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September 29, 2008

 Glossary of Terms

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  • Call option
    A clause in a loan agreement that allows a lender to ask for the balance at any time.

  • Can lights
    Cylindrical chambers with bulbs recessed into the ceiling.

  • Cancellation clause
    A clause that details the conditions under which each party may terminate the agreement.

  • Cantilever
    A projecting structure supported on one end, such as a balcony.

  • Cap
    A limit on the amount the interest rate or monthly payment can increase in an adjustable-rate mortgage.

  • Cape Cod style
    A wood-frame or shingled house with a steep roof and several windows projecting from the second floor.

  • Capital
    Money used to create income, such as funds invested in rental property.

  • Capital expenditure
    The cost of making improvements on a property.

  • Capital gains
    Profits an investor makes from the sale of real estate or investments.

  • Capital gains tax
    A tax placed on the profits from the sale of real estate or investments.

  • Capital improvement
    Any improvement that extends the life or increases the value of a piece of property.

  • Capitalization
    A mathematical formula that investors use to compute the value of a property based on net income.

  • Capitalization rate
    The percentage rate of return estimated from the net income of a piece of property.

  • Caravan
    A group of real estate agents who tour a house that has been recently listed for sale.

  • Carport
    A roof that covers a driveway or other parking area.

  • Casement window
    A window hinged on its sides to allow it to swing open vertically.

  • Cash flow
    The amount of cash a rental property investor receives after deducting operating expenses and loan payments from gross income.

  • Cashier's check
    A check the bank draws on itself rather than on a depositor's account.

  • Cash-out refinance
    The refinancing of a mortgage in which the money received from the new loan is greater than the amount due on the old loan. The borrower can use the extra funds in any manner.

  • Cathedral ceiling
    A high open ceiling formed by finishing exposed roof rafters.

  • Caulk
    An acrylic or silicon sealant used to fill cracks, crevices and holes in a home.

  • Caveat
    A formal notice, that asks a court to suspend action until the party which filed the challenge can be heard.

  • Caveat emptor
    A legal principle derived from Latin than means "let the buyer beware."

  • Cavedium
    A courtyard or atrium.

  • Ceiling height
    The standard height of a ceiling is eight feet.

  • Central air conditioning
    A device that generates cold air through an outside unit that is connected to ductwork inside the house.

  • Central business district
    The area of a city where most large businesses are located.

  • Certificate of Deposit (CD)
    A document which shows that the bearer has a specified amount of money on deposit with a bank, stock-brokerage firm or other financial institution.

  • Certificate of deposit index
    An index based on the interest rates on six-month CDs. It used to determine the interest rate for some adjustable-rate mortgages.

  • Certificate of eligibility
    A document issued by the Veterans Administration that verifies the eligibility of a veteran for a loan program.

  • Certificate of occupancy
    A document which states that a home or other building has met all building codes and is suitable for habitation.

  • Certificate of sale
    A document issued at a judicial sale, which entitles the buyer to receive a deed after court confirmation of the purchase of the property.

  • Certificate of title
    A written opinion on the status of a piece of property based on an examination of the public record.

  • Chain of title
    The official record that details the ownership history of a piece of property.

  • Chair railing
    Decorative trim installed on a wall about 32 inches above the floor, which protects against scuffs from furniture.

  • Change frequency
    The adjustment schedule on an adjustable-rate mortgage.

  • Change order
    A modification of the construction contract to authorize a change in the work, an adjustment in the amount of the contract or a change in the contract time. The owner, architect and contractor must sign the change.

  • Chattel
    Personal property such as furniture, clothing or a car.

  • Chattel mortgage
    A lien on personal property used as collateral for a loan.

  • Chimney back
    The back wall or lining of a fireplace or furnace chimney.

  • Chimney flue
    The passage inside a chimney that channels smoke and heat to the outside.

  • Chimney pot
    A short pipe at the top of a chimney that increases ventilation to the fireplace and reduces smoke.

  • Cinder block
    A block made of ash and cement that is used in construction.

  • Cinder fill
    Cinders used below a basement or around a foundation to promote drainage.

  • Circuit breaker
    An electric fuse that activates or deactivates a circuit.

  • Cistern
    A tank used to store rainwater.

  • Classified property tax
    A tax that varies in rate depending on the use of the property.

  • Clear title
    A property that does not have liens, defects or other legal encumbrances.

  • Closing
    The final procedure in which documents are signed and recorded, and the property is transferred.

  • Closing costs
    Expenses incidental to the sale of real estate, including loan, title and appraisal fees.

  • Closing statement
    A document which details the final financial settlement between a buyer and seller and the costs paid by each party.

  • Cloud on title
    An invalid encumbrance on real property.

  • Cluster development
    A method of squeezing more homes into less space.

  • Codicil
    A change to a will that adds or subtracts provisions or clarifies portions of the document.

  • Co-housing
    Individual housing units that are clustered around a common building where residents share cooking and other activities.

  • Coign
    The cornerstone of a building that differs in shape or color from the rest of the wall.

  • Co-insurance
    Coverage that involves the use of two or more insurers..

  • Collar beam
    The structural element that connects roof rafters.

  • Collateral security
    Additional security that a borrower supplies to obtain a loan.

  • Collection
    The series of steps a lender takes to bring a delinquent mortgage up to date.

  • Collusion
    The action of two or more people to break the law.

  • Colonia
    Unincorporated communities along the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • Column
    A slender upright structure that consists of a base, a round or square shaft and a capital.

  • Column footing
    The support base for a load-bearing column. The footing is usually made of reinforced concrete.

  • Co-maker
    A person who signs a promissory note with the borrower and assumes responsibility for the loan.

  • Combination door
    An outer door with interchangeable screen and glass panels.

  • Combination window
    A window with interchangeable screen and glass panels.

  • Commercial bank
    A financial institution that provides a broad range of services, from checking and savings accounts to business loans and credit cards.

  • Commercial property
    An area that is zoned for businesses.

  • Commingling
    The mixing of money held in trust with other funds.

  • Commission
    The negotiable percentage of the sales price of a home that is paid to the agents of the buyer and seller.

  • Commitment
    A promise by a lender to make a loan with specific terms for a specified period.

  • Commitment fee
    The fee a lender charges for promising to make a loan.

  • Common area
    An area inside a housing development that is owned by all residents.

  • Common law
    A body of laws based on custom, usage and rulings by courts in various jurisdictions.

  • Common-area assessments
    Fees paid by the owners of a condominium project or planned-unit development to maintain, repair, improve or operate common areas.

  • Common-interest development
    A project composed of individually owned units that share usage and financial responsibility for common areas.

  • Community property
    Property accumulated through the joint efforts of husband and wife. It is a classification of property peculiar to certain states.

  • Community Reinvestment Act
    A federal law that encourages financial institutions to loan money in the neighborhoods where minority depositors live.

  • Commute
    The distance and time it takes a person to reach the workplace.

  • Comparables
    Properties used as comparisons to determine the value of a certain property.

  • Comparative market analysis
    An estimate of the value of a property based on an analysis of sales of properties with similar characteristics.

  • Competent
    A term for a buyer who is legally fit to enter into a sales contract.

  • Compound interest
    The interest paid on the principal balance in a mortgage and on the accrued and unpaid interest of the loan.

  • Concrete tilt-up
    The process of pouring concrete into forms on the ground, allowing the forms to harden and then raising the material to a vertical position to form walls.

  • Condemnation
    The process the government uses to take private property for public use without the consent of the owner.

  • Conditional commitment
    A promise by a lender to make a loan if the borrower meets certain conditions.

  • Condominium
    Individual units in a building or development in which owners hold title to the interior space while common areas such as parking lots, community rooms and recreational areas are owned by all the residents.

  • Condominium conversion
    The change in title from a single owner of an entire project or building to multiple owners of individual units.

  • Conduit
    A metal pipe that houses electrical wiring.

  • Consent judgment
    A binding written agreement between two parties to have a judgment entered and recorded.

  • Conservator
    A court-appointed guardian.

  • Consideration
    Anything that is legal, has value and induces a person to enter into a contract.

  • Construction budget
    The funding that an owner arranges for the construction of a project.

  • Construction documents
    Drawings and specifications from an architect that provide detailed requirements for the construction of a project.

  • Construction loan
    Short-term loans a lender makes for the construction of homes and buildings. The lender disburses the funds in stages.

  • Construction to permanent loan
    The conversion of a construction loan to a longer-term traditional mortgage after construction has been completed.

  • Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS)
    A nationwide, nonprofit organization that helps consumers get out of debt and improve their credit profile. National headquarters: 8701 Georgia Avenue., Suite 507, Silver Springs, MD 20910. Phone: (800) 388-2227.

  • Contemporary style
    A design that features streamlined shapes, large unadorned windows and industrial materials.

  • Contiguous lots
    Pieces of property that are adjoined.

  • Contingency
    A condition specified in a purchase contract, such as a satisfactory home inspection.

  • Contingency listing
    A property listing with a special condition attached.

  • Contingent fee
    A fee that must be paid if a certain event occurs.

  • Contract
    An agreement between two or more parties that creates or modifies an existing relationship.

  • Contract for deed
    A contract in which the seller agrees to defer all or part of the purchase price for a specified period of time.

  • Contract to purchase
    A contract the buyer initiates which details the purchase price and conditions of the transaction and is accepted by the seller. Also known as an agreement of sale.

  • Contractor
    The individual who contracts for the construction of a home or project.

  • Contractual lien
    A voluntary obligation such as a mortgage or trust deed.

  • Controlled growth
    Any restrictions imposed on the amount or type of new development in an area.

  • Conventional loan
    A long-term loan a lender makes for the purchase of a home.

  • Convertible adjustable-rate mortgage
    A mortgage which starts as an adjustable-rate loan, but allows the borrower to convert the loan to a fixed-rate mortgage during a specified period of time.

  • Conveyance
    The transfer of title of property.

  • Conveyance tax
    A tax imposed on the transfer of real property.

  • Cooperating broker
    A real estate broker who finds a buyer for a property that another broker has listed.

  • Cooperative corporation
    A business trust that holds the title to a cooperative residential building and grants occupancy rights to shareholders in the corporation.

  • Cooperative mortgages
    Any loans related to a cooperative residential project.

  • Cooperative project
    A project in which a corporation holds title and sells shares representing individual units to buyers who then receive a proprietary lease as their title.

  • Corner bead
    A reinforcement placed in the corner where two walls intersect.

  • Corner influence
    The effect on the value of a property because it is situated on a corner or near a corner.

  • Cornice
    A horizontal molding that projects from the top of a structure or wall.

  • Corporate relocation
    An arrangement by which employers pay to transfer and move employees.

  • Corrective work
    Necessary or desired repairs to remedy problems uncovered by a home or specialized inspection.

  • Co-signer
    A second party who signs a promissory note and takes responsibility for the debt.

  • Cost-plus contract
    A construction contract that determines the builder's profit based on a percentage of the cost of labor and materials.

  • Cottage
    A small, one-story house.

  • Counteroffer
    A response to an offer.

  • Covenant
    A legal assurance or promise in a deed or other document, or implied by the law.

  • Covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs)
    Rules and regulations for a development, such as acceptable landscaping or improvements that can be made to individual units.

  • Craftsman style
    An architectural style that evolved as part of the Arts and Craft movement near the turn of the century.

  • Crawl space
    The space between the ground and the first floor of a home, usually no higher than four feet.

  • Creative financing
    Innovative home-financing arrangements that help sell a property.

  • Credit
    The money a lender extends to a buyer for a commitment to repay the loan within a certain time frame.

  • Credit history
    A record of an individual's current and past debt payments.

  • Credit life insurance
    Insurance that pays off a mortgage in the event of the borrower's death.

  • Credit rating
    The degree of credit worthiness assigned to a person based on credit history and financial status.

  • Credit report
    A credit bureau report that shows a loan applicant's history of payments made on previous debts. Several companies issue credit reports, but the three largest are Trans Union Corp., Equifax and Experian (formerly TRW ).

  • Credit repository
    Large companies that gather financial and credit information from various sources about individuals who have applied for credit.

  • Credit union
    Nonprofit cooperative organizations that provide banking and financial services, including mortgages, home improvement loans and home equity loans, to their members.

  • Creditor
    An individual or institution to whom a debt is owed.

  • Cross-bridging
    The strengthening of a structure by bracing cross members between beams.

  • Cul de sac
    A street or alley that is closed at one end.

  • Cupola
    A dome-like structure that sits on top of a roof.

  • Curable defect
    A deficiency in a property that is easy or inexpensive to fix, such as chipping paint.

  • Curb appeal
    The first impression of a house as seen from the street.

  • Curtain wall
    An exterior wall that encloses a yard or other area but does not provide any structural support to a home.

  • Custom builder
    A builder who constructs a home or building based on plans created by the owner.

  • Custom home
    A structure designed by an architect hired by the owner.