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  • ABA NUMBER – Originated by the American Bankers Association, it is the number (usually in the upper right hand portion of the check) which identifies the bank upon which the check is drawn.
  • A.B.A. (AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION) – A national organization composed of member state and local bar associations, which control the licensing of attorneys.
  • ABANDONMENT – The voluntary relinquishment of rights of ownership or another interest (such as an easement) by failure to use the property, coupled with an intent to abandon (give up the interest).
  • ABANDONMENT OF HOMESTEAD – A recorded document, executed by those claiming a homestead exemption, giving up said homestead. Not applicable to all states and procedure muse according to local statutes.
  • ABATEMENT – A reduction or decrease. Usually applies to a decrease of assessed valuation of ad valorem taxes after the assessment and levy.
  • ABC SOIL – Soil having distinct A (upper), B (middle), and C (lower)
  • horizons (layers of soil).
  • ABSCISSA – The horizontal axis of a curve; the vertical axis being the ordinate. The terms are used in connection with charts and graphs.
  • ABSENTEE LANDLORD – A lessor of real property (usually the owner) who does not live in a portion of the property.
  • ABSENTEE OWNER – An owner of property who does not occupy said property.
  • ABSORPTION – The filling of space, such as the rental of units or sale of a tract. The time or rate must be estimated and considered as part of the owner’s (usually the builder) costs.
  • ABSTRACT – A summary; an abridgement. Before the use of photostatic copying, public records were kept by abstracts of recorded documents.
  • ABSTRACT CONTINUATION – (See: Supplemental Abstract).
  • ABSTRACT EXTENSION – (See: Supplemental Abstract).
  • ABSTRACTER’S CERTIFICATE – A certificate contained in an abstract which shows the time period and scope of the search of public records done by the abstracter.
  • ABSTRACT OF JUDGMENT – A summary of the essential provisions of a court judgment, which when recorded in the county recorder’s office, creates a lien upon the property of the defendant in that county, both presently owned or after acquired.
  • ABSTRACT OF TITLE – A compilation of the recorded documents relating to a parcel of land.
  • ABSTRACTION – A method for appraising a site (land) by estimating the depreciated value of the improvements and deducting that amount from the total value (improved value) of the property. (See: Allocation).
  • ABUT – To touch, border on, or be contiguous to.
  • ABUTMENTS – The verticle members (walls or heavy columns) which bear the load or pressure of the cross member, such as an arch, pier, or similar structure.
  • ABUTTING OWNER – One whose land is contiguous to (abuts) a public right of way.
  • ACCELERATED COST RECOVERY SYSTEM(ACRS) – A portion of the Economic Recovery Act of 1981 which allows shorter depreciation of both real and personal property, does not distinguish between new and used property, and disregards salvage value.
  • ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION – A general term including any method of depreciation greater than straight line depreciation (see which).
  • ACCELERATION CLAUSE – Clause used in an installment note and mortgage (or deed of trust), which gives the lender the right to demand payment in full upon the happening of a certain event, such as failure to pay an installment by a certain date, change of ownership without the lender’s consent, destruction of the property (see Waste), or other event which endangers the security of the loan. (See also: Alienation Clause).
  • ACCEPTANCE – Voluntarily agreeing to the price and terms of an offer. Offer and acceptance create a contract.
  • ACCESS – The right to enter and leave a parcel of land by means of a public way. May include the right to enter and leave over other parcels of land.
  • ACCESSIBILITY – The location of a site in terms of how easily it may be reached by customers, employees, carriers, and others necessary to the intended use of the property.
  • ACCESSION – The right of an owner to an increase in his property by natural means (such as a riparian owner’s right to an abandoned river bed, rights of alluvion and reliction, etc.) or artificially, by improvements.
  • ACCESSORY BUILDINGS – Structures used for the benefit of a central or main building, such as a tool shed, garage, or similar structure.
  • ACCESS RIGHT – A right to ingress and egress to and from one’s property. May be express or implied.
  • ACCOMMODATED ROOM NIGHT DEMAND – The annual number of hotel (or motel) rooms occupied in a given market area.
  • ACCOMMODATION PARTY – Person who lends his name to help secure credit for another, by signing a note or other obligation without receiving consideration.
  • ACCOMMODATION RECORDING – The recording of documents with the county recorder by a title insurance company, without liability (no insurance) on the part of the company, but merely as a convenience to a customer.
  • ACCORD – An agreement by which one accepts something different (usually less) from what is owed as full satisfaction. The amount owed may be in dispute or simply accepted as full satisfaction by the creditor or claimant. The agreement and acceptance is called Accord and Satisfaction".
  • ACCOUNTS PAYABLE – Money owing. The term is generally used in business rather than personal finances. Usually represents services or materials, such as wood, bricks, payment of subcontractors, etc., to a builder.
  • ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE – Money owed to a business for goods or services. Accounts receivable may be sold or borrowed against. Many times the sale of accounts receivable is for less than face value (discounted).
  • ACCRETION – The gradual addition to the shore or bank of a waterway.
  • ACCRUAL ACCOUNTING – An accounting method under which income and expenses are charged to the periods for which they are applicable, rather than when payment is received or made. The method calling for income and expenses to be based on payment being received or made is cash accounting.
  • ACCRUE – To grow or mature.
  • ACCRUED DEPRECIATION – (1) The amount reserved each year in the accounting system for replacement of a building or other asset. (2) The useful life of a property at any given time.
  • ACCRUED INTEREST -Interest on a note, bond, etc. which has been earned but not yet paid. Since interest is usually paid in arrears, accrued interest does not necessarily indicate a delinquency in payment. (See also: Accumulated Interest).
  • ACCUMULATED DEPRECIATION – (See: Accrued Depreciation).
  • ACCUMULATED INTEREST – Unpaid interest which is past due. (See also: Accrued Interest).
  • ACID SOIL – A soil with an acid rather than an alkaline base. This can determine its suitability for farming.
  • ACID TEST RATIO – A formula used by lending institutions to determine if a business can meet its current obligations. The formula adds cash plus receivables plus marketable securities and then divides by liabilities. A ratio of one to one is considered acceptable.
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENT – A written declaration by a person executing an instrument, given before an officer authorized to give an oath (usually a notary public), stating that the execution is of his own volition.
  • ACOUSTICAL MATERIALS – Materials which absorb sound. Usually installed in walls and ceilings and composed of fiberglass, cork, special plaster, or similar materials.
  • ACOUSTICAL TILE – Tile which absorbs sound.
  • ACQUISITION APPRAISAL – An appraisal to determine market value of a property to be taken by eminent domain, in order to justly compensate the owner.
  • ACQUISITION COSTS – Costs of acquiring property other than purchase price: escrow fees, title insurance, lenders fees, etc.
  • ACRE – A parcel of land, equal to 160 sq. rods (43,560 sq. ft.) in any shape.
  • ACREAGE – Any parcel of land which may be measured in terms of acres. Usually qualified by its zoning or usage, such as residential acreage, industrial acreage, etc.
  • ACREAGE CONTROL – Federal control setting the number of acres which may be planted with crops which have federal price supports.
  • ACRE FOOT – A volume of water, sand, coal, etc., equal to an area of one acre with a depth of one foot (43,560 cubic ft.). If a liquid, 325,850 gallons.
  • ACRE-INCH – A cubic measure of one acre in area with a depth of one inch.
  • ACTION TO QUIET TITLE – A court action to establish ownership to real property. Although technically not an action to remove a cloud on title, the two actions are usually referred to as "Quiet Title" actions. (See also: Cloud on Title).
  • ACTIVE CAPITAL – Capital used on a regular basis for profit-making activities.
  • ACT OF GOD – Damage caused by nature (floods, winds, etc.) rather than destruction by man.
  • ACTUAL AGE – The chronological age of a structure as opposed to its effective or economic age.
  • ACTUAL CASH VALUE – (See: Market Value).
  • ACTUAL NOTICE – Notice actually and expressly, or by implication, given and received. (See also: Constructive Notice; Statutory Notice).
  • AD – By, for, relating to, concerning.
  • ADDENDUM – Something added. A list or other material added to a document, letter, contractual agreement, escrow instructions, etc. (See also: Amendmet).
  • ADDITION – (1) A portion of a building added to the original structure. (2) A synonym for subdivision in certain legal descriptions.
  • ADDITIONAL DEPOSIT – A buyer of real property will generally give a small deposit with an offer, and a more substantial deposit after the offer has been accepted. The second deposit is the "additional deposit".
  • ADD-ON INTEREST – A method of charging interest usually used in the financing of automobiles, but not generally used in real estate financing. Interest is computed on the total amount borrowed and added on to the principal. Each payment is then deducted from this total amount. Interest on real estate loans is usually figured based on the balance owing after each payment is made (declining balance).
  • AD HOC – Latin meaning "for this". For a single purpose only.
  • ADJACENT – Close to. May or may not be contiguous (touching).
  • ADJOINING – Touching or contiguous to.
  • ADJUDICATION – A judgment or decision by a court.
  • ADJUSTABLE MORTGAGE LOANS(AML’S) – Mortgage loans under which the interest rate is periodically adjusted to more closely coincide with current rates. The amounts and times of adjustment are agreed to at the inception of the loan. Also called: Adjustable Rate Loans, Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM’s), Flexible Rate Loans, Variable Rate Loans. (See also: Indexing, Rate Index).
  • ADJUSTABLE RATE LOANS – (See: Adjustable Mortgage Loans).
  • ADJUSTED BASIS – (See: Book Value).
  • ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME – Gross income of a building if fully rented, less an allowance for estimated vacancies.
  • ADJUSTED MORTGAGE – A mortgage released after a company has undergone reorganization.
  • ADJUSTED SALE PRICE – An appraisal term used when a comparable property’s sale price is adjusted to reflect the value of the subject property. The adjustment is made based on the differences between the subject property and comparable property in time of sale, terms of sale, location, and physical characteristics.
  • ADJUSTMENTS – (See: Proration).
  • AD LITUM – (For the suit). A guardian "Ad Litum" prosecutes or defends a suit for a minor or incompetent.
  • ADMINISTRATOR – A person given authority by a proper court to manage and distribute the estate of a deceased person when there is no will. (See also: Administrator C.T.A.).
  • ADMINISTRATOR C.T.A. – Administrator when there is a will but no executor is named or the executor named is unable or unwilling to
  • serve. The C.T.A. stands for Cum Testamento Annexo (with the will attached).
  • ADMINISTRATOR’S DEED – A conveyancing instrument used by an Administrator to transfer property from an estate. (See: Administrator).
  • ADMINISTRATRIX – Female administrator.
  • ADOBE CONSTRUCTION – A structure built of adobe blocks. Adobe blocks are made from adobe mud mixed with straw or a straw-like substance, and then baked. Considered a very good but expensive material.
  • ADR (THE CLASS LIFE ASSET DEPRECIATION RANGE SYSTEM) A flexible set of guide lines for depreciation which sets up an "asset depreciation period", rather than using the "useful life" of an asset.
  • ADULT – One old enough to legally act without the consent of a parent or guardian. One over 18 years old, except in some states for the purchase of alcohol, which is limited to those over 21 years old.
  • AD VALOREM – "According to value". A method of taxation using the value of the thing taxed to determine the amount of tax. Taxes can be either "Ad Valorem" or "Specific". Example: A tax of $5.00 per $1000.00 of value per house is Ad Valorem". A tax of $5.00 per house (irrespective of value) is "Specific".
  • ADVANCE FEE – A fee charged by a broker to a seller to cover all or a portion of the broker’s costs of promoting the property. The fee is generally credited against commissions but is not refunded if no commissions are received. Most frequently used in connection with large offerings which require a substantial outlay of funds for promotion.
  • ADVANCES – Money advanced by a mortgagee (beneficiary under a deed of trust) to pay the mortgagor’s (trustor’s) obligations of taxes, insurance, or other items necessary to protect the secured property.
  • ADVERSE LAND USE – A use which causes surrounding property to lose value, such as an industrial development in a residential area.
  • ADVERSE POSSESSION – A method of acquiring title by possession under certain conditions. Generally, possession must be actual, under claim of right, open, continuous, notorious, exclusive, and hostile (knowingly against the rights of the owner). Exact time (years) of possession and specific requirements (such as payment of property taxes) vary with the statutes of each state.
  • ADVERTISING – In real estate, mainly confined to newspaper ads and signs on the property, although advertising of the real estate brokerage may extend to radio and television. Recently, newspaper ads have become more binding on the advertiser, especially with regard to the financing advertised.
  • AEOLIAN SOIL – Soil composed of materials deposited by the wind.
  • AERATION ZONE – The surface soil to a depth from which plants draw moisture.
  • AESTHETIC VALUE – The value of a property attributable to the beauty of the improvements or surroundings.
  • AFFIANT – One who makes an affidavit. Also called a deponent, although technically not the same.
  • AFFIDAVIT – A sworn written statement.
  • AFFIDAVIT OF ALIMONY AND CHILD SUPPORT – A sworn statement of a separated or divorced person showing the amount (if any) of alimony or child support.
  • AFFINITY – (1) Relationship not of the blood. Related by marriage. (2) Any group for a specific purpose is called an affinity group, such as clubs, people in the same school, etc.
  • AFFIRMATION – A substitution for an oath when a person objects to taking an oath (Quakers, atheists, etc.). A lie after an affirmation is still perjury.
  • AFFIRMATIVE EASEMENT – An easement described from the benefited estate (dominant tenement). Also called a parcel 2 easement. The same easement described from the burdened estate (servient tenement) would be a negative easement.
  • AFFORESTATION – The growing of a forest where none previously existed, as opposed to reforestation (the replanting of a harvested or destroyed forest).
  • A-FRAME – A type of construction usually found in resort areas. The exterior framing of the building is shaped like the letter A.
  • AFTER ACQUIRED PROPERTY – As applied to a judgment lien, it means that the lien will attach to property of the debtor acquired after the judgment. (See also: After Acquired Title).
  • AFTER ACQUIRED TITLE – Legal doctrine by which property automatically vests in a grantee when the grantor acquires title to the property after the deed has been executed and delivered.
  • AGE-LIFE METHOD OF DEPRECIATION – Estimating depreciation by using the ratio of the effective age of improvements to the Economic Life (Economic Age-Life Method) or Physical Life (Physical Age-Life Method).
  • AGENCY – Any relationship in which one party (agent) acts for or represents another (principal) under the authority of the latter. Agency involving real property should be in writing, such as listings, trusts, powers of attorney, etc.
  • AGENCY AGREEMENT (AGENCY LISTING) – In some states, the term describing a listing under which the broker’s commission is protected against a sale by other agents but not by a sale by the principal. Called a’ non-exclusive" listing in some states.
  • AGENCY BY ESTOPPEL – An agency created by operation of law when an agent oversteps his or her authority but the action (or failure to act) by the principal leads one to believe the authority exists. (See also: Apparent Authority).
  • AGENCY COUPLED WITH INTEREST – A contractual relationship with consideration going from agent to principal; the agency is given as return consideration. Example: A broker agrees to work to obtain property for a builder in return for a listing after the builder has completed the project. The broker would be entitled to (have an interest in) the listing (agency), provided the broker did obtain the property for the builder.
  • AGENT – One who is authorized to act for or represent another, usually in business matters. AGRARIAN – Relating to land, or to a division or distribution of land.
  • AGREEMENT – A general term usually describing a common view of two or more people regarding the rights and obligations of each with regard to a given subject. Not necessarily a contract, although all contracts are agreements.
  • AGREEMENT FOR DEED – (See: Land Contract).
  • AGREEMENT OF SALE – Has two separate meanings, depending on area of the country. In some states it is synonomous with a purchase agreement (See: Purchase Agreement). In other states, it is synonomous with a land contract (See: Land Contract).
  • AGRICULTURAL LIEN – A lien against crops (only), to secure money or payment for materials used to grow the crop.
  • AGRICULTURAL PROPERTY – (1) Land which is zoned agricultural,
  • (2) Land used for growing of agricultural products or raising of livestock.
  • AH
  • A HORIZON – Surface horizon (layer) of soil, the composition of which is effected by water which percolates through it.
  • A.I.R. (AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATION) – A specialized association of real estate brokers and salesmen who deal primarily in industrial properties. The goal of the association is to further the knowledge and effectiveness of its members.
  • AIR RIGHTS – The right to the utelize air space above a parcel of land.
  • ALCOVE – A recessed part or addition to a room.
  • ALIAS – Latin for "otherwise". Commonly meaning that a person is known by more than one name. In some states, indicated by the letters AKA (also known as).
  • ALIENATION – Transfer of property from one owner to another.
  • ALIENATION CLAUSE – A type of acceleration clause, calling for a debt under a mortgage or deed of trust to be due in its entirety upon transfer of ownership of the secured property. Also called a due-on-sale" clause.
  • ALKALI – The chemical opposite of acid. Heavy concentrations of alkaline salts in soil may damage crops.
  • ALKALINE SOIL – Soil which has an alkali, rather than an acid base.
  • ALLEGATION – The assertion or statement of a party to an action, setting forth that which he expects to prove.
  • ALLEY – A narrow right of way, either public or private, used for access (usually to garages, loading platforms, etc.).
  • ALLEY INFLUENCE – In appraising, the effect upon value of a property, because of an adjoining side or rear alley.
  • ALL-INCLUSIVE DEED OF TRUST – (See: Wrap-Around Mortgage).
  • ALLOCATION – A method for appraising a site (land) by comparing other site values as a percentage of total value. Example: An area has a typical land value of 35% of the total value of a site (including improvements). Property X has a total (improved) value of $100,000. The land is worth $35,000. The term is often (and incorrectly) used synonymously with abstraction (See: Abstraction).
  • ALLODIAL TENURE – (See: Allodium).
  • ALLODIUM – Land owned by individuals, as opposed to the feudal system of ownership of all land by a king or ruler.
  • ALLOTMENT – A small parcel of land, sold or given to a farm worker for cultivation as a supplementary source of income. Popular in the 1900’s before World War II.
  • ALLUVION (ALLUVIUM, ALLUVIAL) – Deposits formed by accretion.
  • A.L.T.A. (AMERICAN LAND TITLE ASSOCIATION) – An organization, composed of title insurance companies, abstractors and attorneys, which have adopted certain insurance policy forms to standardize coverage nationwide.
  • ALTERATIONS – Changes in the interior or exterior of a building, but without changing the exterior dimensions.
  • AMENDMENT – A change, either to correct an error or to alter a part of an agreement without changing the principal idea or essence.
  • AMENITIES – Those things which enhance the enjoyment (and therefore the value) of real estate but are not necessary for its intended use. Examples: a scenic view, swimming pool, etc.
  • AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION NUMBER – (See: ABA Number).
  • AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION – A national organization formed in 1875 as a professional association for banks and other financial institutions.
  • AMERICAN BOND – A process in bricklaying by which every 5th, 6th, or 7th layer of bricks is laid with the wide length facing the wall; the other layers have the narrow length facing the wall.
  • AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF BANKING – The educational arm of the American Bankers Association.
  • AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF REAL ESTATE APPRAISERS – A trade organization designed to establish standards of competence in the appraisal industry. The designation MAI (competent by the institute’s standards to appraise all types of real property) and RM (one to four family residences) are prestigious and heavily relied upon by the real estate industry, lenders, governments, and others who utilize appraisers.
  • AMORTIZATION – Payment of debt in regular, periodic installments of principal and interest, as opposed to interest only payments. (See also: Balloon Note; Straight Note).
  • AMORTIZATION SCHEDULE – A schedule showing each payment of a loan to be amortized (see Amortization) and breaking down the payment into the amount applied to principal and the amount applied to interest.
  • AMORTIZE – To reduce a debt by regular payments of both principal and interest, as opposed to interest only payments.
  • AMPERE – A measure of electrical current equal to the current produced by the force of one volt through a resistance of one ohm. (See also: Coulomb)
  • ANCESTOR – Legally, the word may have several meanings. It may imply a lineal descent, such as the parent of a child, or collaterals, such as an older brother being the ancestor of a younger brother. Also means one from whom a person inherits.
  • ANCHOR BOLT – A bolt set (anchored) in concrete or other masonry foundation and then attached to the superstructure to prevent movement (anchor it).
  • ANCHOR TENANT – The most reliable, and usually the largest, tenant in a shopping center. The strength of the anchor tenant greatly effects the availability of financing for the shopping center. The term may also be used to describe a tenant in an office building, industrial park, etc.
  • ANCILLARY – Subordinate, aiding.
  • ANNEX – To add or attach.
  • ANNEXATION – Permanently affixing to real property, such as a city adding additional land to increase its size.
  • ANNUAL – By the year.
  • ANNUAL DEBT CONSTANT – (See: Loan Constant).
  • ANNUAL DEBT SERVICE – Yearly amount of principal and interest payments of debt service. (See: Debt Service).
  • ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (A.P.R.) – The yearly interest percentage of a loan, as expressed by the actual rate of interest paid. For example: 6% add-on interest would be much more than 6% simple interest, even though both would say 6%. The A.P.R. is disclosed as a requirement of federal truth in lending statutes.
  • ANNUITY – (1) A payment of money yearly for life or a given period of years. (2) A fixed amount given or left by will, paid periodically, not necessarily yearly.
  • ANNUITY METHOD – Appraisal method determining present value by future anticipated net income before depreciation, which is then discounted.
  • ANNUM – Year.
  • ANTE – Prefix meaning before.
  • ANTENUPTIAL AGREEMENT – An agreement made by a man and woman in contemplation of marriage, setting forth the property rights of each during the marriage, and in the event of divorce or death.
  • ANTICIPATION – Appraisal method using the principle that value is created by anticipated future benefits.
  • ANTICIPATORY BREACH – One party to a contract informing the other of his or her intent not to perform before performance is due. A legal action may be brought even though the original contract (not yet due for performance) has not been breached. Example: The buyer informs the seller before the closing date of his or her intent not to buy.
  • APARTMENT – One or more rooms of a building used as a place to live, in a building containing at least one other unit used for the same purpose. Usually has, at least, cooking facilities, a bathroom, and a place to sleep. Those who live in these units pay rent for their use, usually on a monthly basis.
  • APARTMENT HOTEL – A building combining the features of an apartment building and a hotel. The units are furnished and may offer hotel facilities such as maid service, a restaurant, etc., but whose residents may stay for months or years, paying on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • APARTMENT HOUSE – A building, containing two or more separate residential units, which is under one ownership. The residents of the units pay rent.
  • APPARENT AUTHORITY – Action (or failure to act) by a principal which leads one to believe that an agent of said principal has authority which in fact the agent does not have.
  • APPEL LOAN (ACCELERATING PAYOFF PROGRESSIVE EQUITY LOAN) – A residential property loan which calls for a payment increase over the first 6 years. Level payments are made for the remaining years and the loan paid off during the 15th year. There is no prepayment penalty and P.M. I. is required.
  • APPOINTMENTS – Furnishings (mostly thought of as decorative) and equipment in a building.
  • APPORTIONMENT – A proper allocation of income and expenses of property, especially after a division of ownership.
  • APPRAISAL – An opinion of value based upon a factual analysis. Legally, an estimation of value by two disinterested persons of suitable qualifications.
  • APPRAISAL – An opinion of value based upon a factual analysis.
  • APPRAISAL REPORT – A written report by an appraiser containing his opinion as to the value of a property and the reasoning leading to this opinion. The factual data supporting the opinion, such as comparables, appraisal formulas, and qualifictions of the appraiser, will also be set forth.
  • APPRAISED VALUE – An opinion of the value of a property at a given time, based on facts regarding the location, improvements, etc., of the property and surroundings.
  • APPRAISER – One who is trained and educated in the methods of determining the value of property through analysis of various factors which determine said value.
  • APPRECIATION – An increased value of property due to either a positive improvement of the area or the elimination of negative factors. Commonly, and incorrectly, used to describe an increase in value through inflation.
  • APPROPRIATION – The private taking and use of public property, such as water from a river or lake. Not to be confused with condemnation or expropriation.
  • APPROVED ATTORNEY – In states where attorneys examine the chain of title before title insurance is issued, the title company will approve certain attorneys as those whose opinion it will accept for the issuance of a title policy.
  • APPURTENANCE – Something belonging to something else, either attached or not, such as a barn to a house, or an easement to land. The appurtenance is part of the property and passes with it upon sale or other transfer.
  • APPURTENANT – Belonging to, accessory to, or incidental to.
  • APPURTENANT EASEMENT – (See: Easement).
  • APR – (See: Annual Percentage Rate).
  • APRON – Any structure resembling the shape of the apron worn as clothing, such as the protruding lower inside part of a window, the portion of a driveway which connects it to the street, the entrance to a loading dock, and similar structures.
  • AQUATIC RIGHTS – Individual rights to the use of the sea and rivers, for the purpose of fishing or navigation, and to the soil in the sea and rivers.
  • AQUEDUCT – A large pipe, conduit, or trench to bring water or carry it away.
  • ARABLE – Land capable of being cultivated for farming.
  • ARBITRAGE – The buying and selling of money or securities in different markets at a profit. For example: The value of 1 pound sterling is selling in New York for $2.00 and in London for $1.98. If one buys in London for dollars and sells in New York, there is a profit of $.02 per pound sterling. The term has come to be used with regard to the interest rate spread between wrap-around and underlying financing.
  • ARBITRARY MAP – A map drawn by a title company to be used in locating property in areas where legal descriptions are difficult and
  • complex. Areas are arbitrarily subdivided, usually by ownership at a given time, into lots which are numbered. Recorded documents are then posted to these arbitrary lots by the same "arb" number.
  • ARBITRATION CLAUSE – A clause in a lease calling for the decision of a third party (arbiter) regarding disputes over future rents based on negotiation. Also used in construction contracts, disputes between brokers, etc.
  • ARCADE – A seldom used term describing a series of colonnaded arches, covering a walkway with retail stores on one or both sides. A forerunner of the present shopping center.
  • ARCH – A concave curved span which may be over a doorway or an entire room or building, such as an arched ceiling or roof.
  • ARCHITECTURAL CONCRETE CONSTRUCTION – Concrete poured into a form to produce a design, giving the affect of stone masonry.
  • ARCHITECTURE – The design and construction plans for a structure. Recently the design for landscaping has become known as landscape architecture.
  • ARCHITRAVE – The surrounding molding of a doorway or similar wall opening.
  • ARCH RIB ROOF – A roof used primarily in industrial buildings, and having the shape of an arch or crescent. It is supported by a bow-string truss which spreads the roof load evenly.
  • AREA – The surface (plane) space of land or a building. Also describes a neighborhood, or large land section (such as the Southern California area). The term may also indicate a use, such as a work area, living area, play area, etc.
  • AREAWAY – An old term referring to a cellar or room under the sidewalk.
  • AREA ZONING – Mainly residential zoning which regulates the ratio of improvements to land, setbacks, etc. Also called bulk zoning.
  • ARM – Adjustable Rate Mortgage – variable rate mortgage..
  • ARM’S LENGTH – Legal slang meaning that there existed no special relationship between the parties involved in any matter which would taint the result.
  • ARM’S LENGTH TRANSACTION – A transaction without collusion or duress between the parties involved.
  • ARPENT – French land measure of area used in parts of the South, approximately.84625 acre.
  • ARREARS – (1) Payment made after it is due is in arrears. (2) Interest is said to be paid in arrears since it is paid to the date of payment rather than in advance, as is rent. Example: A rental payment made July 1 pays the rent to August 1. An interest payment made July 1 pays the interest to July 1.
  • ARTERIAL HIGHWAY – Any major highway or thoroughfare.
  • ARTESIAN WELL – A well bored into a subterranean body of water, which, being under pressure, rises naturally to the surface without artificial pumping.
  • ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION – Documentation filed with the state which sets forth general information about a corporation. More specific rules of the corporation would be contained in the by-laws.A
  • ARTIST’S CONCEPTION (RENDERING) – A drawing of a proposed real estate project. Not necessarily to scale and generally used to promote the sale of vacant land or the leasing of proposed buildings.
  • ASBESTOS – Afire and heat resistant material used in insulation, roofing, etc.
  • ASHLAR (ASHLER) – A stone which is cut in squares and used both as a facing for masonry walls, and in foundations.
  • "AS IS" CONDITION – Premises accepted by a buyer or tenant in the condition existing at the time of the sale or lease, including all physical defects.
  • ASKING PRICE – The price at which the seller is offering property for sale. The eventual selling price may be less after negotiation with a buyer.
  • ASPECT – A position or direction. Exposure.
  • ASSEMBLAGE – The acquisition of contiguous properties into one ownership for a specific use.
  • ASSEMBLAGE COST – The cost above the value of individual properties because of assemblage, rather than periodic individual sales.
  • ASSESS – To fix a value or appraise. Usually for taxation purposes..
  • ASSESSED VALUE – Value placed upon property for property tax purposes by the tax assessor.
  • ASSESSMENT – (1) The estimating of value of property for tax purposes. (2) A levy against property in addition to general taxes. Usually for improvements such as streets, sewers, etc.
  • ASSESSMENT BASE – The total assessed value of all property in a given assessment (tax) district.
  • ASSESSMENT DISTRICT – An area, the boundaries of which are set for tax assessment purposes only; these boundaries may cross city boundaries.
  • ASSESSMENT PERIOD – Taxable period. The period during which the tax assessment must be completed.
  • ASSESSMENT RATIO – The assessed value of a property expressed as a fraction in comparison to market value.
  • ASSESSMENT ROLL – The list of, taxable persons and property in a given area as compiled by the assessor.
  • ASSESSOR – One who estimates value of property for tax purposes.
  • ASSETS – Everything owned by a person or corporation which can be used for the payment of debts.
  • ASSIGN – To transfer property, or an interest in property.
  • ASSIGNEE – One who receives an assignment. (pl. assigns).
  • ASSIGNMENT – A transfer to another of any property, real or personal, or of any rights or estates in said property. Common assignments are of leases, mortgages, deeds of trust, but the general term encompasses all transfers of title.
  • ASSIGNMENT OF LEASE – The transfer by a lessee to a third party of the exact interest of said lessee. Differs and should not be confused with sublease (see which). A lease may legally contain certain restrictions of assignment and/or subleasing.
  • ASSIGNOR – One who makes an assignment.
  • ASSUMPTION FEE – Lender’s charge for paperwork involved in processing records for a new buyer assuming an existing loan.
  • ASSUMPTION OF DEED OF TRUST – (See: Assumption of Mortgage).
  • ASSUMABLE MORTGAGE – A mortgage which, by its terms, allows a new party to take over its terms or obligarions.
  • ATELIER – A craftsman’s workshop or artist’s studio.
  • ATRIUM – An interior court, centrally located in a structure, which is either uncovered or covered with a transparent or translucent material to admit light.
  • ATTACHMENT – An act of seizing persons or propery by judicial order to bring them within the custody of the court.
  • ATTEST – To witness, to affirm to be true or genuine; to certify.
  • ATTESTATION CLAUSE – The clause in a document (deed, mortgage, etc.) in which the witnesses certify that the document has been properly executed.
  • ATTIC – The space under the roof of a structure but before the top story. May be simply an air space or improved and used.
  • ATTORN – To turn over; to transfer to another. To agree to recognize a new owner of a property and pay rent to him. (See also: Letter of Attornment).
  • ATTORNEY AT LAW – An advocate, counsel, or official agent employed in preparing, managing, and trying cases in court. Must be licensed by the state.
  • ATTORNEY-IN-FACT – One who is appointed to act (as agent) for another under a power of attorney.
  • ATTORNMENT AGREEMENT – (See: Letter of Attornment).
  • ATTRACTIVE NUISANCE – Anything on a property which may attract small children and is dangerous to them. Reasonable care must be used to prevent injury to the children.
  • AUCTION – A public sale of land or goods to the highest bidder.
  • AUXILIARY LANE – A paved shoulder of a highway, usually designed for emergency stopping.
  • AVENUE – Originally, a broad passageway bordered by trees. Now synonomous with street or road, and of no special significance.
  • AVERAGE DAILY BALANCE – The sum of the daily balances in a bank account over a monthly period divided by the number of days in a month.
  • AVERAGE DAILY COLLECTED BALANCE – The average daily balance (see which) less the float (uncollected funds).
  • AVERAGE DAILY TRAFFIC – The number of vehicles passing a given point in one day. Usually obtained by finding the number for several days and averaging.
  • AVIGATION EASEMENT – An easement over private property abutting an airport runway, which limits the height of crops, trees, structures, etc., in the aircraft’s take off and landing path.
  • AVULSION – A sudden and substantial tearing away of land by water and the deposit of said land as an addition to the land of another owner. The original boundaries apply and ownership of the land in question remains in the original owner.
  • AWARD – In condemnation, the amount paid for the property taken.
  • AWNING – Canvas, metal or other material, which protrudes out over a window or doorway to provide protection from the sun, rain, etc.
  • AWNING WINDOW – A window which, being hinged at the top, forms an awning when open.
  • AZIMUTH – Distance in degrees from North to an object, or, in the Southern hemisphere, from South to an object. A surveying term.
  • AZONAL SOIL – Soil which does not contain distinct horizons (layers).