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Real Estate Lexicon



A real estate agent, broker or an associate who holds active membership in a local real estate board that is affiliated with the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Real Estate Sales Associate / Agent
A real estate agent has a state license to represent a buyer or a seller in a real estate transaction in exchange for a commission. Most agents work for real estate brokers.

Real Estate Broker
A real estate agent who is licensed by the state to represent a buyer or seller in a real estate transaction in exchange for a commission.

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)

A consumer protection law that requires lenders to give borrowers advance notice of closing costs.

Real Estate Service
Doing, attempting or offering to do any of the following related to an interest in real estate: advertise, buy, appraise, rent, sell, auction, lease or exchange.

Real Estate  
Land and anything permanently affixed to it, including buildings, fences and other items attached to the structure.

Real Property
Land and appurtenances, including anything of a permanent nature such as structures, trees, minerals, and the interest, benefits, and inherent rights thereof.

Resale Value  
The future value of a piece of property that can be affected by many factors, including the surrounding neighborhood, school scores, and economic and housing market conditions.

Return on Investment  
The amount of profit a property generates.

Restrictive Covenant
Conditions placed by a developer that affect how the land can be used in an entire subdivision.

Right of Way
An easement or privilege to pass or cross over another's land.


Sales contract  
A contract signed by the buyer and seller that details the terms of a home purchase.

Sale and Leaseback
A transaction in which an owner sells real property and then leases it back from the new owner for a long term.

Second mortgage
A mortgage that has a lien position subordinate to the first mortgage.

Seller's market  
A hot real estate market in which sellers have the advantage and multiple offers are common.

Settlement statement 
A document that details who has paid what to whom.

A housing development that is created by dividing a tract of land into individual lots for sale or lease.

Subordinate financing
Any mortgage or other lien that has a priority that is lower than that of the first mortgage.

A precise measurement of a piece of property by a licensed surveyor showing the legal boundaries of a property, the location of improvements, easements, rights of way, encroachments, and other physical features.


Tax deduction 
A tax break given by the government. Mortgage interest, loan points and property taxes can be deducted.

A legal document evidencing a person's right to or ownership of a property.

Title Company

A company that specializes in examining and insuring titles to real estate.

Title insurance  
A policy issued to lenders and buyers to protect any losses because of a dispute over the ownership of a piece of property.

Title Report
A statement of the current condition of title for a parcel of land.

Total Expense Ratio  
The percentage of monthly debt obligations relative to gross monthly income.

Transfer tax
State or local tax payable when title passes from one owner to another.

A legally empowered person who holds or controls a piece of property for another person.


The process that lenders go through to evaluate the risks posed by a particular borrower and to set appropriate conditions for the loan.

Unrecorded deed  
An unrecorded deed transfers ownership from one party to another without being officially recorded.

Unsecured loan  
Any loan that is not backed by collateral.

The process in which a property is zoned from a lower to a higher use.

Charging more than the legal rate of interest for the use of money.