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.
The "to have and hold" clause which defines or limits the quantity of
the estate granted in the premises of the deed
A contract between purchaser and an insurer, to compensate the insured
for loss of property due to hazards (fire, hail damage, etc.), for a premium.
Most common, lender required feature of homeowners insurance
Property, personal and real, capable of being inherited
A nine-story or taller building containing residential apartments or condominium
units. In addition to spectacular views, most high-rises offer their residents
a full range of amenities. Building features may include 24-hour concierge service,
swimming pools, spas, saunas, tennis courts, exercise areas, party rooms and guest
suites. Security is enhanced at these buildings by the manned entry desks and
limited access, covered parking garages. Compare with mid-rise.
highest and best use
The particular use of a real property which will produce the greatest financial
return. The optimum use of a site as used in appraisal. This is often determined
by location, neighboring properties, deed restrictions and local zoning regulations.
A home built on a busy street, surrounded by commercial property, and not restricted
from other development, is not fulfilling its highest and best use. Once the property
is redeveloped into commercial property, it can meet it economic potential.
In a contract, a promise by one party not to hold the other party responsible
if the other party carries out the contract in a way that causes damage to the
first party. For example, many leases include a hold harmless clause in which
the tenant agrees not to sue the landlord if the tenant is injured due to the
landlord’s failure to maintain the premises. In most states, these clauses
are illegal in residential tenancies, but may be upheld in commercial settings.
home equity loan
A fixed or adjustable rate loan obtained for a variety of purposes, secured by
the equity in your home. Interest paid is usually tax-deductible. Often used for
home improvement or freeing of equity for investment in other real estate or investment.
Recommended by many to replace or substitute for consumer loans whose interest
is not tax-deductible, such as auto or boat loans, credit card debt, medical debt,
and education loans.
A service contract that covers a major housing system--for example, plumbing or
electrical wiring--for a set period of time from the date a house is sold. The
warranty guarantees repairs to the covered system and is renewable. A basic, one
year Buyer's warranty costs $295 to $350 with additional coverage available for
garage door openers, spas, swimming pools, sprinkler system and other appliances
homeowners' association (HOA)
An organization comprising neighbors concerned with managing the common areas
of a subdivision or condominium complex. These associations take on issues such
as maintaining common land and recreation areas, and collecting dues from residents.
The homeowners' association is also responsible for enforcing any covenants, conditions
& restrictions that apply to the property. Payment of dues and participation
in the homeowner's association may be either voluntary or mandatory, depending
on the neighborhood
A type of insurance policy designed to protect homeowners from financial losses
related the ownership of real property. In addition to covering losses due to
vandalism, fire, hail, etc. (hazard insurance) most policies also provide theft
and liability coverage. Flood related damage requires a separate flood insurance
policy or rider.
1) The house in which a family lives, plus any adjoining land and other buildings
on that land. (2) Land, and the improvements thereon, designated by the owner
as his homestead and, therefore, protected by state law from forced sale by certain
creditors of the owner. Other taxing authorities,
such as cities and counties, may offer additional property tax exemptions on homesteads.
Homestead protection will not stop forclosures for deliquent mortgages, taxes
or mandatory homeowners association dues. (3) Land acquired out of the public
lands of the United States. The term "homesteaders" refers to people
who got their land by settling it and making it productive, rather than purchasing
The final transfer of the ownership of a house from the seller to the buyer, which
occurs after both have met all the terms of their contract and the deed has been
recorded. Also known as just "closing".
Housing and Urban Development, Deparment of (HUD)
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is the agency responsible
for enforcing the federal Fair Housing Act.
Housing and Urban Development