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Real Estate Terms Glossary
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Real Estate Terms Beggining with the Letter a
Abatement of Judgment
 
A document containing a condensation of the essential provisions of a court judgment.
   
Abatement of Nuisance
 
The act of ending or terminating a nuisance; a type of legal action brought to end a nuisance.
   
Abstract of Judgment
 
A summary of money judgment. The summary is usually prepared so that it may be recorded thereby creating a (judgment) lien on real estate owned by the judgment debtor.
   
Abstract of Title
 
A summary of the instruments affecting title to a parcel of real property as shown by the public records.
   
Accelerate
 
To make a note all due and payable at one time.
   
Acceleration Clause
 
A clause in a deed of trust or mortgage giving the lender the right to call all sums owing him or her to be immediately due and payable upon the occurrence of a certain event. It is also a clause that permits a debtor to pay off a loan before the due date.
   
Acceleration Clause
 
A clause in a promissory note deed of trust or mortgage that provides that upon default of a payment or some other stated event the entire unpaid balance becomes immediately due and payable.
   
Acceptance
 
An essential element of every contract it is the consent to be bound by the offer. In deeds it is the consent to accept a grant of real property.
   
Access Right
 
The right of an owner to go into and out of his or her property.
   
Accommodation Party
 
A person who without receiving value signs a promissory note to help another person borrow money or get credit.
   
Accord And Satisfaction
 
The discharge of an existing contract by accepting the performance under a substitute contract. Generally consideration under the new contract is different from and of lesser value than under the original contract and satisfaction is the performance of that contract; the combination discharges the original contract.
   
Accretion
 
A gradual addition to land from natural causes; for example from gradual action of ocean or river waters.
   
Accrued Depreciation
 
(1) The difference between the cost of replacement new as of the date of the appraisal and the present appraised value. (2) The accumulated loss in value that has affected the improvements on real property.
   
Acknowledgement
 
A formal declaration before an officer duly authorized as a notary public by a person who has executed an instrument stating that the execution is his or her act and deed. A formal statement (usually before a notary public) by the person signing a deed or document that the instrument was actually and freely signed.
   
Acoustical Tile
 
Blocks of fiber mineral or metal with small holes or a rough-textured surface to absorb sound used as covering for interior walls and ceilings.
   
Acquisition
 
The act or process by which a person procures property.
   
Acre
 
A measure of land equaling 160 square rods 4840 square yards43560 square feet or a tract about 208.71 feet square.
   
Ad Valorem
 
According to value.
   
ADA
 
(Americans with Disabilities Act) A statute that codifies building standards and conditions for access by Americans with certain disabilities.
   
Adjacent
 
Located next to or near an object or parcel of property.
   
Adjoining
 
Located so as to touch an object or share a common property line.
   
Adjusted Cost Basis
 
For tax purposes it is the cost of the property plus improvements and minus depreciation amortization and depletion.
   
Administrator
 
A person appointed by the probate court to administer the estate of a deceased person. His or her duties include making an inventory of the assets managing the property paying the debts and expenses filing necessary reports and tax returns and distributing the assets as ordered by the probate court.
   
Adverse Possession
 
A method of acquiring property based on open and notorious possession under a claim of right color of title continuous use for five years and the payment of taxes. A method of acquiring property through continuous use of that property while paying taxes on it.
   
Affidavit
 
A statement or declaration reduced to writing sworn to or affirmed before some officer who has authority to administer an oath or affirmation such as a notary public or a commanding officer in the service.
   
Affirm
 
To confirm swear ratifying verity.
   
Agency
 
A relationship between a principal and the principal's agent which arises out of a contract either express or implied written or verbal wherein the agent is employed by the principal to do certain acts dealing with a third party.
   
Agent
 
One who acts for and with the authority of another called the principal.
   
Agreement
 
An exchange of promises a mutual understanding or arrangement a contract.
   
Agreement of Sale
 
(1) A written contract between a buyer and seller setting out the terms of sale. (2) An installment sales contract covering real property especially a long-term contract.
   
Alienation
 
The transferring of property to another. Conveyance or transfer of title to real estate from one person to another person.
   
Alienation Clause
 
In a deed of trust or mortgage a provision that if the secured property is sold or transferred the lender has the option of accelerating the loan and declaring the entire unpaid balance immediately due and payable. Also called a due-on-sale" clause."
   
All-Inclusive Deed of Trust
 
A financing device whereby a lender makes payments on the existing trust deeds of a borrower and takes from the borrower a junior trust deed with a face value in an amount equal to the amount outstanding on the old trust deeds and the additional amount of money borrowed.
   
Alluvion (Alluvium)
 
Soil that has been deposited by accretion on the shore of a river or body of water and that increases the real property.
   
Alta Owner's Policy
 
(American Land Title Association) An owner's extended coverage policy that provides buyers and owners the same protection the ALTA policy gives to lenders.
   
Alta Title Policy
 
(American Land Title Association) A type of title insurance policy issued by title insurance companies which expands the risks normally insured against under the standard type policy to include items such as unrecorded mechanic's liens; unrecorded physical easements; facts a physical survey would show; water and mineral rights; and rights of parties in possession such as tenants and buyers under unrecorded instruments.
   
Alter Ego
 
A doctrine which holds that a corporation is really owned by shareholders as their own property and therefore it should not be considered as a separate entity. Usually used to try to hold shareholders liable for corporate debts.
   
Ambulatory
 
Capable of being changed or revoked. In wills it refers to the concept that a will may be revoked or modified at any time up to the testator's death.
   
Ameliorating Waste
 
Improvements to property that while not damaging the value of the property technically qualify as waste. For example an apartment building constructed on property designated only for single-family structures is considered ameliorating waste.
   
Amenities
 
Satisfaction of enjoyable living to be derived from a home; conditions of agreeable living or a beneficial influence from the location of improvements not measured in monetary consideration but rather as tangible and intangible benefits attributable to the property often causing greater pride in ownership.
   
American Land Title Association
 
An owner's extended coverage policy that provides buyers and owners the same protection the ALTA policy gives to lenders.
   
Americans With Disabilities Act
 
A statute that codifies building standards and conditions for access by Americans with certain disabilities.
   
Amortization
 
The liquidation of a financial obligation on an installment basis; also recovery over a period of cost or value.
   
Amortized Loan
 
A loan to be repaid interest and principal by a series of regular payments that are equal without any special balloon payment prior to maturity. Also called a Level Payments Loan.
   
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
 
The relative cost of credit as determined in accordance with Regulation Z of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for Implementing the Federal Truth in Lending Act.
   
Annuity
 
A sum of money received or paid yearly or at other fixed periods.
   
Anticipation
 
Affirms that value is created by the anticipated benefits to be derived in the future.
   
Anticipatory Breach
 
Advance notice of intention to violate the terms of a contract.
   
Appeal
 
The review or rehearing by a higher court of a low (inferior) court's decision.
   
Appellant
 
The party appealing a court decision. Either party may appeal; hence the appellant could have been either the plaintiff or the defendant in the trial court.
   
Appraisal
 
An estimate of the value of property resulting from an analysis of facts about the property. An opinion of value.
   
Appraiser
 
One qualified by education training and experience who is hired to estimate the value of real and personal property based on experience judgment facts and use of formal appraisal processes.
   
Apurtenant
 
Attached to or considered part of land because of being considered necessary and incidental to the use of that land. Commonly applied to easements that are considered part of property.
   
Assessed Value
 
Value placed on property as a basis for taxation. A value used by the tax assessor before July 1978. It represented 25 percent of the assessor's fair market value. After deducting any exemptions from assessed value one applied the tax rate to the net figure to determine annual property taxes.
   
Assessment
 
The valuation of property for the purpose of levying a tax or the amount of tax levied.
   
Assessor
 
The official who has the responsibility of determining the assessed values.
   
Assignee
 
One to whom property is assigned or transferred.
   
Assignment
 
A transfer to another of any property or right. The transfer of one's entire interest in property. Generally the term is limited to intangible personal property (that is stocks bonds promissory notes) and to leasehold estates.
   
Assignment of Rents
 
An assignment of future rents form property as security for a debt.
   
Assignment of Rents Clause
 
A clause in a deed of trust or mortgage providing that in the event of default all rents and income from the secured property will be paid to the lender to help reduce the outstanding loan balance.
   
Assignor
 
One who assigns or transfers property.
   
Assumption
 
Acceptance of personal liability for another's debt or obligation. In the case of the sale of real estate the buyer personally accepts and promises to pay off the existing deed of trust.
   
Assumption of Agreement
 
A contract by which a person agrees to pay a debt or obligation owed by someone else.
   
Assumption of Mortgage or Deed of Trust
 
The taking of title to property by a grantee in which he or she assumes liability for payment of existing note secured by a mortgage or deed of trust against the property.
   
Attachment
 
Seizure of property by court order before judgment usually done to have it available in the event a judgment is obtained in a pending law suit. The actual or constructive seizure of property by court order during a lawsuit. The usual purpose is to hold the assets as security for the satisfaction of a judgment.
   
Attachment Lien
 
A lien on property arising because of an attachment of that property.
   
Attest
 
(1) To affirm to be true or genuine. (2) An official act establishing authenticity.
   
Attorney-In-Fact
 
An agent authorized to perform certain acts for another under a power of attorney. (See Power of Attorney.)
   
Avulsion
 
The sudden tearing away or removal of land by the action of water flowing over or through it.
   

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