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March 30, 2007
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- Back fill
Soil used to solidify the foundation of a structure.
- Back title letter
A letter that a title insurance company gives to an attorney who then examines the title for insurance purposes.
- Back-to-back escrow
Arrangements that an owner makes to oversee the sale of one property and the purchase of another at the same time.
- Backup offer
A secondary bid for a property that the seller will accept if the first offer fails.
- Backwater valve
A valve in a sewer line that prevents sewage from flowing back into a house.
- Balance sheet
A statement that shows the assets, liabilities and net worth of an individual.
- Balloon loan
A mortgage in which monthly installments are not large enough to repay the loan by the end of the term. As a result, the final payment due is the lump sum of the remaining principal.
- Balloon payment
The final lump sum payment due at the end of a balloon mortgage.
- Balloon-frame construction
A type of framing used in two-story homes in which studs extend from the ground to the ceiling of the second floor.
Railing held up by a set of posts on a porch or stairway.
A proceeding in which an insolvent debtor can obtain relief from payment of certain obligations. Bankruptcies remain on a credit record for seven years and can severely limit a person's ability to borrow.
- Bargain sale
The sale of a piece of property for less than market value.
Any board or molding found at the bottom of an interior wall.
- Baseboard electric heat
Heating units installed in the floor that can be controlled by a central thermostat.
The area of a home below ground level.
- Basis Point
A basis point is one one-hundredth of one percentage point. For example, the difference between a loan at 8.25 percent and a mortgage at 8.37 percent is 12 basis points.
The opening between two columns or walls that forms a space.
- Bay window
A window that projects outward in a curve.
- Bearing wall
A wall that supports its own weight in addition to other parts of a structure.
- Before-tax income
Total income before taxes are deducted.
The lender who makes a loan, also called a mortgagee. The person borrowing money is the mortgagor.
Personal property given to a person through a will.
An improvement that increases a property's value as opposed to repairs that maintain the value.
- Bidding war
Offers from multiple buyers for a piece of property. Agents also sometimes compete to list a house for sale.
- Bilateral contract
A contract in which the parties involved give mutual promises. Also called "reciprocal" contracts.
- Bill of sale
A document that transfers ownership of personal property.
A report issued by a title insurance company that details the condition of a home's title. and provides guidelines for a title insurance policy.
- Biweekly mortgage
A mortgage that requires payments every two weeks and helps repay the loan over a shorter term.
- Blanket insurance policy
A policy that covers more than one person or piece of property.
- Blanket mortgage
A mortgage that covers more than one property owned by the same borrower.
- Blighted area
A neighborhood that has deteriorated.
- Blind nailing
Nails driven into a wall and concealed with putty.
- Blue sky laws
Regulations on the sale of securities to prevent consumers from investing in fraudulent or high-risk companies without being informed of the risks.
Nails driven into a wall and concealed with putty.
- Board foot
Measurement of lumber that is the equivalent of 144 cubic inches.
- Board of Equalization
A state board charged with ensuring that local property taxes are assessed in a uniform manner.
- Board-and-batten siding
Siding is composed of 8- to 12-inch wide wooden boards nailed vertically to create a barn-like exterior.
Form language used in deeds, mortgages and other documents. Details can be added by individual parties.
- Bona fide
A legal term that refers to actions or persons that are honest and in good faith.
An agreement that insures one party against loss by acts or defaults of another party.
- Book value
The value of a property as a capital asset based on its cost plus any additions, minus depreciation.
- Boring test
An analysis of soil in which holes are bored into the ground and samples are removed.
A section of a city that has authority over local matters.
Sand, gravel or other material used for grading.
- Borrow pit
The hole at a site that has been excavated.
A street lined with trees or constructed with a landscaped median.
The dividing line between two adjacent properties.
- Braced framing
A construction method in two-story homes in which the frame is reinforced with posts and braces.
- Breach of contract
The failure to perform provisions of a contractwithout a legal excuse.
- Breach of covenant
The failure to obey a legal agreement.
- Breach of warranty
A seller's inability to pass clear title to a buyer.
- Break-even point
The point in which the owner's rental income matches expenses and debt.
- Breast height
The height at which the diameter of a tree is measured: four feet, six inches above the ground.
A roofed passageway with open sides.
Building material made from clay molded into oblong blocks and fired in a kiln.
- Bridge loan
A short-term loan for borrowers who need more time to find permanent financing.
A person licensed by the state to deal in real estate.
The act of bringing together two or more parties in exchange for a fee or commission.
- Broom clean
The ideal condition of a building when it is turned over to an owner or tenant.
A vintage row house constructed of red sandstone.
- Buffer strip
A parcel of land that separates two or more properties.
- Builder upgrades
Extra house features or better finishing materials that a builder offers.
- Building and loan association
An organization that raises money to helps its members purchase real estate or construct a building.
- Building code
A comprehensive set of laws that controls the construction or remodeling of a home or other structure.
- Building inspector
A city or county employee who enforces the building code and ensures that work is correctly performed.
- Building line or setback
Guidelines that limit how close an owner can build to the street or an adjacent property.
- Building moratorium
A halt on home construction to slow the rate of development.
- Building paper
A thick, water-resistant paper that serves as insulation.
- Building permit
A permit issued by a local government agency that allows the construction of home or renovation of a house.
- Building restrictions
Regulations that limit the manner in which property can be used.
Appliances or other items that are framed into a home or permanently attached.
A retaining wall designed to hold back water from the ocean or another body of water.
- Bundle of rights
The various interests or rights an owner has in a property.
A small one-story house or cottage.
- Butterfly roof
A roof formed by two gables that dip in the middle to resemble a butterfly's wings.
- Buy-down mortgage
A home loan in which the lender receives a premium as an inducement to reduce the interest rate during the early years of the mortgage.
- Buyer broker
A real estate broker who exclusively represents the buyer's interests in a transaction and whose commission is paid by the buyer rather than the seller.
- Buyer's market
A slow real estate market in which buyers have the advantage.
- Buyer's remorse
An emotion felt by first-time homebuyers after signing a sales contract or closing the purchase of a house.
The rules and regulations that a homeowners association or corporation adopts to govern activities.