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Real Estate Definitions
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Our set of real estate definitions are a great way to learn about real estate with a glossary of over 3,000 real estate terms and phrases.

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Real Estate - land and anything permanently affixed to the land. Examples include structures and items permanently attached to structures, such as wall-to-wall carpet, cabinets, built-in appliances, etc. Also called "real property". Those things that are not real estate are personal property.

Mortgage - a written agreement that is used to create a lien on real property to secure a promissory note that is executed to provide the loan of funds for the purchase or refinance of the property.

Title - (1) the right to ownership of land or personal property; (2) the rightful means under which one claims ownership or a possessory interest in land; the union of all elements of ownership; (3) the written evidence of ownership.

Lien - any of a variety of encumbrances attaching to real or personal property, either voluntarily, as in the case of securing a loan to acquire property, or involuntarily, as in the case of a money judgment awarded by a court that encumbers the judgment debtor's property until the judgment is satisfied. An encumbrance resulting from a taxing authority securing unpaid taxes or an encumbrance placed on property for nonpayment of workers or material suppliers in a construction project. See also encumbrance and mechanic's lien.

Appraisal - an educated and informed opinion or estimate of value of real property by a third-party expert. Used for purposes of establishing value for tax and estate purposes, for lending, and for setting a realistic market price.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) - a federal administrative agency, established in 1934, and now operated under the auspices of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Congressional intent was to make home loans more readily available to borrowers with limited down payments, to exert pressure on the building industry to create more standardized good-quality housing, and to regulate the mortgage industry. Maximum FHA loan limits are relatively low and vary according to the cost of housing within a particular region. In an FHA loan, the FHA insures lenders against loss on low down payment loans provided that both the borrower and the property comply with FHA underwriting guidelines. The funding mechanism is a mortgage insurance premium (MIP) paid by the borrower. If the borrower defaults, the mortgage insurance program will pay the bulk of the lender's loss.

Tenancy In Common - a form of ownership recognizing concurrent possession of more than one person, with each having an undivided interest in the entire estate. Unlike joint tenancy, tenancy in common may be established by separate instruments. No co-tenant can exclude the other co-tenants from any portion of the property, or partition possession of the property. The shares may be unequal, and the co-tenant may sell or will his or her share without disturbing the co-tenancy relationship. Each co-tenant bears his or her proportional share of maintaining the property and is entitled to a proportional share of the income from the property.

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