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September 29, 2008
A ground-generated radioactive gas that seeps into some homes through sump pumps, cracks in the foundation and other inlets. A leading cause of lung cancer , radon is found in mostly the northern half of the country.
Rafters form the slope of a pitched roof and are analogous to floor joists.
- Rammed-earth construction
An alternative building process in which dirt is compacted into large structural frames to create walls.
- Ranch style
Modern ranch-style homes, popularized in the 1950s, were championed by such architectural giants as Frank Lloyd Wright.
- Rate lock
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 guaranteed interest rate is in effect.
- Rate-improvement mortgage
A loan with a clause that entitles a borrower to a one-time cut in the interest rate without going through refinancing.
- Real estate
Land and anything permanently affixed to it, including buildings, fences and other items attached to the structure.
- Real estate agent
A real estate agent has a state license to represent a buyer or a seller in a real estate transaction in exchange for a commission. Most agents work for real estate brokers.
- Real estate attorney
A lawyers who specializes in real estate transactions.
- Real estate broker
A real estate agent who is licensed by the state to represent a buyer or seller in a real estate transaction in exchange for a commission. Most brokers also have agents working for them, and are entitled to a portion of their commissions.
- Real estate investment trusts (REITs)
The trusts are publicly traded companies that own, develop and operate commercial properties.
- Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)
A federal law designed to make sellers and buyers aware of settlement fees and other transaction-related costs. RESPA also outlaws kickbacks in the real estate business.
- Real property
Land and any permanent fixtures on it, including buildings, trees and minerals.
A designation for an agent or broker who is a member of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers.
A designation for an agent or broker who is a member of the National Association of Realtors.
The cancellation of a contract by law or consent by the parties involved.
When a borrower completely pays off the mortgage, the property is reconveyed to them from the lender.
A public official responsible for keeping the records of all real estate transactions.
The filing of a specific document to the appropriate government entity.
- Recording fee
A fee charged by real estate agents for conveying the sale of a piece of property into the public record.
The practice by a bank or insurance company to deny credit or insurance to people based on ethnic background or neighborhood.
The process of replacing an older loan with a new mortgage that has better terms.
- Regulation Z
The federal code issued under the Truth-in-Lending Act which requires that a borrower be advised in writing of all costs associated with the credit portion of a financial transaction.
- Rehabilitation mortgage
A mortgage that provides for the costs of repairing and improving a resale home or building.
- Relocation benefits
Benefits provided by employers for new workers and can include moving costs, reimbursement for temporary housing and transportation, real estate agent assistance and discounted loans.
- Relocation company
A firm that administers all aspects of moving in new employees to the community.
- Remaining balance
The amount of unpaid principal on a home loan.
- Remaining term
The original loan term minus the number of payments made.
- Rent loss insurance
A policy that covers any loss of rent or rental value in the event of fire or other damage that renders the property uninhabitable.
- Renter's insurance
A policy that covers the replacement value of possessions.
- Repayment plan
When a borrower falls behind in mortgage payments, many lenders will negotiate a repayment plan rather than go to court.
- Replacement reserve fund
Money that is set aside from homeowners' assessments to replace common property, such as furniture in a planned development's community room.
When a house is repossessed, it is taken back by the lender holding the mortgage.
- Resale value
The future value of a piece of property that can be affected by many factors, including the surrounding neighborhood, school scores, and economic and housing market conditions.
- Reserve fund
All homeowners associations set aside a certain amount of money for major repairs or improvements.
- Restructured loan
A mortgage in which new terms are negotiated.
- Return on investment
The amount of profit a property generates.
- Reverse mortgage
A special type of loan available to equity-rich, older owners. Repayment is not necessary until the borrower sells the property or moves into a retirement community.
- Ridge board
A horizontal board that serves as the apex of the roof structure.
- Ridge vent
A vent located along the ridge board of the roof that allows moisture to escape.
- Right of first refusal
An agreement by a property owner to give another person the right to buy or rent the property before it goes on the open market.
- Right to recission
A provision in the federal Truth-in-Lending Act that allows borrowers to cancel certain kinds of loans within three days of signing.
The installation of plumbing, electrical and other mechanical systems.
- Rural Housing Service
A U.S. Department of Agriculture program that provides financing to farmers and certain borrowers to purchase rural property when other funds are not available.
A construction term that refers to the resistance of to heat loss. The higher the R-value, the slower the rate of heat loss.