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Real Estate Lexicon

A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

E

Earnest money
A deposit made by the potential home buyer as pledge of good faith and to show serious interest about buying the house.

Easement
A right of way giving persons other than the owner access to or over a property.

Eminent domain
The right of a government to take private property for public use upon payment of its fair market value. Eminent domain is the basis for condemnation proceedings.

Encroachment
An improvement that intrudes illegally on another's property (e. g. fences or other structures).

Encumbrance
Anything that affects or limits the fee simple title to a property, such as mortgages, leases, easements, or restrictions.

Equity                                                                                                                                                                A determination of the value of a property after existing liens are deducted.

Escheat
The right of government to take ownership when a person dies and leaves no heirs and no instructions regarding the disposal of his or her real and personal property.

Escrow
An item of value, money, or documents deposited with a third party to be delivered upon the fulfillment of a condition.

Estate
The total assets of a person, including real property, at the time of death.

Eviction
The lawful expulsion of an occupant from real property.

Examination of title
The report on the title of a property from the public records or an abstract of the title.

Exclusive listing
A written contract that gives a licensed real estate agent the exclusive right to sell a property for a specified time.


F

Fair Housing Act
Landmark federal law that makes it illegal to deny rent or refuse to sell to anyone based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin, family status and disability.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
An agency of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which insures mortgage loans

Fee Simple / Fee Simple Absolute
This type of ownership is the maximum interest a person can have in a piece of real estate. It entitles the owner to use the property in any manner they see fit, in accordance with state and local laws.

FHA mortgage
A mortgage that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Along with VA loans, an FHA loan will often be referred to as a government loan.

First mortgage
A mortgage lien which has priority over all other mortgages.

Fixture
Personal property that becomes real property when attached in a permanent manner to real estate.

Flood insurance
Insurance that compensates for physical property damage resulting from flooding.

Foreclosure
A legal process instituted after the debtors’ default by a mortgagee or lien creditor to defeat any interest which the debtor-owner may have in property.




G

General Warranty Deed
Covenants in the deed whereby the grantor agrees to protect the grantee against any and all existing claims against the property.

Government loan (mortgage)
A mortgage that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or the Rural Housing Service (RHS). Mortgages that are not government loans are classified as conventional loans.

Grantee
The person to whom an interest in real property is conveyed.

Grantor
The person who conveys an interest in a piece of property to another person.

Growing-equity mortgage
A fixed rate mortgage that increases payments over a specific period of time. The extra funds are applied to the principal.

H

Habendum clause
The clause in a deed or mortgage which states that the grantee is to have the property transferred to him or her.

Home equity line of credit
A mortgage loan, usually in second position, that allows the borrower to obtain cash drawn against the equity of his home, up to a predetermined amount.

Home inspection
An examination of a home's construction, condition and internal systems by an inspector or contractor prior to purchase.

Homestead
Real property held by an individual as a home. The owner enjoys special rights and privileges as to taxes and as to creditor’s claims.

Homeowners' association
A group that governs a subdivision or planned community. An association collects monthly fees from all owners to pay for maintenance of common areas, handle legal and safety issues, and enforce the covenants, conditions and restrictions set by the developer.

HUD-1 Uniform Settlement Statement
A closing statement or settlement sheet that outlines all closing costs on a real estate transaction or refinancing.

HUD - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development  

A federal agency that oversees the Federal Housing Administration and a variety of housing and community development programs.