Glossary of Real Estate Terms: S to Z

Colorado Springs Property » Glossary of Real Estate Terms: S to Z

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Sales contract: A contract between a buyer and seller that should explain, in detail, exactly what the purchase includes, what guarantees there are, when the buyer can move in, what the closing costs are, and what recourse the parties have if the contract is not fulfilled or if the buyer cannot get a mortgage commitment at the agreed-upon terms.

SELLER’S* AGENT: A seller’s agent works solely on behalf of the seller and owes duties to the seller which include the utmost good faith, loyalty and fidelity. The agent will negotiate on behalf of and act as an advocate for the seller. The seller 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 buyers or tenants all adverse material facts about the property actually known by the broker. A separate written 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".)

SELLER’S SUBAGENT: A subagent owes the same duties of utmost good faith, loyalty and fidelity to a seller as the seller’s agent and must make the same disclosures to buyers concerning adverse material facts about the property. A subagent will negotiate and act as an advocate for the seller, who is legally responsible for the acts of the subagent when acting within the scope of the subagency. Seller must give written permission for the listing agent to employ subagents.

Special Assessment: An assessment against real estate levied by a public authority to pay for public improvements, e.g., sidewalks, street improvements, sewers; an amount levied against individual owners in a condominium or cooperative to cover their proportionate shares of a common expense.


Tax Base: The unit of value to which the tax rate is applied to determine the tax due; for property taxes, the assessed valuation; for income taxes, the net taxable income

Tax District: A political subdivision of one or more assessment districts where a governmental unit has the authority to levy taxes

Tax Levy: In property taxation, the total revenue that will be realized by a tax

Tax Lien: A lien that is automatically attached to property in the amount of its unpaid property taxes

Tax Rate: The ration between the tax and the tax base; applied to the assessed value to determine the amount of tax; obtained by dividing the amount of the tax levy by the total assessed value of all properties in the tax district; usually expressed in dollars per $100 or $1000 (mills) of assessed value

Tenancy in Common: An estate held by two or more persons, each of whom has an undivided interest

Title: The combination of all elements that constitute proof of ownership

TRANSACTION-BROKER: A transaction-broker assists the buyer or seller or both throughout a real estate transaction with communication, advice, negotiation, contracting and closing without being an agent or advocate for any of the parties. The parties to a transaction are not legally responsible for the actions of a transaction-broker and a transaction-broker does not owe those parties the duties of an agent. However, a transaction broker does owe the parties a number of statutory obligations and responsibilities, including using reasonable skill and care in the performance of any oral or written agreement. A transaction-broker must also make the same disclosures as agents about adverse material facts concerning a property or a buyer’s financial ability to perform the terms of a transaction and whether the buyer intends to occupy the property. No written agreement is required.

Trust Deed: A deed that establishes a trust, an instrument that conveys legal title to a property to a trustee, stating the trustee’s authority and the conditions that bind the trustee in dealing with the property


Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP): Current standards of the appraisal profession, developed for appraisers and the users of appraisal services by the Appraisal Standards Board of The Appraisal Foundation. The Uniform Standards set forth the procedures to be followed in developing an appraisal, analysis, or opinion and the manner in which an appraisal, analysis, or opinion is communicated. They are endorsed by the Appraisal Institute and by other professional appraisal organizations



Warranty: A promise, either written or implied, that the material and workmanship of a product is defect-free or will meet a specified level of performance over a specified period of time. Written warranties on new homes are either backed by insurance companies or by the builders themselves