Real Estate Glossary


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  • Acceleration Clause - Condition in a mortgage that may require the balance of the loan to become due immediately, if regular mortgage payments are not made or for breach of other conditions of the mortgage.

  • Accessibility - The degree to which a building or site allows access to people with disabilities.

  • Acre - A measurement of land equal to 43,560 square feet.

  • Addendum - An addition or change to a contract.

  • Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) - Adjustable Rate Mortgage; a mortgage loan subject to changes in interest rates; when rates change, ARM monthly payments increase or decrease at intervals determined by the lender; the change in monthly payment amount, however, is usually subject to a cap.

  • Adverse Possession - The acquisition of title to property through possession without the owner's consent for a certain period of time.

  • Agency - The relationship of trust that exists between sellers and buyers and their agents.

  • Amenity - A feature of the home or property that serves as a benefit to the buyer but that is not necessary to its use; may be natural (like location, Woods, water) or man-made (like a swimming pool or garden).

  • Amortization - Repayment of a mortgage loan through monthly installments of principal and interest; the monthly payment amount is based on a schedule that will allow you to own your home at the end of a specific time period (for example, 15 or 30 years)

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR) - Calculated by using a standard formula, the APR shows the cost of a loan; expressed as a yearly interest rate, it includes the interest, points, mortgage insurance, and other fees associated with the loan.

  • Application - The first step in the official loan approval process; this form is used to record important information about the potential borrower necessary to the underwriting process.

  • Appraisal - A document that gives an estimate of a property's fair market value; an appraisal is generally required by a lender before loan approval to ensure that the mortgage loan amount is not more than the value of the property.

  • Appraiser - A qualified individual who uses his or her experience and knowledge to prepare the appraisal estimate.

  • Appreciation - Any increase in the value of property that may be estimated.

  • Assessed Value - The valuation placed upon property by a public tax assessor for purpose of taxation.

  • Assessor - A government official who is responsible for determining the value of a property for the purpose of taxation.

  • Assumable Mortgage - A mortgage that can be transferred from a seller to a buyer; once the loan is assumed by the buyer the seller is no longer responsible for repaying it; there may be a fee and/or a credit package involved in the transfer of an assumable mortgage.