Real Estate Terms: The Ultimate Guide

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If you are looking for the ultimate guide on real estate terms for the real estate exam you are in the right place!

Passing the real estate exam takes more than most people think. It takes massive preparation.

By far the most substantial chunk of the real estate license exam is the vocabulary. The key concepts and words you have to study are essential for obtaining your real estate license, so it’s crucial you learn and become familiarized with them. This is our guide for all the real estate terms that show up on the exam.

P.s Make sure to bookmark this page as a study guide so you can come back and use it whenever you want.

Thanks, and happy studying.

The Top 225 Real Estate Terms & Definitions

Real Estate Terms That Start With A

Abutting – Abutting means an area of land or a building has a common boundary with another.

Acceleration clause – The acceleration clause is a contract provision that allows a lender to require a borrower to repay all of an outstanding loan if payments are not being made or there is a breach of contract.

Accretion – Accretion is the slow process of growth or acquisition of land, typically when soil is deposited by the natural action of water. Long term accretion can actually increase the size of a property.

Active property – If you or your client sees a home listing with just “active” as their status, this indicates that the property is available for sale.

Actual fraud – Actual fraud is an intentional misrepresentation of fact; or in plain terms lying.

Ad valorem – The Latin phrase ad valorem means “according to value.”

Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) – An adjustable rate mortgage has a flexible interest rate. Adjustable rate mortgages have a fixed period during which the initial interest rate remains the same, after that the interest rate adjusts at a pre-arranged frequency. The fixed-rate period can vary significantly anywhere from one month to 10 years.

Adverse possession – Adverse possession is the legal principle in which a person who does not have legal right to a property acquires legal ownership based on continuous occupation of the land without the permission of its real owner.

Agent – An agent is one who speaks for or represents someone.

Agreement of sale – A form that states the buyer consents to purchase a property and the seller agrees to sell that property with the terms and conditions illustrated in from both parties.

Air rights – Air rights are the rights to use the space above the earth.

Alienation – Alienation is the act of transferring title, ownership, an estate, or an interest in real estate from one party to another.

Alienation clause – The alienation clause is a contract provision that comes into effect when ownership of a specified asset is transferred or sold. It ensures that if a transfer of property happens the lender is paid in full from the original borrower.

Amendments – Add on’s, or fixes to contracts.

Amenities – Amenities are a useful feature or add on to a house that typically adds value to the property.

Amortization – Amortization is when payments divide into equal amounts for the duration of the loan.

Antitrust laws – Antitrust Laws are a collection of federal and state government laws that regulate the conduct and organization of business corporations, normally to promote fair competition for the benefit of consumers.

Appraisal – An appraisal is an estimate of approximate worth of something.

Appraisal contingency – Most big lenders or banks require the buyer to have an appraisal done to the property before the loan is granted. This is to ensure the house is worth somewhat close to the price of the accepted offer.

Appraiser – Although brokers and agents usually have some understanding of the valuation process, usually they bring in an appraiser to do the job. Appraisers must have detailed knowledge of the methods of valuation and many states require a specific license or certification to perform those duties.

Appreciation – Appreciation is any gain in the value of a property over time from any cause.

Appurtenance – Appurtenance is a noun; describing an item that is attached to something. In real estate, after something is installed onto a property, it can be called an appurtenance. Meaning it is passed on to a new owner if the property is sold.

Appurtenant – Appurtenant is an adjective meaning it is attached to something. If something is appurtenant, it belongs to something else, either attached to or by law.

Appurtenant easement – An appurtenant easement is a type of easement that “runs with the land.”

Arbitration – Arbitration is a way to resolve disputes. Typically real estate arbitration happens when two homeowners want to resolve an issue and do not want to directly involve the courts.

Avulsion – Avulsion is the immediate action of adding or tearing away land by violent acts from natural causes. An example of avulsion is a dam breaking or a hurricane.

Real Estate Terms That Start With B

Balloon loan – A balloon loan is a mortgage which does not fully amortize over the term.

Beneficiary – A beneficiary is an individual for whom a trust works for. They “benefit” from the trust.

Bilateral contract – Bilateral contract is an agreement between at least two people or groups. Most business and personal contracts fall into this category.

Bill of sale – The paperwork given to pass title to an individual property.

Blockbusting – Blockbusting is an illegal practice where real estate agents sell houses at a low price to one race then sell those same houses at a much higher price to a minority.

Breach of contract – A breach of contract is the failure to complete an agreement per agreed terms.

Buffer zone – A buffer zone is a space of land between two use districts such as a park, playground or a highway. The point of a buffer zone is to ease the transition from zone to zone.

Building code – Building codes are the rules and standards of properties for the protection of public safety and welfare.

Bundle of rights – When a person purchases property, he or she is given the rights to the property; these rights can be split up and given to different parties.

Buyer’s home sale contingency – This contingency allows the buyer to cancel the contract if they are unable to sell their current home in a specified amount of time.

Buyer’s agent – If someone is in the market for a new home, they enlist a buyer’s agent. A buyer’s agent represents the buyer in a transaction in return for their services they receive a fee.

Real Estate Terms That Start With C

Capital gain – Capital gain is the profit from the sale or auction of property or investment.

Capitalization – Capitalization is the conversion of assets or income into capital.

Capitalization rate – Cap rate is used to indicate the rate of return that is expected to be generated on a property.

Caveat emptor – Caveat emptor is Latin for “Let the buyer or buyers beware”. The concept is that the buyer is responsible for checking the quality of a product before a purchase is made.

Cetris peribus – A Latin phrase meaning “other things equal” or in plain terms all things remaining constant.

Chattels – Another word for personal property.

Closing – Closing is the final step in executing a real estate transaction. It is when official ownership and payment is transferred to the rightful parties. Closing usually takes place after a purchase agreement is made and the title is now ready to be transferred.

Co-op – A co-op is a nonprofit corporation, complete with a board of directors, and each resident is a shareholder. Perhaps the largest distinction between a condominium and a co-op is that most co-op associations require that a prospective purchaser be approved by a committee composed of current co-op owners.

Co-ownership – Co-ownership is when a title to one parcel of real estate is held by two or more individuals, those parties are called co-owners or concurrent owners. Individuals may co-own property as tenants in common, joint tenants, or tenants by the entirety or lastly community property.

Collateral – Something of worth promised to a lender as security (mortgage) for an obligation.

Commercial property – Commercial property is a property that generates an income or salary.

Commission – A commission is a fee paid to an agent for performing a transaction.

Community property – Community Property Laws are based on the idea that husband and wife are equal, separate, partners rather than one whole one like tenants by the entirety.

Comparables – Another word for properties sold in the same area seen on a property report.

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) – Also known as The superfund. The Superfund is a United States federal government program designed to fund the cleanup of sites contaminated with hazardous substances and pollutants.

Condominium – A condominium often shortened to condo. Is a type of living space which is similar to an apartment but which is independently sellable and therefore regarded as real estate.

Conspiracy to boycott – Conspiracy to boycott occurs when two or more persons or entities conspire to restrict the ability of someone from competing. This unethical and highly illegal.

Constructive eviction – Constructive eviction is a term used in the law of real property to describe a circumstance in which a landlord either does something or fails to do something that he has a legal duty to provide.

Constructive fraud – Constructive fraud is best described as ignorance, or lying without knowing you are lying.

Contingent property – A contingent property means an offer for the property has been accepted but there is a condition or “contingency” that is written into the contract and it must be met before the sale can go through.

Contract – An agreement between two or more parties by law.

Corporation – Corporations may be formed for profit or nonprofit purposes. A corporation is managed and operated by a board of directors. A corporation has certain rights, privileges, and liabilities beyond those of partnerships. Doing business as a corporation has its advantages and disadvantages.

Cost approach – A real estate appraisal method that states the price a buyer pays for a property should equal the cost to build an equivalent building on the property.

Counteroffer – A counteroffer is similar to a purchase agreement. If a counter offer is made the original offer ceases to exist because legally the seller has rejected it.

Real Estate Terms That Start With D

Datum – The set of data that equals heights and depths measured on a horizontal plane.

DBA – Doing business as.

Debt – Something owed or promised.

Deed – A deed is a written legal document by which ownership of real estate is conveyed from one party to another.

Deed restrictions – Deed restrictions are limitations to the use of the property imposed by a past or current owner and are usually legally binded forever.

Delinquent taxes – Overdue taxes.

Delivery – The legal act of transferring ownership.

Depreciation – Depreciation is any loss in the value of a property over time from any cause.

Discount points – Discount points also known as mortgage points are prepaid interest.

Dividing territories – Dividing territories is when competing brokers agree to split territories, and divide interests accordingly. This is a clear antitrust violation.

Double net lease – “”Double”” means two additional costs will be added to your base rent. Usually taxes and insurance costs are added to the monthly lease payment.

Duress – Duress is the act of forcing an individual or business to do something against their will.

DVA loan – A loan for a certified veteran through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Real Estate Terms That Start With E

Easement – An easement is a right held by one person to use the land of another for a specific purpose, such as driving through someone else’s property.

Economic obsolescence – Refers to the loss of property value due to external factors, meaning things off the property affecting the properties value.

Emblements – Emblements are annual crops produced by cultivation legally belonging to the tenant with the implied right for its harvest, and they are treated as the tenant’s property.

Eminent domain – Eminent domain is described as the right of the government to take over privately owned real estate usually despite the owners’ wishes. This often happens for land that is required for infrastructure like highways, major pipelines, railroads, etc.

Encroachment – Encroachment is intrusion on a person’s territory or property.

Encumbrance – Encumbrance means an involuntary lien is on the property.

Endorsement – Signing paperwork normally a contract.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the federal agency responsible for dealing with environmental issues. The EPA was established in December 1970 by an executive order of United States President Richard Nixon.

Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) – A regulation that aims to give all legal individuals an equal opportunity to apply for loans. The act prohibits creditors and lenders from considering a consumer’s race, color, national origin, sex, religion or marital status in deciding whether to approve their credit application.

Equity – Equity is the difference between the market value of your home and the amount you owe the lender who holds the mortgage.

Erosion – The opposite of accretion, erosion is the wearing away of land or soil by the action of wind, water, currents, or ice. Long term erosion can decrease the size of a property.

Errors and omissions insurance – Some but not all states require this form of insurance. It is a type of liability insurance that protects professionals against claims of inadequate work or negligent actions.

Escheat – When a property owner dies and leaves no proper documented inheritance plan, the property ownership reverts to the government. Escheat ensures that property always has ownership.

Escrow – Escrow is a way for money and property to be transferred from one party to another through the use of a neutral, third-party agent also known as an escrow agent. Escrow makes it a lot safer for both buyers and sellers to close the sale without worrying about getting snubbed or cheated.

Estate at sufferance – An estate in sufferance arises when the tenant holds over after the expiration of their term.

Estate at will – An estate at will means that it can be ended at any time. The term of this estate is indefinite. It’s also important to note that not all states recognize an estate at will and ones that do vary in laws.

Exchange – Transfer of goods or services.

Exclusive right to sell listing – One broker is appointed as the sole agent of the seller and has exclusive authorization to represent the property. The broker receives a commission no matter who sells the property while the listing agreement is in effect.

Executed contract – A completed contract.

Express Contract – An express contract occurs when both parties legally establish an agency relationship. In other-words they sat down and wrote a contract stating their relationship. This is the most common method of creation for agency relationships.

Real Estate Terms That Start With F

Federal income tax – An annual government tax based on an individuals earnings.

Federal National Mortgage Association – Also known as Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae buys mortgages on the secondary market, puts them together, and then sells them back as mortgage securities bonds to investors on the open market.

Fee simple absolute – Fee simple absolute, or fee simple for short, is an estate in land. It is the highest form of real estate ownership that is recognized by law, in which the owner can enjoy the property to its fullest extent and is only limited by government powers.

Fee simple defeasible – A defeasible estate is created when a condition is added on a fee simple estate. If the condition is met, the estate may be lost.

FHA appraisal – The process done by an approved FHA appraiser to appraise a property for an FHA loan.

FHA loans – FHA Loans are a mortgage issued by an FHA-approved lender and insured by the FHA which is the Federal Housing Administration. FHA loans are sought after because they require lower minimum down payments and credit scores than many conventional loans.

Financial contingency – A financing contingency provides a way for buyers to back out of the sale of the property if their loan falls through.

Fixed term tenancy or estate for years – The term “estate for years” refers to an estate that has a specific duration of time as defined in the lease agreement.

Fixture – An item that was once personal property, but is considered real property either by attachment or legal addition.

Freehold estate – A freehold estate is an estate in which you have an exclusive right to enjoy the possession of a property indefinitely. Contrast to a leasehold estate, where possession is limited by time period.

Functional obsolescence – Refers to the loss of property value due to an obsolete design feature.

Real Estate Terms That Start With G

Gap – A real estate term meaning a space or pause in a contract.

General contractor – A General contractor is the term used to describe someone whose main responsibility is the construction, improvement, or renovation of a property or project.

General agent – A general agent is an agent hired who can perform all acts associated with a particular business that a principal has appointed the agent to; these relationships are typically continuous.

Government power – Government power is the constitutional authority and inherent power of a state to adopt and enforce laws and regulations to promote and support the public health, safety, morals, and general welfare.

Government survey system – This method of appraisal is a federal system defined by identifying reference lines. The system is based on sets of two intersecting lines: principal meridians and base lines. It is sometimes referred to as the rectangular survey system.

Grant – The transferring of title to real property.

Grantee – The legal term for the buyer.

Grantor – The legal term for the seller.

Gross lease – A gross lease is a rental agreement for the use of the property where the tenant pays a fixed amount which does not change as a result of changes in the various expenses of the property.

Gross national product (GNP) – The total price of all goods and services produced inside a country annually.

Gross rent multiplier – The ratio of the price of a real estate investment to its annual rental income before accounting for expenses such as property taxes, insurance, and utilities. More specifically its a measure of the value of an investment property that is obtained by dividing the property’s sale price by its gross annual rental income.

Real Estate Terms That Start With H

Heir – The person who would inherit an interest or property when the owner dies without leaving a will.

Home Inspection – A home inspection is an examination of the condition of a real estate property. This usually takes place in connection with the property’s sale.

Homeowner Insurance – Homeowners insurance is property insurance that covers losses and damages. They cover an individual’s house and assets in the home. It may also provide liability coverage against accidents in the home or on the property.

HUD – The Department of Housing and Urban Development

Real Estate Terms That Start With I

Implied contract – Implied contracts refer to contracts that are not a written agreement but still legal and considered a contract (some states).

Implied grant – Implied grants are used to create an easement.

Improvement – An addition or add on to a property or real estate.

Index lease – A lease that determines the rental prices by evaluating the annual consumer index and determining fair rental price.

Inspection contingency – If a home inspection reveals problems, the buyer can request repairs, compensation for the issue, or just cancel the offer completely.

Insurance – Insurance is a contract, in which an individual receives legal protection or reimbursement for any predetermined losses.

Interest – money paid or owed regularly at a particular rate.

Interim financing – A short-term loan.

Investment – An investment is the legal purchase of something that is not consumed today but will be in the future to create profit.

Involuntary alienation – Involuntary alienation is when property is transferred without the owner’s consent.

Involuntary liens – Involuntary liens aren’t created by the homeowner. It is a claim imposed against a property without the consent of its owner.

Real Estate Terms That Start With J

Joint tenancy – When a property is owned by joint tenants, the interest of a deceased owner automatically gets transferred to the remaining surviving owners.

Real Estate Terms That Start With L

Land trust – A land trust is a legal agreement in which a property owner transfers the title to a property to a trustee.

Landlord – The owner of a property (such as land, houses, or apartments) that is leased or rented to another.

Latent defect – A latent defect is not discoverable by normal inspection but maybe not to the regular eye. But is known of by the seller or homeowner.

Lease – A lease is a contract by which one party conveys land, property, services, etc., to another for a specified time, usually in return for a periodic payment.

Lease option – A lease option is a lease with an option to buy the property.

Leasehold estate – A less than freehold estate (also known as a leasehold estate) is an estate held by one who rents or leases property. The key difference between a leasehold estate and a freehold estate is the limitation of time. As lease is a legal estate, leasehold estate can be bought and sold on the open market.

Lender – A lender can be an individual or a public/private group. A financial institution like a bank can lend funds available to another person. A lender is usually where people get their loans.

Lessee – The legal term for a tenant who leases a property.

Lessor – The legal term for one who leases property to a tenant

Leverage – Leverage is an investment strategy of using borrowed cash to finance the bulk of an investment.

Levy – A levy is a legal seizure of property to satisfy a tax debt or obligation.

Lien – A lien is a form of security interest granted over an item to secure the payment of a debt or performance of some other obligation. A lien serves to guarantee an underlying obligation. Usually that obligation is the repayment of a loan.

Life estate – A life estate is an interest in real property which is held for the duration of the life of a designated person. It may be limited by the life of the person holding it or by the life of another person. This designated person is called a life tenant.

Limited liability company (LLC) – The structure of LLC’s vary from state to state, but an (LLC) is a hybrid legal entity that has certain characteristics of both a corporation and a partnership or sole proprietorship.

Limited partnership – A limited partnership is composed of one or more general partners and one or more limited partners. The general partners manage the business and share fully in its profits and losses. Limited partners share in the profits of the business, but their losses are limited to the extent of their investment.

Liquidity – The net price and speed of how long it would take to sell an asset and convert it into cash.

Lis pendens – A lis pendens isn’t a lien but instead is a notice of a potential future lien.

Listing agreement – A listing agreement is a document in which a property owner contracts with a real estate agent to find a buyer for the owner’s property.

Littoral rights – Littoral rights pertain to landowners whose land border large, navigable lakes and oceans.

Loan – A loan is an amount of money that is expected to be paid back with interest used for property. Most people in order to purchase property use some form of a loan. Some common loans are student loans, mortgages, and car loans.

Lot and block – An appraisal method particularly for areas densely populated like metropolitan areas and suburbs. It starts with a large tract of land that has already been described by another form of survey system. The overall area is then made into smaller lots and a map is created.

Real Estate Terms That Start With M

Market value or market price – The actual selling price of the property. So if your home sells for $200,000. Its market value is $200,000.

Master plan – A master plan is comprehensive plan to guide the long-term physical development of a particular area.

Material defect – A material defect is a problem with property or any portion of it that would have significant impact on the value of the property or that involves a large risk to the people on land.

Mechanic’s lien – A mechanic’s lien also called a construction lien is a lien placed on your property for nonpayment for work you had done on the property.

Metes-and-Bounds – An appraisal method imported to the original colonies that formed the United States. The system uses physical features of the local geography, along with directions and distances, to define and describe the boundaries of a parcel of land.

Mill rate – The mill rate is the amount of tax payable per dollar of the assessed value of a property. Mill rate is also known as the millage rate.

Mortgage – A mortgage is a promise of property to the lender as security of payment for the debt.

Mortgage lien – A mortgage lien is a voluntary, specific lien. In fact, it’s the most common type of voluntary real estate lien. When you borrow money to buy real estate, you give the lender a lien against the property. Some states call this a deed of trust lien.

Multiple listing service (MLS) – A service used by a group of real estate brokers. It connects listings together under one large umbrella.

Municipality – Municipality is a city or town that is considered local government.

Real Estate Terms That Start With N

Negative fraud – Negative fraud is the act of purposely leaving out information you legally must disclose; or in plain terms lying through omission.

Negligence – Negligence is the omission to perform a required action or in plain terms: laziness.

Net listing – A net listing is when an agent agrees to sell an owner’s property for a set minimum price. Anything over the minimum price belongs to the agent as commission.

Net operating income – The total income of a property minus all operating expenses.

Real Estate Terms That Start With O

Optionee – The legal term for an individual that acquires and holds an option.

Optionor – The legal term for a party that allows or gives an option.

Ownership – the act, state, or right of possessing an object, in our case property.

Ownership in severalty – Ownership in severalty means one person owns the property.

Real Estate Terms That Start With P

Partition – Partition is a legal way to dissolve the relationship when the parties don’t voluntarily agree to its termination.

Partnership – A partnership is composed of 2 or more persons who agree to contribute money, labor, or skill to a business. Each partner shares the profits, losses, and management of the business, and each partner is personally and equally liable for debts of the partnership.

Pending property – The term pending means that the offer has been accepted and both parties are moving forward with the sale. When a property is pending, it is in the period after the contingencies are resolved.

Percentage lease – A percentage lease is a rental that is based on a percentage of the monthly or annual gross sales made on the premises.

Periodic tenancy – A periodic tenancy is a leasehold agreement that specifies an initial period of tenancy and the length of the agreement but does not end after the specified period. This type of leasehold agreement renews automatically.

Personal property – Personal property is all things removable like clothes, lawn mowers, couches, TV’s, and furniture.

Price fixing – Fixing is the practice of setting the price of a good or service to make a particular price a standard. Any agreement even if it just implied with other brokerages to set a standard commission rate is a violation of the antitrust laws.

Principal – A principal or client is a party who has signed an agreement with an agent or more specifically a broker. In other words, it is any person directly involved in a contract, such as a buyer or a seller.

Promissory note – Another word for an “I.O.U.” The note states the terms of the loan, like the interest and the number of years which the borrower has to pay back the loan.

Property management – The overseeing of real estate and property.

Property manager – A property manager is someone hired to maintain and manage property. A property manager makes a landlords life a lot easier in simple terms. They can handle day to day tasks like handling new tenants, collecting rent, or maintaining property.

Property tax – Property tax is a real estate ad-valorem tax, calculated by local government, which is paid by the owner of the property. The tax is usually based on the value of the owned property.

Purchase agreement – A purchase agreement is a contract that legally binds two or more parties together, to specific obligations, that create a legally binding contract between the buyer and the seller.

Real Estate Terms That Start With Q

Quitclaim deed – A quitclaim deed contains no title covenant and thus offers the grantee no warranty as to the status of the property title.

Real Estate Terms That Start With R

Radon – Radioactive gas dispersed from natural decay of mineral in earth. odorless, colorless, tasteless.

Real estate – Real estate is a term used to describe property or buildings.

Real estate agent – A real estate agent is a professional who has passed the required real estate classes and licensing exams in the state where he/she intends to work.

Real estate broker – A real estate broker is a person who acts as an intermediary between sellers and buyers of real estate/real property. A broker can work independently or employ other agents. The biggest difference between a broker and a real estate agent is a broker can work on his own, while an agent must work under a licensed broker. Getting a broker’s license is separate from a standard license.

Real estate license exam – The real estate license exam is broken up into two parts: the national portion and your specific state portion. The real estate exam is multiple choice and is a mix of problem-solving, math, and vocabulary. By far the most substantial chunk of the real estate license exam is the vocabulary which is more than likely why you are here. Make sure you are using a free real estate practice exam to prepare!

Real estate license requirements – The state specific license requirements that determine what is needed to be accomplished to become a licensed real estate agent.

Real estate lien – Real estate liens are financial claims against property. A mortgage is the most common form of real estate lien.

Real estate pre licensing – State required courses that cover a long range of real estate topics and concepts. All states require taking and completing a pre-licensing course and it can be done in person or online.

Real property – Real property is all things attached to the land and all the legal rights to it. Real property is usually things that are immovable such as the home itself or the buildings within the property line.

REALTOR® – A Realtor is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. Realtors have a specific association, code of ethics, and rules. If you are a real estate agent, you are not automatically a Realtor. The terms Realtor and real estate agent although commonly used interchangeably, are actually two different titles.

Recovery fund – A fund set up by commissions in a few states to protect the public from real estate agents committing harmful acts. Basically, an insurance policy for states, homeowners and their agents.

Rent – Rent is the amount owed every month, term, or year that covers the cost to live or reside on the property.

Restrictive covenants (CCR) – CCR’s limit the use of a particular property, a condominium, or a subdivision. The main purpose of the CCR’s is to maintain the look and feel of the community.

Rezoning – The legal government-approved process of adjusting a zone.

Riparian rights – Under riparian rights, all landowners whose properties adjoin a river or stream, have the right to make reasonable use of it as it flows through or over their properties.

Real Estate Terms That Start With S

Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) – Established in 1974 Allowed greater control by EPA to control contaminant levels, take legal action against public water auth. for violations, and require periodic water testing and notification to state authority and homeowners if contaminated.

Sales contract – An agreement containing the entire terms of the sale between a customer and a seller.

Secondary market – The secondary market is the resale marketplace of loans.

Seller’s agent – If someone wants to sell their home they enlist a seller’s agent. A seller’s agent (also known as a listing agent) represents the seller in the transaction in return for their services they receive a fee.

Sole proprietorship – A sole proprietorship is one individual or married couple in business alone. Sole proprietorships are the most common form of business structure.

Special warranty deed – A special warranty deed is a deed in which the grantor warrants only against defects occurring during their ownership.

Special agent – A special agent is an agent hired to perform a specific duty. The real estate agent’s power and authority is limited to that specific task.

Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA) – The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA) was passed when the original act, CERCLA, expired in 1985. It amended the comprehensive environmental response, compensation, and liability act.

Real Estate Terms That Start With T

Tax lien – A tax lien is placed on real estate for unpaid real estate taxes.

Tax rate – The tax rate is designated rate the government taxes a person, business or entity.

Taxation – The process of taking a portion of worth from a person or business and using that for the greater welfare of the public.

Tenancy in common – Tenancy in common is when a parcel of real estate is owned by two or more tenants. Upon the death of a tenant in common, that share is transferred to the estate or heir of the deceased tenant.

Tenant – A person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord.

Tenants by the entirety – Tenants by the entirety Is a special form of co-ownership used in some states that allow a husband or wife to inherit the other spouse’s ownership interest upon death. Couples who are tenants by the entirety automatically have the right of survivorship. The surviving spouse immediately becomes the sole owner of the property when the other spouse dies.

The Clean Water Act (CWA) – Passed in 1972 and amended in 1977 and 1987, the Clean Water Act was originally known as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. It Is intended to regulate pollutants discharged into waterways.

The Fair Housing Act -The law that prohibits discrimination in the buying, selling, renting or financing of housing. These laws prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex, disability, children, nationality and more.

Timeshare – A timeshare is a property with a divided form of ownership or use rights.

Title contingency – If the title for the property is under review the buyer can add a title contingency to the offer. During this process, a title report will be done which may reveal a conflicting ownership status, in which the buyer then can opt out of the sale.

Triple net lease – “Triple” means three additional costs will be added to your base rent. Usually taxes, insurance, and maintenance are all added to the monthly lease payment.

Trust – A trust is a three-party relationship in which the first party, the trustor or settlor, transfers a property upon the second party for the benefit of the third party, the beneficiary.

Trustee – A trustee is required to manage a trust in accordance with the trustor’s wishes and in the beneficiary’s best interests. A trustee can be an individual or a financial institution such as a bank.

Real Estate Terms That Start With U

Unenforceable contract – An unenforceable contract is one that is valid but one the court will not enforce. Any contract agreement created between two parties for illegal actions is considered a unenforceable contract.

Unilateral contract – Unilateral contract is a one-sided agreement. only one party makes a promise to perform. one party pays the other party to perform a certain duty. If the first party fulfills the duty, the second party is obligated to transfer the specified funds.

Universal agent – A universal agent is an agent hired who can act on behalf of a principal with complete power. In other-words, a universal agent can legally act in replacement of their principal.

Real Estate Terms That Start With V

VA Loans – A VA loan is a mortgage loan available for military service members, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses. They often come with better terms than a traditional mortgage which is why they are commonly sought after.

Valid contract – A valid contract meets all legal requirements of a court of law and is legally enforceable.

Variance – A variance is a request to deviate from current zoning requirements. If granted, it permits the owner to use his land in a way that is ordinarily not permitted by the zoning ordinance.

Void contract – A void contract has no legal force or effect because it lacks one or more legal requirements.

Voidable contract – A voidable contract appears on the surface as valid but is not. An example would be a contract with a forged signature.

Voluntary alienation – Voluntary alienation is a transfer of title made with the owner’s consent. Transfers like this are initiated by either a public grant, a property owner executing a will, gifting, selling the property or by a dedication.

Voluntary liens – Voluntary liens are created by a contract between the creditor and the debtor. The most common type is a mortgage.

Real Estate Terms That Start With W

Warranty deed – A warranty deed is a type of deed where the grantor (seller) guarantees that he or she holds clear title to a piece of real estate and has a right to sell it to the grantee (buyer).

Water diversion – Water diversion is the removal or transfer of water from one place to another.

Water rights – Water rights are the rights to use rivers, lakes, or oceans that fall adjacent to land.

Real Estate Terms That Start With Z

Zoning – Zoning is the regulation of public land use and development by local government. Zoning usually refers to local government laws that dictate how real property can and cannot be used in certain areas.

Zoning ordinances – Zoning ordinances are a written regulation and law that defines how property in specific zones can be used.

Author:
Zackary Smigel is a real estate professional with a love for teaching, based out of Pittsburgh, PA. He's had the opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in real estate and has spent years learning how to become a successful agent.