Real Estate Glossary
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.
effective gross income
Normal annual income including overtime that is regular or guaranteed. The income may be from more than one source. Salary is generally the principal source, but other income may qualify if it is significant and stable.
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.
A special housing initiative that offers several different ways for employers to work with local lenders to develop plans to assist their employees in purchasing homes.
An improvement that intrudes illegally on another's property.
Anything that affects or limits the fee simple title to a property, such as mortgages, leases, easements or restrictions.
A person who signs ownership interest over to another party. Contrast with co-maker.
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 assistance programs.
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.
An item of value, money, or documents deposited with a third party to be delivered upon the fulfillment of a condition. For example, the deposit by a borrower with the lender of funds to pay taxes and insurance premiums when they become due, or the deposit of funds or documents with an attorney or escrow agent to be disbursed upon the closing of a sale of real estate.
The account in which a mortgage servicer holds the borrower's escrow payments prior to paying property expenses.
The periodic examination of escrow accounts to determine if current monthly deposits will provide sufficient funds to pay taxes, insurance and other bills when due.
Funds collected by the servicer and set aside in an escrow account to pay the borrower's property taxes, mortgage insurance and hazard insurance.
The portion of a mortgagor's monthly payment that is held by the servicer to pay for taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance, lease payments and other items as they become due. Known as "impounds" or "reserves" in some states.
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 time, but reserving the owner's right to sell the property alone without the payment of a commission.
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.