Glossary of Real Estate Terms

Some Background: Having recently moved to a new housing market, I found my understanding regarding the topic of real estate lacking. Being a programmer by day, and an avid self-learner by nature I thought I'd take a stab at an experiment in alchemization combining the two.

First, a terminology refresher related to the buying and selling of real estate. See below for a definition list, ...yawn.

Second, once upon a time I wrote a hangman game engine that's fun to leverage against word lists--and as it turns out, this is a word list. So, I thought I'd hangman-ize it for fun.

And, what web page would be complete without plugging in some kind of experiment? So, I'm adding a button study being explored for use in a wider range of applications elsewhere--thought I'd test drive it here first.

Feedback is appreciated. Contact the author here. Enjoy!

Play Real Estate Terms Hangman

Acceleration
Clause in a note or deed of trust which "accelerates: or hastens the time when the balance owed becomes due immediately upon the sale of the property or when payment is overdue.
Amortization
The reduction of a loan by equal installment payments over a given period of time.
Appreciation
The increase in value such as the increase in value of real property.
Assessed Value
Value placed on the real property by the County Tax Assessor for tax purposes only.
Closing Costs
The costs to the buyer or seller, or both, for loan fees, escrow fees, title insurance policies and transfer of ownership charges.
Condominium
A structure of two or more units, the interior space of which is individually owned, the balance of property (including land and buildings) is owned in common by the owners of the individual units.
Contingency
A contact provision allowing the buyer and seller to cancel the Purchase Agreement when certain conditions are met.
Cooperative Apartment
Also called a co-op. A structure of two or more units in which the right to occupy a unit is obtained by the purchase of stock in the corporation which owns the building.
Counter Offer
An offer (instead of acceptance) in response to an offer.
Deed
A written document by which the title to the land is conveyed from one entity to another, commonly recorded at close of escrow.
Deed of Trust
A written document by which the title to the property is conveyed to a trustee as security for the repayment of a loan.
Default
Failure to fulfill a duty or promise, or discharge an obligation such as the nonpayment of installments.
Documentary Transfer Tax
A county, and/or city tax on the transfer of real property. The tax may attach whenever the consideration given in a transaction exceeds $100.00, exclusive of remaining liens and encumbrances.
Earnest Money
This is the deposit given to the real estate broker or given to the seller by the potential buyer to indicate that they are serious about buying the property. This money is applied toward the down payment, but, in certain circumstances may be forfeited if the transaction does not go through.
Easement
A right or interest in a property less the liens against it.
Exclusive Agent
The one and only real estate broker contracted to sell a property within a given period of time.
Exclusive Listing
An exclusive right in favor of one real estate broker to sell a property within a specified period of time. If the seller sells the property himself within that period, he must pay the broker the regular commission.
Foreclosure
A procedure to deprive a person of the right to redeem a mortgage when regular payments have not been kept up. A proceeding under a deed of trust with power of sale includes the public sale of the property to satisfy the obligation.
Lien
A levy against a property for the payment of a debt.
Liquidated Damages
A definite amount of damages, set forth in a contract, to be paid by the party breaching the contract. A predetermined estimate of actual damages from a breach.
Mechanic's Lien
A lien created by a statute for the purpose of securing priority of payment for the price or value of work performed and materials furnished in construction or repair of improvements, which attaches to the land as well as the improvements.
Mortgage/Trust Deed
A written document by which property is put up as security for the repayment of a loan.
Multiple Listing Service
An association in which member brokers agree to share listings and sale commissions in relation thereto with other members.
MLS
an acronym for Multiple Listing Service
Offer
A written promise to buy property at a specific price and terms usually submitted on the Residential Purchase Agreement and Joint Escrow Instructions (and receipt for deposit). When the seller accepts the offer in writing, a contract is made, providing all essential terms are met.
Option to Purchase
The right to buy a property at a given price within a specific period of time.
Planned Development Project
It differs from a standard subdivision in that it has, in addition, areas owned and used in common with the other owners of separately owned lots.
Points
A one-time charge assessed by a lending institution at the time the loan is made.
Preliminary Title Report
A report showing the condition of title before a sale or loan transaction. After completion of the transaction, a title insurance policy is issued.
Realtor
A registered mark which identifies a professional in real estate who subscribes to a strict Code of Ethics as a member of the National Association of Realtors.
Title
A right to ownership of real property.
Title Insurance
Evidence of title guaranteed by the insurer in the form of a policy of title insurance. It protects buyers and lenders against loss sustained by reason of possible defects in the title to the property or due to unforeseen occurrence.
Townhouse
Originally a house in a city as opposed to a country estate. More recently the term is applied to certain types of row houses, whether planned unit developments or condominiums.
Adjustable-Rate Mortgage
A loan with an interest rate that is periodically adjusted to reflect changes in a specified financial index.
ARM
an acronym for Adjustable Rate Mortgage
Adjustment Period
The amount of time between interest rate adjustments in an adjustable-rate mortgage.
Annual Percentage Rate
The cost of the loan expressed as a yearly rate on the balance of the loan.
APR
an acronym for Annual Percentage Rate
Balloon Mortgage
A mortgage in which monthly installments are not large enough to repay the loan by the end of the term. As a result, the final payment due is the lump sum of the remaining principal.
Closing Costs
Expenses incidental to the sale of real estate, including loan, title and appraisal fees.
Credit Rating
The degree of credit worthiness assigned to a person based on credit history and financial status.
Deed of Trust
A document that gives a lender the right to foreclose on a piece of property if the borrower defaults on the loan.
Fully Amortized Mortgage
A mortgage that amortizes, or pays down, the balance of a loan.
Impounds
An optional portion of the monthly mortgage payment that is placed in an account and used to pay for hazard insurance, property taxes and private mortgage insurance.
Index
Financial tables used by lenders to calculate interest rates on adjustable mortgages and on Treasury bills.
Initial Interest Rate
The original interest rate on an adjustable mortgage.
Interest-Only Loan
Pays only the interest that accrues on the loan balance each month. Because each payment goes toward interest, the outstanding balance of the loan does not decline with each payment.
Interest Rate Caps
A limit on the amount that can be charged to the monthly payment of an adjustable-rate mortgage during an adjustment period.
Loan-to-Value Ratio
A technical measure used by lenders to assess the relationship of the loan amount to the value of the property.
Margin
The rate added to the index to determine the actual interest rate in an adjustable rate mortgage. For example, if the index rate is 6 percent and the margin is 2.5 percentage-points, the rate the borrower will pay is 8.5 percent.
Mortgage Banker
A company that provides home loans using its own money. The loans are usually sold to investors such as insurance companies and Fannie Mae.
Mortgage Broker
A company that matches lenders with prospective borrowers who meet the lender's criteria. The mortgage broker does not make the loan but receives payment from the lender for services.
Principal, Interest, Taxes, Insurance
When a buyer applies for a loan, the lender will calculate the principal, interest, taxes and insurance. The figure is designed to represent the borrower's actual monthly mortgage-related expenses.
PITI
an acronym for Principal, Interest, Taxes, Insurance.
Points
Fees charged by lenders at the time a loan is originated. A point is equal to one percent of the total loan amount.
Prepayment Penalty
Lenders can impose a penalty on a borrower who pays a loan off before its expected end date.
Private Mortgage Insurance
A special type of loan insurance that many lenders require borrowers to purchase if the borrower's down payment is less than twenty percent of the home's purchase price.
PMI
an acronym for Private Mortgage Insurance.

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