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Real Estate Words Glossary Archive


Encumbrance

Any impediment to a clear title. It can be a claim, lien, zoning restriction, or other legal right or interest in land that diminishes its value. The report of the title search usually shows all encumbrances.


Encroachment

A building or other improvement that extends beyond its boundary and intrudes upon the property of another.


Eminent domain

The right or power of government to acquire private property for public use without the consent of the owner, provided fair compensation is provided.


Easement

Limited right to cross or use for some specified purpose the property of another. It may be permanent or temporary. Water, sewage, and utility suppliers frequently hold an easement across private property.


Earnest money deposit

Money that accompanies an offer to purchase as evidence of good faith. It is almost always a personal check, certified check, or money order rather than cash


Due-on-sale

Clause in a note or mortgage giving the lender the right to call the entire loan balance due if the property is sold or otherwise conveyed.


Downpayment

Initial cash investment made as evidence of good faith when purchasing real estate. It is usually a percentage of the sale price.


Discount points

Added loan fee charged by a lender to make the yield on a lower-than-market-value loan competitive with higher-interest loans.


Discount broker

Full-service broker who charges less than the prevailing commission rates in his or her community.


Depreciation

Gradual decline on paper in market value of real estate, especially because of age, obsolescence, wear and tear, or economic conditions.


Delinquent loan

One where the borrower is behind, or late, in payments.


Deficiency judgment

Judgment issued against a borrower when the sale of foreclosed property does not bring in enough to pay the balance owed on the mortgage.


Default

Breach of a contract or failure to meet a legal obligation. Nonpayment of a mortgage beyond a certain number of payments is considered a default.


Deed restrictions

Provisions placed in deeds to control how future landowners may or may not use the property. Also called deed covenants.


Deed of trust

Document resembling a mortgage that conveys legal title to a neutral third party as security for a debt. Also called a trust deed or deed in trust.