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Real Estate Glossary

This glossary was created by a team of real estate professionals. It contains terms regarding real estate buying and selling, home finance, home improvement, as well as legal terms. For your convenience, the glossary is searchable alphabetically.


panic peddling
The illegal practice of inducing panic selling in a neighborhood by making representations of the entry, or prospective entry, of members of a minority group; blockbusting. See Fair Housing

party wall
Wall erected on line between adjoining properties for the use of both properties

patio home
A single-family home that sits on a small lot, often with one outside wall of the structure sitting on the property line. Patio homes have no common structural walls with adjoining propeties, but their zero lot line wall may form part of their neighbors backyard fence/wall. These properties often have a small back or side yard large enough for a patio or garden area. Also known as a garden home.

percentage lease
Lease in which all or part of rental is a specified percentage of gross income from total sales made upon the premises

An individual, a partnership, or a corporation, foreign or domestic

personal property
Property which is tangible, movable, and not fixed to the land. Also called chattel and personalty. Contrast with real property.

Personal property; chattel. Contrast with Realty

physical deterioration
The loss of value to real property from all causes due to the action of the elements and old age. Physical deterioration can be either curable or incurable

Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance

planned unit development (PUD)
In a PUD, the planned unit development association owns and maintains property in a real property development project for the benefit of its members, who are owners of individual parcels of real property in the development and are members of the association because of that ownership. The level of services and fees are similar to a condominium complex, but since each owner has title to a specific parcel of land, lenders may treat units as non-condominiums. This allows higher LTV loans and eliminates owner occupancy percentage requirements

plat book

A record of recorded subdivisions of land

Acronym - private mortgage insurance

Fees paid to induce lenders to make mortgage loans at a particular interest rate. Each point is equal to one percent (1%) of the loan principal. Same as discount points

police power
The authority of a government to adopt and enforce law governing the use of real estate based on the need to promote public safety, health, and general welfare

power of attorney (POA)

A written authorization by a person to another person to act for him on his behalf

Paying off all or part of the mortgage before the scheduled date.

prepayment clause in a mortgage
Statement of the terms upon which the mortgagor (borrower) may pay the entire or stated amount on the mortgage principal at some time prior to the due date

prepayment penalty
A fee paid to the lending institution for paying a loan prior to the scheduled maturity date

primary mortgage market
Lenders who originate loans and makes funds available directly to the borrowers. Contrast with secondary mortgage market.

prime rate
The interest, or discount rate charged by a commercial bank to its largest and strongest customers

The amount of money owed to the lender not including interest

principle of conformity
An appraisal principle which holds that the maximum value is realized when a reasonable degree of homogeneity (sameness) exists in a neighborhood

private mortgage insurance (PMI)
Default insurance on conventional loans, normally insuring the top 20%-25% of the loan and not the whole loan

To divide or distribute proportionally. At closing, various expenses such as taxes, insurance, interest, rents, etc. are prorated between the seller and buyer

promulgated contracts
Standard contracts which must be used by all licensees when acting as agents in real estate transactions with limited exceptions

property taxes
Taxes that are paid yearly on real property. Property taxes are ad valorem, based on the assessed value of the real property. Each taxing authority multiplies this appraised value by its annual tax rate. Taxing authorities include local school districts, counties, cities, water districts(MUD's, PUD's, LID's, etc.), and other special tax districts

Public Utility District (PUD)

A water district, created by a city or county, promoting development of a designated area by providing water and sewer services. The PUD operates in the same manner as a Municipal Utility District, but is created by a local government, not a private developer.

Acronym - planned unit development. Acronym - Public Utility District

Non-factual or extravagant statements and opinions made to enhance the perceived desirability of a property. The is a fine line between legal puffing and illegal misrepresentation, and puffing is best avoided. An example of puffing would be, "This home has the best view in the city". Also known as puffery

purchase offer

A document that lists the price, terms and conditions under which a buyer is willing to purchase a property