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Real Estate Terms Glossary
Click the letter corresponding to the first letter of the word you wish to look up.
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Real Estate Terms Beggining with the Letter d
Dealer
 
A person who holds property primarily for sale to his or her customers in the ordinary course of his or her business.
   
Debt Service
 
The sum of money needed each payment period to amortize the loan or loans.
   
Debtor
 
(1) A party who owns" the property that is subject to a security interest. (2) A person who owes a debt."
   
Deck
 
Usually an open porch on the roof or another part of the structure.
   
Declaratory Relief
 
A court's decision on the rights of the parties in a question of law without ordering anything to be done.
   
Dedication
 
An appropriation of land by its owner for some public use and accepted for such use by authorized public officials on behalf of the public. A gift of privately owned land to the public or for public use. It may be voluntary or involuntary.
   
Deed
 
Written instrument which when properly executed and delivered conveys title to real property from one person (grantor) to another (grantee).
   
Deed of Trust
 
A security instrument transferring title to property to a third person (trustee) as security for a debt or other obligation.
   
Default
 
(1) Failure to fulfill a duty or promise or to discharge an obligation. (2) Omission or failure to perform any act. Failure to perform a legal duty or to discharge a promise.
   
Default Judgment
 
A judgment obtained because the defendant failed to appear and defend his case.
   
Defeasance Clause
 
The clause in a mortgage or deed of trust that gives the borrower the right to redeem his or her property upon the payment of his or her property upon the payment of his or her obligations to the lender.
   
Defeasible
 
Capable of being defeated. A defeasible estate is one that has a condition attached to the title which if broken causes the termination of that estate.
   
Defendant
 
The party being sued in a lawsuit; the party against whom an action is filed.
   
Deferred Maintenance
 
Existing but unfulfilled requirements for repairs and rehabilitation. Postponed or delayed maintenance causing decline in a building's physical condition.
   
Deficiency Judgement
 
A judgment given for the unpaid balance of a debt remaining after the surety is sold. A court decree holding a debtor personally liable for the shortage or insufficiency realized on the sale of secured property. The debtor owes the difference between the sale price of the property and the amount of the secured debt.
   
Delivery (of a Deed)
 
The unconditional irrevocable intent of a grantor immediately to divest (give up) an interest in real estate by a deed or other instrument.
   
Deposit
 
Money given to another as security to ensure the performance of a contract. The money is usually intended to be applied toward the purchase price of property or forfeited on failure to complete the contract.
   
Deposit Receipt
 
A term used by the real estate industry to describe the written offer to purchase real property upon stated terms and conditions accompanied by a deposit toward the purchase price which becomes the contract for the sale of the property upon acceptance by the owner.
   
Depreciation
 
A loss in value from any cause. This loss in value to real property may be caused by age or physical deterioration or by functional or economic obsolescence.
   
Desist and Refrain Order
 
An order that the Real Estate Commissioner is empowered by law and refrain from committing an act in violation of the Real Estate Law.
   
Deterioration
 
The process of gradual worsening or depreciation.
   
Devise
 
A gift of real property by deed.
   
Devisee
 
One who receives real property under a will.
   
Dictum
 
A written observation remark or opinion by a judge to illustrate or suggest an argument or rule of law not incidental to the case at hand and which therefore although persuasive is not binding on the judge.
   
Directional Growth
 
The direction in which the residential sections of a city seem destined or determined to grow.
   
Disclosure Statement
 
A statement that the Truth-in-Lending Law requires a creditor to give a debtor showing the finance charge annual percentage rate and other required information.
   
Discount
 
To sell a promissory note before maturity at a price less than the outstanding principal balance of the note at the time of sale. It may also be the amount deducted in advance by the lender from the face of the note.
   
Discount Points
 
The amount of money the borrower or seller must pay the lender to get a mortgage at a stated interest rate. The amount is equal to the difference between the principal balance on the note and the lesser amount which a purchaser of the note would pay the original lender for it under market conditions. A point equals one percent of the loan.
   
Discount Rate
 
The interest rate that is charged on money borrowed by banks from the Federal Reserve System.
   
Dissolution of Marriage
 
A divorce.
   
District Court
 
The main trial court in the federal court system and the lowest federal court. It has jurisdiction in civil cases where the plaintiffs and defendants are from different states (diversity of citizenship) and the amount in controversy is over $100 and in cases involving a federal question.
   
Divestment
 
The elimination or removal of a right or title usually applied to the cancellation of an estate in land.
   
Documentary Transfer Tax
 
A state enabling act allows a county to adopt a documentary transfer tax on all transfers of real property located in the county. Notice of payment is entered on the face of the dead or on a separate paper filed with the deed.
   
Domicile
 
A person's permanent residence.
   
Dominant Tenement
 
The tenement obtaining the benefit of an easement appurtenant. That parcel of land that benefits from an easement across another parcel of property (servient tenement).
   
Donee
 
The person to whom a gift is made.
   
Donor
 
The person who makes a gift.
   
Double Escrow
 
An escrow that will close only upon the condition that a prior escrow is consummated. The second escrow is contingent upon and tied to the first escrow. While double escrow is not illegal unless there is full and fair disclosure of the second escrow there may be a possibility of fraud or other actionable conduct by the parties.
   
Dual Agency
 
An agency relationship in which the agent acts concurrently for both principals in a transaction.
   
Due Process of Law
 
A constitutional guarantee that the government will not interfere with a person's private property rights without following procedural safeguards prescribed by law.
   
Due-On-Encumbrance Clause
 
A clause in a deed of trust or mortgage that provides that upon the execution of additional deeds of trust or other encumbrances against a secured parcel of property the lender may declare the entire unpaid balance of principal and interest due and owing.
   
Due-On-Sale Clause
 
An acceleration clause that grants the lender the right to demand full payment of the mortgage or deed of trust upon sale of the property. A clause in a deed of trust or mortgage that provides that if the secured property is sold or transferred the lender may declare the entire unpaid balance immediately due and payable. Its use has been severely limited by recent court decisions. Also called an alienation clause.
   
Duress
 
Unlawful constraint exercised upon a person whereby he or she is forced to do something against his or her will.
   

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