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September 29, 2008

 Glossary of Terms

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  • Landscape
    A home's surroundings can range from a shrub-studded emerald lawn to a native-plant xeriscape. It is a major component of curb appeal.

  • Landscape architect
    A professional who holds a degree in landscape architecture, which involves training in horticulture, landscape design and planning.

  • Landscape contractor
    A professional who carries out the plans of a landscape architect or a landscape designer.

  • Landscape designer
    A landscape designer has training in horticulture and landscape planning, but does not necessarily hold a degree.

  • Late charge
    A fee a lender imposes on a borrower when the borrower does not make a payment on time.

  • Late payment
    A payment a lender receives after the due date has passed.

  • Latent defect
    An invisible problem in a piece of property such as bad wiring, termite damage or lead paint.

  • Lead
    A metallic chemical element present in older dwellings, primarily in the form of lead-based paint and lead plumbing. Exposure to lead has been found to be a health risk.

  • Lease
    A binding agreement that contains the terms and conditions of a renter's occupancy.

  • Lease option
    A lease that contains the right to purchase the property for a specific price within a certain time frame.

  • Leasehold estate
    An arrangement in which the borrower does not own a specific piece of property but possesses a long-term lease.

  • Legal blemish
    Blemishes on a piece of property, such as a zoning violation or fraudulent title claim.

  • Legal description
    A specific way of identifying and locating a piece of real estate that is acceptable to a court.

  • Lender
    A bank, savings institution or mortgage company that offers home loans.

  • Letter of intent
    A formal statement that the buyer intends to purchase the property for a certain price on a certain date.

  • Leverage
    The use of a small amount of cash--a 5 percent or 10 percent down payment--to buy a piece of property.

  • Liabilities
    A borrower's debts and financial obligations.

  • Liability insurance
    A policy that protects owners against any claims of negligence, personal injury or property damage.

  • Lien
    A claim laid by one person or company on the property of another as security for money owed.

  • Life cap
    A limit on the amount that a loan rate can move during the term of the mortgage. For example, the rate on an adjustable-rate mortgage that begins at 5 percent and has a lifetime cap of 6 percentage points cannot rise above 11 percent, even if rates on fixed-rate mortgages soar to 20 percent.

  • Life-cycle cost analysis
    An analysis of a building project's expected operating, maintenance and replacement costs, calculated by an architect.

  • Limited partnership
    Real estate syndicates and other investment groups use this type of ownership.. A general partner makes the group's investment decisions, oversees the investment and is principally liable for any losses.

  • Lintel
    A horizontal piece over a door or window that carries the weight of the structure above it.

  • Liquid assets
    Cash and all other assets that can be converted to cash relatively quickly. Liquid assets can include money in savings and checking accounts, money-market accounts, and most certificates of deposit.

  • Liquidated damages
    When a real estate deal goes awry, one party often is entitled to liquidated damages, a sum of money set out in the purchase contract in that event.

  • Listing
    A piece of property placed on the market by a listing agent.

  • Listing inventories
    The known number of houses for sale within a given market.

  • Live-in partnership
    An arrangement in which two unrelated people purchase a home.

  • Live-work space
    An officially designated dwelling in which the occupant conducts a home-based business or enterprise.

  • Load-bearing wall
    A wall that supports not only its own weight, but the weight of other parts of a home. Also called a bearing wall.

  • Loan application
    The first step toward submitting a home loan requires the borrower to itemize basic financial information.

  • Loan application fee
    A fee charged by lenders to for making a loan application.

  • Loan commitment
    A promise by a lender or other financial institution to make or insure a loan for a specified amount and on specific terms.

  • Loan officer
    An official representative of a lending institution who is empowered to act on behalf of the lender within certain limits.

  • Loan origination fee
    Most lenders charge borrowers an origination fee--or points--for processing a loan. A point is 1 percent of the total loan amount.

  • Loan processing fee
    A fee charged by some lenders for gathering information to enable the lender to process the loan.

  • Loan term
    The amount of a time set by the lender for a buyer to pay a mortgage. Most conventional loans have 30-year or 15-year terms.

  • Loan -to-value ratio
    A technical measure used by lenders to assess the relationship of the loan amount to the value of the property

  • Lock-in
    When interest rates are volatile, many borrowers want to "lock in" an interest rate and many lenders will oblige, setting a limit on the amount of time the lock-in is in effect.

  • Loft
    A living space not partitioned into rooms or a small space built above a larger room.

  • Log cabin
    Homes constructed of rough-hewn timbers and a standard housing form in the early European settlement of the U.S.

  • Low density
    A low concentration of housing units in a specific area.

  • Low-ball offer
    An offer made to a seller that is substantially below market value. The longer a property stays on the market, the more likely there are to be such offers.

  • Low-documentation loan
    A mortgage that requires only minimal verification of income and assets.

  • Low-down-payment loan
    A home loan that requires the borrower to make only a small down payment before obtaining the financing needed to purchase a house.