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Real Estate Words Glossary Archive

Building codes

Minimum construction standards set by state or local laws for public safety and health. Includes the design, construction, repair, and quality of building materials, as well as the use and occupancy of structures.

Builder’s warranty

Written statement by a builder assuring that a dwelling was completed according to a stipulated set of standards. It protects the buyer from any latent defects.


Business of a broker. Also, the amount charged for a broker's service.


Licensed individual who acts independently in conducting a real estate brokerage business; also a person who buys and sells for another for a commission.

Breach of contract

When one party fails to live up to the terms and conditions of a contract, without a valid, legal excuse.


Illegal practice of creating panic selling in a neighborhood for financial gain. Typically exploits racial and religious bias to get homeowners to sell low so the properties can be resold at a mark up.

Blanket mortgage

Single mortgage that covers more than one real property, i.e. - a house plus the vacant lot next door.


Short purchase contract used in some areas to secure a real estate transaction until a more formal contract can be signed at a later date; usually accompanied by an earnest money deposit.

Balloon loan

Mortgage loan in which a larger final payment becomes due because the loan amount was not fully amortized.

Assumption of mortgage

Taking title to property that has an existing mortgage, and being personally liable for its payment as a condition of the sale.


Tax or charge levied on property by a taxing authority to pay for local improvements such as sidewalks, streets, and sewers.

Assessed value

A value placed on a property by an agency of the government for taxation and other purposes.

As is

Said of property offered for sale in its present condition with no guarantees as to quality and no promise of repair or fix-up by the seller; property is purchased in exactly the condition in which it is found.


Whatever is annexed to land or used with it that will pass to the buyer with conveyance of title, such as a garage or fence.


Increase in property value or worth due to economic or related factors; the opposite of depreciation.