Glossary of Terms
Don't be confused about the terminology used in the industry, find out what it all means here.
A clause or series of clauses in an instrument of conveyance (i.e. a Deed) which defines the extent of title (i.e. fee simple or such other title) being transferred to the new owner of land. From Latin habendum et tenendum, meaning to have and to hold.
A description of a dwelling or property that is appropriate for human occupancy.
320 acres of land, 72 half-sections make up a township.
A small community, smaller than a village.
A descriptive term for a property which requires significant work to bring it up to normal standards of condition and repair. Often marketed at a lesser price.
A boundary set by local authorities marking the extent of the area allowed for development along the sides of a navigable river or other body of water.
A description of a style of salespersonship in which the potential purchaser is placed under extreme pressure and bombarded with information and sales pitches.
A type of insurance designed to cover damage caused by a peril specified in the policy of insurance (i.e. fire, flood, etc.).
Slang term for any person with substantial resources.
The establishment of local by-laws or ordinances which restrict the height of buildings in a certain area. May be used in areas near airports (for safety reasons) or natural attractions (to maintain the view) or simply to allow the flow of air or sunlight.
A person who is entitled by law to the property, rights, privileges or position of another person if that other person dies without a will (intestate).
A descriptive term for any property that one is able to inherit.
A break or gap. In discussions of land, an area of land that lies between two parcels of land but appears from legal descriptions and public records not to be a part of either.
Qualities of a property which may not be immediately noticeable but add to the value of the property, such as high quality materials used in construction.
HIGH RATIO MORTGAGE
A mortgage in which the amount of money borrowed is equal to or greater than 75% of the purchase price/appraised value of the property against which it is secured. Will require some sort of insurance, usually provided by a government agency.
A descriptive term for any building that has enough floors to make an elevator a necessity.
HIGH WATER LINE OR MARK
The highest point on the shoreline to which water in a lake, river, stream or other body of water will rise under normal weather conditions.
HIGHEST AND BEST USE STUDY
An analysis of a property which is aimed at discovering the most profitable way to develop the property.
In common parlance, a road which offers higher speed limits than a normal urban street. In legal parlance, any road which is available to use by the public.
A classification (whether under zoning, heritage or other authority) of a specific area of a community in which the buildings and improvements have a historical value or significance which may not be reflected in their market value. Designation as such a district may also involve strict rules regarding the way the buildings and properties are dealt with.
A term describing the original cost of a project, stated in dollars of the time in which the project was completed, with no adjustment for inflation.
An attempt to predict the interest rate fluctuations of a Variable or Adjustable Rate Mortgage on the basis of the behaviour of interest rates in a previous period.
HOLD HARMLESS CLAUSE
Also known as save harmless clause. A clause in a contract in which one party releases another party for legal liability for a stated risk.
A percentage of a contract price which is retained by a contractor or lender until the project is complete and all bills for that project are paid. The percentage may be set by custom or by statute.
HOLDER IN GOOD FAITH
A person who takes title to a property without being notified of a defect on title or a competing claim.
Also known as overholding, the term used to describe the action of a tenant who retains possession of a premises after the lease has expired.
The span of time in which a particular party holds title to a property. May be expressed as the total time (i.e. five years) or as a specific period (May, 1999 to July, 2004).
A testamentary document which is written entirely in the hand of the testator (the person making the will). Is a valid will in many jurisdictions despite the fact that it may not be properly witnessed, so long as it shows an intention on the part of the writer that the document be her will, it deals with the persons assets and there are no concerns with regard to fraud, coercion or lack of capacity. Originally recognized to aid soldiers in the field who, in the face of death, wished to settle their estate.
HOME EQUITY CONVERSION MORTGAGE (HECM)
Also known as a reverse mortgage, a loan designed specifically for people without income but with a great deal of equity in their home (i.e. retired people). The loan may require periodic payments or may simply accumulate interest on the original principal until the property is sold (by the borrower or after the death of the borrower).
HOME EQUITY LINE OF CREDIT
A special kind of loan (also known as a revolving loan) which is secured against a property and allows the owner to borrow and repay money at her leisure. Periodic payments of at least accumulated interest are required but the loan is fully open may be paid out in whole or in part at any time and, if there is still money available under the loan ceiling, the borrower may take more money for her use.
HOME IMPROVEMENT LOAN
A loan made for the purposes of making improvements to a property.
HOME INSPECTION (REPORT)
The written statement of the results of the inspection of a given property by a professional home inspector. Will show problems and potential problems with the property not always visible to an average purchaser (i.e. a deteriorating roof, an ancient furnace, termites, wood rot, basement seepage). Many purchasers make their offer to purchase conditional upon obtaining a satisfactory Home Inspection report.
A person who offers a service of making a physical inspection of homes. Qualifications may vary.
HOME KEEPER SM
A form of Home Equity Conversion Mortgage offered by Fannie Mae to older homeowners to allow them to use the equity in their home to provide either a lump sum or periodic payments to themselves.
HOME OWNER ASSOCIATION
A cooperative effort by property owners in a given neighborhood aimed at improving quality of life, providing a unified political voice or combatting identified ills.
HOME OWNERS INSURANCE
Liability coverage for property owners covering both loss/damage to property or dwelling and personal liability.
Common name for the states transferring of power to the local governments to pass regulations regarding land use.
HOMEOWNERS (HOMESTEAD) TAX EXEMPTION
A tax break for home owners offered in certain jurisdictions which sees property tax assessments reduced by a certain percentage as a result of the fact that the taxpayer resides in the property. May require evidence of the status of ownership to be filed periodically with taxing authority.
The non-profit organization that oversees the common elements in a planned unit development (PUD) or condominium project.
HOMEOWNERS ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME TAX EXCLUSION
A capital gain exemption of the first $125,000.00 in gains earned from the sale of a principal residence by a qualified taxpayer.
HOMEOWNERS WARRANTY (HOW) PROGRAM
A warranty program offered by a division of the National Association of Home Builders through certain builders. The program sets standards for construction and requires warranties ranging from one to ten years in duration on everything from minor defects in workmanship to major structural problems.
A method of protecting some assets from creditors by registering a declaration on title to the owners homestead property.
HOMESTYLE MORTGAGE LOAN
A mortgage specifically designed to allow owners to improve their existing homes.
A description of the state of having very little disposable income after paying the financing and carrying costs of ones home.
HOUSING AFFORDABILITY INDEX
National Association of Realtors analysis, issued on a monthly basis, of the ability of the average family to afford the average home with only 20% down.
HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD)
Federal Agency charged with the duty of overseeing a number of enactments relating to housing in America.
HOUSING ASSISTANCE COUNCIL (HAC)
Funded by HUD, an agency designed to support low-income housing development in rural areas.
Municipal rules setting minimum standards for dwellings.
HOUSING EXPENSE RATIO
A comparison of a familys monthly gross income with the carrying costs of their home.
HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY
State body whose function is to provide loans to citizens who cannot obtain home ownership loans through normal channels.
An economic indicator, the number of dwelling units (including apartments) on which construction is begun in a given period of time.
HUD I SETTLEMENT STATEMENT
The form in which the costs of purchasing a home are itemized.
HUD MEDIAN INCOME
Used in determining eligibility for various HUD programs, the average income for a family in a specific area.
HUNDRED PERCENT LOCATION
The benchmark for comparisons, the property location which provides the best rental income per square foot for a particular type of building.
A form of mortgage in which the compensation to the lender may include receiving income directly from the use of the property.
To pledge as security for a mortgage an asset of which the pledgor retains possession (i.e. the dwelling upon which a mortgage is registered).