Real Estate Dictionary



E & O INSURANCE
See: Errors And Omission Insurance.
EA
See: Environmental Assessment.
EARNEST MONEY
See: Deposit (1).
EARNINGS
Money received for labor or personal services rather than a return on capital, although corporate income from all sources is described as "earnings".
EASEMENT
A right created by grant, reservation, agreement, prescription, or necessary implication, which one has in the land of another. It is either for the benefit of land (appurtenant), such as right to cross A to get to B, or "in gross", such as a public utility easement.
EASEMENT APPURTENANT
An easement for the benefit or another parcel of land, such as the right to cross parcel A to reach parcel B. The easement will pass with the transfer of property to a new owner. See also: Dominant Tenement; Servient Tenement.
EASEMENT BY PRESCRIPTION
See: Prescriptive Easement.
EASEMENT IN GROSS
An easement for the benefit of a person or company, rather than for the benefit of another parcel of land. Commonly, such easements as for public utilities.
EASEMENT OF NECESSITY
An easement granted by a court when it is determined that said easement is absolutely necessary for the use and enjoyment of the land. Commonly given to landlocked parcels.
EASY DOC LOANS
See: Low Doc Loans.
EAT
See: Exchange Accommodation Titleholder.
EAVES
The margin or lower part of a roof projecting beyond an exterior wall.
EBB TIDE
The tide at its low, or the period from high to low.
ECONOMIC AGE-LIFE METHOD OF DEPRECIATION
See: Age-Life Method of Depreciation.
ECONOMIC DEPRECIATION
See: Economic Obsolescence.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION (EDA)
Part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The EDA manages grant and loan programs aid economically depressed areas.
ECONOMIC LIFE
The "profitable" life of an improvement. Generally shorter than the physical life (before it is worn out).
ECONOMIC OBSOLESCENCE
A loss in value to property (depreciation) caused by a negative influence near the property. Concerned with location rather than physical characteristics of the property. Also called External Obsolescence; Environmental Obsolescence.
ECONOMIC RECOVERY ACT OF 1981 (ERTA)
Laws designed to stimulate the economy, including stimulation of the real estate market. See: Accelerated Cost Recovery System.
ECONOMIC RENT
The market rental value of a property at any given time, even though the actual rent may be different.
ECONOMICS
The study of the laws and theories pertaining to the creation and distribution of wealth, either of the private sector or of governments.
EDA
See: Economic Development Administration.
EEM (ENERGY EFFICIENT MORTGAGE)
An FHA program that helps homebuyers save money on utility bills by enabling them to finance the cost of adding energy efficiency features to a new or existing home as part of the home purchase.
EFFECTIVE AGE
Age of a structure as estimated by its condition rather than actual age. Takes into account rehabilitation and maintenance.
EFFECTIVE DEMAND
A qualifying term meaning the ability to pay as well as desire to buy.
EFFECTIVE GROSS INCOME
See: Adjusted Gross Income.
EFFICIENCY
An apartment consisting of one room, sectioned into areas for a kitchen, bedroom, etc.
EFFLUENT
(1) The flowing of a branch of a stream out from the main stream. (2) The flow of sewage, either from a storm sewer or sanitary sewer, after some stage of treatment.
EGRESS
A term concerning a right to come and go across the land (public or private) of another. Usually part of the term ingress and egress
EIS
See: Environmental Impact Statement.
EJECTMENT
Most commonly, a court action to recover real property, usually by eviction of a tenant. In some states, an action to enforce specific performance.
ELECTRIC HEATING
Any heating system using electricity as its power source. May be a water or air system.
ELECTRICAL CURRENT
Any flow of electricity.
ELEEMOSYNARY CORPORATION
A corporation created for a charitable purpose. There are tax advantages accorded to such corporations. The corporation may operate the same as a profit making corporation. Commonly called a nonprofit corporation.
ELEVATION
(1) Height above sea level. (2) The exterior design of a structure, usually but not necessarily, viewed from the front. Called a horizontal elevation. (3) Height measured from any point, such as elevation from a floor. Called vertical elevation.
ELUVIATION
The movement of soil materials, either in a downward or horizontal direction, caused by excessive water in the soil.
EMBLEMENTS
Growing crops. Considered chattels which may be removed by a tenant at the expiration of his lease.
EMINENT DOMAIN
A governmental right to acquire private property for public use by condemnation, and the payment of just compensation.
EMOLUMENT
Compensation for personal services, such as salary, commission, or other compensation.
EMPHYTHEUTIC LEASE
A lease in perpetuity or for a long period, freely transferable by the lessee, upon the condition that the lessee improve the property and pay rent.
EMPLOYER-ASSISTED HOUSING
Programs offered by employers to help their employees purchase a home. The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) offers advice to employers in setting up these programs.
EMPLOYMENT LETTER
A letter from an employer stating the time a person has been employed and income from said employment.
EMPOWERMENT ZONES AND ENTERPRISE COMMUNITIES (EZ/EC)
Targeted areas to be aided through tax incentives, grants and loans to improve economic conditions. The program was created by Title XIII of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 and expanded by the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997.
ENCROACHMENT
Generally, construction onto the property of another, as of a wall fence, building, etc.
ENCUMBRANCE, INCUMBRANCE
A claim, lien, charge, or liability attached to and binding real property. Any right to, or interest in, land which may exist in one other than the owner, but which will not prevent the transfer of fee title.
END LOAN
See: Take Out Loan.
ENDORSEMENT (INDORSEMENT)
The act of the holder of a note, bill, check, or other negotiable instrument, of transferring said instrument by signing the back of the instrument, with or without qualifications.
ENDORSER
One who transfers a check or mortgage note by signing (endorsing) the check or note rather than by a separate document (assignment). The transferee may receive greater rights by endorsement than by assignment.
ENGLISH ARCHITECTURE
A general term, encompassing the styles of various English design, but which have common elements. The exterior being either of large stones, or exposed timbers with large stones or brick placed between the timbers, in a decorative manner. The roof is most often of slate and windows are hinged vertically.
ENTERPRISE ZONE
See: Empowerment Zones And Enterprise Communities (EZ/EC).
ENTIRE TENANCY
See: Tenancy by the Entirety.
ENTITLEMENT
A veteran's eligibility for a home loan. Specific programs set out requirements to restore entitlement if the veteran has already used the benefit.
ENTITY
A separate existence or being, most commonly referring to a corporation or other form of business, rather than an individual.
ENTRANCE
(1) The opening used to go into an enclosed area, such as a door, gate, etc. (2) To go upon land, such as to gain entrance to, the point of entrance not necessarily being through a door, gate, or other opening.
ENTREPRENEUR
A businessman, taking the risk of loss and gaining profit, rather than a salaried employee.
ENVIRONMENT
Surroundings. As an appraisal term,the characteristics of the area around a property which bear on the value of the property.
ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT (EA)
A preliminary environmental analysis used to determine whether a more detailed environmental impact statement will be necessary.
ENVIRONMENTAL DEFICIENCY
Deficiency of the area surrounding a property, (environment), which decreases its value, such as poorly designed streets and traffic patterns, a high crime rate, no major sewer lines, etc.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT (EIS)
A report of the probable effect of a development on the surrounding area (environment). The report is prepared by an independent company to federal, state, or local guide lines.
ENVIRONMENTAL LIEN
A lien to secure payment for removal of contaminants. Example: Superfund money is used for cleanup. The lien is then filed as well as a lawsuit to recover the money from the responsible parties.
ENVIRONMENTAL OBSOLESCENCE
See: Economic Obsolescence.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROPERTY ASSESSMENT
See: Environmental Site Assessment.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA)
The federal agency concerned with the protection of our resources of land, water, and air.
ENVIRONMENTAL SITE ASSESSMENT
A physical inspection of a site (land and improvements) to determine if environmental problems exist. (See: Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment; Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment; Phase 3 Environmental Site Assessment).
EPA
See: Environmental Protection Agency.
EPRA (ENVIRONMENTAL PROPERTY ASSESSMENT)
See: Environmental Site Assessment.
EQUAL CREDIT OPPORTUNITY ACT
Federal law granting women certain independent status, and preventing lenders from considering such negative credit aspects as the possibility of a woman having children and dropping out of the labor market.
EQUAL DIGNITY RULE
A term used most often in contracts involving real property. The rule is that if a matter requires a writing, agency agreements concerning the matter must also be written. For example: Since a contract to sell real estate must be in writing, the agency (listing) agreement to sell real estate must be in writing.
EQUALIZATION
See: Board of Equalization.
EQUATOR
The imaginary circle separating the Northern and Southern Hemispheres of the Earth, and used as the starting point for measurements of latitude, its own latitude being zero degrees.
EQUIPMENT
As an industrial term, everything necessary to produce a product, such as land, improvements, machinery, etc.
EQUITABLE CONVERSION
A legal fiction applied to a land contract which treats the vendee's (buyer's) interest as a real property interest even though the seller holds legal title, and the seller's interest as a security interest (personal property). This enables the buyer to act as the "owner" of the property without having "legal" title.
EQUITABLE LIEN
A lien enforceable in a court of equity, based on evidence of an intent between debtor and creditor to create a lien on specific property of the debtor, but a failure to legally create said lien.
EQUITABLE MORTGAGE
(1) A lien against real property (mortgage) which is enforceable in a court of equity, but does not legally constitute a mortgage. (2) A deed given as security for a debt will be held to be a mortgage rather than a transfer of title. Also called a constructive mortgage.
EQUITABLE OWNERSHIP
Ownership by one who does not have legal title, such as a vendee under a land contract or, technically, a trustor under a deed of trust (legal title being in the trustee). Also called equitable title.
EQUITABLE RIGHT OF REDEMPTION
See: Equity of Redemption.
EQUITABLE TITLE
See: Equitable Ownership.
EQUITY
(1) A legal doctrine based on fairness, rather than strict interpretation of the letter of the law. (2) The market value of real property, less the amount of existing liens. (3) Any ownership investment (stocks, real estate, etc.) as opposed to investing as a lender (bonds, mortgages, etc.).
EQUITY BUILD-UP
The reduction of principal on a mortgage or deed of trust by periodic payments, which increases (builds-up) the difference (equity) between the property value and amount of the lien.
EQUITY CAPITALIZATION RATE
See: Cash-On-Cash.
EQUITY DIVIDEND RATE
See: Cash-On-Cash.
EQUITY LINE OF CREDIT
A combination of a line of credit and equity loan. A maximum loan amount is established based on credit and equity. A mortgage (deed of trust) is recorded against the potential borrower's property for said maximum loan amount. The potential borrower has the right to borrow, as needed, up to the amount of the mortgage.
EQUITY LOAN
A loan based upon the equity in a property. The credit of the borrower is not a major factor. See also: Personal Property Loan.
EQUITY OF REDEMPTION
Properly, the right to pay off the lien of a mortgage which is in default by payment of the principal, interest, and costs which are due. Often confused with the redemption period after the foreclosure sale, which is a right established by statute.
EQUITY PARTICIPATION
See: Participation.
EQUITY PURCHASER
One who purchases the equity of another in real property, either assuming or taking subject to existing mortgages or deeds of trust.
EQUITY SHARING
A method of borrowing by giving the lender an ownership interest in the property. When the property is sold, the lender receives a portion of the profit in addition to repayment.
EQUITY SKIMMING
A scam where a "buyer" approaches a homeowner who is behind on his/her mortgage payments. The owner moves out of the property based on the promise to bring the mortgage current and give the owner money when the property is sold. After getting a deed from the homeowner, the con artist rents out the property until the foreclosure is final. Also known as milking.
EQUITY STAKE MORTGAGE
See: Shared Appreciation Mortgage.
EROSION
The wearing away, over a prolonged period, of rock, earth, or other portions of land.
ERRORS AND OMISSIONS INSURANCE
Insurance covering losses caused by errors and omissions of professions other than medicine. Used by banks, real estate companies, escrow companies, etc.
ESA
See Environmental Site Assessment
ESCALATION CLAUSE
A clause in a lease providing for an increased rental at a future time. May be accomplished by several types of clauses, such as (1) Fixed increase - A clause which calls for a definite, periodic rental increase. (2) Cost of living - A clause which ties the rent to a government cost of living index, with periodic adjustments as the index changes. (3) Direct expense - The rent is adjusted according to changes in the expenses of the property paid by the lessor, such as tax increases, increased maintenance costs, etc.
ESCALATOR CLAUSE
See: Escalation Clause.
ESCARPMENT
A cliff.
ESCHEAT
A reversion of property to the state in the absence of an individual owner. Usually occurs when a property owner dies intestate, and without heirs.
ESCROW
Delivery of a deed by a grantor to a third party for delivery to the grantee upon the happening of a contingent event. Modernly, in some states, all instruments necessary to the sale (including funds) are delivered to a third (neutral) party, with instructions as to their use.
ESCROW ACCOUNT
See; Impound Account.
ESCROW ANALYSIS
A review by a lender to determine if the proper amount is being deposited each month by the borrower to pay taxes and insurance when they become due.
ESCROW COLLECTIONS
See: Impound Account.
ESCROW DISBURSEMENTS
See: Impound Disbursements.
ESCROW INSTRUCTIONS
Instructions which are signed by both buyer and seller, and which enable an escrow agent to carry out the proce- dures necessary to transfer real property, a business, or other assignable interest.
ESCROW OFFICER
An escrow agent. In some states, one who has, through experience and education, gained a certain degree of expertise in escrow matters.
ESTATE
(1) The interest or nature of the interest which one has in property, such as a life estate, the estate of a deceased, real estate, etc. (2) A large house with substantial grounds surrounding it, giving the connotation of belonging to a wealthy person.
ESTATE AT SUFFERANCE
See: Tenant at Sufferance.
ESTATE AT WILL
See: Tenant at Will.
ESTATE FOR LIFE
See: Life Estate.
ESTATE FOR YEARS
Any estate for a definite period of time. Com-monly, a lease.
ESTATE IN REMAINDER
See: Remainder.
ESTATE IN REVERSION
See: Reversion.
ESTATE OF INHERITANCE
An estate which may descend to heirs. For example: A fee estate is an estate of inheritance, whereas a life estate is not.
ESTATE TAX
A tax against the property of a deceased, based on the value of the estate.
ESTOPPEL
The prevention of one from asserting a legal right because of prior actions inconsistent with the assertion.
ESTOVERS
Old doctrine allowing use, primarily of timber, by a tenant for fuel and repair of his shelter. Not much application in the U.S. today.
ET AL
And others.
ET CON
And husband.
ET UX
And wife.
ET VIR
Latin: meaning "and husband".
ETHICS
With regard to professions, a code of professional standards, containing aspects of fairness and duty to the profession and the general public.
EVICTION
A court action to remove one from possession of real pro-perty. Most commonly, the removal of a tenant.
EVIDENCE OF TITLE
A document establishing ownership to property. Most commonly, a deed.
EXACT INTEREST
Interest based on a 365-day year, rather than a 30-day month (360- day year).
EXAMINATION OF TITLE
See: Title Search.
EXCAVATE
To dig and then remove, leaving a pit or hollow. Used to describe the removal of earth in construction; or coal, copper, etc., in mining.
EXCAVATION
(1) A pit or other opening which remains after the removal of dirt, minerals, etc., from the surface of the Earth. (2) The process of digging and removal of dirt, minerals, etc., from land.
EXCEPTION
(1) Specific items set forth in an insurance policy which are not covered by said policy. (2) Any item specifically excluded.
EXCESS CONDEMNATION
Taking, by right of eminent domain, more property than actually necessary for the intended purpose. This happens frequently, the excess property being sold at auction after completion of the project.
EXCESS INCOME
See: Excess Rent.
EXCESS RENT
Rental income (usually under a lease) which exceeds the fair rental value of the property.
EXCESSIVE CONDEMNATION
See: Excess Condemnation.
EXCHANGE
A reciprocal transfer of real property which has certain tax advantages over a sale. Definite procedures must be followed in order to qualify the transfer as an exchange.
EXCHANGE ACCOMMODATION TITLEHOLDER
One who takes title to property to meet the requirements of IRS section 1031 and Treasury Revenue Ruling 2003-37 to facilitate a build to suit exchange or a reverse exchange.
EXCHANGE AGREEMENT
Instrument (contract) used in an exchange. See also: Exchange.
EXCHANGE PERIOD
The time allowed between the sale of relinquished property and the purchase of replacement property in order to qualify for the tax advantage under IRS section 1031. In a reverse exchange it is the time between the purchase of the replacement property and the sale of the relinquished property.
EXCHANGOR
The party seeking the tax advantage under IRS section 1031. The taxpayer.
EXCLUSIVE AGENCY AGREEMENT
See: Agency Agreement.
EXCLUSIVE AGENCY LISTING
A listing or agreement protecting the listing broker's commission against the sale of the property by another agent but not against the sale by the principal. The term is not universal, as some areas use the term, nonexclusive listing, to describe this agreement.
EXCLUSIVE LISTING
A written contract between a property owner and a real estate broker, whereby the owner promises to pay a fee or commission to the broker if certain real property of the owner is sold during a stated period, regardless of whether the broker is or is not the cause of the sale. The broker promises to put forth his or her best efforts to sell the property, and may make specific promises as to advertising or other promotion in certain instances.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO SELL
See: Exclusive Listing.
EXCULPATORY
Holding free from or limiting guilt or liability.
EXECUTE
To complete; to fulfill a purpose, such as to execute an instrument, meaning to sign, seal (modernly, to notarize), and deliver.
EXECUTED SALE
One which is final and completed.
EXECUTION SALE
Sale of real property under a writ of execution by a court. A judicial mortgage foreclosure sale is in this category.
EXECUTOR
One who is appointed under a will to carry out (execute) the terms of the will.
EXECUTOR'S DEED
A deed issued by the executor of an estate. (See: Executor).
EXECUTORY CONTRACT
A contract under which there is still to be performance. See also: Executory Sale.
EXECUTORY SALE
A sale not fully completed, such as (at least in theory) a land contract sale. See also: Executed Sale.
EXECUTRIX
A female executor.
EXEMPLARY DAMAGES
Damages to punish (make an example of) the offender. This is done when the wrong is deliberate or grossly negligent and compensatory damages do not appear to be sufficient.
EXIT
(1) The leaving or departing, usually of a person. (2) The place through which one leaves, as a door, gate, etc.
EXPANSIBLE HOUSE
A house specifically designed for later additions or expansion.
EXPANSION JOINT
Any connection of two members which allows for movement of the members when effected by pressure toward or away from the connecting area (joint). A joint in a bridge, building, or similar structure, allowing for expansion or contraction of the parts of the structure from temperature changes.
EXPENSE RATIOS
Formulas to determine a potential borrower's ability to repay a mortgage loan. The ratios are (1) the monthly amount to repay all mortgage loans on the property divided by the borrower's gross monthly income and (2) the borrower's total monthly expenses divided by the gross monthly income.
EXPENSE STOP
A clause limiting the expense of one of the parties and shifting the burden to the other party at an agreed upon amount. Used primarily in leases.
EXPENSES
See: Operating Expenses.
EXPENSES OF SALE
The costs which are attributed to the sale of real estate. They would include commission, loan points, title and escrow fees, documentary transfer tax, etc.
EXPERT TESTIMONY
Testimony by one acknowledged to have special training and knowledge in a particular subject. Only testimony on the subject in which the witness is "expert" is considered expert testimony.
EXPERT WITNESS
One acknowledged to have special training and knowledge of a particular subject, and testifying on that subject.
EXPOSURE
(1) The degree to which a property for sale, lease, etc., is made noticeable (exposed) to potential buyers, tenants, etc., through advertising, multiple listing groups, etc. (2) The direction in which a property faces. For example: Does a store depending on walk-in trade face the sun in the morning when people walk in the sun to get warm (eastern exposure), or face the sun in the afternoon when people walk in the shade to keep cool (western exposure).
EXPRESS
Clear and definite; set forth, as opposed to implied.
EXPRESS WARRANTY
A warranty given by words of the seller rather than by law or circumstances.
EXPRESSWAY (FREEWAY)
A highway (usually divided) with control of access, and with major streets crossing it at a different grade level. Distinguished from "toll roads" in that no fee is charged to those using the expressway.
EXPROPRIATION
A taking, as under eminent domain. The word has come to be used in connection with a foreign location, such as a foreign government taking an American industry located in the foreign country. The word is used instead of eminent domain in Louisiana.
EXTENDED COVERAGE
With reference to insurance, coverage beyond the normal (standard) policy.
EXTENSION
A continuing under the same conditions, as opposed to a renewal, which implies new terms or conditions.
EXTENSION OF MORTGAGE
See: Extension.
EXTERIOR
The outside surface of any structure.
EXTERIOR FINISH
The outside covering of a structure, such as wood, brick, stucco, etc.
EXTERIOR WALL
The outer vertical surface of a structure, which encloses the entire structure, and the dimensions of which are used to find the gross area of the enclosure for appraisal purposes.
EXTERNAL OBSOLESCENCE
See: Economic Obsolescence.
EXTRAORDINARY PROPERTY LOSS
An accounting procedure which includes the depreciated value of property from unanticipated damage not insured
EZ/EC
See: Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities.