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Real Estate Glossary

Listed below are a glossary of real estate terms in alphabetical order that you may find usefull when considering a real estate transaction.

Earnest money deposit: A deposit made by the potential home buyer to show that he or she is serious about buying the house.

Easement: A right of way giving persons other than the owner access to or over a property.

Effective age: An appraiser’s estimate of the physical condition of a building. The actual age of a building may be shorter or longer than its effective age.

Eminent domain: The right of a government to take private property for public use upon payment of its fair market value. Eminent domain is the basis for condemnation proceedings.

Encroachment: An improvement that intrudes illegally on another’s property.

Encumbrance: Anything that affects or limits the fee simple title to a property, such as mortgages, leases, easements, or restrictions.

Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA): A federal law that requires lenders and other creditors to make credit equally available without discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, or receipt of income from public assistance programs.

Equitable title: The interest held by a vendee under a contract for deed or an installment contract; the equitable right to obtain absolute ownership to property when legal title is held in another's name.

Equity: A homeowner's financial interest in a property. Equity is the difference between the fair market value of the property and the amount still owed on its mortgage and other liens.

Escheat: The reversion of property to the state or county, as provided by state law, in cases where a decedent dies intestate and there are no heirs capable of inheriting or when the property is abandoned. In some states, bank accounts that are unused for more than seven years will escheat to the government.

Escrow: An item of value, money, or documents deposited with a third party to be delivered upon the fulfillment of a condition. For example, the earnest money deposit is put into escrow until delivered to the seller when the transaction is closed.

Escrow account: Once you close your purchase transaction, you may have an escrow account or impound account with your lender. This means the amount you pay each month includes an amount above what would be required if you were only paying your principal and interest. The extra money is held in your impound account (escrow account) for the payment of items like property taxes and homeowner’s insurance when they come due. The lender pays them with your money instead of you paying them yourself.

Escrow analysis: Once each year your lender will perform an "escrow analysis" to make sure they are collecting the correct amount of money for the anticipated expenditures.

Escrow disbursements: The use of escrow funds to pay real estate taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance, and other property expenses as they become due.

Estate: The ownership interest of an individual in real property. The sum total of all the real property and personal property owned by an individual at time of death.

Estoppel: Method of enforcing an agency relationship in which someone stated incorrectly that another person is his or her agent, and a third person relied on that representation.

Eviction: The lawful expulsion of an occupant from real property.

Examination of title: The report on the title of a property from the public records or an abstract of the title.

Exclusive listing: A written contract that gives a licensed real estate agent the exclusive right to sell a property for a specified time.

Execute: The act of making a document legally valid, such as formalizing a contract by signing or acknowledging and delivering a deed. In some cases, execution of a document may refer solely to the act of signing, in other cases it may refer to complete performance of the document's terms.

Executor: A person named in a will to administer an estate. The court will appoint an administrator if no executor is named. "Executrix" is the feminine form.

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