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HOME BUYERS' LIBRARY

lenn harley
Lenn Harley, BrokerHomefinders.com
Maryland and Virginia

Phone: 301-704-6964

Glossary Menu of Terms

ANNOUNCEMENT: ASK THE AGENT. If the information you seek is not here, ask me. Call 800-711-7988.

Real estate terminology can be confusing to home buyers. Homefinders.com agents and brokers understand the language and will explain what everything means to you.

I'm at my office phone from 7:00 a.m. until about 7:00 p.m. daily. I do travel to new home sites, but will return your phone call as quickly as possible. We want to get you in touch with a good buyers agent as quickly as possible. The sooner you can speak with an agent, the sooner we can get to work for you.

If you have a question about a real estate term and can't find the term below, contact us and we'll find it for you. Homefinders.com is here to help consumers understand real estate in Maryland and Virginia.

Abstract (Of Title)
Report of title search by Abstractor for examination by Title Attorney

Acceleration Clause
Loan accelerated due in full following default

Agreement of Sale
Contract between buyer and seller for sale of real estate

Amortization
Term of mortgage loan representing full payment

Appraisal
Determination of value of property by licensed Appraiser

Assumption of Mortgage
Buyer assumes existing indebtedness on property

Basement Styles
In-ground, walk-out, walk-up

Binder or "Offer to Purchase"
Ratified Contract

Broker (See real estate broker)
Licensed to engage in real estate brokerage

Building Line or Setback
County requirement for distance from boundary to structure

Closing Costs
Cost of transferring property, legal fees, county/state transfer fees

Closing Day
Day of settlement, seller signs deed, buyer pays for property

Cloud (On Title)
Unpaid tax liens, judgment liens

Commission
Fee for sale of real property under listing agreement

Condemnation
County declaration of unsafe property

Condominium
Association owned property with condo owner members

Contract of Purchase
Agreement to purchase and sell

Contractor
Licensed construction company, electrical, plumbing, roofing.

Conventional Mortgage
Mortgage loans not insured by FHA or guaranteed by Veterans Affairs

Cooperative Housing
Property owned by corporation and shares owned by residents

Deed
Title to real property

Deed of Trust
Security for mortgage loan which is a lien on deed

Default
Mortgage that is in arrears

Depreciation
Value of property decreases

Documentary Stamps
State tax on transfer of real property

Downpayment
Cash payment towards purchase price

Earnest Money
Deposit held in escrow until settlement

Easement Rights
Right-of-way for government, utilities or other access

Encroachment
Part of building, fence or other structure that intrudes on property

Encumbrance
Property interest or lien on property

Equity
Owners interest in property over mortgage balance and market value

Escrow
Depository account for earnest money held in trust until settlement

Foreclosure
Taking and sale of property on which the owner has defaulted on the payment

General Warranty Deed
A deed which conveys the grantor's interests in and title and warrants good title free of defects

Grantee
Buyer of property

Grantor
Seller of property

Hazard Insurance
Insurance for fire and other hazards

Home Types
Single detached, attached or multi-family

Home Styles
Design of one story, two story, split

HUD
U.S. Department of Housing and Development, enforces federal housing laws

Interest
Charge paid by borrower to lender of money

Lien
Claim filed against deed on property for money owed

Marketable Title
Title is free of liens and encumbrances

Mortgage
A lien against property for which money is borrowed

Mortgage Commitment

Approval of loan after all information has been verified

Mortgage Note
Agreement to repay a mortgage loan

Mortgagee
Lender of money secured by property

Mortgagor
Borrower of money secured by property

Plat
Map or drawing showing boundaries, easements, location of structures

Points
1% of loan amount paid to lender as a fee

Premium
Fee paid by borrower to HUD to pay for cost of FHA mortgage insurance

Prepayment
Payment of mortgage principal before due date

Principal
Mortgage loan balance owed

Purchase Agreement
Contract of Sale

Quitclaim Deed
A deed transferring ownership from one party or parties to another party or parties

Real Estate Broker
Person licensed to engage in helping buyer or seller buy or sell

Refinancing
Obtain new mortgage loan and pay off old one

Restrictive Covenants
Private restrictions limiting use of property

Sales Agreement
Contract of Sale

Special Assessments
Periodic or one time charge to owners to pay for improvements

Special Lien
A lien against a specific piece of property, not all property

Special Warranty Deed
In a special warranty deed the grantor guarantees to the grantee that he has done nothing during the time he held title to the property which has, or which might in the future, impair the grantee's title.

State Stamps
Transfer taxes paid to state or county to transfer property

Survey
Drawing of boundaries of lot, situate of improvements, if any, and easements

Tax
Fee levied by government against property owners

Title
Document of ownership of property

Title Insurance
Insures property owner for claims against the title

Title Search or Examination
Search land records for liens or encumbrances against title

Trustee
A party who is given legal responsibility to hold property in the best interest of or "for the benefit of" another.

Zoning Ordinances
The acts of an authorized local government establishing building codes, and setting forth regulations for property land usage.