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September 29, 2008

 Glossary of Terms

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  • Radon
    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.

  • Rafter
    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.

  • Realtist
    A designation for an agent or broker who is a member of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers.

  • Realtor
    A designation for an agent or broker who is a member of the National Association of Realtors.

  • Recission
    The cancellation of a contract by law or consent by the parties involved.

  • Reconveyance
    When a borrower completely pays off the mortgage, the property is reconveyed to them from the lender.

  • Recorder
    A public official responsible for keeping the records of all real estate transactions.

  • Recording
    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.

  • Redlining
    The practice by a bank or insurance company to deny credit or insurance to people based on ethnic background or neighborhood.

  • Refinancing
    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.

  • Repossession
    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.

  • Rough-in
    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.

  • R-value
    A construction term that refers to the resistance of to heat loss. The higher the R-value, the slower the rate of heat loss.