Real Estate Terms
Click on a link below for
an alphabetized list of Real Estate and Mortgage Terms.
Earnest money deposit
A deposit made by the potential home buyer to show that
he or she is serious about buying the house.
A right of way giving persons other than the owner access
to or over a property.
An appraiser’s estimate of the physical condition
of a building. The actual age of a building may be shorter
or longer than its effective age.
The right of a government to take private property for
public use upon payment of its fair market value. Eminent
domain is the basis for condemnation proceedings.
An improvement that intrudes illegally on another’s
Anything that affects or limits the fee simple title
to a property, such as mortgages, leases, easements,
Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)
A federal law that requires lenders and other creditors
to make credit equally available without discrimination
based on race, color, religion, national origin, age,
sex, marital status, or receipt of income from public
A homeowner's financial interest in a property. Equity
is the difference between the fair market value of the
property and the amount still owed on its mortgage and
An item of value, money, or documents deposited with
a third party to be delivered upon the fulfillment of
a condition. For example, the earnest money deposit
is put into escrow until delivered to the seller when
the transaction is closed.
Once you close your purchase transaction, you may have
an escrow account or impound account with your lender.
This means the amount you pay each month includes an
amount above what would be required if you were only
paying your principal and interest. The extra money
is held in your impound account (escrow account) for
the payment of items like property taxes and homeowner’s
insurance when they come due. The lender pays them with
your money instead of you paying them yourself.
Once each year your lender will perform an "escrow
analysis" to make sure they are collecting the
correct amount of money for the anticipated expenditures.
The use of escrow funds to pay real estate taxes, hazard
insurance, mortgage insurance, and other property expenses
as they become due.
The ownership interest of an individual in real property.
The sum total of all the real property and personal
property owned by an individual at time of death.
The lawful expulsion of an occupant from real property.
Examination of title
The report on the title of a property from the public
records or an abstract of the title.
A written contract that gives a licensed real estate
agent the exclusive right to sell a property for a specified
A person named in a will to administer an estate. The
court will appoint an administrator if no executor is
named. "Executrix" is the feminine form.