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September 29, 2008

 Glossary of Terms

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  • Panel
    A section or division of a wall, ceiling or a flat piece of building material that forms the part of the surface of a wall, door or cabinet.

  • Paneling
    Strips of wood or wood material applied as a finish to a wall.

  • Parcel
    An officially described piece of land.

  • Parking strip
    The strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street in front of a house.

  • Partition
    Any kind of structure dividing one room or space from another.

  • Partition
    An interior wall.

  • Partnership
    There are several partnership options for unmarried individuals to buy a piece of property, such as live-in partnerships (in which both buyers share the residence) or a shared-equity partnership (in which one buyer lives in the home and the other is an investor in the property).

  • Passive loss
    A tax term that refers to any loss from a passive activity, such as the ownership but not the operation of a piece of rental real estate.

  • Passive solar system
    A system that supplies solar heat without the use of electric fans or pumps.

  • Patent defect
    A visible deficiency in a piece of property, such as a cracked basement slab or a sagging porch.

  • Patio
    An interior courtyard or a paved backyard area.

  • Payment cap
    A legal limit on the amount a monthly payment can increase on an adjustable-rate mortgage.

  • Percolation test
    A test used to determine the ability of soil to accommodate a septic system.

  • Per-diem interest
    Interest charged or accrued daily.

  • Perennial
    Any plant that produces leaves, flowers and seeds from year to year, such as irises or peonies.

  • Pergola
    An arbor with an open roof of rafters supported by posts or columns.

  • Personal property
    Any moveable property in a house such as furniture or appliances.

  • Pest-control inspection
    A common pest-control inspection is a termite inspection, which is required in some states, such as California.

  • Pier
    A rectangular masonry support column.

  • PITI (Principal, Interest, Taxes, Insurance)
    When a buyer applies for a loan, the lender will calculate the principal, interest, taxes and insurance. The figure is designed to represent the borrower's actual monthly mortgage-related expenses.

  • Planned communities
    The concept began in the 19th century and describes any town or neighborhood built with certain guidelines and goals.

  • Planned-unit development
    Residents own the home and the land, and share the use and financial responsibility for common areas.

  • Plaster
    A labor-intensive and more costly wall finish.

  • Pocket door
    A sliding door that retreats into the wall when opened.

  • Point
    Fees charged by lenders at the time a loan is originated. A point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount.

  • Porch
    The structure can be a simple covered entrance to a home or a fully enclosed room on the outside of a residence.

  • Porte cochere
    A porch-like roof extending over a driveway.

  • Portfolio lender
    A lender who makes loans with its own funds and keeps the loans on the company's books--in other words, inside the institution's "portfolio"--rather than selling the loan on the secondary market.

  • Portico
    A porch supported by a row of columns.

  • Possession
    When a buyer signs the papers and receives the keys to the house, the buyer officially takes possession.

  • Power of attorney
    A document that authorizes an individual to act on behalf of someone else.

  • Pre-approval letter
    A letter from a lender that informs a seller about the amount of money that a potential buyer can obtain.

  • Prepaid expenses
    The costs for taxes, insurance and assessments paid before the due date.

  • Prepaid interest
    Interest paid before it is due. For example, at the close of a real estate transaction borrowers usually pay for the interest on their loan that falls between the closing period and the first monthly payment.

  • Prepayment penalty
    Lenders can impose a penalty on a borrower who pays a loan off before its expected end date.

  • Prequalification
    Many lenders will prequalify a borrower who is shopping for a loan by completing a preliminary assessment of the buyer's ability to pay for a home.

  • Pre-sold home
    Homes that are sold before they are built.

  • Pressure relief valve
    A safety vent that relieves excess pressure in a water heater.

  • Price range
    The range of how much a buyer is willing to pay for a home.

  • Primer
    The initial coat of paint that is applied before the final topcoat.

  • Principal
    The amount of money that the borrower owes on a mortgage.

  • Principle of conformity
    The idea that a house will more likely appreciate in value if its size, age, condition and style are similar to, or conform to, other houses in the neighborhood.

  • Principle of progression
    An appraisal term which states that real estate of lower value is enhanced by the proximity of higher-end properties.

  • Principle of regression
    An appraisal term which states that the value of higher-end real estate can be brought down by the proximity of too many lower-end properties.

  • Privacy fence
    A structure erected between two pieces of property.

  • Private mortgage insurance (PMI)
    A special type of loan insurance that many lenders require borrowers to purchase if the borrower's down payment is less than 20 percent of the home's purchase price.

  • Probate sale
    A real estate sale triggered by the death of the owner, with proceeds to be divided among heirs or creditors.

  • Production home
    Homes that are mass-produced by one builder in a project.

  • Programming
    A written summation by an architect of a project's design objectives, constraints and criteria.

  • Project budget
    A fiscal outline that includes the construction budget and all costs for land, furniture, equipment, financing, professional services, contingencies and owner-furnished goods and services.

  • Property line
    The official dividing line between properties.

  • Property report
    A disclosure issued by the state when a time-share project is located or sold.

  • Property tax
    Property taxes are calculated at about 1.5 percent of the current market value.

  • Property tax deduction
    The U.S. tax code allows homeowners to deduct the amount they have paid in property taxes.

  • Property value
    The value of a piece of property is based on the price a buyer will pay at a certain time.

  • Proration
    Agreed-upon percentages of certain expenses associated with a piece of property that must be paid by the buyer or the seller at the time of closing.

  • Punch list
    Buyers compile a punch list during the final walk-through detailing items to be fixed before closing.

  • Purchase agreement
    A document which details the purchase price and conditions of the transaction.

  • Purchase-money mortgage
    A mortgage that a borrower obtains to acquire a property.