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Deed - A written document that conveys the ownership of real estate from one person or party to another

Deed-in-lieu, or Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure - A deed given by a mortgagor to the mortgagee when the mortgage is in default, to avoid foreclosure

Deed of trust - A written document that grants a trustee, in the event of foreclosure, the full power to sell, mortgage and subdivide the property in question

Deed Restriction - A clause in a Deed that limits the uses of the property (e.g., types or quantities of structures permitted)

Default - The failure to meet the legal obligations in a contract; in real estate, failure to pay mortgage payments as scheduled or to comply with other stipulations of the mortgage

Deferred interest - Interest on a mortgage which is delayed because the monthly payment of the mortgage is not large enough to cover the entire principal and interest due, and therefore is added to the loan balance See "negative amortization"

Deficiency judgment - A claim made by the holder of a note against the maker, in the event that a foreclosure sale does not bring in enough proceeds to fully cover the note and the costs of sale, for the difference

Delivery - The final, unconditional and absolute transfer of a Deed from seller to buyer, such that the seller cannot revoke the transfer of ownership; the Deed itself does not pass title until the seller delivers it to the buyer

Depreciation - A decline in the value of property, due to any cause; the opposite of appreciation Also an expense deduction taken for tax purposes over the period of owning income property

Devise - To dispose or convey ownership of real property via a will

Disclosure - A statement of facts made by the buyer about the condition of a property being sold and its surrounding area, required by law in most US states

Discount point - A unit of measurement used for loan charges, with one point equaling 1 percent of the value of the loan

Dower - The rights of a spouse to the property of their deceased spouse

Down payment - The amount of the purchase price of a property paid in cash (i.e. not financed with a mortgage) that is required to secure the property; typically 20%

Dual agency - Representation of opposing parties in a transaction (e.g. when a realtor is the agent for both buyer and seller); requires consent of both parties to be allowed, and is illegal in some US states

Due-on-sale clause - A provision in a mortgage allowing the lender to demand payment of the entire balance of the note if the mortgagor sells or otherwise transfers the property

Earnest money - A deposit made of a portion of the purchase price by the buyer to demonstrate his or her serious intent to purchase the property, usually accompanied by an agreement outlining the terms and conditions of the sale

Easement - The permanent or temporary right to use the property of another for a specific purpose -- e.g. for access over the property, putting up utility lines, etc.

Egress - The right to leave or exit over a piece of property

Eminent domain - The right of the government to take over private property for public purposes upon payment of its fair market value

Encroachment - A physical, illegal intrusion onto another's adjoining property; examples are a structure, driveway, fence

Encumbrance - Any claim against the fee simple title to a property, such as a lien, mortgage, or easement

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

Equity - The owner's financial interest in a property, over and above any indebtedness for that property; or the difference between the fair market value of the property, and the amount still owed on its mortgage

Equity Sharing - A form of joint ownership between an owner investor receives depreciation deductions as his portion of interest in the property, and the owner occupant receives some of the tax write-offs for interest and taxes, as well as part of his monthly payment being applied against his rent. If the property were sold, the co-owners would also divide the profit

Escheat - Property that reverts to state ownership when an individual dies without a will and without heirs

Escrow - A deed, contract, or something of value deposited with a disinterested third party, to be delivered upon the performance of certain conditions by the parties involved; e.g., an attorney or escrow agent taking custody of funds and documents upon the closing of a sale of real estate

Escrow account - An account established by an escrow agent to hold funds for the agent's principal until the consummation of the transaction

Escrow instructions - A document that outlines the duties of the escrow agent and the obligations of the parties involved in an escrow transaction

Escrow payment; also "impounds" or "reserves" in some states - The portion of a mortgagor's monthly payment that is retained by the escrow agent to cover the costs of taxes, hazard or mortgage insurance, lease payments, and other costs incurred in the course of the transaction

Estate - An individual's possessions and property, relevant particularly at the time of death

Eviction - The legally directed removal of an occupant from real property

Exclusive listing, or Exclusive agency listing, or Exclusive right-to-sell listing - A written contract giving a licensed real estate broker the exclusive right to sell a property for a designated period of time, on terms stated by the owner, for a fee, while also reserving the owner's right to sell the property himself, without paying anyone a commission

Executor - A person named in a will, or in the absence of such designation, appointed by the probate court, to administer an estate and carry out its terms

Extended Mortgage - A mortgage in which the due date of payment is extended, and is usually charged at a higher interest rate than the original mortgage

Fair Credit Reporting Act - A federal law that regulates the disclosure of consumer credit reports by consumer

Fair Housing Act - A federal law which prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status and national origin

Fair market value - The highest price that a buyer, who is willing but not required to buy, would pay for a piece of property or home, and the lowest price that a seller, who is willing but not required to sell, would accept

Fannie Mae - The Federal National Mortgage Association (also FNMA), a private corporation which is federally chartered to provide financial products and services that increase the availability and affordability of housing, by purchasing mortgages from banks and other lending institutions; the FNMA is the largest non-bank financial services company in the world, as well as the largest resource for financing of home mortgages in the U.S.

Farmer's Home Administration (FmHA) - A federal agency that provides credit assistance to farmers and other individuals residing in rural areas of the U.S.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) - An independent federal agency that insures the deposits in commercial banks

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC) - A corporation established to purchase primarily conventional mortgage loans in the secondary mortgage market

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) - An agency of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), whose function is the insuring of residential mortgage loans made by private lenders; while setting standards for construction and underwriting, the FHA itself does not lend money, or construct housing

FHA insurance - Mortgage insurance provided by the Federal Housing Administration to protect banks, savings and loans, and mortgage companies against loss on real estate loans

FHA loan - A loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration, and made by an approved lender in accordance with the FHA's regulations

Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) - A governmental agency established to purchase any kind of mortgage loans in the secondary mortgage market from the primary lenders

Fee simple - The greatest interest in a parcel of land that is possible, or the total interest in real property

Fiduciary relationship - A relationship of trust and confidence, as between principal and agent, trustee and beneficiary, attorney and client

Finder's fee - A commission paid to a mortgage broker for sourcing a mortgage loan for a prospective borrower

First mortgage - A mortgage that is the primary lien against a property

Fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) - A mortgage in which the interest rate remains fixed over the duration of the term of the loan

Fixture - Any item of property that is attached to real property such that it becomes a permanent part of the real property, and therefore is usually sold with it

Foreclosure - A legal proceeding usually initiated by the lender or creditors, involving a forced sale of a property owned by a borrower who has defaulted on payment of, or on the terms of, a loan on said property, and whereby the borrower is deprived of his or her interest in the property

Forfeiture - The loss of money, property, rights, or privileges due to a breach of legal obligation

Forfeiture of Title - The provision in a deed that accounts for title being passed to another, should certain terms not be met or certain circumstances occur

Freddie Mac - The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (also FHLMC), a private corporation that is federally chartered to purchases and sells mortgage loans; a major player in the secondary market, along with the Federal National Mortgage Associate (FNMA)

Front ratio - The ratio of a potential borrower's monthly housing costs to their gross monthly income, utilized by lenders to qualify an applicant for a loan; typically 28-40 percent is acceptable

Fully amortized ARM - An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) with a monthly payment that is sufficient to pay off the remaining balance at the interest accrual rate over the amortization term

Fully indexed note rate - The index value at the time of application for an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) plus the gross margin stated in the note

General warranty deed - A deed in which the grantor warrants title against all claims, offering the greatest guarantee of protection of any type of deed, and which is used in most real estate deed transfers of title

Ginnie Mae - The Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA), a United States corporation that guarantees privately issued securities backed by pools of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, the Farmers Home Administration, or the Veterans Administration

Graduated-payment mortgage (GPM) - A flexible-payment mortgage with monthly principal and interest payments that increase by a certain percentage each year for a certain number of years, and then level off for the remainder of the term

Grantee - The person who, by written document, receives title or an interest in real property from a grantor

Grantor - The person who, by written document, transfers title to or an interest in real property to a grantee

Gross Lease - The most common of residential leases, whereby the landlord pays for all property expenses incurred through ownership, such as taxes, insurance, repairs, etc.

Ground Lease - A long-term lease of land (usually 99 years) that allows the lessee to build and use the land as agreed in the lease, at the end of which, the land and any improvements revert to the owner

Ground rent - The payment made for the use of land when the title to the property is of a leasehold estate, rather than as a fee simple estate

Growing-equity mortgage (GEM) - A fixed-rate loan for which the monthly payments increase over a designated period of time, with the increased amount of the monthly payment being applied directly to the principal balance, thereby shortening the term of the loan

Guarantee mortgage, or Insured mortgage - A mortgage that is guaranteed against default by a third party (such as the FHA), and for which the borrower must pay an insurance premium

Guardian - An individual designated by the Court to protect and preserve the property of someone who is not able to manage his or her own affairs See "Conservator"

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