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Real Estate Dictionary



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 your interest). Time limits vary by state.
ABATEMENT - A reduction or decrease. Usually applies to a decrease of assessed valuation of ad valorem taxes after the assessment and levy.
ABSORPTION - The filling of space, such as the rental of units or sale of a tract of land. The time or rate must be estimated and considered as part of the owner's (often a builders) cost. 
ABSTRACT - A Summary; an abridgement.
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, bout presently owned or after acquired.
ABSTRACT OF TITLE - A compilation of the recorded documents relating to a parcel of land, from which an attorney may give an opinion as to the condition of title. Still used in some states, but being replaced by title insurance.
ABUTMENTS - The vertical members (walls or heavy columns) which bear the load or pressure of the cross member, such as a arch, pier, or similar structure.
ABUTTING OWNER - One whose land is contiguous to (abuts) a public right of way.

ACCELERATION CLAUSE - Condition in a mortgage that may require the balance of the loan to become due immediately, if regular mortgage payments are not made or for breach of other contract conditions.

ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION - A general term including any method of depreciation greater than straight line depreciation.
ACCEPTANCE -  Voluntarily agreeing  to the price and terms of an offer. Offer and acceptance create a contract.
ACCESSION - The right of an owner to an increase in his property by natural means. 
ACCESS RIGHT -  A right to ingress and egress to and from one's property. May be expressed or implied.
ACCRETION - The gradual addition to the shore line or bank of a waterway. The land generally becomes the property of the owner of the shore or bank, except where statutes specify otherwise.
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.
ACQUISITION COSTS - Costs of acquiring property other than purchase price: escrow fees, title insurance, lenders fees, etc.
ACRE - A measurement equal to 160 square rods or 43,560 square feet.
ACT OF GOD -  Damage caused by nature: floods, winds, etc.
ADDENDUM - Something added. (A list added to a document, letter or contract.)
ADJOINING - touching or contiguous to.
ADJUDICATION - A judgment or decision by a court.
ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME - Gross income of a building if full rented, less an allowance for vacancies. A person's income after taxes.
AD VALOREM -  "According to value". In real estate it refers to the property tax rate per thousand.
AGREEMENT OF SALE - Meaning varies by state. It is synonymous with either a purchase agreement or a land contract.
AGENCY - Any relationship win which one party (agent) acts for or represents another (principle) under the authority of the latter. Agency involving real property should be in writing, such as listing, trusts, power of attorney, etc. 

Agent -  Acts of behalf of another, representing that person's interests and serving as an intermediary.

ALIENATION -  Transfer of property from one owner to another.

Alienation Clause - A clause within a loan instrument calling for a debt in its entirety upon the transfer of ownership of the secured property. Also called a "due on sale" clause.

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 settings or improvements to property which increase the desirability or enjoyment other than necessities. For example a swimming pool.
AMORTIZATION - Payment of a debt over equal installments of principal and interest, rather than interest only payments.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) - The total cost or finance charge for a loan per year, expressed as a percentage of the loan amount. It is the sum of the interest and any other fees, such as discount points, compared to the amount of the loan. The lender is required by the Truth-In-Lending Act to disclose the APR using a procedure prescribed by the federal government.

ANTENUPTIAL AGREEMENT - An agreement between a man and a woman in contemplation of marriage, setting forth the property rights of each during the marriage, and in the even of death or divorce.
APPRAISAL - An opinion of value based upon a factual analysis done by a disinterested person of suitable qualifications. The three methods are: Cost, Market Value, or Income.
ARMS LENGTH TRANSACTION - A transaction in which the parties have no special interest or relationship. Example: A property is owned by a Mother and is to be sold to her son. The mortgage company denies the loan because it is a non-arms-length transaction.
ARTESIAN WELL - A well well bored into a subterranean body of water, which, being under pressure, rises naturally to the surface without artificial pumping.
"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 a seller is offering property for sale. The eventual selling price may be lower after negotiation with a buyer. In a tight market competition among  buyers may cause the final price to exceed asking price.
ASSEMBLAGE - The acquisition of contiguous properties into one ownership for a specific use.
ASSESSED VALUE - Value placed upon property for property tax purposes by the tax assessor.
ATTACHMENT - An act of seizing persons or property by judicial order.
ATTESTATION CLAUSE - The clause in a document (deed or mortgage) in which the witnesses certify that the documents has been properly executed.
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