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.
mandatory continuing education (MCE)
The requirement that all licensed real estate brokers and salesmen
(who have met their SAE requirement), attend at least 15 hours of certified real
estate education courses before each license renewal (every two years). At least
six of the 15 hours must be in legal topics
A structure built in a factory, that is later shipped to, and placed on, the homesite.
The term can apply to both mobile homes and pre-fab homes
An amount, usually a percentage, which is added to the index to determine the
interest rate for adjustable rate mortgages
Property which is barely profitable to use.
market approach to value
An estimate of value based on the actual sales prices of comparable properties.
Contrast with cost approach to value and income approach to value.
The price that a willing buyer and a willing seller, both given full information,
and neither under pressure to act, would agree upon. Also known as Fair Market
A large scale, mixed use, real estate development that follows a long term, comprehensive
plan. Master-planned communities typically blend different price ranges of residential
neighborhoods with some commercial properties designed to serve the residents'
needs. Residential properties may include patio homes, townhouses, condominiums
and apartment complexes in addition to neighborhoods of single-family homes. Likewise,
multiple home builders are included in the construction of the various neighborhoods.
Commercial development can consist of retail strip centers ans shopping malls,
restaurants, entertainment venues and office buildings. In addition, master-planned
communities usually offer amenities such as public recreation areas and parks,
neighborhood schools and extensive landscaping. Recreation areas may include public
swimming pools, tennis courts, children's play grounds and sports fields. Many
offer large water features and public or private golf courses. The term "master-planned"
has become somewhat of an overused buzzword in the current market place. True
master-planned communities require a a multi-year commitment from the developer
and contain thousands of homes.
See mandatory continuing education
A legal claim placed on real estate by someone who is owed money for labor, services
or supplies contributed to the property for the purpose of improving it. Typical
lien claimants are general contractors, subcontractors and suppliers of building
materials. A mechanics' lien claimant can sue to have the real estate sold at
auction and recover the debt from the proceeds. Because property with a lien on
it cannot be easily sold until the lien is satisfied (paid off), owners have a
great incentive to pay their bills
A dispute resolution method designed to help warring parties resolve
their own dispute without going to court. In mediation, a neutral third party
(the mediator) meets with the opposing sides to help them find a mutually satisfactory
solution. Unlike a judge in her courtroom or an arbitrator conducting a binding
arbitration, the mediator has no power to impose a solution. No formal rules of
evidence or procedure control mediation; the mediator and the parties usually
agree on their own informal ways to proceed.
metes and bounds
A system of land description using distance (metes) and angles/compass directions
(bounds), beginning and ending at the same point. Contrast with government survey
and recorded plat method.
A 4-story to 8-story tall building that contains residential apartment or condominium
units. While not offering the panoramic views of a high-rise, mid-rise buildings
can offer comparable levels of amenities and services. Building features may include
24-hour concierge service, swimming pools, spas, saunas, tennis courts, exercise
areas, and party rooms. Security is enhanced at these buildings by the manned
entry desks and limited access, covered parking garages
An ownership interest in the minerals contained in a particular parcel of land,
with or without ownership of the surface of the land. The owner of mineral rights
is usually entitled to either take the minerals from the land himself or receive
a royalty from the party that actually extracts the minerals
The minimum amount that you must pay, usually monthly, on a home equity loan or
line of credit. In some plans, the minimum payment may be "interest only,"
(simple interest). In other plans, the minimum payment may include principal and
As defined in the Civil Rights Act of 1968 as part of the Fair Housing Laws "'minority'
means any group, or any member of a group, that can be identified either: (1)
by race, color, religion, sex, disability, or national origin; or (2) by any other
characteristic (such as familial status) on the basis of which discrimination
is prohibited by a federal, state, or local fair housing law
A false statement, or concealment, of material fact with the intention of inducing
action of another.
A type of manufactured home, that is transported to the home site using wheels
attached to the structure. Mobile homes come in various widths and lengths, and
maybe composed of one to three pieces. A one piece home is called a "single-wide",
while a house that is joined together from two halves is called a "double-wide".
Recently, "triple-wides" have appeared, and become as the largest mobile
homes available. Most sections are between 14 and 16 feet wide, and 54 to 80 feet
in length. Mobile homes do not require any foundation or substructure. They sit
up off the ground, with skirting used around the base to hide the wheel and jacks.
While it is possible to tie down a mobile home to a piece of land, using straps
and screw-in anchors, the structures are very susceptible to high winds and tornados.
A rental agreement that provides for a one-month tenancy that is automatically
renewed each month unless either tenant or landlord gives the other the proper
amount of written notice (usually 30 days) to terminate the agreement. Some landlords
prefer to use month-to-month tenancies because it gives them the right to raise
the rent after giving proper notice. This type of rental also provides a landlord
with an easy way to get rid of troublesome tenants, because in most states month-to-month
tenancies can be terminated for any reason. It is also common for leases to revert
to month-to-month tenancies at the end of the original lease period, if another
lease has not been signed.
A fixed object or point, either natural or man-made, used in making a survey
A contract providing security for the repayment of a loan, registered against
property, with stated rights and remedies in the event of default. Lenders consider
both the property (security) and financial worth of the borrower (covenant) in
deciding on a mortgage loan.
Originates mortgage loans, loaning you their funds and closing the loan in their
A person or company having contacts with financial institutions or individuals
wishing to invest in mortgages
A loan which utilizes real estate as security or collateral to provide for repayment
should you default on the terms of your loan. The mortgage or deed of trust is
your agreement to pledge your home or other real estate as security
The lender in a mortgage loan transaction
The borrower in a mortgage loan transaction
See Municipal Utility District