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
ABSORPTION RATE Back to top
The ratio of the number of properties in an area that have been sold against the number available. Used to show the volatility of a market.
ABSTRACTION METHOD Back to top
This method of estimating the value of property uses similar properties available in the same market to extract the value of a parcel of land.
ACCESSORY BUILDING Back to top
A building separate from the main structure on a property. Often used for a specific purpose, such as a workshop, storage shed or garage.
ACCRETION Back to top
The natural growth of a piece of land resulting from forces of nature
ACRE Back to top
43,560 square feet. A measurement of area.
ACTUAL AGE Back to top
The amount of time that has passed since a building or other structure was built. See also: EFFECTIVE AGE
AD VALOREM TAX Back to top
Taxes assessed based on the value of the land and improvements
ADDENDUM Back to top
A supplement to any document that contains additional information pertinent to the subject. Appraisers use an addendum to further explain items for which there was inadequate space on the standard appraisal form.
ADJUSTABLE-RATE MORTGAGE (ARM) Back to top
A type of mortgage where the interest rate varies based on a particular index, normally the prime lending rate.
ADJUSTED BASIS Back to top
The value of an asset (property or otherwise) that includes the original price plus the value of any improvement, and less any applicable depreciation.
ADJUSTED SALES PRICE Back to top
An estimate of a property's sales price, after adjustments have been made to account for differences between it and another comparable property.
AESTHETIC VALUE Back to top
The additional value a property enjoys based on subjective criteria such as look or appeal.
AFFIRMATION Back to top
A declaration that a certain set of facts are truthful.
AFFORDABILITY ANALYSIS Back to top
A calculation used to determine an individual's likelihood of being able to meet the obligations of a mortgage for a particular property. Takes into account the down payment, closing costs and on-going mortgage payments.
AGENT Back to top
A person who has been appointed to act on behalf of another for a particular transaction.
AMENITY Back to top
Any feature of a property that increases its value or desirability. These might include natural amenities such as location or proximity to mountains, or man-made amenities like swimming pools, parks or other recreation.
AMERICAN SOCIETY OF APPRAISERS Back to top
An organization of appraisal professionals and others interested in the appraisal profession.
AMORTIZATION Back to top
The repayment of a loan through regular periodic payment.
AMORTIZATION SCHEDULE Back to top
The breakdown of individual payments throughout the life of an amortized loan, showing both principal contribution and debt service (interest) fees.
AMORTIZATION TERM Back to top
The length of time over which an amortized loan is repaid. Mortgages are commonly amortized over 15 or 30 years.
ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (APR) Back to top
The rate of annual interest charged on a loan.
ANNUITY Back to top
A sum of money paid at regular intervals, often annually.
APPRAISAL Back to top
A ''defensible'' and carefully documented opinion of value. Most commonly derived using recent sales of comparable properties by a licensed, professional appraiser.
APPRAISAL FOUNDATION Back to top
A not-for-profit educational organization established by the appraisal profession in the United States in 1987. It is dedicated to the advancement of professional valuation and responsible for establishing, improving, and promoting the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
APPRAISAL INSTITUTE Back to top
A world-wide organization dedicated to real estate appraisal education, publication and advocacy.
APPRAISAL PRINCIPLES Back to top
The basic building blocks of the property valuation process, including property inspection, market analysis and basic economics.
APPRAISAL REPORT Back to top
The end result of the appraisal process, usually consists of one major, standardized form such as the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report form 1004, as well as all supporting documentation and additional detail information. The purpose of the report is to convey the estimated value of the subject property and support that estimate with corroborating information.
APPRAISAL STANDARDS BOARD (ASB) Back to top
An independent board of the APPRAISAL FOUNDATION, which writes, amends, and interprets USPAP. The ASB is composed of up to seven appraisers appointed by the Foundation's Board of Trustees. The ASB holds public meetings throughout the year to interpret and amend USPAP.
APPRAISED VALUE Back to top
The estimated fair market value of a property as developed by a licensed, certified appraiser following accepted appraisal principals.
APPRAISER Back to top
An educated, certified professional with extensive knowledge of real estate markets, values and practices. The appraiser is often the only independent voice in any real estate transaction with no vested interest in the ultimate value or sales price of the property.
APPRECIATION Back to top
The natural rise in property value due to market forces.
ARMS LENGTH TRANSACTION Back to top
Any transaction in which the two parties are unconnected and have no overt common interests. Such a transaction most often reflects the true market value of a property.
ASSESSED VALUE Back to top
The value of a property according to jurisdictional tax assessment.
ASSESSMENT Back to top
The function of assigning a value to a property for the purpose of levying taxes.
ASSESSMENT RATIO Back to top
The comparative relationship of a property's assessed value to its market value.
ASSESSOR Back to top
The jurisdictional official who performs the assessment and assigns the value of a property.
ASSET Back to top
Any item of value which a person owns.
ATTACHED HOUSING Back to top
Any number of houses or other dwellings which are physically attached to one another, but are occupied by a number of different people. The individual houses may or may not be owned by separate people as well.
BILL OF SALE Back to top
A physical receipt indicating the sale of property.
BLIGHTED AREA Back to top
Any region of a city or town that has fallen into disrepair or otherwise has become undesirable.
BONA FIDE Back to top
Made or carried out in good faith; sincere.
BRIDGE FINANCING Back to top
An interim loan made to facilitate the purchase of a new home before the buyer's current residence sells and its equity is available to fund the new purchase.
BROKER Back to top
An individual who facilitates the purchase of property by bringing together a buyer and a seller.
BUFFER ZONE Back to top
A segment of land between two disparate municipal zones which acts as a shield to keep one zone from encroaching upon the other. Often used to separate residential districts from commercial areas.
BUILDING CODE Back to top
Regulations that ensure the safety and material compliance of new construction within a municipality. Building codes are localized to ensure they are adequate to meet the risk of common hazards.
BUILDING LINE OR SETBACK Back to top
The statutory distance between buildings and the property line, imposed by municipalities, home associations, or other agreements.
BUILT-INS Back to top
Specific items of personal property which are installed in a real estate improvement such that they become part of the building. Built-in microwave ovens and dishwashers are common examples.
BUNGALOW Back to top
A one-story, home-style dating from the early twentieth century. Often characterized by a low-pitched roof.
CAPE COD COLONIAL Back to top
A single-story house style made popular in New England. Often characterized by a steep roof with gables.
CAPITAL Back to top
Accumulated goods and money which is most often used to generate additional income.
CAPITAL EXPENDITURE Back to top
An outlay of funds designed to improve the income-producing capabilities of an asset or to extend its economic life.
CAVEAT EMPTOR Back to top
Literally translated: ''Let the buyer beware.'' A common business tenet whereby the buyer is responsible for verifying any and all claims by the seller of property.
CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY Back to top
Issued by an appropriate jurisdictional entity, this document certifies that a building complies with all building codes and is safe for use or habitation.
CERTIFICATE OF REASONABLE VALUE (CRV) Back to top
Usually based on an independent appraisal, a CRV for a particular property establishes the maximum amount which can be secured by a VA mortgage.
CERTIFICATE OF TITLE Back to top
A document designating the legal owner of a parcel of real estate. Usually provided by a title or abstract company.
CERTIFIED GENERAL APPRAISER Back to top
Generally, any professional who has met the local or state requirements, and passed the appropriate certification exam, and is capable of appraising any type of property.
CERTIFIED RESIDENTIAL APPRAISER Back to top
A sub-classification of appraiser who is only licensed to appraise residential property, usually up to four units.
CHAIN OF TITLE Back to top
The complete history of ownership of a piece of property.
CHATTEL Back to top
Any personal property which is not attached to or an integral part of a property. Chattel is not commonly taken into consideration when appraising the value of real property.
CLEAR TITLE Back to top
Ownership of property that is not encumbered by any counter-claim or lien.
CLOSING Back to top
A torturous process designed to induce cramping in a home buyer's hands by requiring signature on countless pieces of documentation that nobody has ever read. Or, the process whereby the sale of a property is consummated with the buyer completing all applicable documentation, including signing the mortgage obligation and paying all appropriate costs associated with the sale (CLOSING COSTS).
CLOSING COSTS Back to top
All appropriate costs generated by the sale of property which the parties must pay to complete the transaction. Costs may include appraisal fees, origination fees, title insurance, taxes and any points negotiated in the deal.
COLLATERAL Back to top
An asset which is placed at risk to secure the repayment of a loan.
CO-MAKER Back to top
A second party who signs a loan, along with the borrower, and becomes liable for the debt should the borrower default.
COMMISSION Back to top
A percentage of the sales price or a fixed fee negotiated by an agent to compensate for the effort expended to sell or purchase property.
COMMON AREA ASSESSMENTS Back to top
Fees which are charged to the tenets or owners of properties to cover the costs of maintaining areas shared with other tenets or owners. Commonly found in condominium, PUD or office spaces.
COMMON AREAS Back to top
Any areas, such as entryways, foyers, pools, recreational facilities or the like, which are shared by the tenets or owners of property near by. Commonly found in condominium, PUD or office spaces.
COMMUNITY PROPERTY Back to top
In many jurisdictions, any property which has been acquired by a married couple. The ownership of the property is considered equal unless stipulated otherwise by both parties.
COMPARABLES Back to top
An abbreviated term used by appraisers to describe properties which are similar in size, condition, location and amenities to a subject property who's value is being determined. The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) establish clear guidelines for determining a comparable property.
COMPOUND INTEREST Back to top
Interest paid on the principal amount, as well as any accumulated interest.
CONCESSIONS Back to top
Additional value granted by a buyer or seller to entice another party to complete a deal.
CONDEMNATION Back to top
The official process by which a property is deemed to be uninhabitable or unusable due to internal damage or other external conditions.
CONDOMINIUM Back to top
A development where individual units are owned, but common areas and amenities are shared equally by all owners.
CONDOMINIUM CONVERSION Back to top
Commonly, the conversion of a rental property such as an apartment complex into a CONDOMINIUM-style complex where each unit is owned rather than leased.
CONSTRUCTION LOAN Back to top
A loan made to a builder or home owner that finances the initial construction of a property, but is replaced by a traditional mortgage one the property is completed.
CONTIGUOUS Back to top
Connected to or touching along an unbroken boundary
CONTINGENCY Back to top
Something that must occur before something else happens. Often used in real estate sales when a buyer must sell a current home before purchasing a new one. Or, when a buyer makes an offer the requires a complete home inspection before it becomes official.
CONVENTIONAL MORTGAGE Back to top
A traditional, real estate financing mechanism that is not backed by any government or other agency (FHA, VA, etc.).
CORPORATE RELOCATION Back to top
A situation where a person's employer pays all or some of the expenses associated with moving from one location to another, usually over a substantial distance. Relocation expenses often include the amounts, such as brokerage fees, incurred in the selling and buying of the employee's primary residence.
COVENANT Back to top
A stipulation in any mortgage that, if not met, can be cause for the lender to foreclose.
CREDIT Back to top
A loan of money for the purchase of property, real or personal. Credit is either secured by an asset, such as a home, or unsecured.
CUL-DE-SAC Back to top
A dead-end street. One with only one entrance/exit.
DATE OF APPRAISAL Back to top
The specific point in time as of which an appraiser designates the value of a home. Often stipulated as the date of inspection.
DEBT Back to top
An obligation to repay some amount owed. This may or may not be monetary.
DEBT EQUITY RATIO Back to top
The ratio of the amount a mortgagor still owes on a property to the amount of equity they have in the home. Equity is calculated at the fair-market value of the home, less any outstanding mortgage debt.
DEED Back to top
A document indicating the ownership of a property.
DEED-IN-LIEU (OF FORECLOSURE) Back to top
A document given by a borrower to a lender, transferring title of the property. Often used to avoid credit-damaging foreclosure procedures.
DEED OF TRUST Back to top
A document which transfers title in a property to a trustee, who's obligations and powers are stipulated. Often used in mortgage transactions.
DEED OF RECONVEYANCE Back to top
A document which transfers ownership of a property from a Trustee back to a borrower who has fulfilled the obligations of a mortgage.
DEED OF RELEASE Back to top
A document which dismisses a lien or other claim on a property.
DEED OF SURRENDER Back to top
A document used to surrender any claim a person has to a property.
DEFAULT Back to top
The condition in which a borrower has failed to meet the obligations of a loan or mortgage.
DELINQUENCY Back to top
The state in which a borrow has failed to meet payment obligations on time.
DEPOSIT Back to top
Cash given along with an offer to purchase property, Also called EARNEST MONEY.
DEPRECIATION Back to top
The natural decline in property value due to market forces or depletion of resources.
DETACHED SINGLE-FAMILY HOME Back to top
A single building improvement intended to serve as a home for one family.
DISTRESSED PROPERTY Back to top
A mortgaged property which has been foreclosed on.
DUPLEX Back to top
A single-building improvement which is divided and provides two units which serve as homes to two families.
DWELLING Back to top
A house or other building which serves as a home.
DOWN PAYMENT Back to top
An amount paid in cash for a property, with the intent to mortgage the remaining amount due.
EARNEST MONEY DEPOSIT Back to top
A cash deposit made to a home seller to secure an offer to buy the property. This amount is often forfeited if the buyer decides to withdraw his offer.
EASEMENT Back to top
The right of a non-owner of property to exert control over a portion or all of the property. For example, power companies often own an easement over residential properties for access to their power lines.
ECONOMIC DEPRECIATION Back to top
The decline in property value caused by external forces, such as neighborhood blight or adverse development.
ECONOMIC LIFE Back to top
The amount of time which any income-producing property is able to provide benefits to its owner.
EFFECTIVE AGE Back to top
The subjective, estimated age of a property based on its condition, rather than the actual time since it was built. Excessive wear and tear can cause a property's effective age to be greater than its actual age.
EMINENT DOMAIN Back to top
The legal process whereby a government can take ownership of a piece of property in order to convert it to public use. Often, the property owner is paid fair-market value for the property.
ENCROACHMENT Back to top
A building or other improvement on one property which invades another property or restricts its usage.
ENCUMBRANCE Back to top
A claim against a property. Examples are mortgages, liens and easements
EQUITY Back to top
The difference between the fair market value of a property and that amount an owner owes on any mortgages or loans secured by the property.
EQUITY BUILDUP Back to top
The natural increase in the amount of equity an owner has in a property, accumulated through market appreciation and debt repayment.
ERRORS AND OMISSIONS INSURANCE Back to top
An insurance policy taken out by appraisers to cover their liability for any mistakes made during the appraisal process.
ESCROW Back to top
An amount retained by a third party in a trust to meet a future obligation. Often used in the payment of annual taxes or insurance for real property.
ESTATE Back to top
The total of all property and assets owned by an individual.
FACADE Back to top
The front exposure of any building. Often used to describe an artificial or false front which is not consistent with the construction of the rest of the building.
FAIR MARKET VALUE Back to top
The price at which two unrelated parties, under no duress, are willing to transact business.
FANNIE MAE Back to top
A private, shareholder-owned company that works to make sure mortgage money is available for people to purchase homes. Created by Congress in 1938, Fannie Mae is the nation's largest source of financing for home mortgages.
FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION (FDIC) Back to top
The U.S. Government agency created in 1933 which maintains the stability of and public confidence in the nation's financial system by insuring deposits and promoting safe and sound banking practices.
FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION (FHA) Back to top
A sub-agency of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development created in the 1930's to facilitate the purchase of homes by low-income, first-time home buyers. It currently provides federally-subsidized mortgage insurance for private lenders.
FEE APPRAISER Back to top
A certified, professional appraiser who estimates the fair market value of property and receives a set fee in exchange.
FEE SIMPLE Back to top
A complete, unencumbered ownership right in a piece of property.
FINAL VALUE ESTIMATE Back to top
The estimated value of a piece of property resulting from an appraisal following the USPAP guidelines.
FIRST MORTGAGE Back to top
The primary loan or mortgage secured by a piece of property.
FIXED-RATE MORTGAGE (FRM) Back to top
A mortgage which has a fixed rate of interest over the life of the loan.
FIXTURE Back to top
Any piece of personal property which becomes permanently affixed to a piece of real property.
FLOOD INSURANCE Back to top
Supplemental insurance which covers a home owner for any loss due to water damage from a flood. Often required by lenders for homes located in FEMA-designated flood zones.
FLOOR PLAN Back to top
The representation of a building which shows the basic outline of the structure, as well as detailed information about the positioning of rooms, hallways, doors, stairs and other features. Often includes detailed information about other fixtures and amenities.
FORECLOSURE Back to top
The process whereby a lender can claim the property used by a borrower to secure a mortgage and sell the property to meet the obligations of the loan.
FORFEITURE Back to top
The loss of property or money due to the failure to meet the obligations of a mortgage or loan secured by that property.
FRONTAGE Back to top
The segment of a property that runs along a point of access, such as a street or water front.
FUNCTIONAL OBSOLESCENCE Back to top
A decrease in the value of property due to a feature or lack thereof which renders the property undesirable. Functional obsolescence can also occur when the surrounding area changes, rendering the property unusable for its originally intended purpose.
GABLE ROOF Back to top
A steeply angled, triangular roof.
GAMBREL ROOF Back to top
A ''barn-like'' roof, where the upper portion of the roof is less-steeply angled than the lower part.
GENERAL LIEN Back to top
A broad-based claim against several properties owned by a defaulting party.
GEORGIAN Back to top
A classic, English-style hose characterized by simple rectangular shape and multiple stories.
GINNIE MAE Back to top
A wholly owned corporation created in 1968 within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to serve low-to moderate-income homebuyers.
GOVERNMENT MORTGAGE Back to top
Any mortgage insured by a government agency, such as the FHA or VA.
GRADE Back to top
The slope of land around a building.
GRANTEE Back to top
Any person who is given ownership of a piece of property.
GRANTOR Back to top
Any person who gives away ownership of a piece of property.
GROSS AREA Back to top
The sum total of all floor space, including areas such as stairways and closet space. Often measured based on external wall lengths.
HALF-SECTION Back to top
HEIGHT ZONING Back to top
A municipal restriction on the maximum height of any building or other structure.
HIDDEN AMENITIES Back to top
Assets of a property which contribute to its value, but are not readily apparent. Examples might include upgraded or premium building materials.
HIGHEST AND BEST USE Back to top
The most profitable and likely use of a property. Selected from reasonably probable and legal alternative uses, which are found to be physically possible, appropriately supported and financially feasible to result in the highest possible land value.
HOME INSPECTION Back to top
A complete examination of a building to determine its structural integrity and uncover any defects in materials or workmanship which may adversely affect the property or decrease its value.
HOMEOWNER'S ASSOCIATION Back to top
An organization of home owners in a particular neighborhood or development formed to facilitate the maintenance of common areas and to enforce any building restrictions or covenants.
HOMEOWNER'S INSURANCE Back to top
A policy which covers a home owner for any loss of property due to accident, intrusion or hazard.
HUD-1 STATEMENT Back to top
A standardized, itemized list, published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), of all anticipated CLOSING COSTS connected with a particular property purchase.
IMPROVED LAND Back to top
Any parcel of land which has been changed from its natural state through the creation of roads, buildings or other structures.
IMPROVEMENTS Back to top
Any item added to vacant land with the intent of increasing its value or usability.
IMPROVEMENT RATIO Back to top
The comparative value of a improved piece of land to its natural, unaltered state.
INCOME APPROACH Back to top
The process of estimating the value of property by considering the present value of a stream of income generated by the property.
INCOME PROPERTY Back to top
A piece of property whose highest and best use is the generation of income through rents or other sources.
INDEPENDENT APPRAISAL Back to top
An estimation of value created by a professional, certified appraiser with no vested interest in the value of the property.
INSPECTION Back to top
The examination of a piece of property, its buildings or other amenities.
INSURABLE TITLE Back to top
The title to property which has been sufficiently reviewed by a title insurance company, such that they are willing to insure it as free and clear.
INTEREST RATE Back to top
A percentage of a loan or mortgage value that is paid to the lender as compensation for loaning funds.
INVESTMENT PROPERTY Back to top
Any piece of property that is expected to generate a financial return. This may come as the result of periodic rents or through appreciation of the property value over time.
JOINT TENANCY Back to top
A situation where two or more parties own a piece of property together. Each of the owners has an equal share, and may not dispose of or alter that share without the consent of the other owners.
LATENT DEFECTS Back to top
Any defect in a piece of property which is not readily apparent, but which has an impact of the value. Structural damage or termite infestation would be examples of latent defects.
LEASEHOLD ESTATE Back to top
A type of property ''ownership'' where the buyer actually has a long-term lease on the property.
LEGAL DESCRIPTION Back to top
The description of a piece of property, identifying its specific location in terms established by the municipality or other jurisdiction in which the property resides. Often related in specific distances from a known landmark or intersection.
LENDER Back to top
The person or entity who loans funds to a buyer. In return, the lender will receive periodic payments, including principal and interest amounts.
LIEN Back to top
Any claim against a piece of property resulting from a debt or other obligation.
LIKE-KIND PROPERTY Back to top
Any property which is substantially similar to another property.
LIQUID ASSET Back to top
Any asset which can be quickly converted into cash at little or no cost, or cash itself
LOAN-TO-VALUE RATIO (LTV) Back to top
The comparison of the amount owed on a mortgaged property to its fair market value.
MANUFACTURED HOUSING Back to top
Once known as ''mobile homes,'' manufactured housing is any building which has been constructed off site, then moved onto a piece of real property.
MARGINAL LAND Back to top
Land whose value has b