Turning Dreams into Realty ®
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.


ready, willing and able
A buyer who is prepared to buy on the seller's terms and has the financial capacity to do so

real estate
Refers to land and improvements and the rights to own or use them. "A leasehold, as well as any other interest or estate in land, whether corporeal, incorporeal, freehold, or non-freehold, and whether the real estate is situated in this state or elsewhere." {TRELA, Section 2(1)} In popular usage, Real Estate is used interchangeably with real property and realty.

real estate agent
A person licensed to negotiate and transact the sale of real estate on behalf of the property owner

real estate board
A non profit organization representing local real estate agents/brokers and salespeople, which provides services to its members and maintains and operates the Multiple Listing Service in the community

Real Estate Broker, licensed
To be eligible to apply for a real estate Broker License, an individual must have not less than two (2) years active experience as a licensed real estate salesperson and 180 classroom hours of core real estate coursesplus an additional 720 classroom hours in related courses acceptable to the Commission. The applicant must also pass the TREC Real Estate Broker's exam, and then continue to maintain his license with mandatory continuing education (MCE) courses

Real Estate Inspector, licensed
A Licensed Real Estate Inspector is someone who is licensed by TREC who holds himself out to the public as being trained and qualified to inspect property. Formerly known as Registered Real Estate Inspector before January 1, 1996

Real Estate Salesperson, licensed

To be eligible to apply for a real estate Salesperson License, an individual must complete core education courses in Principles of Real Estate , Law of Agency and Law of Contracts. An additional six (6) semester (90 classroom) hours must be completed in core courses or in related courses acceptable to the Commission. The applicant must also pass the TREC Real Estate Salesperson's exam, and then continue to maintain his license with mandatory continuing education (MCE) courses. Recently licensed real estate salespersons are required to complete a total of 18 semester (270 classroom) hours of education by the end of their third year of licensure, taking at least 30 hours per year

real property
Refers to the right to own land and improvements. Commonly used interchangeably with Real Estate and Realty. Contrast with personal property


A real estate broker or an associate who holds active membership in a local real estate board that is affiliated with the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Refers to land and buildings and other improvements from a physical standpoint. Real Estate and Real Property tend to be used interchangeably with Realty in everyday usage. Contrast with personalty


Court-appointed custodian who holds property for the court, pending final disposition of the matter before the court.

recorded plat

A subdivision map filed with the county recorder's office that shows the location and boundaries (lot and block number) of individual parcels of land. Contrast with government survey method and metes and bounds

The act of entering in the public records, the written record of title to real property, thereby giving constructive notice to the public.

The illegal practice of refusing to originate mortgage loans, or limiting their number, in certain neighborhoods on the basis of racial or ethnic composition. See Fair Housing.

To apply for a new mortgage in order to gain better terms, usually either a lower interest rate or a different principal amount

Regulation 'Z'
Truth in lending law developed by the Federal Reserve System which requires lenders to provide full disclosure of the terms of the loan, including interest rates expressed as an annual percentage rate (APR).

Real Estate License Act.

To relinquish an interest or claim to a piece of property.

The future interest in an estate which takes effect after the termination of another estate, such as a life estate; what is left at the termination of a life estate

rent control
Laws that limit the amount of rent landlords may charge, and that state when and by how much the rent can be raised. Most rent control laws also require a landlord to provide a good reason, such as repeatedly late rent, for evicting a tenant. Rent control exists in some cities and counties in California, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C.

A right reserved by a grantor in the sale or lease of a property. In a sale, the title of all property passes to the grantee, but the use may be reserved for the grantor. Contrast with exception

Amounts of money set aside by a mortgage company to assure payment of property taxes, homeowners' association dues, and insurance premiums. The money is kept in an escrow account


Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act is a federal law which deals with the procedures to be followed in a real estate closing, and is intended to make borrowers more knowledgeable about possible costs and charges


Limitations on the use or occupancy of real estate contained in a deed or in local ordinances pertaining to land use

right of survivorship

The right of a surviving joint tenant to take ownership of a deceased joint tenant's share of the property. See joint tenancy

riparian owner

One who owns land bounding upon a river or water course (stream, creek, bayou, etc.).

Road Utility District (RUD)

A Road Utility District may be created to construct, acquire, improve and provide financing for a road facility. The term "road facility" is defined as a road constructed, acquired or improved by a district; or property, an easement, or work constructed, acquired, or improved by a district and necessary or appropriate for, or in aid of the improvement of, a river, creek, or stream to prevent overflow; or the construction and maintenance of a pool, lake, reservoir, dam, canal or waterway for the purpose of drainage, if the property, easement, or works is related to, or in furtherance of, the construction, acquisition, or improvement of a road

running with the land

A phrase used in property law to describe a right or duty that remains with a piece of property no matter who owns it. For example, the duty to allow a public beach access path across waterfront property would most likely pass from one owner of the property to the next.

Rural Fire Prevention District (RFPD)

A special taxing district created to provide rural residents with fire-fighting, fire prevention and other emergency services.