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Real Estate Glossary


Click the letter that matches the first letter of the word you want.

ABR - See Accredited Buyer Representative.

Acceleration Clause - Provision in a mortgage or deed of trust that gives the lender the right to demand payment of the entire outstanding loan upon the occurrence of a certain event, such as a transfer of ownership or missing a payment.

Acceptance - Voluntary agreement to a contract offer.

Accretion - Gradual addition of geologic material to the shore or bank of a waterway; opposite of erosion. New land created by accretion generally becomes the property of the owner of the shore or bank.

Accredited Buyer Representative - Often referred to with the three-letter designation "ABR," this is a licensed real estate professional who is a member of the Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council by virtue of paying annual dues and having completed an intensive course of training in subjects (such as negotiating strategies, law and accounting) relating to representing the special interests of buyers. While Accredited Buyer Representatives have specialized training and experience in representing buyers, many are also experienced at representing sellers. See also, Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM) - Real estate loan permitting the lender to adjust its interest rate periodically on the basis of changes in a specified index. Amounts and times of adjustment are agreed upon when the loan is initially made. Also called an "adjustable-rate loan," "flexible-rate loan," "variable-rate loan" or "variable-rate mortgage." See also, fixed-period adjustable-rate mortgage, and index.

Adjusted Basis - Original cost of a property plus the cost of any capital improvements to the property minus depreciation. Also referred to as book value.

Adjustment Date - Date on which the interest rate changes for an adjustable-rate mortgage.

Adjustment Period - Time that elapses between the adjustment dates for an adjustable-rate mortgage.

Administrator - Person appointed by a probate court to administer the estate of a person who dies without a will.

Adverse Possession - Legal doctrine allowing a trespasser, under certain conditions, to gain ownership of someone else's property after having used it for a specified period of time.

Advertisement and Sale - Part of the process of foreclosing a deed of trust when a borrower is in default. See non-judicial foreclosure.

Affidavit - Written statement or declaration sworn to before an officer having legal authority to administer an oath, such as a notary public.

Affordability Analysis - Detailed analysis of a borrower's ability to afford the purchase of a home; considers income, liabilities, and available funds, along with available mortgage programs, location of home, and expected closing costs.

After-Tax Income - Income after taxes have been paid.

Agent - Person authorized to act for or to represent the interests of another party (the principal), usually in business matters. Authority may be express (spoken or written clearly and directly), or implied (inferred by the actions of agent and principal).

Agency - Any relationship where one party (the agent) acts for or represents another party (the principal). Agency involving real property should be in writing and, in certain cases, is legally required to be.

Alienation Clause - See due-on-transfer clause.

Amenity - Property feature that enhances attractiveness or increases satisfaction, even though not essential to the property's use. An amenity can be either natural (trees, scenic view, waterfront location, etc.) or man-made (pool, hot tub, tennis court, etc.).

Amortization - Full repayment of a loan in intervals of equal payments, including both principal and interest, over a specified period of time.

Amortization Schedule - Timetable for payment of a loan; shows the amount of each payment applied to interest and principal, and shows the remaining balance after each payment is made.

Amortization Term - Amount of time calculated for full repayment of a loan in equal payments, with interest; usually expressed as a number of months. In a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, the amortization term is 360 months.

Amortize - to extinguish; to gradually repay a fixed amount of debt, including all interest, over a fixed amount of time; in accounting, to prorate an expenditure over a fixed period.

Annual Mortgage Statement - Report sent to a mortgage borrower each year, showing how much was paid in real property taxes and loan interest throughout the year; also shows the remaining loan balance at year's end.

Annual Percentage Rate - Accrual rate of interest for a loan, calculated as a yearly figure and including loan fees and costs (does not include escrow and title costs). See also, interest rate and nominal rate.

Annual Property Operating Data (APOD) - Statement of information relating to the income, expenses and cash flow of rental property.

Annuity - Payment of money yearly for life or a specified period of years, often on a guaranteed dollar basis.

Apartment - Residential dwelling unit that is rented and is attached to other rented dwelling units.

APOD - See Annual Property Operating Data.

Appraisal - Written analysis of the estimated value of a property prepared by a qualified, licensed appraiser. Contrast with inspection.

Appraised Value - Opinion of a property's fair market worth as stated in an appraisal report prepared by a qualified, licensed appraiser. (A value estimate by an assessor's office or tax collector is NOT an appraised value.)

Appraiser - Person who has met certain requirements for education, training, and experience in the estimation of value for real property and personal property, as demonstrated by licensure from the Oregon Appraiser Certification and Licensure Board.

Appreciation - Increase in value of a property due to changes in market conditions or other causes; opposite of depreciation.

Appurtenance - Something added or belonging, by virtue of law or relationship, to a more important thing: as a shop to a home, or the right of an easement to a parcel of land. In real estate, an appurtenance is part of the real property, and passes with the property at the time of an ownership transfer.

Assessed Value - Monetary worth placed on a property by a public tax assessor for purposes of calculating taxes due; usually has little or no relationship or correlation to appraised value.

Assessment - (1) Process of determining a value for property with the strict purpose of calculating a value to determine taxes due. (2) A government-imposed fee on property to raise money for a special purpose, such as construction of sewers.

Assessment Roll - List of taxable persons and property, as compiled by a public tax assessor.

Assessor - Public official who establishes the value of property for taxation purposes.

Asset - Anything owned that has exchange value; in finance, anything that could be used to ensure repayment of a debt.

Assignment - Transfer of any property, or any rights in a property, from one party to another; commonly used with leases, promissory notes and deeds of trust.

Assumable Mortgage - Home loan that can be taken over (assumed), by a buyer under the same terms as when the loan was originally made, without the seller having to fully repay the loan upon selling the home.

Assumption - Transfer to a buyer of a seller's responsibility to repay a loan. See also, assumable mortgage.

Assumption Clause - Provision in assumable financing that allows a buyer to assume responsibility for the financing from the seller. See also, assumable mortgage.

Assumption Fee - Charge or fee assessed in order to allow assumption of a loan, usually paid by buyer and may compensate a note holder for the processing of new paperwork and records for the buyer.

Attorney - Member of the Oregon State Bar Association (a private organization) who has completed law school and passed the association's bar exam so that he or she is legally entitled to practice law in Oregon. (Because it's sometimes difficult to distinguish one lawyer from another in terms of specialty, consumers need to ask any attorney they're considering to represent them detailed questions about specialized training completed, about the percentage of the attorney's practice devoted to the desired specialty, and about how many clients the attorney has previously represented in that specialty.)

Attorney-In-Fact - Person who holds a power-of-attorney to execute documents or otherwise act on behalf of the person granting the power.

Auction - See public auction.

Automated Underwriting - Process of evaluating a loan application using a computer program. See also, underwriting.

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