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Real Estate Agent Dictionary

Bookmark this page as a resource for real estate terms. 

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ABANDONMENT The voluntary surrender of property rights, with no intention of reclaiming them and without vesting interest in another person. Nonuse is not necessarily abandonment.


ABSTRACT A history of the ownership of a property, showing transfers in ownership and factors affecting ownership, such as mortgages.


ABUTTER A person whose property abuts, is contiguous, or joins at a border or boundary; where no other land, road or street intervenes.


ACCELERATION CLAUSE A clause in a promissory note, agreement of sale, or mortgage which gives the lender the right to call all sums due and payable in advance of the fixed payment date upon the occurrence of a specified event, such as a sale, default, assignment or further.


ACCEPTENCE The expression of the intention of the person receiving an offer (offeree, usually the seller) to be bound by the terms of the offer. The acceptance must be communicated to the offeror and must be in writing to be enforceable.


ACCESSION Acquisition of title to additional improvements to real property as a result of annexation of fixtures or of accretion of alluvial deposits.


ACCRETION An increase in dry land by gradual deposit of waterborne, solid material and riparian land, i.e., accretion by alluvion. The owner of riparian land becomes owner of title to land formed by accretion. Antonym: erosion.


ACCRUED DEPRECIATION The difference between the present worth of improvements and the reproduction or replacement cost new, both measured on the appraisal date.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT A formal declaration made before an authorized official by a person executing a document, that he signs the document by a free act and deed. The official is usually a notary public who witnesses the signature and verifies the identity of the person.


ACQUISITION act of becoming the owner of certain property; used also of the thing or property acquired.


ACRE A measure of land equaling 43,560 square feet; or 4,840 square yards; or 160 square rods; or a tract about 208.71 feet square


ACRE FOOT OF WATER A volume of water that will cover an area of one acre to the depth of one foot: 43,560 cubic feet.


ACTIVE INSTALLATION An installation in continuous use by active Army organizations.


AD VALOREM TAX A tax on the value of the object or thing subject to taxation.


ADMINIDTRATOR A person appointed by the court to manage and settle the estate of a deceased person who has left no will.


ADVERSE POSSESSION Acquisition of title to real property owned by someone else, by open, notorious, and continuous possession for the statutory period of time.


AFFIDAVIT written declaration, sworn before an officer who has authority to administer oaths.


AGREEMNET OF SALE A written agreement whereby the purchaser agrees to buy certain real estate and the seller agrees to sell upon terms and conditions set forth in the agreement.


AIR RIGHTS The rights vested by a grant of an estate in real property to build upon, occupy, or use, in the manner and degree permitted, all or any portion of space above the ground or any other stated elevation within vertical planes.


ALIENATION The voluntary transfer of real property from one person to another.


ALLOCATION An amount of obligational authority transferred from one agency, bureau or account and set aside in a transfer appropriation account to carry out the purposes of the parent appropriation or fund.


ALLOTMENT Authorization by the head of an agency to subordinates to incur financial obligations up to a specified amount. An agency makes allotments under the regulations in OMB Circular No. A-34, and not to exceed the amount allowed by OMB.


ALLUVION A kind of accretion on riparian land by action of water which deposits sediment. See also ALLUVIUM, AVULSION.


ALLUVIUM Sand, clay or mud deposited as sediment on riparian land.


AMENITIES Tangible and intangible benefits generated and received through exercise of rights to real property, not necessarily in the form of money.


AMORTIZATION Liquidation or gradual retirement of a financial obligation by periodic installments.


AMORTIZATION PERIOD The period of time for economic recovery of the net investment in a project.


ANGLE A measure of rotation about a point, generally used in surveys to show the relationship of one line to another.


ANIMAL UNIT A measure of numbers of livestock equivalent to a mature cow. One A.U. equals 1,000 pounds live weight, or one cow, horse, or mule; five sheep or swine; six goats.


ANIMAL UNIT MONTH A measure of forage or feed sufficient to feed one ANIMAL UNIT for 30 days. Usually expressed relative to acres of land.


ANNEXATION The act of attaching, adding or joining one thing to another, generally a smaller or subordinate thing with a large or principal thing. Usually with respect to land or fixtures.


APPORTIONMENT A distribution by OMB of amounts available for obligation in an appropriation or fund account, including budgetary reserves established by law.


APPRAISAL - A written estimate and opinion of value; a conclusion resulting from the analysis of facts.


APPRAISER One qualified by education, training, and experience who is hired to estimate the value of real and personal property based upon experience, judgment, facts, and the use of the formal appraisal processes.


APPRECIATION An increased conversion value of property or mediums of exchange due to economic or related causes which may prove to be either temporary or permanent.


APPROPRIATION Authorization by act of Congress permitting Federal agencies to incur obligations and make payments out of the 'treasury for specific purposes.


APPROPRIATIONS BILL A bill that gives legal authority to spend or obligate money from the Treasury. An appropriations bill usually provides the actual monies approved by authorization bills, but not necessarily the full amount permissible.


APPURTENANCE Something annexed to another principal thing and which passes as incident to it, for example a right of way or barn passing with a principal property.


ASSESSED VALUATION An assessment of property values, by a unit of Government, for purposes of taxation.


ASSESSMENT A charge against real estate made by a unit of government to cover a proportionate cost of an improvement, such as street or-sewer.


ASSETS All valuable things owned by a person, corporation, or other entity, encumbered or not.


ASSIGNMENT (OF TEASE) A transfer to another of rights, interest, or claim in or to real or personal property. The party who assigns or transfers his interest is the assignor, and the assignee is the one to whom the assignment is made.


ASSUMPTION AGREEMENT An undertaking of a debt or obligation primarily resting upon another person.


ASSUMPTION OF MORTGAGE The taking of title to property by a grantee wherein he assumes liability for payment of an existing note secured by a mortgage or deed of trust against the property.


ATTACHMENT The legal process of seizing the real or personal property of a defendant in a law suit, by levy or judicial order, and holding it in the custody of the court as security for satisfaction of the judgment.


ATTORNEY IN FACT A person authorized to perform certain acts for another person, under power of attorney.


AUDIT An examination of records of real estate transactions to verify accuracy and adequacy.


AUTHORIZATION BILL Legislation to establish or continue the legal operation of a Federal program or agency, or to sanction a particular type of obligation or expenditure. Normally a prerequisite for an appropriation or other kinds of budget authority.


AVIGATION EASEMENT The right granted by a land owner to an airport to use airspace above a specified height for the flight of aircraft. The owner may be prohibited from using the land for structures, trees, signs, stacks, etc. higher than a specified measure.


AZIMUTH The angle between A reference line,-usually north and south, and a line to an object, measured clockwise from south in Corps of Engineers surveying.

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