A form, commonly referred to as a 1003 form, used to apply for a mortgage and to provide information regarding a prospective mortgagor and the proposed security.
Appraisal A written opinion of value for the estimated value of a property, prepared by a qualified appraiser with factual basis.
Appraiser A person qualified by education, training, and experience to estimate the value of real property and personal property.
Appreciation An increase in the value of a property due to changes in market conditions or other causes. The opposite of depreciation. 
Appurtenance Something belonging to the land and transferred with it, such as buildings, fixtures, rights
Assemblage Putting together two or more lots to form a larger parcel.
Assessed Value A value placed upon property by a municipal tax assessor.
Assessment The imposition of a tax, charge or levy according to established rates.
Assessor A person appointed to assess a property for taxation.
Asset Something of monetary value that is owned by a person. Assets include real and personal property, and enforceable claims against others (including bank accounts, stocks, and other interests).
Assignment The transfer of a mortgage from one person to another.
Assumable Mortgage A mortgage that can be taken over ("assumed") by the buyer when a home is sold.
Assumption The transfer of the seller's existing mortgage to the buyer.
Assumption Clause A provision in an assumable mortgage that allows a buyer to assume responsibility for the mortgage from the seller.
Assumption Fee The fee paid to a lender (usually by the purchaser of real property) resulting from the assumption of an existing mortgage.
Assumption of Mortgage Taking title to real property or unpaid portions of the property note, and being liable for the amount of any deficiency.
Attachment Seizure of property by court order, usually done to have it available in event a judgment is obtained in a pending suit.
Attorney-in-Fact One who is authorized to perform certain acts for another under a Power of Attorney.
Balance Sheet A financial statement that shows assets, liabilities, and net worth as of a specific date.
Balloon Mortgage A mortgage that has level monthly payments that will amortize it over a stated term but that provides for a lump sum payment to be due at the end of an earlier specified term.
Balloon Payment The final lump sum payment that is made at the maturity date of a balloon mortgage.
Bankruptcy A person, firm, or corporation that, through a court proceeding, is relieved from the payment of all debts after the surrender of all assets to a court-appointed trustee. 
Basis Point A basis point is 1/100th of a percentage point. For example, a fee calculated as 50 basis points of a loan amount of $100,000 would be 0.50% or $500.
Before-Tax Income Income before taxes are deducted.
Beneficiary The person designated to receive the income from a trust, estate, or a deed of trust.
Binder A preliminary agreement, secured by the payment of an earnest money deposit, under which a buyer offers to purchase real estate. 
Biweekly Payment Mortgage A mortgage that requires payments every two weeks (instead of monthly). The biweekly payments are each equal to one-half of a normal monthly payment.
Blanket Encumbrance A single mortgage or trust deed which covers more than one piece of real estate.
Blanket Mortgage The mortgage that is secured by a cooperative project, as opposed to the share loans on individual units within the project.
Bona Fide In good faith, without fraud or deceit; authentic and sincere.
Bond An interest-bearing certificate of debt with a maturity date. A real estate bond is a written obligation usually secured by a mortgage or a deed of trust.
Bonus Room Homes sometimes have a room that may not have a closet and/or window, so it can't technically be classified as a bedroom. It could be used as one or have a number of other uses, however.
Breach A violation of any legal obligation.
Bridge Loan A form of second trust that allows proceeds to be used for closing on a new home before the present home is sold. Also known as "swing loan." 
Broker A person who, for a commission or a fee, brings parties together and assists in negotiating contracts between them.
Broker-in-Charge The person who responsible for the business of a real estate office begin conducted properly and for supervising all the agents.
Brokerage Bringing together parties interested in making a real estate transaction.
Building Code Minimum standards for building construction to protect public health and safety.
Building Permit Written government permission for construction, alteration or demolition that shows compliance with building codes and zoning ordinances.
Buydown Mortgage A temporary buydown is a mortgage on which an initial lump sum payment is made by any party to reduce a borrower's monthly payments during the first few years of a mortgage. A permanent buydown reduces the interest rate over the entire life of a mortgage.
Buyer-Agency Agreement A relationship between a buyer and a broker in which the broker is the buyer's agent, with fiduciary responsibilities to the buyer.
Call Option A provision in the mortgage that gives the mortgagee the right to call the mortgage due and payable at the end of a specified period for whatever reason.
Cap A provision of an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) that limits how much the interest rate or mortgage payments may increase or decrease.
Capital Improvement Any structure or component erected as a permanent improvement to real property that adds to its value and useful life. 
Capitalization In appraising it is a method of determining the value of property by interpreting the property's net income with a percentage which represents a reasonable return on invested capital.
Capitalization Rate The rate of interest which is considered a reasonable return on the investment. It is used in the process of determining value based upon net income.
Cash Flow Income generated by a property which is determined by subtracting vacancy allowances and collection costs, operating expenses and debt-servicing costs from the property's scheduled gross income.
Cash-Out Refinance A mortgage refinancing in which the amount of money received from the new loan exceeds the total of the money needed to repay the existing first mortgage, liens, and closing costs.
Caveat Emptor Let the buyer beware. The buyer must examine the goods or property and buy at his own risk.
Certificate Of Eligibility A document issued by the federal government certifying a veteran's eligibility for a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mortgage.
Certificate Of Reasonable Value (CRV) A document issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that establishes the maximum value and loan amount for a VA mortgage.
Certificate Of Title A statement provided by an abstract company, title company, or attorney stating that the title to real estate is legally held by the current owner.
Chain Of Title The history of all of the documents that transfer title to a parcel of real property, starting with the earliest existing document and ending with the most recent. 
Change Frequency The frequency (in months) of payment and/or interest rate changes in an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).
Civil Rights Act of 1866 This prohibits racial discrimination in selling or renting housing.
Clear Title A title that is free of liens or legal questions as to ownership of the property.
Closing A meeting at which a sale of a property is finalized by the buyer signing the mortgage documents and paying closing costs. Also called "settlement."
Closing Cost Item A fee or amount that a home buyer must pay at closing for a single service, tax, or product.
Closing Statement Also referred to as the HUD-1. The final statement of cash paid and received during a real estate transaction, including costs incurred to close the loan.
Cloud On Title Any conditions revealed by a title search that adversely affect the title to real estate. Usually clouds on title cannot be removed except by a quitclaim deed, release, or court action.
Co-Maker A person who signs a promissory note along with the borrower. A co-maker's signature guarantees that the loan will be repaid.
Codes A systematic collection of laws in writing.
Collateral An asset (such as a car or a home) that guarantees the repayment of a loan. The borrower risks losing the asset if the loan is not repaid according to the terms of the loan contract.
Collection The efforts used to bring a delinquent mortgage current and to file the necessary notices to proceed with foreclosure when necessary.
Collusion An illegal agreement between two or more persons to defraud another of his rights by the forms of law, or to obtain an object forbidden by law.
Color of Title That which appears to be good title but which is not title in fact
Combination Loan With this type of loan, you receive a first mortgage for 80 percent of the loan amount, and a second mortgage at the same time for the remainder of the balance. Often used to avoid paying PMI (mortgage insurance).
Combined Loan-To-Value (CLTV) The relationship between the unpaid principal balances of all the mortgages on a property and the property's home value. 
Commingling The broker's unauthorized and improper mixing of office funds, which are personal or business monies, with trust funds, which are client customer monies.
Commission Payment to a broker for services rendered; usually a percentage of the selling price and paid by the seller.
Commitment Letter A formal offer by a lender stating the terms under which it agrees to lend money to a home buyer. Also known as a "loan commitment."
Common Areas Owned portions of a building, land, and amenities  that are used or shared by all of condominium unit owners.
Community Home Improvement Mortgage Loan An alternative financing option that allows low- and moderate-income home buyers to obtain 95 percent financing for the purchase and improvement of a home in need of modest repairs.
Community Property A form of ownership under which property acquired during a marriage is presumed to be owned jointly unless acquired as separate property of either spouse.
Comparables An abbreviation for "comparable properties"; used for comparative purposes in the appraisal process. Comparables are properties like the property under consideration; they have reasonably the same size, location , and amenities and have recently been sold.
Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) A comparison of property prices based on property recently sold with similarities of location, style and amenities.
Compound Interest Interest paid on the original principal and on interest accrued from time it became due.
Condemnation The act of taking private property for public use by the sovereign powers; a declaration that a structure is unfit for use.
Condominium Absolute ownership of a unit in a multi-unit building, which includes joint ownership of common elements.
Condominium Conversion Changing the ownership of an existing building (usually a rental project) to the condominium form of ownership.
Conforming Loan A mortgage loan that is below a standard (U.S.) dollar limit. Interest rates are generally lower because they conform to acceptable government limits. The conforming cap changes annually. Non-conforming loans are considered more risky.
Construction Loan A short-term, interim loan for financing the cost of construction. The lender makes payments to the builder at periodic intervals as the work progresses.
Consumer Reporting Agency An organization that prepares reports used by lenders to determine a potential borrower's credit history. The agency obtains data for these reports from a credit repository as well as from other sources.
Contingency A provision in a contact requiring certain acts or events happen before the contract is binding.
Contract An oral or written agreement to perform in an indicated manner.
Convenants Agreements written into deeds and other instruments promising performance or non-performance of certain acts, or stipulating certain uses or non-uses of the property.
Conventional Loan A loan that's neither guaranteed nor insured by Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Veterans' Administration (VA).
Convertibility Clause A provision in some adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) that allows the borrower to change the ARM to a fixed-rate mortgage at specified timeframes after loan origination.
Conveyance The transfer of title to land. Includes most instruments by which an interest in real estate is created, mortgaged, or assigned.
Cooperative (Co-Op) A type of multiple ownership in which the residents of a multiunit housing complex own shares in the cooperative corporation that owns the property, giving each resident the right to occupy a specific apartment or unit.
Corporate Relocation An employer initiated move, under which an employee recieves conditional benefits to transfer to an alternate geographic location.
Cost Of Funds Index (COFI) An index that is used to determine interest rate changes for certain adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) plans.
Covenant Written agreement between parties requiring a pledge to perform or not perform certain acts regarding property.
Credit An agreement in which a borrower receives something of value in exchange for a promise to repay the lender at a later date.
Credit History/Report A record of an individual's open and fully repaid debts. A credit history helps a lender to determine whether a potential borrower has a history of repaying debts in a timely manner.
Credit Repository An organization that gathers, records, updates, and stores financial and public records information about the payment records of individuals who are being considered for credit. 
Damages The indemnity recoverable by a person who has sustained an injury either in his person, property or relative rights, through the act or default of another.
Debt An amount owed to another.
Deed A written instrument which, when properly executed and delivered, conveys title to real property.
Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure A deed to real property accepted by a lender from a defaulting borrower to avoid the necessity of foreclosure proceedings by the lender.
Deed Of Trust The document used in some states instead of a mortgage; title is conveyed to a trustee.
Deed Restriction A clause in a deed that limits use.
Deed-In-Lieu A deed given by a mortgagor to the mortgagee to satisfy a debt and avoid foreclosure.
Default Failure to make mortgage payments on a timely basis or to comply with other requirements of a mortgage. 
Deferred Maintenance Existing but unfulfilled requirements for repairs and rehabilitation.
Deficiency Judgment A judgment given when the security pledged for a loan does not satisfy the debt upon its default.
Delinquency Failure to make mortgage payments when mortgage payments are due.
Deposit A sum of money given to bind the sale of real estate, or to ensure payment in the processing of a loan.
Depreciation Loss of value in real property brought about by age, physical deterioration or functional or economic obsolescence.
Deterioration Reflecting the loss in value brought about by wear and tear, disintegration, use in service, and the actions of the elements.
Discount Fee Often referred to as "points," a fee charged at the inception of a loan by the lender in order to obtain a higher earning than the interest stated in the mortgage note.
Documentary Transfer Tax A city or county tax for the transfer of real property ownership.
Down Payment The part of the purchase price of a property that the buyer pays in cash and does not finance with a mortgage.
Dual Agency The legal practice in of representing both parties in a transaction, as long as both parties agree.
Due-On-Sale Provision A provision in a mortgage that allows the lender to demand repayment in full if the borrower sells the property that serves as security for the mortgage. 
Duress Unlawful constraint exercised upon a person whereby he is forced to do some act against his will.
Earnest Money Deposit A deposit made by the potential home buyer to show that he or she is serious about buying the house.
Easement A right of way giving persons other than the owner access to or over a property.
Economic Life The period over which a property will yield a return on the investment, over and above the economic or ground rent due the land.
Effective Age An appraiser's estimate of the physical condition of a building. The actual age of a building may be shorter or longer than its effective age.
Effective Gross Income Normal annual income including regular or guaranteed overtime.
Eminent Domain The right of the government to acquire private property for public use by condemnation. The owner must be fully compensated.
Encroachment A building or some portion of it or other structure such as a fence or driveway, that extends beyond the land of an owner, illegally intruding on adjoining land.
Encumbrance Anything that affects or limits the fee simple title to a property, such as mortgages, leases, easements, or restrictions.
Endorser A person who signs ownership interest over to another party. Contrast with co-maker.
Enforceable An agreement or contract between persons in which one or other party can legally compel the performance of another or other parties.
Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) A federal law that requires lenders and other creditors to make credit equally available without discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, or receipt of income from public assistance programs.
Equity A homeowner's financial interest in a property. Equity is the difference between the fair market value of the property and the amount still owed on its mortgage. 
Escheat The reverting of property to the state in the absence of heirs or other claimants.
Escrow An item of value, money, or documents deposited with a third party to be delivered upon the fulfillment of a condition. For example, the deposit by a borrower with the lender of funds to pay taxes and insurance premiums when they become due, or the deposi
Escrow Account The account in which a mortgage servicer holds the borrower's escrow payments prior to paying property expenses.
Escrow Analysis The periodic examination of escrow accounts to determine if current monthly deposits will provide sufficient funds to pay taxes, insurance, and other bills when due.
Escrow Collections Funds collected by the servicer and set aside in an escrow account to pay the borrower's property taxes, mortgage insurance, and hazard insurance.
Escrow Disbursements The use of escrow funds to pay real estate taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance, and other property expenses as they become due. 
Estate The ownership interest of an individual in real property. The sum total of all the real property and personal property owned by an individual at time of death.
Estoppel A legal theory under which a person is barred from asserting or denying a fact because of the person's previous acts or words.
Eviction The lawful expulsion of an occupant from real property.
Exchange A means of trading equities in two or more real properties, treated as a single transaction through a single escrow or as a deferred exchange through two or more escrows.
Exclusive Agency Listing A written instrument giving one agent the right for a specified time to sell a property, but reserving the right of the owner to sell the property himself without payment of a commission to the agent.
Exclusive Right to Sell Listing A written agreement between an owner and an agent giving the agent the right to collect a commission if the property is sold by anyone during the term of his agreement.
Exclusive-Right-to-Represent Buyer An agreement between a buyer and agent in which the buyer agrees to only work with that agent for a certain period of time and that agent agrees to work for the best interest of the client.
Exclusive-Right-to-Sell Listing When a seller appoints a broker as the exclusive agent to sell the property for a set time and with established terms.
Execute To complete or perform an action, such as executing a deed.
Executed Contract A contract that is fufilled or dually completed.
Executor A person named in a Will to carry out its provisions as to the disposition of the estate of a deceased person.
Executor's Deed A legal deed to real property given by an executor of an estate.
Executory Contract A contract not yet fully performed.
Fair Credit Reporting Act A consumer protection law that regulates the disclosure of consumer credit reports by consumer/credit reporting agencies and establishes procedures for correcting mistakes on one's credit record. 
Fair Market Value The estimated price that a willing buyer would pay, and a willing a selle would accept.
Fannie Mae (FNMA) A congressionally chartered, shareholder-owned company that is the nation's largest supplier of home mortgage funds.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) An agency of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD ) that insures residential mortgage loans made by private lenders and sets standards for construction and loan underwriting.
Fee Simple The greatest possible interest a person can have in real estate. 
FHA Mortgage A mortgage that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Also known as a government mortgage.
Fiduciary A person in a position of trust and confidence, and owes certain loyalties which cannot be breached under rules of agency.
Finder's Fee A fee or commission paid to a mortgage broker for finding a mortgage loan for a prospective borrower.
First Adjustment The first rate adjustment of an adjustible rate loan.
First Mortgage A secondary mortgage that is a second lien against a property.
Fixed Second Mortgage A mortgage that is the primary lien against a property.
Fixed-Rate Mortgage (FRM) A mortgage in which the interest rate does not change during the entire term of the loan. 
Fixtures An accessory affixed to a building or land, usually in such a way that they cannot be moved without damage; plumbing, electrical fixtures, fences, trees, shrubbery, etc. Fixtures are real property.
Flood Insurance Insurance that compensates for physical property damage resulting from flooding. It is required for properties located in federally designated flood areas.
Foreclosure A legal procedure whereby property pledged as security for a debt is sold to pay the debt in event of default in payments or terms.
Forfeiture Loss of money or anything of value due to failure to perform, such as a deposit given to insure performance.
Fraud The intentional and successful employment of deception used to cheat or deceive another person, whereby that person acts upon it to the loss of his property and to his legal injury.
Fully Amortized Arm An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) with a monthly payment that is sufficient to amortize the remaining balance, at the interest accrual rate, over the amortization term.
GI Loan A loan that is approved by the Veterans' Administration (VA loan). Only eligible veterans may apply. Veterans' Administration guarantees a portion of the loan to the lender against loss.
Gift Deed A deed for which the consideration is love and affection and where there is no material consideration.
Good Faith Estimate An estimate of charges which a borrower is likely to incur in connection with a settlement.
Graduated Lease A long-term lease agreement which provides for an initial fixed monthly rental fee, followed by subsequent increases and/or decreases at stated times during the balance of the contract term.
Grant Deed A legal term in a deed of conveyance, bestowing an interest in real property on another.
Grantee The purchaser; the person to whom a grant is made.
Grantor Seller of property; one who signs a deed.
Gross Income Total income from property before any expenses are deducted.
Guarantee of Title The opinion of a title company backed by its assets as to the true condition of the title to a certain piece of land at a particular time, as shown by the public records in the recording office.
Hazard Insurance Insurance protecting against loss to real estate caused by fire, some natural causes, vandalism, etc., depending upon the terms of the policy.
Home Equity Line Of Credit A credit line that is secured by a second deed of trust on a house. Equity lines of credit are revolving accounts that work like a credit card, which can be paid down or charged up for the term of the loan.
Home Equity Loan A loan secured by a second deed of trust on a house, typically used as a home improvement loan.
Homestead A home upon which the owners have recorded a Declaration of Homestead, as provided by California statutes; protects home against judgments up to specified amounts.
Housing Ratio The ratio of the monthly housing payment in total (PITI - Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance) divided by the gross monthly income.
HUD The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 
Hypothecate To give a thing as security without the necessity of giving up possession of it. To mortgage real property.
Implied Not expressed in writing; presumed or inferred.
Income Property Property which produces income from residential or commercial rentals and profits attributable to real estate other than rent.
Incompetent One who is mentally incapabl by reason of old age, disease, weakness of mind, or any other cause, unable to properly manage and take care of himself or his property.
Index A published interest rate to which an adjustible mortgage is tied. Commonly used indices include the Treasury Bills,  LIBOR, and the Cost of Funds Index.
Injunction A order issued under the seal of a court to restrain one or more parties from legal proceedings.
Installment Note A note which provides that payments of a certain sum or amount be paid on the dates specified in the instrument.
Instrument A legal document in writing to create, alter, modify or terminate a right.
Interest Rate The percentage of a sum of money charged for its use.
Investment Money put in property or other ventures with the expectation of making a profit, with sufficient security to return and protect the capital; not speculation.
Involuntary Conveyance Sheriff's deed; tax deed; an instrument against the will of the owner.
Involuntary Lien A lien imposed against property without consent of owner. Examples: taxes, assessments, federal income tax liens, judgments, etc.
Joint Tenancy Joint ownership by two or more persons with right of survivorship.
Judgment Final decision, determination, decree or sentence of a court of law.
Jumbo Mortgage The current loan limit for a conforming loan is $252,700. Loans for amounts above $252,700 are considered non-conforming or jumbo mortgages.
Land Contract A contract for real property in which the seller provides financing to the buyer at an agreed-upon purchase price. The buyer repays the loan in installments while the seller retains the legal title to the property.
Lease A contract between the owner of real property, called the lessor, and another person, called the lessee, covering conditions under which the lessee may occupy and use the property.
Lease Purchase Agreement When a buyer contracts for future purchase of a property with the right to lease property in the interim.
Lease with Option or Lease Option A contract which gives one the right to lease property at a certain sum with the option to purchase at a future date.
Legal Description A written description by which property can be located definitely by reference to government surveys or approved recorded maps.
Lender The bank, mortgage company, or mortgage broker offering the loan.
Leverage The use of a small amount of cash to control a large amount of property values.
Lien An encumbrance against property for money due, either voluntary or involuntary.
Life Estate An interest in real property, which is held for the duration of the life of some certain person.
Lifetime Cap A provision of an ARM that limits the highest rate that can occur over the life of the loan. 
Liquidate Disposal of property or settlement of debts.
Liquidity The ability of property to be exchanged for cash.
Lis Pendens A constructive notice recorded for the purpose of warning all persons that the title or right of possession of certain real property is in litigation.
Listing An employment contract between owner and broker authorizing broker to perform services involving the principal's property.
Listing Agreement A contract between an owner and a broker, employing the broker to sell the owner's property.
Loan Costs The actual expense for services rendered in obtaining a loan. Includes appraisal fees, attorney fees, survey fees, loan commissions. Usually itemized for the benefit of the borrower.
Loan To Value Ratio (LTV) The ratio of the amount of your loan to the appraised fair market value.
Lock Period The amount of time that a lender will guarantee a loan's interest rate; usually for 30, 45 or 60 days.
Margin The number of percentage points a lender adds to the index value to calculate the ARM interest rate at each adjustment period.
Market Price The price the property brings in a given market.
Market Value The price a willing buyer would pay and a willing seller would accept, both being fully informed and the property being exposed for sale for a reasonable time period.
Marketable Title Merchantable title; one free and clear of objectionable liens or encumbrances.
Mechanic's Lien A lien created by statute for the purpose of securing priority of payment for the price or value of work performed and materials furnished in construction or repair of improvements to land, and which attaches to the land as well as the improvements.
Moratorium Temporary suspension, usually by statute, of the enforcement of liability for an obligation.
Mortgage A legal document that pledges a property to the lender as security for payment of a debt 
Mortgage Broker One who, for a fee, brings together a borrower and lender, and handles the necessary applications for the borrower to obtain a loan for real property.
Mortgage Disability Insurance A disability insurance policy which will pay the monthly mortgage payment in the event of a covered disability of an insured borrower for a specified period of time.
Mortgage Insurance (MI) Insurance written by an independent mortgage insurance company protecting the mortgage lender against loss incurred by a mortgage default. Usually required for loans with an LTV of 80.01% or higher.
Mortgagee The person or company who receives the mortgage as a pledge for repayment of the loan. The mortgage lender.
Mortgagor One who borrows money on his property and gives a mortgage as security.
Multiple Listing Service (MLS) A marketing organization composed of member brokers who agree to share their listing agreements with one another in the hope of procuring buyers for their properties.
Negotiable Capable of being negotiated; assignable or transferable in the ordinary course of business.
Net Listing A listing which provides that the agent may retain, as compensation for his services all sums received over and above a net price to the owner.
Net Worth Value remaining after subtracting the liabilities from the assets of a company or an individual.
No Income Verification Some loan products require only that applicants "state" the source of their income without providing supporting documentation such as tax returns.
Non-Conforming Loan Also called a jumbo loan. Home mortgages that are not eligible for sale and delivery to either Fannie Mae (FNMA) or Freddie Mac (FHLMC) because of various reasons, including loan amount, loan characteristics or underwriting guidelines.
Non-Conforming Use A use that was lawfully established and maintained, but no longer conforms to the use regulations of the zone in which it is located because of a subsequent change in a zoning ordinance.
Notary Public An official authorized by law to witness or attest to an acknowledgment by a person who has executed an instrument.
Note A signed written instrument acknowledging a debt and promising payment.
Notice of Default A notice filed to show that the borrower under a mortgage or deed of trust is in behind on the payments.
Notice of Non-Responsibility A notice provided by law designed to relieve a property owner from responsibility for the cost of improvements ordered by another person
Notice of Rescission A recorded notice to rescind a notice of default of a mortgage or deed of trust.
Obsolescence Loss in value due to reduced desirability and usefulness of a structure because it has become old fashioned and not in keeping with modern needs or because of adverse social or economic influences.
Offer and Acceptance Two essential components of a valid contact; A meeting of the minds.
Offer to Buy An agreement between owner and purchaser as to the price, terms, conditions and date of occupancy. Usually prepared by a Broker or attorney.
Open Listing An written listing agreement, wherein an agent is given the non-exclusive right to secure a purchaser; open listings may be given to any number of agents without liability to compensate any, except the one who first secures a buyer.
Open-End Mortgage A mortgage loan whereby the outstanding balance can be increased to secure additional loan funds to the borrower, up to the original sum of the note.
Option A right given for a consideration to purchase or lease a property upon specified terms within a specified time.
Oral Contract A verbal agreement; one which is not produced in writing.
Origination Fee A fee imposed by a lender to cover certain processing expenses in connection with making a real estate loan. Usually a percentage of the amount loaned, such as one percent.
Owner Financing A property purchase transaction in which the property seller provides all or part of the financing.
Percolation The seepage of water through soil; the soil's ability to absorb to water or other liquid.
Percolation Test A test of the soil to determine whether it wil absorb and drain water adequately to use a septic system.
Periodic Cap The maximum rate increase for a specific period for a specific loan (ARM) only. 
Personal Property Any property which is not real property.
PITI Principal, interest, taxes and insurance--the typical components of a monthly mortgage payment.
Planned Development Five or more individually owned lots where one or more other parcels are owned in common or there are reciprocal rights in one or more other parcels. A subdivision.
Planned Unit Development (PUD) A combination of planned uses in one development, such as housing, recreation and shopping.
Plat A map or plan of a certain parcel of land.
Plat Book A book showing the lots and legal subdivisions of an area.
Pocket Listing A trade term for an open listing that a real estate salesperson "pockets" or keeps hidden from his/her associates.
Points Charges levied by the mortgage lender and usually payable at closing. One point represents 1% of the face value of the mortgage loan.
Possessory Interest A right to possess.
Power of Attorney An instrument authorizing a person to act as the agent of the person granting it.
Preliminary Title Report A report showing the condition of title before a sale or loan transaction. After completion of the transaction, a title insurance policy is issued.
Prepaids Expenses which are paid in advance of their due date and will usually be prorated upon sale, such as taxes, insurance, rent, etc.
Prepayment Penalty A charge imposed by a mortgage lender on a borrower who wants to pay off part or all of a mortgage loan in advance of schedule. 
Prescription Obtaining title to property by adverse possession by occupying it for the period determined by law to bar action for recovery.
Prima Facie Presumptive on its face; true, valid, or sufficient at first impression.
Principal An amount of debt, not including interest. The face value of a note or mortgage.
Principal The employer of an agent.
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) Insurance written by an independent mortgage insurance company protecting the mortgage lender against loss incurred by a mortgage default. Usually required for loans with an LTV of 80.01% or higher.
Promissory Note The document signed by the borrower promising repayment of the loan showing the amount of monthly payments, interest rate, first payment date, last payment date, and the late charge and prepayment provisions.
Proration of Taxes To divide or prorate the taxes equally or proportionately to time of use.
Puffing An exaggerated buildup by a salesperson or seller of a property. It is recognized in law as an opinion and not necessarily representing the facts.
Purchase Money Encumbrance A trust deed or mortgage given by the buyer to the seller as part or all of the purchase price of the property.
Qualifying Ratios The ratio of fixed monthly expenses to gross monthly income, used to determine affordability.
Quiet Title A court action brought to establish title; to remove a cloud on title.
Quitclaim Deed A deed used to remove clouds on title by relinquishing any right, title or interest that the grantor may have.
Rate The annual rate of interest on a loan, expressed as a percentage of 100.
Rate Cap A limit on how much the interest rate can change, either at each adjustment period or over the life of the loan. 
Rate Lock-In The amount of time that a lender will guarantee a loan's interest rate; usually for 30, 45 or 60 days.
Ratification The adoption or approval of an act performed on behalf of a person without previous authorization.
Real Estate Land; a portion of the earth's surface extending downward to the center of the earth and upward infinitely into space, including all things permanently attached to it, whether naturally or artificially.
Real Estate Commission The state governmental agency whose duty is to protect the public involved in real estate transations.
Real Estate Investment Trust A special arrangement under Federal and State law whereby investors may pool funds for investments in real estate and mortgages and yet escape corporation taxes; requires one hundred persons or more.
Realtor A real estate broker holding active membership in a real estate board affiliated with the National Association of Realtors.
Rebate Compensation received from a wholesale lender which can be used to cover closing costs or as a refund to the borrower. Loans with rebates often carry higher interest rates than loans with "points".
Reconveyance The transfer of the title of land from one person to the immediately preceding owner.
Redemption The buying back of one's property after it has been lost through foreclosure.   Payment of delinquent taxes after sale to the State.
Refinancing The process of paying off one loan with the proceeds from a new loan using the same property as security.
Reparian Rights Rights of a landowner whose land borders or includes a stream, river or lake to access and use of the water.
Rescission of Contract The annulling, revocation or repealing of a contract by mutual consent of the parties to the contract or for cause by either party to the contract.
Restriction The term, as used in relation to real property, means that the owner of real property is restricted or prohibited from doing certain things relating to the property or using the property for certain purposes.
Reversion The right to future possession or enjoyment by the person or his heirs, creating the preceding estate.
Reversionary Interest A type of interest a person may have in lands or other property upon the termination of the preceding estate.
Right of Survivorship Right to acquire the interest of a deceased joint owner. Distinguishing characteristic of a Joint Tenancy Deed.
Right-of-Way Right given by one landowner to another to pass over the land, build a road or use a pathway without transferring ownership.
Sales Contract A contract by which buyer and seller agree to terms of a sale.
Sandwich Lease A leasehold interest which lies between the primary lease and the operating lease. It is created when the lessee enters into a sublease.
Satisfaction A recorded instrument on the county recorder's books when a mortgage has been paid in full; signed by the mortgagee and recites that the debt has been satisfied.
Seller Carry Back An agreement in which the owner of a property provides financing, often in combination with an assumed mortgage. 
Separate Property Property owned by a husband or wife which is not community property; property acquired by either prior to marriage or by gift, will or inheritance, and all of the rents, issues and profits thereof.
Severalty Ownership Ownership by one person only. Sole ownership.
Sheriff's Deed Deed given by court order in connection with the sale of property to satisfy a judgment.
Short Sale The process of selling a property with the lender accepting less than they are owed, as payment in full for the loan.
Simple Interest Interest computed on principal alone, as opposed to compound interest.
Situs Location.
Specific Performance An action at law to compel the performance of a contract according to its terms.
Stated/Documented Income Some loan products require only that applicants "state" the source of their income without providing supporting documentation such as tax returns.
Statute of Frauds State law which provides that certain contracts must be in writing in order to be enforceable at law.
Statutory Law Rules formulated into law by legislative action.
Straight Line Depreciation Definite sum set aside annually from income to pay cost of replacing improvements without reference to interest it earns.
Subdivision A tract of land divided by the owner into blocks, lots and streets according to a recorded subdivision plat, which must comply with local ordinances and regulations.
Subject to Mortgage A grantee who is not responsible to the holder of the promissory note for the payment of any portion of the amount due. The original maker of the note is not released from his responsibility to pay off the obligation.
Sublease A lease given by a lessee.
Subordination Clause Used in a first or senior lien permitting it to be subordinated to a subsequent lien, such as a construction loan. it converts a senior trust deed into a junior trust deed (second, third, etc.).
Subrogation The substitution of another person in place of the creditor to whose rights he succeeds in relation to the debt. The doctrine is often used when one person agrees to stand surety for the performance of a contract by another person.
Surety One who guarantees the performance of another. Guarantor.
Survey The process and documentation of measuring boundaries and land areas. It includes on-site lot line measurement, position and dimensions of buildings, and existing encroachments or easements.
Tax Sale A sale of property, usually at auction, for non-payment of taxes assessed against it.
Taxes A forced contribution of wealth to meet the public need for government.
Tenancy at Sufferance A tenancy which arises when a tenant holds over after the termination of a lease without consent.
Tenancy at Will A tenancy for an indefinite period which may be terminated at the will of either the lessee or the lessor.
Tenancy in Common Ownership by two or more persons who hold undivided interests without right of survivorship.
Tender An offer of money, usually in satisfaction of a claim or demand.
Term The period of time which covers the life of the loan. For example, a 30 year fixed loan has a term of 30 years.
Time is of the Essence A clause in a contract contemplating performance by the date specified therein.
Title The evidence one has of right to possession of land. 
Title Insurance Insurance written by a title company to protect the property owner against loss if title is imperfect.
Title Search An investigation into the history of ownership of a property to check for liens, unpaid claims, restrictions or problems, to prove that the seller can transfer free and clear ownership.
Tort A wrongful act; wrong; injury; violation of a legal right.
Total Debt Ratio Monthly debt and housing payments divided by gross monthly income. Also known as Obligations-to-Income Ratio or Back-End Ratio.
Townhouse A single family dwelling unit with shared walls; usually an individual unit with common walls and yards; may have one to three stories and all necessary facilities and amenities.
Trust Deed An instrument which transfers (conveys) the legal title of a property to a trustee to be held pending fulfillment of an obligation, usually the repayment of a loan to a beneficiary.
Trustee One who holds legal title to a property in trust for another to secure the performance of an obligation.
Trustee's Sale A sale at auction by a trustee under a deed of trust, pursuant to foreclosure proceedings.
Trustor The borrower of money secured by a trust deed.
Truth-In-Lending Act A federal law requiring a disclosure of credit terms using a standard format. This is intended to facilitate comparisons between the lending terms of different financial institutions.
Undue Influence Taking any fraudulent or unfair advantage of another's weakness of mind, or distress or necessity.
Unearned Increment An increase in value of real estate due to no effort on the part of the owner.
Unit Cost-in-Place Method A method for determining cost or cost of reproducing an improvement.
Unlawful Detainer An action at law to evict a person or persons occupying real property unlawfully.
Usury On a loan, claiming a rate of interest greater than that permitted by law.
Valid Having force or binding force legally sufficient and authorized by law; enforceable.
Valuation Estimated worth or price. The act of valuing by appraisal.
Variable Interest Rate An interest rate which fluctuates as the prevailing rate moves up or down. In mortgages there are usually maximums as to the frequency and the amount of fluctuation.
Vested Bestowed upon someone; secured by someone, such as title to property.
Veterans Administration (VA) A government agency guaranteeing mortgage loans with no down payment to qualified veterans.
Void To have no force or effect; that which is unenforceable.
Voidable That which is capable of being adjudged void, but is not void unless action is taken to make it so.
Voluntary Lien Any lien placed on property with the consent of, or as a result of the voluntary act of, the owner.
Waive To relinquish or abandon; to forego a right to enforce or require anything.
Warranty Deed A deed used to convey real property which contains warranties of title, whereby the grantor agrees to defend the premises against the lawful claims of third persons. The modern practice of securing title insurance has reduced the importance of express and implied warranty in deeds.
Wrap-Around Mortgage A purchase-money-mortgage which is subordinate to, but yet includes the encumbrance or encumbrances to which it is subordinated.
Zoning The act of city or county authorities specifying type of use to which property may be put in specific areas.
Zoning Ordinance A municipality's regulation and control of the character and use of property.


also see Moving Definitions >

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Move Acronyms

AMSA  American Moving & Storage Association

CWT   Cost per one hundred pounds

DOT    Department of Transportation

PBO    Packed By Owner

SIT     Storage In Transit


Real Estate Acronyms

BPO   Broker Price Opinion

CMA  Comparative Market Analysis

FDR   Formal Dining Room

MLS   Multiple Listing Service

TI      Tenant Improvement


Relocation Acronyms

CRP   Certified Relocation Professional

COLA Cost of Living Allowance

FMV   Fair Market Value

MVA   Market Value Analysis

PCS   Personal Change of Station (military)



Also see Definitions and Terms

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2] Learn about each step of the move process to get your move started in an organized way.


3] Manage transition and stress from the very beginning. Each family member needs to be fully engaged throughout the entire move to properly assimilate into their new environment.

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