Glossary of Real Estate Terms: A to D

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Acre: A land measure equal to 43,560 square feet

Ad Valorem Tax: A real estate tax based on the assessed value of the property, which is not necessarily equivalent to its market value

Amortization: A payment plan by which a loan is reduced through monthly payments of principal and interest

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): The annual cost of credit over the life of a loan, including interest service charges, points, loan fees, mortgage insurance and other items

Appraisal: An evaluation to determine what a piece of property would sell for in the current marketplace

Arbitration: A process in which one or more individuals are selected by opposing parties to settle a dispute outside of court. The decision of an arbitrator is generally binding

Arm’s-length Transaction: A transaction between unrelated parties under no duress


BUYER’S* AGENT: A buyer’s agent works solely on behalf of the buyer and owes duties to the buyer which include the utmost good faith, loyalty and fidelity. The agent will negotiate on behalf of and act as an advocate for the buyer. The buyer is legally responsible for the actions of the agent when that agent is acting within the scope of the agency. The agent must disclose to potential sellers all adverse material facts concerning the buyer’s financial ability to perform the terms of the transaction and whether the buyer intends to occupy the property. A separate written buyer listing agreement is required which sets forth the duties and obligations of the parties.

* For purposes of these Definitions, buyer also means "tenant" and seller also means "landlord".


Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB): The Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB) designation was established in 1968 by the Residential division of the National Institute of Real Estate Brokers, the forerunner to the Real Estate Brokerage Managers Council. The Managers Council was awarded the CRB designation to real estate brokerage managers who have completed the CRB Management Series and met stringent management experience requirements

Certified Relocation Professional (CRP): The Certified Relocation Professional (CRP) program was introduced in 1990 to formally recognize E-R-C members’ knowledge about the entire relocation industry, and requires awareness of residential real estate and appraising, corporate relocation policies and issues, relocation tax and legal issues, and family relocation issues

Certified Residential Specialist (CRS): The CRS Designation is the symbol of residential sales excellence and identifies its holders as members of an elite professional group within the real estate industry

Closing: A meeting to sign documents that transfer property from a seller to buyer (also referred to as a settlement)

Closing Costs: One-time costs that must be paid before the loan can be funded. Costs may include title insurance premium, deed recording fee, title transfer tax, etc. Closing instructions tell you which portion of the fees are to be paid by the buyer or seller. Lender will give you an estimate of closing costs when you apply for a loan

Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions (CC & Rs): The standards that define how a property may be used and the protections the developer makes for the benefit of all owners


Deed: A written legal instrument that conveys an estate or interest in real property when it is executed and delivered

Document Fee: The amount paid for document preparation

Down Payment: The difference between the sale price and the mortgage amount of the property. A down payment is usually paid at closing