Real Estate Glossary
ABANDONMENT - The voluntary surrender or relinquishment of possession of real property with the intention of terminating one's possession or interest, but without vesting this interest in any other person.
ABATEMENT - A reduction or decrease in amount, degree, intensity or worth.
ABSORPTION RATE - An estimate of the rate at which a particular classification of space - such as new office space, new housing, new condominium units and the like - will be sold or occupied each year.
ABSTRACT OF TITLE - A concise, summarized history of the title to a specific parcel of real property, together with a statement of all liens and encumbrances affecting the property. The abstract of title does not guarantee or assure the validity of the title of the property. It merely discloses those items about the property which are of public record, and thus does not reveal such things as encroachments, forgeries, and the like.
ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION - A method of calculating the depreciation of certain property (that property which is used in a trade or business, or which is held for the production of income) at a faster rate than would be achieved from using the straight line method of depreciation.
ACCELERATION CLAUSE - A clause in a promissory note, agreement of sale, or mortgage which gives the lender the right to call all sums due and payable in advance of the fixed payment date upon the occurrence of a specified event, such as a sale, default, assignment or further encumbrance of the property.
ACCEPTANCE - The expression of the intention of the person receiving an offer (offeree, usually the seller) to be bound by the terms of the offer.
ACCESS - A general or specific right of ingress and egress to a particular property.
ACCRETION - The gradual and imperceptible addition to land by alluvial deposits of soil through natural causes, such as shoreline movement caused by streams or rivers.
ACCRUED - That which has accumulated over a period of time such as accrued depreciation, accrued interest or accrued expenses.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT - A formal declaration made before a duly authorized officer, usually a Notary Public, by a person who has signed a document.
ACRE - A measure of land equaling 43,560 square feet; 4,840 square yards; 160 square rods.
ADHESION CONTRACT - A contract which is very one-sided and favors the party who drafted the document.
AD VALOREM - Latin for "according to valuation," usually referring to a type of tax or assessment.
ADVERSE POSSESSION - The acquiring of title to real property owned by someone else, by means of open, notorious and continuous possession for the statutory period of time (20 years in Hawaii).
AFFIDAVIT - A sworn statement reduced to writing and made under oath before a Notary Public or other official authorized by law to administer an oath.
AGENCY - A relationship created when one person, the "principal," delegates to another, the "agent," the right to act on the principal's behalf in business transactions and to exercise some degree of discretion while so acting. An agency gives rise to a fiduciary relationship and imposes on the agent, as the fiduciary of the principal, certain duties, obligations and high standards of good faith and loyalty.
AGENT - One who is authorized to represent and to act on behalf of another person (called the principal). A real estate broker is the agent of his client, be it the seller or buyer, to whom he owes a fiduciary obligation. A salesman is the agent of his broker and does not have a direct personal contractual relationship with either the seller or buyer.
AGREEMENT OF SALE - An agreement between the seller (vendor) and buyer (vendee) for the purchase of real property.
AIR RIGHTS - The rights to the use of the open space or vertical plane above a property. Ownership of the land includes the right to all air above the property.
ALIENATION CLAUSE - A clause in a promissory note or mortgage which provides that the balance of the secured debt becomes immediately due and payable at the option of the mortgagee upon the alienation of the property by the mortgagor.
ALLODIAL SYSTEM - The free ownership of land by individuals.
AMENITIES - Features, both tangible and intangible, which enhance and add to the desirability of real estate.
AMORTIZATION - The gradual repayment of a debt by means of systematic payments of principal and interest over a set period, where at the end of the period there is a zero balance.
ANCHOR TENANT - Major department or chain stores which are strategically located at shopping centers so as to give maximum exposure to smaller satellite stores.
ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE - The relationship of the total Finance Charge to the total amount to be finance as required under the Federal Truth-in-Lending Law.
APPRAISAL - The process of estimating, fixing, or setting the market value of real property. An appraisal may take the form of a lengthy report, a completed form, a simple letter, or even an oral report.
APPRECIATION - An increase in the worth or value of property due to economic or related causes, which may prove to be either temporary or permanent.
APPURTENANT - Belonging to; adjunct; appended or annexed.
ARBITRATION - The non-judicial submission of a controversy to selected third parties for their determination in the manner provided by agreement or by law.
ASSESSED VALUATION - The value of real property as established by the state government for purposes of computing real property taxes.
ASSESSMENT - A specific levy for a definite purpose, such as adding curbs or sewers in a neighborhood. Individual condominium owners are subject to special assessments benefiting the project as a whole and not funded through regular maintenance charges.
ASSIGNMENT - The transfer of the right, title and interest in the property of one person, the assignor, to another, the assignee. In real estate, there are assignments of mortgages, contracts, agreements of sale, leases, and options, among others.
ASSUMPTION OF MORTGAGE - The act of acquiring title to property which has an existing mortgage on it and agreeing to be personally liable for the terms and conditions of the mortgage, including payments.
ATTACHMENT - The legal process of seizing the real or personal property of a defendant in a lawsuit, by levy or judicial order, and holding it in the custody of the courts as security for satisfaction of the judgment which the plaintiff may recover in any action upon a contract, express or implied.
ATTORNEY-IN-FACT - One who is authorized by another to act in his place under a power of attorney.
ATTORNMENT - The act of a tenant formally agreeing to become the tenant of a successor landlord; as in attorning to a mortgagee who has foreclosed on the leased premises.