Inspection Glossary

A special CD-Rom disk is available for sale to the public. The items listed below is a sample of the types of items on the CD.

The following is a general glossary that gives a brief description of some common terms.


ABANDONMENT: The voluntary surrender or relinquishment of possession of real property with the intention of terminating one's possession or interest, but without vesting this interest in any other person.

ABATEMENT: A reduction or decrease in amount, degree, intensity or worth.

Abnormal: Abnormal is a term used in inspections reports which indicate that an aspect of a property is different, to a significant degree, from other properties of similar type and age that have been inspected. If there is an indicated mandatory need for repair, the need will be stated as a part of the opinion.

Abraded: Pertaining to a surface that has been worn by surface rubbing.

Abrasion: The wearing of a surface through rubbing with another surface.

ABS plastic: Black plastic pipe used in buildings for plumbing drains. It has been known to leak at the fittings. Black plastic pipe and fittings. Generally used in waste water and drainage systems. Introduced in the 1960's, popular for new residential construction and remodeling.

ABSORPTION RATE: An estimate of the rate at which a particular classification of space: such as new office space, new housing, new condominium units and the like: will be sold or occupied each year.

ABSTRACT OF TITLE: A concise, summarized history of the title to a specific parcel of real property, together with a statement of all liens and encumbrances affecting the property. The abstract of title does not guarantee or assure the validity of the title of the property. It merely discloses those items about the property which are of public record, and thus does not reveal such things as encroachments, forgeries, and the like.

Abutment: The end of a culvert or bridge that protrudes above the ground. The abutment is usually made of concrete.

ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION: A method of calculating the depreciation of certain property (that property which is used in a trade or business, or which is held for the production of income) at a faster rate than would be achieved from using the straight line method of depreciation.

ACCELERATION CLAUSE: A clause in a promissory note, agreement of sale, or mortgage which gives the lender the right to call all sums due and payable in advance of the fixed payment date upon the occurrence of a specified event, such as a sale, default, assignment or further encumbrance of the property.

ACCEPTANCE: The expression of the intention of the person receiving an offer (offeree, usually the seller) to be bound by the terms of the offer.

ACCESS: A general or specific right of ingress and egress to a particular property.

Accessed: To gain access to an area via a prescribed path as in the tub drain is accessed through an opening in the closest.

ACCRETION: The gradual and imperceptible addition to land by alluvial deposits of soil through natural causes, such as shoreline movement caused by streams or rivers.

ACCRUED: That which has accumulated over a period of time such as accrued depreciation, accrued interest or accrued expenses.

Accumulate: To acquire quantities of something.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: A formal declaration made before a duly authorized officer, usually a Notary Public, by a person who has signed a document.

Acoustical: A sound related term that is often used as follows: The ceiling has acoustical tile which is used to reduce or deaden sound in the room.

ACRE: A measure of land equaling 43,560 square feet; 4,840 square yards; 160 square rods.

Acrylic terpolymer: An acrylic based terapolymer caulk, often used on roof surface applications.

AD VALOREM: Latin for "according to valuation," usually referring to a type of tax or assessment.

ADHESION CONTRACT: A contract which is very one-sided and favors the party who drafted the document.

ADVERSE POSSESSION: The acquiring of title to real property owned by someone else, by means of open, notorious and continuous possession for the statutory period of time (20 years in Hawaii).

Advisable: A recommended or suggested action or means of performing a task.

Aerate: To infuse air into a liquid such as air into water at a lavatory faucet.

Aerator: A device used to infuse air into a liquid such as the aerator on the spigot of a lavatory basin faucet to inject air into a water stream.

Aesthetics: Appearance of an item or condition that deals with a pleasurable appearance.

AFFIDAVIT: A sworn statement reduced to writing and made under oath before a Notary Public or other official authorized by law to administer an oath.

AGENCY: A relationship created when one person, the "principal," delegates to another, the "agent," the right to act on the principal's behalf in business transactions and to exercise some degree of discretion while so acting. An agency gives rise to a fiduciary relationship and imposes on the agent, as the fiduciary of the principal, certain duties, obligations and high standards of good faith and loyalty.

AGENT: One who is authorized to represent and to act on behalf of another person (called the principal). A real estate broker is the agent of his client, be it the seller or buyer, to whom he owes a fiduciary obligation. A salesman is the agent of his broker and does not have a direct personal contractual relationship with either the seller or buyer.

AGREEMENT OF SALE: An agreement between the seller (vendor) and buyer (vendee) for the purchase of real property.

AIR CONDITIONING: The process of treating air to simultaneously control its temperature, humidity, cleanliness and distribution.

Air entrainment: When air is mixed with water in a hot tub or whirlpool tub recirculation system when water rushes past an orifice and draws in air to be mixed with the water flow.

AIR FILTER: A furnace filter installed in line with the cold air return which filters out dust and debris and prevents its re-entry into the occupied interior.

Air hawk vent: A trade name for an attic ventilator that is usually mounted on a roof to ventilate the attic space.

AIR POCKET/BLISTER: A bubble in the roofing surface formed by water vapor expanding between the layers of a built-up roofing membrane. This condition can reduce the useful life of the roofing surface and is conducive to moisture penetration and subsequent leakage.

AIR RETURN: A furnace duct through which interior cool air returns to the furnace. This cool air is then circulated through the heat exchanger, warmed, and distributed through the ducts.

AIR RIGHTS: The rights to the use of the open space or vertical plane above a property. Ownership of the land includes the right to all air above the property.

Algaecide: A chemical that when added to a solution prevents the growth of fungus and algae.

ALIENATION CLAUSE: A clause in a promissory note or mortgage which provides that the balance of the secured debt becomes immediately due and payable at the option of the mortgagee upon the alienation of the property by the mortgagor.

Allen wrench: A six sided rod of various diameters that is used for removing or installing screws or bolts having a female six sided indention into which the wrench will fit.

ALLODIAL SYSTEM: The free ownership of land by individuals.

ALUMINUM WIRING: A type of conductor used to carry current. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has determined that aluminum wiring used in 120 Volt light and outlet circuits can be hazardous and a cause of fire. A failure can occur because aluminum wire behaves differently than copper wire when current travels through the conductor. An aluminum wire will expand and contract more than a copper wire. The expansion and contraction can result in loose connections. The loose connections can oxidize. The loose, oxidized connections can spark or overheat when current flows to the connection. The spark or overheating can cause a fire. This potential problem has nothing to do with the wires in the walls, floors or ceilings. This problem occurs only at the connections. It is possible to control and repair this condition. Typically, aluminum is no longer used in the individual branch lighting and receptacle circuits. It is still commonly used and approved to bring power to a structure and to energize the distribution panels as well as power the individual appliance circuits. Aluminum wire should only be connected to listed and rated devices (breakers, outlets, switches, etc.). Additionally, these devices should have an anti-oxidant installed to cover the connections. As a preventive measure, each accessible aluminum connection should be periodically checked by a licensed electrician to insure that it is securely fastened. If aluminum wiring has been installed in the individual lights, switches and receptacles, we recommend repair with crimp connectors. This repair consists of attaching a short length of copper wire onto the existing aluminum wire with a specially designed metal sleeve and an air-powered crimping tool. This makes a permanent connection that is, in effect, a cold weld. An insulating sleeve is heat shrunk around the crimp connection to complete the repair. This is in accordance with the recommendation of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Amateur: A person that is not professional in what he is trying to accomplish. An amateur is not expected to perform a task as well as a professional that is trained for the task.

Amateurishly: Referring to a task that has been performed in a manner that is substandard.

AMBIENT TEMPERATURE LESS THAN 65 DEGREES: The temperature of the air surrounding air conditioning equipment should be at least 65 degrees for 12 hours before the equipment is operated. Operating the compressor in cold temperatures can severely damage the compressor.

AMENITIES: Features, both tangible and intangible, which enhance and add to the desirability of real estate.

American Standard Plumbing: A trade name of a plumbing supply manufacturer that also makes air conditioners, furnaces and fans.

AMORTIZATION: The gradual repayment of a debt by means of systematic payments of principal and interest over a set period, where at the end of the period there is a zero balance.

AMP: Short for Amperes. The rate of flow of electricity through wire.

Ampacity: The rating of a circuit to provide the power needed for a piece of equipment such as an air conditioner condensing unit.

Amps: A measure of electrical current used to define the energy supplied to an electrical appliance.

Anaerobic: A term generally used to define bacteria used in a septic system that do not require oxygen to live and perform.

ANCHOR BOLT: A bolt used to secure a wooden sill plate to a concrete or masonry floor or wall. The purpose of the bolt is to limit the ability of the framing to move Independent of the foundation in the event of seismic activity.

ANCHOR TENANT: Major department or chain stores which are strategically located at shopping centers so as to give maximum exposure to smaller satellite stores.

Andirons: The supports for logs in a wood burning fireplace. The exposed ends are usually decorative

ANGLE STOP: A shut-off valve arranged in a 90-degree configuration. It is used to shut off the flow of water to a fixture. A double angle stop is an angle stop that controls both the hot water to the sink faucet and to the dishwasher. As a preventive measure, we recommend the installation of a separate fixture shut-off valve for the dishwasher. This will allow for the uninterrupted use of the kitchen sink in the event of necessary repair or removal of the dishwasher.

ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE: The relationship of the total Finance Charge to the total amount to be finance as required under the Federal Truth-in-Lending Law.

Annular ring shank (ring shank nail): A term used to define a nail that has annular rings around the shank that hold the nail in place when driven into wood.

Anode (in water heater): A anode is a sacrificial metal rod placed in a water heater that will selectively corrode due to dissimilar metal electrolytic corrosion.

ANTI-SIPHON VALVE: A device installed on irrigation piping designed to prevent the drawing of contaminated ground water into the domestic water supply system.

APPRAISAL: The process of estimating, fixing, or setting the market value of real property. An appraisal may take the form of a lengthy report, a completed form, a simple letter, or even an oral report.

APPRECIATION: An increase in the worth or value of property due to economic or related causes, which may prove to be either temporary or permanent.

APPURTENANT: Belonging to; adjunct; appended or annexed.

ARBITRATION: The non-judicial submission of a controversy to selected third parties for their determination in the manner provided by agreement or by law.

ASBESTOS: Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber extensively used in construction. Nearly every building contains asbestos in some form. It may be found in vinyl flooring, patching compounds and textured paints, sprayed acoustic ceilings, acoustic ceiling tiles, stove insulation, furnace insulation, pipe insulation, wall and ceiling insulation, roofing, shingles and siding as well as appliances. Exposure to asbestos can be a serious threat to one's health. There are a number of choices available for dealing with asbestos. They include leaving it alone, encapsulation and abatement. Removal of this material is a specialized procedure and should be attempted only by a qualified and licensed expert. Information regarding identification of asbestos, its hazards and safe removal may be obtained from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Environmental Protection Agency and other governmental agencies.

Askew: A line or plank installed so that it is not aligned with other objects of similar nature. The line or plank is said to be askew.

Assess: To evaluate condition or events in order to arrive at an opinion.

ASSESSED VALUATION: The value of real property as established by the state government for purposes of computing real property taxes.

ASSESSMENT: A specific levy for a definite purpose, such as adding curbs or sewers in a neighborhood. Individual condominium owners are subject to special assessments benefiting the project as a whole and not funded through regular maintenance charges.

ASSIGNMENT: The transfer of the right, title and interest in the property of one person, the assignor, to another, the assignee. In real estate, there are assignments of mortgages, contracts, agreements of sale, leases, and options, among others.

ASSUMPTION OF MORTGAGE: The act of acquiring title to property which has an existing mortgage on it and agreeing to be personally liable for the terms and conditions of the mortgage, including payments.

ASTM: Abbreviation for American Society for Testing and Materials. The society establishes the acceptable range of product usefulness based on tests.

ATTACHMENT: The legal process of seizing the real or personal property of a defendant in a lawsuit, by levy or judicial order, and holding it in the custody of the courts as security for satisfaction of the judgment which the plaintiff may recover in any action upon a contract, express or implied.

ATTORNEY-IN-FACT: One who is authorized by another to act in his place under a power of attorney.

ATTORNMENT: The act of a tenant formally agreeing to become the tenant of a successor landlord; as in attorning to a mortgagee who has foreclosed on the leased premises.

AUTOMATIC GARAGE DOOR OPERATOR DOES NOT REVERSE: The garage door was tested and did not automatically reverse. This indicates that the door opener does not have an auto-reverse mechanism, it is broken or it needs adjustment. We recommend that the opener be modified, replaced or adjusted as necessary.

AUTOMATIC SAFETY CONTROLS: Devices designed and installed to protect systems and components from excessively high or low pressures and/or temperatures, excessive electrical current, loss of water, loss of ignition. fuel leaks, fire, freezing, or other unsafe conditions.

Awl: A sharp pointed tool similar to an ice pick that is usually used for scribing a metal surface or punching holes.



Backsplash: The wall back of a tub, sink, or lavatory basin that is usually made of a surface that is not adversely effected by being wet.

Balconies: Several porches with safety hand rails at the perimeter that are above the first floor of a building.

Balcony: A porch, usually with a safety hand rail at the perimeter that is above the first floor of a building.

Ballast: In electrical terms, the transformer in a florescent light that maintains the proper induction and voltage for the light bulb to glow.

BALLOON FRAMING: A type of framing system where the studs extend from the sill to the roof.

BALLOON PAYMENT: The final payment of a note or obligation, which is substantially larger than the previous installment payments, and which repays the debt in full; the remaining balance which is due at the maturity of a note or obligation.

Baluster: The vertical column in a hand rail that supports the hand rail and prevents something from passing under the rail.

Banister: The rail at the top of a hand rail to which a person holds when using a stairs.

BARGAIN AND SALE DEED: A deed which recites a consideration and conveys all of the grantor's interest in the property to the grantee.

BASE LINE AND MERIDIAN: An imaginary set of lines used by surveyors to locate and describe land under the Rectangular Survey Method of property description used in most mainland states.

BASIS: The financial interest which IRS attributes to the owner of an asset for purposes of determining annual depreciation and gain or loss on sale of the asset.

Bathtub: A tub placed in a bathroom used for submersion bathing and often used for taking a shower bath.

Battboard: The planks used on siding to cover joints between sections of siding or joints between different types of sidings.

Bays formed by floor joists: The space between floor joists and between the underside of a floor and possibly above a ceiling.

Belled Bottom Piers: Subterranean piers used to support the foundation of a structure. Belled Bottom Piers are constructed by drilling a shaft, usually a minimum of 8-15 feet in the Houston area, then using a belling tool to form a conical shape at the bottom of the pier in order to distribute the load of the pier over an area larger than just the shaft.

BENCH MARK: A mark affixed to a permanent reference or monument, such as an iron post or a brass marker (usually embedded in a cement sidewalk), used to establish elevations and altitudes over a surveyed area.

Bending moment in floor joist: The force or load applied that tends to bend floor joists. The bending moment cannot induce stress in the floor joists that exceed the strength of the floor joists or they will fail.

BENEFICIARY: A person who receives the benefits from the gifts or acts of another, such as one who is designated to receive the proceeds from a will, insurance policy or trust.

Berms: Ridges in soil that are used for decoration and/or dams to control water flow.

Beryllium copper: A copper alloy that is springy, usually used for weather stripping at doors.

Bidet: A plumbing fixture containing a basin that is generally used for personal hygiene.

Bi-fold: This term is used in reference to a segmented door that folds at the center. The door is usually at the entrance to a room or closet.

BILATERAL CONTRACT: A contract in which each party promises to perform an act in exchange for the other party's promise to perform.

BILL OF SALE: A written agreement by which one person sells, assigns or transfers his right to, or interest in, personal property to another.

Bird's mouth splice: A splice in a piece of lumber made by taper sharpening one end of a plank to be spliced and notching the other end of a plank to be spliced. The tapered end is inserted into the notched end and the joint is secured with nails or screws.

Bitumen: An asphalt based material that is used to bond glass matt together to form felt paper or a built-up roof surface.

BLANKET MORTGAGE: A mortgage which is secured by several structures or a number of lots. A blanket mortgage is often used to finance proposed subdivisions or development projects, especially cooperatives.

BLOWER BEARINGS WORN: The forced-air furnace fan bearings are worn. The fan bearings should be lubricated if possible. Damaged bearings may need to be replaced. It is possible that the fan itself may need replacement.

BLOWER: A fan in a furnace or air conditioning unit which blows air through ducts.

BLUE SKY LAWS: State securities laws designed to protect the public from fraudulent practices in the promotion and sale of securities, e.g., through limited partnerships, syndications, bonds.

B-nut: A B-nut is a nut used to secure flared tubing to a special fitting.

BOILER LEAKS: Boiler leaks must be repaired or there may be a loss of heat and the boiler may be damaged beyond repair.

BOILER: A heating device which heats hot water or creates steam for circulation in heating pipes, radiators. Baseboards or convectors.

BOOT: Money or other property given to make up any difference in value or equity between two exchanged properties.

Borers (insects): Insects that bore into trees and cause damage that may cause the tree to be unusable for lumber.

BOUNDARIES: The perimeters or limits of a parcel of land as fixed by legal description which is usually a metes and bounds description.

BRASS GAS CONNECTOR: Brass is made of zinc and copper. The sulfur in the natural gas reacts with the copper and can cause the piping to become brittle, deteriorate and leak. We recommend that this tubing be removed and replaced with an approved gas supply connector.

BREACH OF CONTRACT: Violation of any of the terms or conditions of a contract without legal excuse; default, non-performance, such as failure to make payment when due.

BREAKER BRIDGE MISSING: A 240 volt double pole breaker installed without a bridge between the two pole handles. We recommend that this breaker be bridged. This will insure that all of the power is shut off to this circuit if the over current protection device is tripped.

Briar roof material: A trade name of a modified bitumen roof originally manufactured in Germany.

Brick Guard: The trade name of a clear sealant used seal bricks to prevent water penetration.

BRIDGING: Short, structural members crossed between floor or ceiling joists to provide reinforcement and distribution of stress.

BRITTLE SURFACE: The roofing surface is brittle and subject to breakage. This condition is an indication of age and suggests that the roofing surface is near the end of its useful life.

BROKEN/FRAYED SASH CORDS: The cords along each side of a double hung window which are attached to counter weights in the wall. The sash cords hold the window open. The window will not stay open by itself if they are broken. Frayed sash cords are likely to break. These sash cords should be replaced to ensure that the windows remain operable.

BROKER: One who acts as an intermediary between parties to a transaction. A real estate broker is a properly licensed person who, for a valuable consideration, serves as an agent to others to facilitate the sale or lease of real property.

BROKERAGE: That aspect of the real estate business which is concerned with bringing together the parties and completing a real estate transaction. Brokerage involves exchanges, rentals, trade-ins and management of property, as well as sales.

Broomed finish: The finish applied to a concrete surface that is obtained by brushing the concrete surface with a broom prior to the concrete curing.

BTU: British Thermal Unit, a unit of measure of heat. One BTU is the quantity of heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water one Fahrenheit degree.

BUDGET MORTGAGE: A mortgage with payments set up to cover more than interest and principal reductions.

BUFFER ZONE: A strip of land separating one parcel from another.

BUILDING PERMIT: A written permission granted by the County Building Department and required prior to beginning the construction of a new building or other improvement (including fences, fence walls, retaining walls and swimming pools).

BUILDING RESIDUAL TECHNIQUE: A method of determining the value of an improvement normally used in appraising income property.

Build-up: The term used when something accumulates to an undesirable or excessive amount. Example is the accumulation of ice on a roadway.

BULK TRANSFERS: Any transfer in bulk, and not in the ordinary course of the seller's business, of a major part of the materials, inventory or supplies of an enterprise.

BUNDLE OF RIGHTS: An ownership concept describing all those legal rights which attach to the ownership of real property, including the right to sell, lease, encumber, use, enjoy, exclude, will, etc.

BURIED FUEL OIL TANK: We found evidence to suggest the presence of a buried fuel oil tank. Removal of such tanks and soil testing may be required. A determination as to the presence and condition of buried tanks as well as possible soil contamination is beyond the scope of our inspection.

BUSINESS DAYS: Days of the week excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays; normal working days.

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES: Any type of business which is for sale.

Buss bars: The electrical conductors of a circuit breaker box used to carry power to circuit breakers.


Cabana: A small building usually next to a swimming pool.

CABO bldg. Code: A general building code recognized under the BOCA, ICBO, and SBCCI that incorporates provisions of model codes fostered by each agency. BOCA-Building Officials and Code Administrators International; ICBO-International Conference of Building Officials; SBCCI-Southern Building Code Congress International

Caliche soil: A soil consisting of a white clay and aggregate used as paving for streets and parking surfaces.

Calrod: An electrical heating rod that becomes hot when electrical current is allowed to flow through its heating element.

CANTILEVER: A projecting beam or overhanging portion supported at one end only.

Cantilevered floor joists: Floor joists that extend beyond an end support so that the ends are considered similar to a cantilevered beam.

CAP RATE (CAPITALIZATION RATE): The percentage selected for use in the income approach to valuation of improved property. The cap rate is designed to reflect the recapture of the original investment over the economic life of the improvement, to give the investor an acceptable rate of return (yield) on the original investment, and to provide for the return on borrowed capital.

Capacitor (used in an air conditioner): A electrical capacitive device that is used for running and/or starting a compressor motor.

Capillary (used in an air conditioner): A capillary tube meters refrigerant to an evaporator coil to obtain boiling refrigerant in the evaporator coil.

CAPITAL GAIN: The taxable profit derived from the sale of a capital asset.

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT: Any structure which is erected as a permanent improvement to real property; any improvement which is made to extend the useful life of a property, or to add to the value of the property.

CAPITALIZATION: A mathematical process for converting net income into an indication of value, commonly used in the income approach to appraisal.

Capping (roots of trees): The term used when the roots of a tree are cut and a barrier is placed between the tree and a foundation

Carborundum: An abrasive material that if used in saw blade construction will cut steel, masonry, and other very tough materials.

Catchpan: If the term is used with air conditioning, it is a pan placed below something such as an evaporator coil to catch condensate that drips off the evaporator coil.

CAULK/SEAL GAPS: Gaps in the exterior of the building around the doors, windows and plumbing and electrical entry points. All gaps should be caulked and sealed to prevent heat loss, air infiltration and moisture entry.

CELLULOSE DEBRIS: Scrap-wood found in the substructure soil area. This debris can result in the infestation and infection of wood-destroying pests and/or organisms. It should be removed.

Cellulose Insulation: A ground up paper type material that is used as insulation in the attic and/or walls of buildings.

Celotex sheathing: A brand name sheathing that is used as an underlayment for various sidings.

Cement asbestos roof: A roofing membrane composed of asbestos fibers and cement. The same material has been used for siding and water pipe construction.

Cementious: A material that is similar to concrete or plaster which has a cement like characteristic.

Central Air Conditioning: A system which uses ducts to distribute cooling and/or dehumidified air to more than one room or uses pipes to distribute chilled water to heat exchangers in more than one room, and which is not plugged into an electrical convenience outlet.

CERTIFICATE OF REASONABLE VALUE (CRV): A certificate issued by the Veterans Administration setting forth a property's current market value estimate, based upon a VA approved appraisal.

CERTIFIED CHECK: A check which the bank guarantees to be good, and against which a stop payment is ineffective.

CERTIFIED PROPERTY MANAGER: A professional property manager who has qualified for membership in and is a member of the Institute of Real Estate Management, and is designated a CPM.

CHAIN OF TITLE: The recorded history of matters which affect the title to a specific parcel of real property, such as ownership, encumbrances and liens, usually beginning with the original recorded source of the title.

CHATTEL: Personal property which is tangible and moveable.

Chlordane: A chemical pesticide that was used to exterminate termites and other insects.

Chlorine: An elemental gas that is a strong oxidizer which will react readily with many fuels. The chemical is used for biological purification of water.

CIRCUIT BREAKER: An over current protection device which automatically opens an electrical circuit when too much current flows through the conductor.

CIRCUIT: The path of electricity away from and back to its source.

Circuitous: A term used to indicate that a devious path was used to obtain a certain result.

CLEAR TITLE: Title to property that is free from liens, defects or other encumbrances, except those which the buyer has agreed to accept, such as mortgage to be assumed, the ground lease of record, and the like; established title; title without clouds.

CLIENT TRUST ACCOUNT: An account set up by a broker to keep client's monies segregated from the broker's general funds.

Climatrol a/c: The trade name of an air conditioner that was manufactured in the Houston area for several years during the 1970's.

Clorox: A trade name for a chlorine based chemical that is used as a bleach and cleaning agent.

CLOSING COSTS: Expenses of the sale which must be paid in addition to the purchase price (in the case of the buyer's expenses), or be deducted from the proceeds of the sale (in the case of the seller's expenses).

CLOSING STATEMENT: A detailed cash accounting of a real estate transaction prepared by an escrow officer or other person designated to process the mechanics of the sale, showing all cash that was received, all charges and credits which were made, and all cash that was paid out in the transaction; also called a settlement statement.

CLOSING: The final stage of consummating a real estate transaction when the seller delivers title to the buyer, in exchange for the purchase price.

CLOUD ON TITLE: Any document, claim, unreleased lien or encumbrance which many impair or injure the title to property or make the title doubtful because of its apparent or possible validity.

CLUSTER DEVELOPMENT: The grouping of housing units on less than normal size homesites, with the remaining land being devoted to common areas.

Cobwebs: Spider webs usually found in attics and under houses.

CODE OF ETHICS: A written system of standards of ethical conduct. The Code of Ethics of the National Association of Realtors, first written in 1913, establishes the high standards of conduct for members of the Realtor community.

Coliform (microscopic bacteria): Organisms found in polluted water that will make people ill if ingested.

Collapse: Referring to the failure of a structure or machine to support an intended load.

COLLATERAL: Something of value given or pledged as security for a debt or obligation. The collateral for a real estate mortgage loan is the mortgaged property itself, which has been hypothecated.

COLOR OF TITLE: A condition which has the appearance of good title, but which in fact is not valid title, as where title is founded on some written document which on its face appears valid and effective, but which is actually invalid.

Commensurate: In accordance with ones capabilities.

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY: A classification of real estate which includes income producing property such as office buildings, gasoline stations, restaurants, shopping centers, hotels and motels, parking lots and stores, and other similar uses.

COMMINGLING: To mingle or mix; for example, to deposit client funds in the broker's personal or general account. A licensee found guilty of commingling can have the license suspended or revoked by the Real Estate Commission.

COMMISSION: The compensation paid to a real estate broker(usually by the seller) for services rendered in connection with the sale or exchange of real property.

COMMITMENT: A pledge or promise to do a certain act, such as the promise of a lending institution to loan a certain amount of money at a fixed rate of interest to a qualified buyer, provided the loan is obtained on or before a certain date.

COMMON AREAS: Land or improvements designated for the use and benefit of all residents, property owners and tenants.

COMMON ELEMENTS: Parts of the property which are necessary or convenient to the existence, maintenance and safety of the condominium, or are normally in common use by all of the condominium residents.

COMMON LAW: That body of law which is based on usage, general acceptance, and custom, as manifested in decrees and judgments of the courts; judge-made law, as opposed to codified or statutory law.

COMMON WALL: A wall separating two living units.

COMMUNITY PROPERTY: A system of property ownership based on the theory that each spouse has an equal interest in property acquired by the efforts of either spouse during marriage.

Compaction: The state of a material such as soil to be compacted.

COMPARABLES: Recently sold properties which are similar to a particular property being evaluated, and which are used to indicate a reasonable fair market value for the subject property.

Compotite (shower pan material): An asphalt and plastic sheet material that was folded and shaped into a shower pan for shower bathing enclosures. The material is no longer used for shower pans.

COMPOUND INTEREST: Interest which is computed upon the principal sum plus accrued interest.

COMPRESSOR SHORT CYCLES: A suspected compressor defect. A qualified air conditioning contractor should be contacted to evaluate the air-conditioning system and determine the corrective measures needed.

COMPRESSOR: A pump which forces refrigerant through an air conditioning system.

Compressor: As used in air conditioning, it is the equipment in the condensing unit or air conditioning unit that increases the pressure of refrigerant.

Concave (a surface): A surface area with the center portion of the area being lower than the outer edges of the area.

CONCESSIONS: Discounts given by landlords to prospective tenants to induce them to sign a lease.

CONDEMNATION: Either a judicial or administrative proceeding to exercise the power of eminent domain, i.e., the power of the government to take private property for public use.

Condensate: Water which collects as a result of cooling air containing moisture below its dew point. This occurs at the evaporator coil of an air-conditioning system, and must be disposed of in a sanitary manner. This may also occur between the panes of double paned window, at cold pipes, ducts, or other cool surfaces.

CONDENSATION: In a building: Beads or drops of water that accumulate on the inside of the exterior covering of a building when warm, moisture-laden air from the interior reaches a point where the temperature no longer permits the air to sustain the moisture it holds. The use of louvers or attic ventilators will reduce moisture condensation in attics. A vapor barrier under the gypsum lath or dry wall on exposed walls will reduce condensation in them. A plastic vapor barrier over damp sub-area soil will help create a dry air space between the damp soil and the floor framing, thereby helping to limit the amount of moisture that is able to rise into the framing, and reducing the possibility of future damage and deterioration.

CONDOMINIUM OWNERSHIP: An estate in real property consisting of an individual interest in an apartment or commercial unit, and an undivided common interest in the common areas such as the land, parking areas, elevators, stairways, and the like.

Conducive: A term used to indicate that conditions are arranged for something to occur. An area conducive to termite infestation would be where wood is in contact with soil and there is a source of water.

CONDUCTOR: An electrical wire capable of carrying current.

CONDUIT: A hollow pipe (metal or plastic) casing through which electric wires run.

CONSIDERATION: An act or forbearance, or the promise thereof, which is offered by one party to induce another to enter into a contract; that which is given in exchange for something from another.

Consistent: The term is used to indicate that an occurrence is similar to other occurrences of a certain type.

CONSTRUCTIVE EVICTION: Acts done by a landlord which so materially disturb or impair the tenant's enjoyment of the leased premises that a tenant is effectively forced to move out and terminate the lease without liability for any further rent.

CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE: Notice of certain facts which are implied bylaw to a person because he could have discovered the fact by reasonable diligence or by inquiry into public records.

Contactors: The term is used to indicate an electrical relay that is used to provide power to a large motor such as the compressor of an air conditioning system.

CONTINGENCY: A provision placed in contract which requires the completion of a certain act or the happening of a particular event before a contract is binding.

CONTRACT: A legal agreement between competent parties who agree to perform or refrain from performing certain acts for a consideration. In real estate, there are many different types of contracts, including listings, contracts of sale, options, mortgages, assignments, leases, deeds, escrow agreements, and loan commitments, among others.

CONVECTION: The transfer of heat by the motion of the heated matter.

Conventional reinforced concrete slab on grade foundation: A term used to define the method of reinforcing a concrete slab foundation that rests on the soil. Conventional means through the use of steel reinforcing bars.

Convex: A surface area with the center portion of the area being higher than the outer edges of the area.

CONVEYANCE: The transfer of title to real property by means of a written instrument such as a deed or an assignment of lease.

Convolutes: A term used to define a hose that is constructed by supporting a membrane on wound wire or similar material to form a hose or duct that will bend when pressurized.

COOPERATING BROKER: A broker who joins with another broker in the sale of real property.

COOPERATIVE OWNERSHIP: Cooperative ownership of an apartment unit means that the apartment owner has purchased shares in a corporation which holds title to the entire apartment building.

Copeland: A trade name for an air conditioning system compressor. The compressor made by Copeland Manufacturing Company.

COPPER GAS CONNECTOR: Sulfur in natural gas reacts with copper and can cause the connector to deteriorate and leak. We recommend that copper tubing be removed and be replaced with an approved gas supply connector.

Corbeling (fireplace chimney's): The term used when the fireplace flue pipe and enclosure is offset as it passes through the attic.

Corev Siding: A trade name for an EIFS siding that is sometimes used in the place of stucco, i.e. an imitation stucco siding.

Corian: A trade name of a counter top material manufactured by DuPont Company.

CO-TENANCY: A form of concurrent property ownership in which two or more persons own an undivided interest in the same property.

Counterflashing: A part of a flashing system used where a roof surface comes in contact with a brick veneer wall. The counter flashing is attached to the brick veneer and a lip hangs down over an upturned portion of an "L" flashing at the edge of the roof.

COUNTER-OFFER: A new offer made as a reply to an offer received from another; this has the effect of rejecting the original offer, which cannot thereafter be accepted unless revived by the offeror's repeating it.

Countertop: The top of a cabinet counter such as the kitchen cabinet countertop.

COURTESY TO BROKERS: The practice of sharing commissions with cooperating brokers.

COVENANT: A written agreement or promise of two or more parties by which either pledges to perform or not to perform specified acts on a property, or which specifies certain uses or non-uses of the property.

COVENANTS AND CONDITIONS: Covenants are promises contained in contracts, the breach of which would entitle a person to damages. Conditions, on the other hand, are contingencies, qualifications or occurrences upon which an estate or property right would be gained or lost.

COVENANTS RUNNING WITH THE LAND: Covenants which become part of the property and benefit or bind successive owners of the property.

CRACKED HEAT EXCHANGER: A fracture in the walls of the furnace combustion chamber. The heat exchanger separates the flame and combustion products from the air chamber. A crack in the heat exchanger may allow the products of combustion to enter the occupied interior. One of the products of combustion is carbon monoxide. In addition to carbon monoxide, natural gas combustion produces formaldehyde gas. Depending on the authority and study published, acceptable levels of carbon monoxide and formaldehyde gas in an indoor environment vary greatly. There are a number of testing methods practiced to determine if a heat exchanger is cracked. They can be reduced to a two step process. First, a visual inspection with a flashlight can reveal a crack, which can be confirmed by feel to insure that it is not simply discoloration or distortion. Another first step is flame observation. The furnace flame is observed before and after the circulating air comes on. Floating flames, flame rollout and flame distortion can indicate a failure of the heat exchanger. The second step is tracer gas. A tracer gas is injected into the combustion chamber and a calibrated gas detector is used to check for the presence of the tracer gas on the air side of the heat exchanger. Neither visual inspection nor flame distortion should be used to confirm the other. Although a tracer gas test would be necessary to verify observations made visually or by flame and determine actual levels of carbon monoxide or formaldehyde gas, our experience has shown that identification of a crack by visual inspection is sufficient to recommend that the furnace be repaired or replaced. Although it may be possible to repair or replace the heat exchanger, it is usually not considered cost effective, and parts may be difficult or impossible to find. The most common course of action is to replace the furnace.

CRACKED MASTIC: Cracks in the roof cement coating used to seal the roof connections and penetrations. This creates a condition conducive to moisture penetration and subsequent leakage. We recommend that these areas be repaired as necessary to prevent leakage.

CRACKED/DETERIORATED MORTAR: Cracks and deterioration in the mortar used to seal the tile roof joints. This creates a condition conducive to moisture penetration and subsequent leakage. Cracked and deteriorated tile mortar should be replaced.

CRACKS IN INTERIOR WALLS/CEILINGS: Hairline cracking in the interior walls and ceilings, as well as minor sloping and sagging of floors and door casings, should be expected as a result of ordinary settlement and expansion of the foundation system, structural framing, and soil. These conditions do not, in our opinion, represent a failure of the framing system.

Crawlspace: Area where crawling space is provided to gain access to equipment or structure. This may be the area between the underside of a structure and the soil in pier and beam type foundations, or and access way through an attic.

CREOSOTE: One of the by-products given off when burning wood. Creosote condenses on the walls inside the fireplace chimney. It is highly combustible and, if sufficiently heated, can ignite and start a flue fire. Fireplaces and chimneys should be cleaned annually or when one eighth to one quarter of an inch of creosote accumulates.

Creosoted: A term used to define lumber that has been treated with creosote at high temperatures and pressures. The creosote reduces the rate of decay that will usually occur in wood.

Cripple Stud: A shortened stud usually of 2X4 inch wood that us used to support the header beams over doors and/or windows.

Cross Connection: Any physical connection or arrangement between potable water and any possible source of contamination.

Crush box (of foundation grade beam): A cardboard or foam box used below foundation grade beams to create a void between the soil and the concrete grade beams. This has not proven to be effective so its use is not recommended.

CUL DE SAC: A street which is open at one end only, and which usually has a circular turnaround; a blind alley.

CURRENT: A flow of electric charge.

CUSTOMER TRUST FUND (CTF): An impound account maintained for the purpose of setting up a reserve to pay certain periodic obligations such as real property taxes, insurance premiums, lease rent, and maintenance fees.


Dado: A decorative molding on the lower portion of an interior wall.

DAMAGED CONDUCTOR INSULATION: We found damaged service conductor insulation. We recommend that all exposed conductors be repaired or replaced as necessary.

DAMAGED RAFTERS: Damage to any of the parallel beams that support a roof. All damaged rafters should be reinforced or replaced. Sometimes the rafters extend beyond the exterior walls. These rafter tails are subject to moisture damage. They must be maintained or damage will result.

DAMAGED SHEATHING: Damage to the material used to cover the outside wall of a frame house or a timber roof. We recommend that all damaged material be replaced.

DAMAGED WINDOW FRAMES: Damaged windows are often a result of deferred maintenance. We recommend that all damaged window,, he repaired or replaced as necessary.

Dead band adjustment: An adjustment to control the point where an instrument will turn something on and a second point where it will turn the same something off. Most air conditioning thermostats can be adjusted to turn air condition equipment on at a predetermined temperature and off at a different temperature.

Deadbolt: A term used to define a lock that can only be engaged and disengaged with a key. The bolt is square at the end and will not allow engagement by merely closing a door.

DEAD-FRONT: Switches, circuit breakers, switchboards, control panels and panel board fronts must be covered so that no current-carrying parts are exposed. This cover is called a Dead-Front.

DEALER: An IRS designation for a person who regularly buys and sells real property.

DEBRIS ON ROOF OR IN GUTTERS: Gutters filled with debris should be cleaned to ensure proper drainage. Roofing surfaces covered with debris should be cleaned not only to ensure proper drainage but also to prevent premature deterioration of the roof surface.

DEBT SERVICE: The amount of money needed to meet the periodic payments of principal and interest when a debt is amortized.


DECK RAILING UPGRADE: We recommend that all decks and landings 30 inches or more above the ground have a railing. The railing should be at least 36 inches high and the spacing between the railing pieces should be no more than four inches.

DECLARATION OF RESTRICTIONS: A statement of all the covenants, conditions and restrictions ("CC&R's") which affect a parcel of land.

DEDICATION: The application of privately owned land to the public for no consideration, with the intent that the land will be accepted and used for public purposes.

DEED OF TRUST: A legal document in which title to property is transferred to a third party trustee as security for an obligation owed by the trustor (borrower) to the beneficiary(lender).

DEED: A written instrument by which a property owner "grantor" transfers to a "grantee" an ownership in real property.

DEFAULT: Failure to fulfill a duty or promise or failure to perform any obligation or required act. The most common occurrence of default on the part of a buyer or lessee is non-payment of money.

DEFERRED COMMISSIONS: Commissions which are earned but not yet fully paid.

DEFICIENCY JUDGEMENT: A judgment against a borrower, endorser, or guarantor for the balance of the debt issued when the security for a loan is insufficient to satisfy the debt.

Delta T: A term used to indicate a difference in temperature between two points, i.e. the difference in air temperature between the inlet and outlet sides of an air conditioning system evaporator coil.

Denney Board: A term used for sheathing of about 1/8 inch that is usually silver in color to reflect radiant heat. The material can be structural as well as moisture and heat resistant. Another trade name is Thermocote

DENSITY: A term, frequently used in connection with zoning requirements, which means the maximum number of building units per acre or the number of occupants or families per unit of land area (acre, square mile, etc.); usually the ratio of land area to improvement area.

De-Ox (anti-oxidization comp): A material used to coat wiring and connectors to prevent corrosion and oxidation due to heat accumulation.

DEPOSIT: Money offered by a prospective buyer as an indication of good faith in entering into a contract to purchase; earnest money; security for the buyer's performance of a contract.

DEPRECIATION (APPRAISAL): A loss in value due to any cause; any condition which adversely affects the value of an improvement.

DEPRECIATION (TAX): For tax purposes, depreciation is an expense deduction taken for an investment in depreciable property.

DEPTH TABLE: Tables of percentage designed to provide a uniform system of measuring the additional value to lots which accrues because of added depth, with the extra depth valued according to the added utility which it creates.

DESCENT: The acquisition of an estate by inheritance, where an heir succeeds to the property by operation of law. Descent literally means the hereditary succession of an heir to property of an ancestor who dies intestate.

DESCRIPTION: The portion of a conveyance document which defines the property being transferred.

Desiccant (drying agent): A material when placed in a sealed container attracts and holds moisture to prevent moisture damage to items that it is stored with. A desiccant in the refrigeration loop of an air conditioning system prevents free moisture from adversely effecting the operation of the system.

Detent latch mechanism: A spring loaded latch mechanism that can be used to hold a door in a closed or open position. Usually a spring loaded ball or roller pressed into a depression.

Deterrent: Something used to prevent an act from occurring. Treating the soil around a building with insecticide will help prevent infestation of the building by termites.

DEVELOPER: One who attempts to put land to its most profitable use by the construction of improvements.

DEVISE: A transfer of real property under a will.

Diatomaceous earth filter: A filter such as a swimming pool water cleaning filter contains diatomaceous earth through which water is circulated to keep it clear and clean.

Differentially: A term used to indicate difference in vertical displacement of different points on a concrete slab.

Dirt dauber: An insect. In this area a black insect, that builds a dirt nest using mud. Dirt daubers usually fill crevices and holes with mud in an attempt to build a nest.

DISCLAIMER: A statement denying legal responsibility, frequently found in the form of, "There are no promises, representations, oral understandings or agreements except as contained herein."

DISCOUNT POINTS: An added loan fee charged by a lender to make the yield on a lower-than-market interest VA or FHA loan competitive with higher interest conventional loans.

DISCRIMINATION: The act of making a distinction against or in favor of a person on the basis of the group or class to which the person belongs; the failure to treat people equally.

DISTRAINT: The right of a landlord, pursuant to a court order, to seize a tenants belongings for rents in arrears.

DOMICILE: The state where an individual has his true, fixed, permanent home and principal business establishment and to which place he has the intention of returning whenever he is absent.

DOUBLE ESCROW: An escrow set up to handle the concurrent sale of one property and purchase of another property by same party.

DOUBLED-UP BRANCH CIRCUIT: Two circuits controlled by one over current protection device. This wiring method increases the possibility of tripping the over current protection device. Each circuit should be separately fused with an over current protection device of appropriate amperage.

Dowels (rods): A round rod of wood that varies in diameter, with its intended use.

DOWER: The legal right or interest a wife acquires in property her husband held or acquired anytime during marriage.

DOWNSPOUT/GUTTER LEAKS: A leaking gutter or downspout can allow water to penetrate a sidewall and enter the occupied interior through a foundation wall or slab. Deteriorated gutters and downspouts should be repaired or replaced as necessary.

Downspouts: The pipes extending from the gutter to the ground.

DRIP LOOP: A loop in each of the overhead electrical service entrance conductors designed to prevent the passage of moisture into the weather head service raceway or equipment.

Dryvit: A trade name for an imitation stucco siding that has been known by the term EIFS. The product has not performed well in several areas and should be avoided until an improved product is developed.

DUAL AGENCY: Representing both principals (buyer and seller) to a transaction.

Ductboard: A fiberglass based board having an aluminum foil on one side and exposed fiberglass on the other. The material is used to fabricate cheap air ducts for air conditioning systems.

DUCTS: Metal piping used for distributing warm or cool air.

DUE ON SALE CLAUSE: A form of acceleration clause found in some mortgages, especially savings and loan mortgages, requiring the mortgagor to pay off the mortgage debt when selling the secured property, thus resulting in automatic maturity of the note at the lender's option.

DUPLEX: A structure that provides housing accommodations for two families by having separate entrances, kitchens, bedrooms, lanais, living rooms and bathrooms. A two-family dwelling.

DURESS: Unlawful constraint or action exercised upon a person whereby he is forced to perform some act against his will. A contract entered into under duress is void.


EARTH-WOOD CONTACT: Wood in contact with dirt. This condition is conducive to the infestation and infection of wood-destroying pests and/or organisms. We recommend that all earth-wood contacts be broken and any damaged or deteriorated material be replaced.

EASEMENT IN GROSS: The limited right of one person to use another's land (servient estate), which right is not created for the benefit of any land owned by the owner of the easement; that is, there is no dominant estate, as the easement attaches personally to the owner, not to the land.

EASEMENT: A property interest which one person has in land owned by another entitling the holder of the interest to limited use or enjoyment of the other's land.

EAVE: The part of the roof which extends beyond the sidewall.

EFFLORESCENCE: A deposit of soluble salts, usually white, on the surface of concrete and masonry walls due to evaporation of water.

Efflorescence: A mineral deposit on the surface of a floor or wall usually caused by moisture evaporation which leaves minerals contained in the moisture as a powdery deposit on the surface.

Effluent liquid waste: The material discharged from a processing system or plant such as the material discharged from a sewage treatment plant.

Egress: A term used to describe the exit from a room or building.

Elastomeric coat on stucco: A film that is usually plastic in nature that will stretch and is composed of an elastomer that is usually painted on a surface.

Electrolytic: A term used for an electrical component having a paste or fluid electrolyte. A example is an electrolytic capacitor.

ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION: Electromagnetic fields are produced by alternating current in electric wires. There are two components: an electric charge and a magnetic force, resulting in electromagnetic radiation. High current power lines are a source of electromagnetic fields. Studies have suggested a possible increase in leukemia, cancer and miscarriages from exposure to electromagnetic radiation. Studies are currently in progress to help quantify the risks. More information can be obtained from the local utility company, U. S. Department of Energy (202) 586-5000 and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (202)260-7676.

Emanating: A term used to indicate the source of a smell, discharge of materials, a sound or other type substance.

EMBLEMENTS: Growing crops (called "fructus industriales"),such as rice and taro, which are produced annually through labor and industry.

EMINENT DOMAIN: The right of government, both state and federal, to take private property for a necessary public use, with just compensation paid to the owner.

Emissivity: A term used to define the capability of a surface to reflect or absorb heat.

ENCROACHMENT: An unauthorized invasion or intrusion of a fixture or other real property wholly or partly upon another's property, thus reducing the size and value of the invaded property.

ENCUMBRANCE: Any claim, lien, charge or liability attached to and binding upon real property which may lessen the value of the property but will not necessarily prevent transfer of title.

Ensure: A term used to make certain or assure that an event occurs. One can ensure that water is applied to the soil around a foundation if there is an automatic watering system.

ENTIRETY, TENANCY BY: A form of joint ownership of property between husband and wife with the right of survivorship.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT: A report which includes a detailed description of a proposed development project with emphasis on the existing environment setting, viewed from both a local and regional perspective, and a discussion of the probable impact of the project on the environment during all phases.

EPDM neoprene roof: EPDM is a neoprene rubber roof that is seldom used in the Houston area due to performance problems.

Epoxy or epoxies: Epoxy is a two part resin based material that is sometimes used with fiberglass matt or material to make repairs in plumbing systems.

Equilibrium: The term used when there is a balance between two or more conditions. An example is when the pressure is equal on two sides of a membrane.

EQUITY: That interest or value remaining in property after payment of all liens or other charges on the property. A owner's equity is normally the monetary interest over and above the mortgage indebtedness.

Eroded: Something or a surface that has been worn away, usually by water or air flow. An example is the brick mortar has been eroded away by water flow.

Erratic: A term that denotes unstable or undependable condition. An example is unstable water flow from a shower when water pressure varies.

ERRORS AND OMISSIONS INSURANCE: A form of insurance which covers liabilities for errors, mistakes and negligence in the usual listing and selling activities of a real estate office or escrow company.

ESCHEAT: The reversion of property to the state when a decedent dies intestate and there are no heirs capable of inheriting, or when the property is abandoned.

ESCROW: The process by which money and/or documents are held by a disinterested third person (a "stakeholder") until the satisfaction of the terms and conditions of the escrow instructions (as prepared by the parties to the escrow).

Escutcheons: A term used for the cover plate around a faucet valve stem where it protrudes through a wall.

ESTOPPEL: A legal doctrine by which a person is prevented from asserting rights or facts which are inconsistent with a previous position or representation he had made by his act, conduct or silence.

ETHICS: A system of moral principles, rules and standards of conduct.

EVAPORATION COILS: The part of the air conditioning system where the refrigerant returns; to gaseous form. Frequently located in the furnace plenum.

EVICTION: The legal process of removing a tenant from possession of the premises for some breach of the lease contract.

EXCHANGE: A transaction in which all or part of the consideration for the purchase of real property is the transfer of property of a like kind.

EXCLUSIVE AGENCY: A written listing agreement giving one agent the right to sell property for a specified time, but reserving to the owner the right to sell the property himself without payment of any commission.

EXCLUSIVE LISTING: A written listing of real property in which the seller agrees to appoint only one broker to sell the property for a specified period of time. The two types of exclusive listings are the exclusive agency and the exclusive right to sell.

EXECUTIVE: The act of making a document legally valid, such as formalizing a contract by signing, or acknowledging and delivering a deed.

EXECUTOR: A person appointed by a testator to carry out the directions and requests in the last will and testament, and to dispose of property according to the provisions of the will.

EXECUTORY CONTRACT: A contract in which one or both of the parties has not yet performed.

EXPOSED AND ACCESSIBLE: Our inspections are limited to a visual review of those areas of the premises which are exposed to view. Any area which is not exposed to view, or is otherwise inaccessible because of soil, walls, floors, ceilings, carpets, furnishings, storage, or any other things, and is concealed, is not included in our inspection. Our inspection does not include any destructive testing or dismantling of equipment, systems, or surfaces. With access and an opportunity for examination, reportable conditions maybe discovered. If inspection of inaccessible areas is desired, this will be performed upon arrangement at an additional cost to the interested parties at such time as access can be provided.

EXPOSED ROOF FASTENERS: An indication of significant roofing surface wear or poor installation. This creates a condition conducive to moisture penetration and subsequent leakage into the occupied interior. All exposed fasteners should be covered.

EXPOSED WIRING: Wiring or connections not properly covered and protected. We recommend that all of these connections be repaired and be properly protected.

EXTENDER CLAUSE: A "carry over" clause (referred to as a safety clause) contained in a listing which provides that a broker is still entitled to a commission for a set of period of time after the listing has expired if the property is sold to a former prospect of the broker.

EXTENSION: An agreement to continue the period of performance beyond the specified period.

Extruded: A term used for the hot forming of objects where a melted or near melted material is forced through a die to form a piece with a consistent cross section.


FAILED: Something that no longer functions as designed or intended.

FAIR MARKET VALUE: The highest monetary price which a property would bring, if offered for sale for a reasonable period of time in a competitive market, to a seller who is willing but not compelled to sell, from a buyer, willing but not compelled to buy, both parties being fully informed of all the purposes to which the property is best adapted and is capable of being used.

Fairing strips: The decorative strips at windows used to make a smooth transition from the glass window panes to the frames that hold the panes.

Fairings: Covers used to smooth the transition between one surface and another. Fairings are used over small air plane wheels to smooth the flow of air across the wheels and the struts that carry the wheels.

FARM AREA: A selected geographical area or one specific building to which a real estate salesperson devotes special attention and study.

FASCIA: A flat, vertical board enclosing the overhang, under the eave that runs along the roof edge.

Fascia: The term used for the vertical plank or area along the edge of a roof.

Fascia: The vertical board seen at the lower edge of a roof surface. This is typically a 1" x 4" board in most common applications. The board covers the ends of the rafters from the roof edge to the soffit.

FEASIBILITY STUDY: An analysis of a proposed project with emphasis on the attainable income, probable expenses, and most advantageous use and design.

FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION (FHA): The FHA was set up in1934 under the National Housing Act to encourage improvement in housing standards and conditions, to provide an adequate home financing system by insurance of housing mortgages and credit, and to exert a stabilizing influence on the mortgage market.

FEDERAL TAX LIEN: A federal lien which attaches to real property, either if the federal estate tax is not paid, or if the taxpayer has violated the federal income tax or payroll tax laws.

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION (FTC): A federal agency created to investigate and eliminate unfair and deceptive trade practices in business.

FEE SIMPLE: The largest estate one can possess in real property. A fee simple estate is the least limited interest and the most complete and absolute ownership in land: it is of indefinite duration, freely transferable and inheritable. Fee simple title is sometimes referred to as "the fee.

FELT EXPOSED/WORN: An indication of significant roofing surface wear. Prolonged exposure to the sun can damage the felt. Damaged felt can result in moisture penetration and subsequent leakage into the occupied interior. The deteriorated roofing surface should be repaired, all damaged felt replaced, and exposed felt covered.

Ferrule: A metal sleeve or tube that has various uses. A ferrule can be used to divert water from a fireplace flue chase where the flue passes through the cap. A bushing used to secure a pipe joint.

Fibrous: A term used to describe a material that consists of fibers. An example is fibrous aluminum paint used to cover a felt built-up type roof.

FIDUCIARY: A relationship which implies a position of trust or confidence wherein one is usually entrusted to hold or manage property or money for another. Among the obligations a fiduciary owes to the principal are duties of loyalty; obedience; full disclosure; the duty to use skill, care and diligence; and the duty to account for all monies.

FILLED LAND: An area where the grade has been raised by depositing or dumping dirt, gravel or lava rock.

Filter Lab: A trade name of a company that manufactures electronic air filters for use in air conditioning systems.

Final: The end of a process, such as the final exam for a course or the final (last) inspection of a construction project.

FINANCE CHARGE: The total of all costs imposed directly or indirectly by the creditor and payable either directly or indirectly by the customer, as defined under the federal Truth-in-Lending Law.

FINANCE FEE: A mortgage brokerage fee to cover the expenses incurred in placing the mortgage with a lending institution; a mortgage service charge or origination fee.

FINANCIAL STATEMENT: A formal statement of the financial status and net worth of a person or company, setting forth and classifying assets and liabilities as of a specified date.

FINDER'S FEE: A fee paid to someone for producing a buyer to purchase or a seller to list property; also called a referral fee.

Fireplace mantel: The horizontal shelf in the face of a fireplace that exists across the top of the firebox opening.

FIRE-RESISTIVE BARRIER: A fire-resistive separation barrier. Fire-resistive walls may not have been required at the time of construction. Present building code requires a one-hour fire-resistive barrier between the garage and the occupied interior. The purpose of this barrier is to prevent the spread of fire from the garage into the living areas. Flammable liquids are often stored in the garage. The risk of a fire starting in the garage is significant enough to warrant recommending that a one-hour fire-resistive barrier be installed.

FIRM COMMITMENT: A definite undertaking by a lender to loan a set amount of money at a specified interest rate for a certain term.

FIRST REFUSAL, RIGHT OF: The right of a person to have the first opportunity either to purchase or lease real property.

FISCAL YEAR: A business year used for tax, corporate or accounting purposes, as opposed to a calendar year.

FIXTURE: An article which was once personal property but has been so affixed to the real estate that it has become real property (e.g. stoves, bookcases, plumbing, etc.). If determined to be a fixture, then the article passes with the property even though it is not mentioned in the deed.

FLAG LOT: A land parcel having the configuration of an extended flag and pole. The pole represents access to the site which is usually located to the rear of another lot fronting a main street.

Flake board: A plywood like panel composed of flakes of wood compressed and bonded together with some type cement. The panels are usually 4' by 8'

FLASHING DEFECTIVE: Flashing installed improperly which creates a condition conducive to moisture penetration. The connections and penetrations must be repaired to prevent leakage.

FLASHING INADEQUATE -Insufficient flashing. This condition often leads to leakage. We recommend that all to door, window, deck and roof connections and penetrations be properly flashed to prevent moisture penetration.

FLASHING: Material used at connections and penetrations in a roof or wall to prevent leakage.

Flashings: Sheet metal used to weatherproof the joints at the roof, at the tops of doors and windows, and at other horizontal joints in vertical surfaces in order to prevent water penetration.

FLATWORK: A concrete or asphalt surface such as a sidewalk, driveway or patio. Any cracks should be patched and any holes or gaps filled. The flatwork should be examined periodically for signs of failure or further deterioration and repairs made if necessary. Replacement may be necessary at some point in time.

FLEXIBLE GAS CONNECTOR: Older installations of gas-fired appliances often use rigid gas piping. This piping is subject to damage in the event of support movement. We recommend that all gas-fired appliances be equipped with flexible gas connectors or swing joints as appropriate. This should help reduce damage in the event of an earthquake.

Flexure: The bending of a component under load, A term often used to define the bending of a beam under load.

Flitch plate: The term typical refers to the stiffing member in a beam comprised of several pieces secured together with fasteners in order to make a stronger composite beam. The flitch plate is usually constructed of plywood, or steel.

FLOOR AREA RATIO: The ratio of floor area to land area expressed as a percent or decimal, which is determined by dividing the total floor area on a zoning lot by the lot area.

FLOOR DUTY: A frequent practice in real estate brokerage offices of assigning one sales agent the responsibility for

Flue: The vent for an area where a combustible material is burned. An example is the vent of a fireplace that is used to dispose of combustion products.

FORCED-AIR SYSTEM: A heating system in which air is heated in a furnace and distributed through a structure aided by a blower.

FORECLOSURE: A legal procedure whereby property used as security for debt is sold to satisfy the debt in the event of default in payment of the mortgage note or default of other terms in the mortgage document.

Formaldehyde: A chemical that was used in many finishes and insulation's. The chemical is also used in preserving components such as flesh.

FORMALDEHYDE: Colorless, pungent gas used as raw material in manufacture of particle board, decorative paneling, fiberboard, wafer board, carpeting, permanent-press fabrics and foam insulation. Heat & humidity increase the level of emission, however, the rate diminishes as materials age. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies formaldehyde as a possible carcinogen. Formaldehyde can also irritate the eyes, nose and throat, and cause headaches and dizziness. Formaldehyde levels can be reduced by increasing ventilation, reducing temperature and humidity and reducing the number of new pressed-wood products in a home. Removal of wood paneling or sub flooring is sometimes necessary. More information is available from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (202)260-2080.

FORM-WOOD: Wood used in the forming of a concrete foundation or retaining wall, typically removed after the concrete has set. If it is left in place, it can lead to the infestation of wood-destroying pests. We recommend that all form wood be removed.

FOUNDATION OUTDATED: An old foundation that is weak and subject to failure because of its age, condition and design. A brick foundation would be an example. Although an outdated foundation may not have failed, it is likely to be severely damaged in the event of seismic activity and is more susceptible to moisture damage. Replacement may not be necessary now, but may be necessary at some point in the future. Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine when to act. Obviously, if one waits until it fails, one waited too long.

FOUNDATION: Construction below or partly below grade, which provides support for exterior walls or other structural pans of the building.

Fractional H. P. pump: A fractional h. p. pump one that is driven by a small motor having a power rating under 1 horsepower. Most people think of a fractional horse power pump as one that has power ratings less than 1/6 th horsepower.

FRAUD: Any form of deceit, trickery, breach of confidence or misrepresentation by which one party attempts to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage over another.

FREE AND CLEAR TITLE: Title to real property which is absolute and unencumbered by any liens, mortgages, clouds or other encumbrances.

French doors: Glass paned double decorative doors that hinge from opposite sides of an opening.

Friedrich A/C: A trade name for air conditioning equipment that was thought of as very high quality.

Frieze Molding: A decorative horizontal band at or near the top of a wall. The band is installed to fair wood siding with masonry siding with the intent of eliminating unsightly joints.

FRONTAGE: The length of a property abutting a street or body of water; that is, the number of feet that "front" the street or water.

FROZEN FIXTURE SHUT-OFF VALVES.: Plumbing shut-off valves that no longer turn. This occurs when the valves are seldom operated. An inoperable valve prevents the water from being turned off if it is necessary to repair the fixture. We recommend that they be repaired and be made operable again.

FUNCTIONAL DRAINAGE: A plumbing drain is functional when the fixture empties in a reasonable amount of time, and does not overflow when another fixture is drained simultaneously.

FUNCTIONAL FLOW: A reasonable flow at the highest fixture in a dwelling when another fixture is operated simultaneously.

FUNCTIONAL OBSOLESCENCE: A loss in value of an improvement due to functional inadequacies, often caused by age or poor design.

Furr downs: The lowered portion of a ceiling above a cabinet or closet. The furr down is intended to improve the appearance of a cabinet by closing the opening between the ceiling and the top of a cabinet.

Further-furthest: Related to distance from a location. A example is the city is further from Houston than Katy, Texas.

FUSE: An over current protection device with a circuit opening fusible member directly heated and destroyed by the passage of too much current through it.

FUSED NEUTRAL: Where an electrical neutral wire is fused. If the fuse on the neutral wire blows, the circuit will be open, and the fixtures and/or appliances on this circuit will not function. However, power will still be present through the circuit, right up to the outlet. This creates a shock hazard. We recommend that this condition be corrected.


GABLE ROOF: A roof with two pitches, designed to provide more space on the upper floors.

GAF Rubberroid roof: A single ply roof membrane, made by GAF, that is made with neoprene rubber. It is usually held in place with fasteners at the edges and stones spread on the surface.

Gaffers & Sattler range: A trade name for a kitchen range. The equipment still exists but the manufacturer is no longer in business.

Galvalum: A steel panel coated with a zinc and aluminum film to prevent or reduce corrosion.

GALVANIZED PIPE: Steel pipe with a protective zinc coating. Used for supply of domestic water and waste and vent piping.

Galvite paint: A paint like liquid that can be applied to steel surfaces to inhibit corrosion.

Gambrel ceiling: A ceiling that has a flat central surface with sloped surfaces between the walls and the horizontal portion of the ceiling.

GARAGE DOOR SPRINGS: Prior to 1976, the counter balance springs used for tilt-up garage doors were not provided with a safety device to control spring breakage. Without the benefit of a safety device, it is possible that pieces of the spring may fly across the garage upon accidental breakage. We recommend that the garage door be springs be upgraded.

GARNISHMENT: A legal process designed to provide a means for creditors to safeguard for themselves the personal property of a debtor which is in the hands of a third party ("garnishee").

GATE VALVE: A shut-off valve using a rising disc (gate) to control liquid flow.

Gauge: A term used to define the dimension of something as related to a standard. An example is 12 gauge electrical wiring or a narrow gauged rail road.

Gell-coat: A petroleum based finish coat used on fiberglass materials for improved appearance.

GENERAL AGENT: One who is authorized to perform any and all acts associated with the continued operation of a particular job or a certain business.

GENERAL CONTRACTOR: A construction specialist who enters into a formal construction contract with a land owner or master lessee to construct a real estate building or project.

GENERAL PARTNER: A co-owner of a partnership who is empowered to enter into contracts on behalf of the partnership and who is fully liable for all partnership debts.

GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter): This is an electrical device, either at the breaker panel box or individual outlets, which opens the circuit it controls if it detects current flow through the ground leg of the circuit. These are normally installed where outlets or other electrical devices in areas where contact with water may create a shock hazard.A term used for an electrical disconnect that opens a circuit based on current flow through the electrical ground. GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter.

GFCI: Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter: a safety device which monitors the difference between current flowing through the hot and neutral wires of a receptacle. If there is an imbalance of current greater than five milliamps, the current will be cutoff in less than a second. GFCI protection is recommend in the garage, outdoor and bathroom receptacles. We also recommend that all pool and spa equipment have GFCI protection. We further recommend that all kitchen receptacles within six feet of a sink be equipped with GFCI devices. This will reduce shock and short hazards.

GIFT TAX: A graduated federal tax paid by a donor upon making a gift.

GOOD FAITH: Bona fide. An act is done in good faith if it is in fact done honestly, whether it be done negligently or not.

GOOD WILL: An intangible, salable asset arising from the reputation of a business.

GOVERNMENT SURVEY: A system of land description in which large blocks of land are divided into tracts bounded by imaginary lines conforming to the true meridian.

GRADE: The ground level around a structure. When the ground is less than six inches below the top of the foundation, it is considered a marginal grade. A faulty or marginal grade can lead to moisture damage and/or pest control problems. If damage Is discovered, we recommend that the height of the foundation be raised to a minimum of six inches above the ground and that all damaged material be replaced. If no damage is present, we recommend that this area he periodically reviewed by a qualified individual for signs of drainage. Repairs should be made if necessary.

GRADUATED RENTAL LEASE: A lease in which the rent payments commence at a fixed, often low rate, but "step up" or increase at set intervals as the lease term matures.

GRANDFATHER CLAUSE: Common expression used to convey the idea that something which was once permissible continues to be permissible despite changes in the controlling law.

GRANTEE: The person who receives from the grantor a grant of real property.

GRANTOR: The person transferring title to, or an interest in, real property. A grantor must be competent to convey; thus, for example, an insane person cannot convey title to real property.

Grommets: A part used to line an opening so that edges are protected against something that may pass through the opening. An example is electrical wiring passing through the cabinet of an appliance.

GROSS AREA: The total floor area of a building measured from the exterior of the walls (excluding those unenclosed).

GROSS INCOME MULTIPLIER: A useful rule of thumb to estimate market value of income producing residential property. The multiplier is derived by using comparable sales divided by the actual or estimated monthly rentals and arriving at an acceptable average.

GROSS LEASE: A lease of property under which the lessee pays a fixed rent, and the lessor pays the taxes, insurance, and other charges regularly incurred through ownership.

GROUND CONDUCTOR SPLICES AND LOOSE CONNECTIONS: The system ground is ineffective because of splices and loose connections in the grounding conductor. We recommend that the grounding conductor be repaired or replaced as necessary.

GROUND RECEPTACLES: A random sampling of individual receptacles found these to be operable but some are not grounded. We recommend that all kitchen, bathroom, outdoor, garage and interior three-pronged receptacles be properly grounded in accordance with current building practice.

GROUND WATER CONTAMINATION: Ground water can be contaminated from leaking underground storage tanks, illegal dumping, poorly contained landfills or hazardous waste spills. Contaminated ground water can be hazardous to one's health if it used for gardening or irrigation. Qualified individuals would have to be retained for evaluation and a determination of what corrective steps may be necessary.

GROUNDED: A conducting connection, whether intentional or accidental, between an electrical circuit or equipment and the earth, or to some conducting body that serves in the place of the earth.

GUARDIAN: One who is given the lawful custody and care of another(called a ward).

Gunite: A cement concrete material that is sprayed on a surface or into a form. Swimming pools are often made with gunite.

GUSSET: A strap made of metal or wood attached at the connection of roof trusses or rafters or foundation area beams and posts. Gussets will help limit the frame ability to laterally rack in the event of high winds.

Gypsum board: A flat panel made of gypsum covered with paper on each side that is very often used for wall covering material.


HABENDUM CLAUSE: That part of the deed beginning with the words "to have and to hold," following the granting clause and reaffirming the extent of ownership that the grantor is transferring.

HABITABLE: Being fit to live in. The residential landlord has an obligation to keep the leased premises in a habitable condition.

HACR circuit breaker (used with A/C): A resistance type circuit breaker that has characteristics usable with air conditioning system compressor circuits.

Hand-held spirit level: A flat bar like tool that has a curved alcohol filled tube mounted in it so that a bubble left in the tube centers between two lines when the bar is placed on a level surface.

handling all telephone calls and office visitors for a specified period of time.

HEAT EXCHANGER: A device by which heat is exchanged from one heat-carrying medium to another without direct contact between the two media.

HEIR: A person who inherits under a will or a person who succeeds to property by the laws of descent if the decedent dies without a will (intestate).

Hermetically sealed: A component that is sealed from the atmosphere with no shafts or other devices penetrating the membrane that is sealed within

HIGH RISE: A popular expression for a condominium or apartment building generally higher than six stories.

HIGHEST AND BEST USE: That use which, at the time of appraising the property, is most likely to produce the greatest net return to the land and/or the building over a given period of time.

HIP ROOF: A roof with no gables; usually has inclined planes on all four sides of the building.

HOLD HARMLESS CLAUSE: A clause inserted in a contract whereby one party agrees to indemnify and protect the other party from any injuries or lawsuits arising out of the particular transaction.

HOLDOVER TENANT: One who stays on the leased premises after his lease has expired. The landlord normally has the choice of evicting the holdover tenant or permitting him to remain and continue to pay rent.

HOMEOWNER'S ASSOCIATION: A non-profit association of homeowners organized pursuant to a declaration of restrictions or protective covenants for a subdivision, a PUD, or a condominium.

HOMESTEAD: A home which is used as a personal residence.

HOTEL: A building or group of attached or detached buildings containing dwelling or lodging units in which 50 percent or more of the units are lodging units, usually distinguished by a front desk, dining and other common facilities.

HOUSE RULES: Rules of conduct adopted by a board of directors of a condominium and designed to promote harmonious living among the owners and occupants.

HUD: A federal cabinet department officially known as the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HVAC UNIT: A single unit which supplies heating, venting and air conditioning.

Hydite blocks: A light weight cement concrete block used for partitions within buildings.

HYPOTHECATE: To pledge specific real or personal property as security for an obligation, without surrendering possession of it.


Illuminate: To light a room or surface for improved visibility.

Imminent: A term used to indicate that something is likely to occur at any time and could occur without any further indications. An example is a foundation where the soil has dried around the perimeter and is no longer supporting the edge of the foundation.

Impedance adapter: Piece of electrical equipment that will match impedance between two components of an electrical system such as matching the impedance of a speaker to an amplifier.

Implemented: To establish or start something such as a program, or action. If one establishes a routine foundation maintenance program, the procedures of maintaining a foundation have been implemented.

IMPLIED WARRANTY OF HABITABILITY: A legal doctrine imposing on the landlord a duty to make the leased premises acceptable to live in and ready for occupancy and to continue to maintain them in a state of repair throughout the entire term of the lease.

IMPOUND ACCOUNT: A trust account established to set aside funds for future needs.

IMPROVED LAND: Real property whose value has been enhanced by the addition of on-site and off-site improvements such as roads, sewers, utilities, buildings, etc.; as distinguished from raw land.

IMPROVEMENTS: Valuable additions made to property, amounting to more than repairs, costing labor and capital and intended to enhance the value of the property. Improvements of land would include grading, sidewalks, sewers, streets, utilities, etc. Improvements on land would include buildings, fences, and the like.

IMPUTED INTEREST: Interest implied by the federal tax law.

INACCESSIBLE- Any area which is not exposed to view or is concealed because of soil, walls, floors, ceilings, carpets, furnishings, storage, or any other things is inaccessible. Inaccessible areas are not included in this inspection. Reportable conditions may be present in inaccessible areas. If review of inaccessible areas is desired, this will be performed upon arrangement at an additional cost to the interested parties at such time as access can be provided.

INADEQUATE CLEARANCE TO COMBUSTIBLES: Gas-fired appliance vents must be far enough away from combustible surfaces to prevent the heat that these vents carry from causing a fire. Single wall vents should be at least six inches away from combustible surfaces and double wall vents should be at least one inch away.

INADEQUATE COMBUSTION AIR: The oxygen-carrying air which fuel burners need to operate safely. It Is normally supplied through venting ducts or openings in walls or doors. We recommend that additional venting be installed.

INADEQUATE FOUNDATION CLEARANCE: Foundation area clearance between the soil and the wooden framing which is less than eighteen inches. Insufficient clearance does not allow access for inspection or maintenance and creates a condition conducive to moisture damage and decay of wooden members. We recommend that a minimum of eighteen inches of clearance be provided between the soil and the framing. Any damaged wooden material found in the course of this work should be replaced.

INADEQUATE FOUNDATION DRAINAGE: Continuous foundation area moisture accumulation causes damage and/or deterioration to the foundation and/or framing. We recommend that the drainage be upgraded as necessary to collect the surface and subsurface moisture approaching the foundation and route it to some central drainage collection point. All damaged foundation and framing should be repaired or replaced as necessary.

INADEQUATE ROOF DRAINAGE: Significant roof ponding can indicate inadequate drainage. Standing water can result in leakage. We recommend that the drainage be upgraded as necessary to properly collect and divert water off of the roof.

Inadvertently: To cause an event to occur that was not intended, such as accidentally (inadvertently) spilling a glass of water.

INCOME APPROACH: An approach to the valuation or appraisal of real property as determined by the amount of net income the property will produce over its remaining economic life.

INCOME PROPERTY: Property purchased primarily for the income to be derived plus certain tax benefits, such as accelerated depreciation. Income property can be commercial, industrial or residential.

INCORPOREAL RIGHTS: Intangible or non-possessory rights in real property such as easements, licenses, profits and the like.

Independent CONTRACTOR: One who is retained to perform a certain act, but who is subject to the control and direction of another only as to the end result and not as how he performs the act. The critical feature, and what distinguishes an Independent contractor and an employee or agent, is the right to control.

Indigenous: Something normally found in a certain location or condition. An oak tree is indigenous to the Houston area.

INDUSTRIAL PARK: An area zoned industrial and containing sites for many separate industries and developed and managed as a unit, usually with provisions for common services for the users.

Infiltration: The act of something seeping or working its way into an area, such as attic air seeping or leaking into a house, causing loss of energy.

INJUNCTION: A legal action which forbids a party defendant from doing some act; it requires a person to whom it is directed to refrain from doing a particular thing.

INNOCENT PURCHASER FOR VALUE: One who purchases real property without notice, actual or constructive, of any superior rights or interests in the real property.

In-Sink-Erator: A trade name of a company product usually associated with a garbage disposal. The company also makes other products.

INSPECTION: A visit to and review of the premises. A prudent purchaser of property always inspects the premises before closing.

INSTITUTIONAL LENDER: Financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies, savings and loans or any lending institution whose loans are regulated by law.

INSUFFICIENT ROOF SLOPE: A shingle type roofing surface applied over framing whose pitch is less than three inches in twelve inches. This means that for every twelve horizontal inches the roof fails to rise at least three inches. This roofing surface is subject to leakage because of poor drainage. We recommend that the roof be periodically checked for signs of moisture penetration and patched and sealed as necessary to prevent leakage and subsequent damage. At such time as replacement of this roofing surface is made, we recommend the installation of a conventional built-up or single ply roofing membrane.

INSULATION INSTALLED BACKWARDS -Insulation installed with the vapor barrier pointed away from the living space. This can cause a buildup of moisture and subsequent damage. We recommend that this insulation be repaired and installed with the vapor barrier pointed toward the heated side of the building. Any damaged material found in the course of this work should be replaced.

INTEREST: The sum paid or accrued in return for the use of money.

Interfered: A term used when an act or object prevents something else from occurring. An example is that a cabinet door interfered with opening of a dishwasher door.

INTERIM FINANCING: A short-term loan usually made during the construction phase of a building project; often referred to as the "construction loan."

Intermittent: A term used when something occurs on occasion and does not occur at other times. A dishwasher is said to operate intermittently if it does not always run when turned on.

Interrupter: A term used for a device that interrupts or stops the normal flow of events. A ground fault interrupter stops the normal flow of electrical energy when a small current is detected in the ground loop of a device.

INTESTATE: To die without a valid will.

INVENTORY: An itemized list of property. Many brokers recommend that their clients attach to the sales contract an inventory of property to be included in the sale of a residential property, including a condominium dwelling.

INVERSE CONDEMNATION: An action for "just compensation "brought by one whose property has been effectively "taken" or substantially interfered with or taken without just compensation.

Irreparable/reparable: A term often used when an object is not economically repairable. An example is a 30 year old air conditioning unit that has failed because of a defective compressor.


Jacuzzi: The trade name of a company that manufacturers bathing equipment such as whirlpool tubs and showers.

Jalousie windows: Windows that are constructed of horizontal slats of transparent material such as glass that can be opened by tilting the slats from near vertical to horizontal.

Jenn-Air: A trade name of a company that manufactures kitchen products such as a vented range top or oven.

Jerry-rigged: The rigging or repair of something that is not done in a professional manner. The lack of quality usually indicates that the repair cannot be expected to perform for a long period of time.

Jib crane: The term refers to a crane with a portion of its boom hinged near the top so that it does not align with the main portion of the boom.

JOINT AND SEVERAL LIABILITY: A situation in which more than one party is liable to repay a debt or obligation and a creditor can obtain compensation from one or more parties, either individually or jointly, whichever he chooses.

JOINT TENANCY: A form of property ownership by two or more persons in which the joint tenants have one and the same interest, arising by one and the same conveyance, commencing atone and the same time and held by one and the same possession(the concept of "four unities").

JOINT VENTURE: The joining of two or more people in a specific business enterprise such as the development of a condominium project or a shopping center.

JOISTS: Parallel, horizontal boards laid edgewise from wall to wall to support the boards of a floor or ceiling.

JUDGMENT LIEN: A lien binding on all the real estate of a judgment-debtor and giving the holder of the judgment a right to levy (i.e. to seize) the land for satisfaction of the judgment.

JUDICIAL FORECLOSURE: A method of foreclosing upon real property by means of a court supervised sale. After an appraisal, the court determines an upset price below which no bids to purchase will be accepted.

JUNIOR MORTGAGE: A mortgage which is subordinate in right or lien priority to an existing mortgage on the same realty, such as a second mortgage.

JURISDICTION: The authority or power to act, such as the authority of a court to hear and render a decision that binds both parties.

JUST COMPENSATION: An amount of compensation to be received by a party for the taking of property under the power of eminent domain.


Kerf: The gap left by a saw blade as it passes through a material. A saw kerf is frequently used to install counter flashing at brick veneer to roof joints.

KEY LOT: A lot that has added value because of its strategic location, especially where it is needed for the highest and best use of contiguous property.

Kick plate: The vertical component between the floor and underside of a cabinet which is usually set back from the front of the cabinet several inches.

KICKERS: Different types of equity participation a lender may seek as a condition for lending money, such as participation in rentals, profits, or extra interest.

Kilz: A trade name of a paint used to seal stains so that they will not bleed back through paint applied over the stains.

KIOSK: A small structure usually constructed of wood with one or more sides open and typically used as a newsstand, photo film center or ice cream stand.

Kitchen Aid: A trade name of a company that manufactures kitchen appliances, such as dishwashers and ovens.

Kohler (Quiet Flush water closet): The trade name of a company that manufactures plumbing fixtures. They manufacture a toilet (water closet) that makes very little noise when flushed.

Kool Deck: A trade name of a company that manufactures a coating for swimming pool decks. The coating is intended to keep the deck cool to the touch even in hot weather.

Kraft paper: A stiff, usually brown, paper used to make paper bags, cover a floor during construction, and as an underlayment for certain surfaces such as metal roofing..


Ladies' room: A rest room or toilet set aside for ladies only.

LAMP CORD WIRING: Unapproved extension cord wiring running along the outside of finished walls, floors or ceilings (sometimes referred to as zip cord wiring). It is easy to overload the wire and the wire is subject to physical damage. All lamp cord wiring should be removed. Additional convenience outlets can be installed if desired.

LAND CONTRACT: Another name for an installment purchase contract, by which the buyer obtains equitable title (the right to use the property) while the seller retains legal title (recorded title)as security for payment of the balance of the purchase price.

LAND DESCRIPTION: A description of a particular piece of real property.

LAND LEASEBACK: A creative financing device often used with raw land which a developer wants to improve, in which the developer sells the land to an investor who leases the land back to the developer under a long-term net lease and subordinates his fee ownership to the lender providing development financing.

LAND TRUST: An association organized by common owners of real property, which holds title to the real property in the name of one or more trustees for the benefit of the owners, whose beneficial interests may be represented by trust certificates.

LAND, TENEMENTS AND HEREDITAMENTS: A feudal phrase used to describe all types of immovable realty including the land, buildings and all appurtenant rights thereto.

LAND: The surface of the earth extending down to the center and upward to the sky, including all natural things thereon such as trees, crops, or water; plus the minerals below the surface and the air rights above.

LANDLOCKED: Real property having no access to a public road or way.

LANDLORD: The lessor or the owner of leased premises. The landlord retains a reversion interest in the property so that when the lease ends the property will revert to the landlord.

LANDMARK: A stake, stream, cliff, monument or other object or feature which is used to fix or define land boundaries; also a prominent feature of a landscape or property that is the symbol for the place.

LANDSCAPING: Shrubs, bushes, trees and the like, on the grounds surrounding a structure.

Lap & gap rough siding: A wood siding that is cut with an apparent gap in surface elevation that overlaps at the edges of the siding planks. The term rough applies to the surface finish on the siding.

LATERAL AND SUBJACENT SUPPORT: The support received by a parcel of real property from the land adjoining it is called lateral support. Subjacent support is that support which the surface of the earth receives from its underlying strata.

Lath (metal): The material used to attach stucco or plaster to the framing of a building. The material is usually called expanded metal lath because it is made by cutting slots in metal sheets and pulling it to cause the slots to open

Lathe (machine): A material working machine that turns material along an axis so that it can be symmetrically shaped around the axis.

LAW DAY: The date an obligation becomes due; sometimes refers to the closing date.

Leach: The term to define the action of water passing through a material such as brick or concrete and carrying a mineral from the brick or concrete with it.

Lead bend: A term applied to a bent lead drain pipe that is used to connect a toilet to a plumbing drain system.

LEAD CONTAMINATION: Lead can be present outside a structure in the soil as a result of automobile exhaust and exterior lead-based paint. Lead paint may have been used on the outside of the building and have found its way into the soil. Proximity to busy roadways can result in automobile emissions elevating lead levels.

LEAD PAINT: Lead-based paint is a hazard when paint chips and particles and dust are ingested by children. Lead accumulates in the blood, soft tissues and bones, leading to damage to the kidneys, brain and central and peripheral nervous systems. Children are more susceptible to the toxic effects of lead paint because lead is more easily absorbed into growing bodies. Precautionary measures include removing lead from children's environment, mopping floors and window sills to remove lead dust and washing hands before eating. Abatement contractors must use extensive precautions to prevent contamination from lead dust.

Leaded glass windows: Windows that are constructed of various shaped pieces of glass plate that are held together by lead solder between panes.

LEASE: A lease is both a contract between lessor (landlord)and lessee (tenant) and a conveyance or demise of the premises by the lessor to the lessee. A lease is a contract in that item bodies the agreement between the parties.

LEASEHOLD: A less-than-freehold estate which a tenant possesses in real property.

LEDGER FLASHING MISSING: The ledger is a piece of horizontal lumber, usually a 2 x 8 or 2 x 10 bolted or nailed to the exterior of a building. Joists are attached to the ledger and the finished decking or stair landing material is secured to the joists. Water seeping behind the ledger can cause damage to the siding and framing. Ideally, the ledger should be flashed at the top edge to prevent moisture penetration behind the ledger and around the ledger fasteners. A secondary method of dealing with this condition is to keep the top edge of the ledger caulked and sealed as well as applying caulking at the ledger fasteners. When the ledger is replaced it should be properly flashed and sealed.

LEGAL DESCRIPTION: A description which is complete enough that an Independent surveyor could locate and identify a specific piece of real property.

LEGAL NOTICE: That notice which is either implied or required by law. Constructive notice under the recording laws is also referred to as legal notice.

LEGAL RATE OF INTEREST: The maximum interest rate permitted bylaw, with anything above that rate being usury.

Lennox air conditioning: A trade name of an air conditioning system sold by Lennox Industries.

LESSEE: The person to whom property is rented or leased; called a "tenant" in most residential leases.

LESSOR: The person who rents or leases property to another. In residential leasing, the lessor is often referred to as a landlord.

LESS-THAN-FREEHOLD ESTATE: An estate held by one who rents or leases property. This classification includes an estate for years, periodic tenancy, estate at will, and estate at sufferance.

LETTER OF CREDIT: An agreement or commitment by a bank("issuer") made at the request of a customer ("account party")that the bank will honor drafts or other demands of payment from third parties ("beneficiaries") upon compliance with the conditions specified in the letter of credit.

LETTER OF INTENT: An expression of intent to invest, develop or purchase without creating any firm legal obligation to do so.

LEVEL PAYMENT MORTGAGE: A mortgage which is scheduled to be repaid in equal periodic payments which include both principal and interest.

LEVERAGE: The use of borrowed funds to purchase investment property with the anticipation that the property acquired will increase in return so that the investor will realize a profit not only on his own investment, but also on the borrowed funds; the employment of a smaller investment to generate a larger rate of return through borrowing.

Liaison: A term to define a technical relation between two groups.

LICENSEE: A person who has a valid license. A real estate licensee can be a salesperson or a broker, active or inactive, an individual, a corporation, or a partnership.

LIEN: A charge or claim which one person (lienor) has upon the property of another (lienee) as security for a debt or obligation. Liens can be created by agreement of the parties(mortgage) or by operation of law (tax liens).

Lien: A financial document used to indicate a mortgaged property. When a lien exists against a property, the property cannot be transferred to a new owner without the lien holders consent.

LIFE ESTATE: Any estate in real or personal property which is limited in duration to the life of its owner or the life of some other designated person.

LIMITED COMMON ELEMENTS: That special class of common elements in a condominium reserved for the use of a certain apartment(s) to the exclusion of other apartments.

Limited Life Remaining: This statement is made to indicate that the equipment or object referred to in the context of the discussion is at the end of its normal average life expectancy or is severely deteriorated. The equipment or object will probably be maintenance prone and replacement will likely be required in a short period of time. Replacement of the object or equipment with a limit life remaining is generally most cost effective when considering repair or reliability.

LIMITED PARTNERSHIP: A partnership formed by two or more persons having as members one or more general partners and one or more limited partners.

LINE OF CREDIT: A maximum amount of money a bank will lend one of its more reliable and credit worthy customers without need for any formal loan submission.

Lintel: A beam, usually steel, used to support masonry work above an opening in a masonry wall or fence.

LIQUIDATED DAMAGES: An amount predetermined by the parties to an agreement as the total amount of compensation an injured party should receive in the event the other party breaches a specified part of the contract.

LIQUIDITY: The ability to sell an asset and convert it into cash at a price close to its true value.

LIS PENDENS: A legal document recorded in the Bureau of Conveyances, which gives constructive notice that an action has been filed in either a state or federal court affecting a particular piece of property. "Lis Pendens" is a Latin term which means "action pending" and is in the nature of a quasi-lien.

LISTING: A written employment agreement between a property owner and a broker authorizing the broker to find a buyer or a tenant for a certain real property.

LITTORAL LAND: Land bordering on the shore of a sea or ocean and thus affected by the tide currents.

Load-bearing: A term applied to a column or wall that supports the load of something. An example is that a load bearing wall is one that supports the roof or structure above it.

LOAN COMMITMENT: A commitment by a lender of the amount he will loan to a qualified borrower on a particular piece of real estate for a specified amount of time under specific terms.

LOAN-TO-VALUE RATIO: The ratio that the amount of the loan bears to the appraised value of the property or the sales price, whichever is lower.

LOCUS SIGILLI: Latin for "under seal", used in the abbreviated form, "L.S.," at the end of signature line in some formal legal documents; used instead of the actual seal.

Longitudinal axis: The axis of an object that is horizontal.

LOOSE/MISSING/WORN SHAKES OR SHINGLES: A condition conducive to moisture penetration and subsequent leakage into the attic and/or occupied interior. We recommend repair or replacement as necessary to prevent leakage.

LOSS PAYEE: The person designated on an insurance policy to be paid in case the insured property is damaged or destroyed.

Louvers: The tilted slats installed in an opening, usually a vent opening, such as for an attic vent or for combustion air ventilation. The louvers are intended to prevent water entry or small animal access to an area.

LPS-3 coat rust preventative: A trade name of a corrosion preventative liquid that can be applied to a metallic component to prevent corrosion.


Magnetron: The energy producing component of a microwave oven that produces microwaves used to heat objects placed in the oven.

MAIN DISCONNECT: A device by which the electrical system can be disconnected from its source of supply. Six or more branch circuits require a main disconnect device.

MAINTENANCE: The care and work put into a building to keep it in operation and productive use; the general repair and upkeep of a building. If maintenance is deferred, the building will suffer a loss in value.

MALL: A landscaped public area set aside for pedestrian traffic.

Mantle (of a light): The element that is heated to cause illumination such as the cloth type element in gas lights often used in yards for area lighting.

MARGINAL LAND: Land which is of little value because of some deficiency, such as poor access, lack of adequate rainfall, or steep terrain.

MARKET VALUE: The highest price, estimated in terms of money, which a property will bring if exposed for sale in the open market, allowing a reasonable time to find a purchaser who buys with knowledge of all the uses to which the property is adapted and for which it is capable of being used.

MARKETABLE TITLE: Good or clear title reasonably free from risk of litigation over possible defects; also referred to as merchantable title. Marketable title need not, however, be perfect title.

Masonry: A term applied to walls or objects made with stone, brick, cement block or other cement or stone like materials.

MASTER PLAN: A comprehensive plan to guide the long-term physical development of a particular area.

MASTIC: Asphalt material used to seal around roof connections and penetrations.

materials or equipment.

MEANDER LINE: An artificial line used by the surveyors to measure the natural, uneven, winding property line formed by rivers, streams and other watercourses bordering a property.

Measurable: A term used to define a small amount of something that is just measurable by conventional means.

MECHANIC'S LIEN: A statutory lien created in favor of materialmen and mechanics to secure payment for materials supplied and services rendered in the improvement, repair or maintenance of real property.

Men's room: A toilet set aside for use by male persons only.

METES AND BOUNDS: A common method of land description that identifies a property by specifying the shape and boundary dimensions of the parcel, using terminal points and angles.

MILITARY CLAUSE: A clause inserted in some residential leases to allow the military tenant to terminate the lease in case of transfer, discharge or other circumstances making termination appropriate.

MINERAL RIGHTS: Rights to subsurface land and profits. Normally, when real property is conveyed, the grantee receives all right and title to the land including everything above and below the surface, unless excepted by the grantor.

MINIMAL SURFACE PREPARATION: Premature weathering of painted and/or stained exterior surface due to minimal surface preparation. Prior to the next application of paint and/or stain, we recommend the exterior be properly prepared.

MISREPRESENTATION: A false statement or concealment of a material fact made with the intent to induce some action by another party.

Miter: The angle cut across a construction member so that the cut end of the member will fit against the side of another member. An example is the fit of the upper end of a rafter against the ridge beam.

MOISTURE BARRIER: Treated paper or metal which retards or bars water vapor. It is used to keep moisture from passing into walls and floors.

MOISTURE MEMBRANE HAS FAILED: The moisture membrane has failed when water has penetrated through the moisture barrier. There may be damaged framing below. All damaged material must be replaced or the damage may spread. Moisture must be prevented from penetrating the framing or additional damage will occur. Our primary recommendation is to install a new moisture membrane. This will stop any further leakage and subsequent damage. It may be possible to seal the surface above, thereby, hopefully stopping further water penetration. However, there is no guarantee that sealing the surface will work and this repair will require frequent maintenance.

Molding: The term applied to a decorative edge trim installed to smooth a joint between two surfaces such as between walls and ceilings or between walls and floors.

MONEY: The cash deposit (including initial and additional deposits) paid by the prospective buyer of real property as evidence of his good faith intention to complete the transaction; called hand money or a binder in some states.

Monier Monray: A company trade name for concrete roof tiles.

Monolithic: An object that is one piece and not composed of several pieces connected together. An example is a concrete foundation that is cast at one time, as one piece, is considered monolithic.

Monray shingles: A trade name applied to concrete shingles manufactured by Monier concrete shingle company.

MONTH-TO-MONTH TENANCY: A periodic tenancy where the tenant rents for one month at a time. In the absence of rental agreement (oral or written), a tenancy is deemed to be month-to-month, or in the case of boarders, week-to-week.

MONUMENTS: Visible markers, both natural and artificial objects, which are used to establish the lines and boundaries of a survey.

More than normal: More than normal is a term which indicate that an aspect of a property is not normal but not abnormal to the extent that the property could be considered as being in an abnormal condition.

Mormon clamp: A term applied to a clamp installed around a cylindrical object to connect two halves together. The clamp usually has a U or V cross section that fits over lips on two different portions of a cylinder and serves to pulls two halves together as the clamp is tightened in place.

MORTGAGE BANKER: A corporation or firm which normally provides its own funds for mortgage financing.

MORTGAGE BROKER: A person or firm which acts as an intermediary between borrower and lender; one who, for compensation or gain, negotiates, sells or arranges loans and sometimes continues to service the loans.

MORTGAGE: A legal document used to secure the performance of an obligation. In effect, the mortgage states that the lender can look to the property in the event the borrower defaults in payment of the note.

MORTGAGEE: The one who receives and holds a mortgage as security for a debt; the lender; a lender or creditor who holds a mortgage as security for payment of an obligation.

MORTGAGOR: The one who gives a mortgage as security for a debt; the borrower; usually the landowner; the borrower or debtor who hypothecates or puts up his property as security for an obligation.

MOSS BUILDUP: Moss retains moisture and can damage the roofing surface. We recommend that the moss be removed.

Movable: A term used to indicate that something can be readily relocated without undue effort of disassembly.

Much more than normal: Much more than normal is a term which indicate that an aspect of a property is beyond the expected norm to the extent that the aspect of the property could be considered as being in an abnormal condition by some knowledgeable persons

Mullions: The vertical and horizontal strips installed over large panes of glass in windows to make it appear that the window is composed of several separate panes of glass.

MULTIPLE LAYERS: Multiple roofing surfaces add extra weight to the roof framing. Too much weight can crack framing members. Most local building departments limit the number of roofing surfaces to three. Some, however, limit it to two. Another problem that can occur with multiple roofing surfaces is the inability to effectively seal the roof connections and penetrations, a critical component of the roofing system. When multiple surfaces are present, the usual way to seal the connections and penetrations is with a plastic roof cement coating. Unfortunately the plastic roof cement coating does not last as long as the roofing surface and requires more frequent maintenance than metal flashing. At such time as replacement of the roofing surface is made, we recommend that all of the existing roofing surfaces be removed, the framing re-sheathed as necessary and all roof connections and penetrations reflashed before the new surface is installed. This will help reduce the weight on the framing and the possibility of cracking as well as prolong the useful life of the new roof.

MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE (MLS): An organization created by Realtors to facilitate the sharing of listings among member brokers.

MULTI-WIRE BRANCH CIRCUIT: An electrical circuit consisting of two or more ungrounded conductors having a potential difference between them and a grounded conductor having, equal potential difference between it and each ungrounded conductor. This type of circuit is commonly used to energize the dishwasher and garbage disposal outlet located in the sink base cabinet. A common problem arises when both hot conductors of the circuit are connected to the same pole or leg of the distribution panel. If both the dishwasher and disposal are operated at the same time, the breaker protecting the circuit will not trip. This is a potential hazard and the circuit should be repaired.


NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS: Formerly known as the National Association of Real Estate Boards (NAREB), it is the largest and most prestigious real estate organization in the world.

Naugahyde: A product name for flexible vinyl plastic film often used for seat covers and other types of protective covering.

NEGATIVE CASH FLOW: The investment situation where cash expenditures to maintain an investment (taxes, mortgage payments, maintenance, etc.) exceed the cash income received from the investment.

NEGATIVE GRADING: Grading which is sloped toward the structure. Low spots and negative grading will increase the chances of water penetration through the foundation and subsequent pooling or puddling in the basement, garage and/or sub area. We recommend that the site be regraded as necessary to make sure that surface water runs away from the structure. Any damaged material found in the course of this work should be replaced.

NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENT: Any written instrument which may be transferred by endorsement or delivery so as to vest legal title in the transferee.

NEGOTIATION: The transaction of business aimed at reaching a meeting of minds among the parties; bargaining.

NET INCOME: The sum arrived at after deducting from gross income the expenses of a business or investment, including taxes and insurance, and allowances for vacancy and bad debts; what the property will earn in a given year's operation.

NET LEASE: A lease, usually commercial, whereby the lessee pays not only the rent for occupancy, but also pays maintenance and operating expenses such as tax, insurance, utilities and repairs. Thus the rent paid is "net" to the lessor.

NET WORTH: The value remaining after deducting liabilities from assets.

NO SAFETY GLASS: A random sampling of exterior doors and windows and review of individual shower doors, it revealed some areas which lack safety glass. This is not uncommon in older buildings as safety glass may not have been required at the time of installation. Doors and windows not equipped with safety glass are hazardous if broken. Present industry standards require safety glass to minimize this hazard.


NO UNDERLAYMENT: A tile roof installed directly over the sheathing without an underlayment. An underlayment provides a moisture barrier between the tile and the attic. The manufacturer's specifications may permit this method of installation; however, it is our opinion that without an underlayment, this roof is subject to premature leakage. We recommend that the tile surface and the connections and penetrations be periodically examined by a qualified and licensed roofing contractor for signs of damage and leakage and repairs be made if necessary.

Noisy: The term applied to a piece of equipment that is not operating as quietly as would be expected. An example is a range vent fan that makes an unusually loud noise when it is operating.

Nolox: A trade name of a product used to cover electrical aluminum conductors where they are connected to copper or plated copper conductors.

NOMINAL CONSIDERATION: A consideration bearing no relation to the real value of the contract. A deed often recites a nominal consideration, such as "ten dollars and other valuable consideration."

NON-COMPETITION CLAUSE: A provision in a contract or lease prohibiting a person from operating or controlling a nearby business which would compete with one of the parties to the contract.

NONCONFORMING USE: A permitted use which was lawfully established and maintained but which no longer conforms to the current use regulations because of a change in the zoning.

NONDISTURBANCE CLAUSE: A clause inserted in a mortgage whereby the mortgagee agrees not to terminate the tenancies of lessees who pay their rent if the mortgagee forecloses on the mortgagor-lessor's building.

Nonfunctional: A term used to define something that does not function. The term is generally used if something does not function in any manner.

Nonmatching: A term used to indicate a repair that does not match surrounding surfaces.

NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR: That physical deterioration which occurs in the normal course of the use for which a property is intended, without negligence, carelessness, accident or abuse of the premises (or equipment or chattels) by the occupant, members of household, or their invitees or guests.

Normal: Normal as used in reports is intended to indicate that a property condition is, in the opinion of the inspector, similar to other properties of similar age and type. Deviations from normal are slightly more than normal, more than normal, much more than normal, and abnormal.

NOT PRESENT: Not installed.

NOTE: A document signed by the borrower of a loan, stating the loan amount, the interest rate, the time and method of repayment and the obligation to repay. The note is the evidence of the debt. When secured by a mortgage, it is called a mortgage note.

NOTICE OF COMPLETION: Document filed to give public notice that a construction job has been completed and that mechanics' liens must be filed within 45 days to be valid.

NOTICE OF DEFAULT: A notice to a defaulting party that there has been a default, usually providing a grace period in which to cure the default.

NOTICE OF NONRESPONSIBILITY: A legal notice designed to relieve a property owner from responsibility for the cost of improvements ordered by another person.

NOTICE TO QUIT: A written notice given by a landlord to his tenant, stating that the landlord intends to regain possession of the leased premises and that the tenant is required to quit and remove himself from the premises either at the end of the lease term or immediately if there is a breach of lease or if the tenancy is at will or by sufferance; sometimes refers to the notice given by the tenant to the landlord that he intends to give up possession on a stated day.

NOTICE: (1) Legal notice is notice which is required to be made by law, or notice which is imparted by operation of law as a result of the possession of property or the recording of documents. (2) Notice which is required by contract, for example, when the parties agree to terminate a contract by the written notice of either party 30 days prior to termination.

Noticeable: A term used to indicate a condition that is not severe but obvious to one that is looking for an irregularity.

NOVATION: The substitution of a new obligation for an old one; substitution of new parties to an existing obligation, as where the parties to an agreement accept a new debtor in place of an old one.

NUISANCE: Conduct or activity which results in an actual physical interference with another person's reasonable use or enjoyment of his property for any lawful purpose.

NULL & VOID: Having no legal force or effect; of no worth; unenforceable; not binding.

Nutone: A trade name used by a company that manufactures appliances such as food processor, intercom systems, security systems, and similar types of equipment.

Nutshell septic system: A trade name of a sewage treatment system usually associated with an aerobic sewage treatment system.


Obliterate: To completely destroy something.

OBSOLESCENCE: A type of depreciation of property.

OFFER AND ACCEPTANCE: The two components of a valid contract; a "meeting of the minds."

OFFER: A promise by one party to act or perform in a specified manner provided the other party will act or perform in the manner requested.

OFFICE EXCLUSIVE: A listing in which the seller refuses to submit the listing to Multiple Listing Service, even after being informed of the advantages of MLS, and signs a certification to that effect.

OFFSITE COSTS: Costs such as for sewers, streets, utilities, etc., which are incurred in the development of raw land, but are not connected with the actual construction of the buildings(onsite costs).

Ohm: A measurement term used to indicate the resistance to current flow through a conductor.

O'Keefe & Merritt: The trade name of an appliance manufacturer.

OPEN HOUSE: The common real estate practice of showing a listed home to the public during established hours, frequently on Sunday afternoons.

OPEN LISTING: A listing given to any number of brokers. The first broker who secures a buyer ready, willing and able to purchase at the terms of the listing is the one who earns the commission.

OPEN SPACE: Certain portion of the landscape which has not been built upon and which is sought either to be reserved in its natural state or used for agricultural or recreational purposes(such as parks, squares, and the like).

OPEN-END MORTGAGE: A mortgage in which the borrower is given a limit up to which he may borrow, with any incremental advances of money up to but not exceeding the original borrowing limit to be secured by the same mortgage.

OPERATING EXPENSES: Those periodic and necessary expenses which are essential to the continuous operation and maintenance of a property.

OPINION OF TITLE: An opinion by a person competent in examining titles, usually a title attorney, as to the status of the title of a property.

OPTION: An agreement to keep open, over a set period, an offer to sell or purchase property.

Orangeberg pipe: A black composition material pipe used in the 1950's to conduct sewage from a building to a disposal point.

ORIGINATION FEE: The finance fee charged by a lender for placing a mortgage, which covers initial costs such as preparation of documents and credit, inspection and appraisal fees.

OUTLET (ELECTRICAL): A switch, light or receptacle.

Out-of-levelness: A term used to indicate a degree of un-levelness in a surface that is expected to be rather level.

OVER FUSED: A fuse or breaker too large for the rated capacity of the circuit. This allows too much current to flow through the conductor (wire) before the over current protection device blows or trips. This is hazardous. The rated capacity of the circuit may not have been exceeded yet. However, increased demand on the circuit may result in the conductor overheating which can cause a fire. We recommend that all over fused branch circuits be repaired and equipped with over current protection devices of appropriate amperage.

OVERIMPROVEMENT: An improvement which by reason of excess size or cost is not the highest and best use for the site on which it is placed.

OVERRIDE: A commission paid to managerial personnel (e.g. principal broker) on sales made by their subordinates, usually calculated as a percentage of the gross sales commissions earned by the salesperson.

Owens Corning roof: The trade name of a roofing manufacturer.


PACKAGE MORTGAGE: A method of financing in which the loan that finances the purchase of a home also finances the purchase of personal items such as a washer and dryer, refrigerator, stove and other specified appliances.

PAINT/STAIN WEATHERED: Portions of the exterior are weathered, exposed and subject to damage. We recommend that all exposed areas be sealed to provide protection against inclement weather. Prior to the next application of paint and/or stain, we recommend that the exterior be properly prepared.

PANEL RUSTED: All rusted panels should be primed and sealed to prevent further deterioration.

Paneled or paneling: The term used to define the wall covering where a natural finish, usually stained, wood panel is applied in a room or rooms.

PARAPET WALL: The part of the sidewall of a structure which extends above the roof line.

PARCEL: A specific portion of a larger tract; a lot.

PARGING: A coat of cement over block foundation walls, or a coat of plaster over stone or brick walls.

Parquet: A term applied to hardwood flooring where the wood flooring is fabricated by small, short, planks assembled together in small (6 to 8 inch) squares.

PARTIAL RELEASE: A clause found in a mortgage which directs the mortgagee to release certain parcels from the lien of the blanket mortgage upon the payment of a certain sum of money.

PARTICIPATION MORTGAGE: A mortgage in which the lender participates in the income of the mortgaged venture beyond a fixed return, or receives a yield on the loan in addition to the straight interest rate.

Particle board: A panel of wood fabricated by cementing saw dust or small particles of wood together with resins. The material is inexpensive and is usually used in counter tops.

Particulate: A term used to define the count or number of particles found in a specified quantity of a solution.

PARTITION: The dividing of common interests in real property owned jointly by two or more persons.

PARTNERSHIP: "An association of two or more persons to carry on as co-owners a business for profit," as defined in the Uniform Partnership Act, which is in force in a majority of the states.

PARTY WALL: A wall which is located on or at a boundary line between two adjoining parcels and is used or is intended to be used by the owners of both properties in the construction or maintenance of improvements on their respective lots.

Passer-by, passers-by: A term used to define unnamed and/or unknown persons that may pass by a location.

Peel strip: The term applied to a strip used to open a package such as the strip provided in band aids, gum, medicine packages and other similar packages.

Peeling off: The term used to indicate that a film is separating from a surface, such as a paint finish peeling off a siding.

PENETRATIONS: Any projection through a roofing surface necessitating flashing, such as plumbing vents and skylights.

PENTHOUSE: An apartment located on the roof of a building, or more commonly, an apartment on the top floor of a building.

PERCENTAGE LEASE: A lease whose rental is based on a percentage of the monthly or annual gross sales made on the premises.

PERCOLATION TEST: A hydraulic test of soil to determine the ability of the ground to absorb and drain water.

PERFORMANCE BOND: A bond, usually posted by one who is to perform work for another, which assures that a project or undertaking will be completed as per agreement or contract.

PERIODIC TENANCY: A leasehold estate which continues from period to period, such as month to month, year to year. All conditions and terms of the tenancy are carried over from period to period, and continue for an uncertain time until proper notice of termination is given.

PERMANENT FINANCING: A long-term loan, as opposed to an interim loan.

PERSONAL PROPERTY: Things which are tangible and moveable; property which is not classified as real property; chattels; personalty.

Phenolic case: A type of plastic case that is usually not flammable. Phenolic cases are usually found in electrical systems.

PIGGYBACK LOAN: A joint loan with two lenders sharing a single mortgage.

Plane, planning: A term used in construction to indicate a surface has been smoothed by cutting away some of a rough covering with a blade. Similar to sanding but the term usually indicates more material is removed than when sanding.

PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT (PUD): A modern concept in housing designed to produce a high density of dwellings and maximum utilization of open spaces.

PLAT: A map or a town, section, or subdivision indicating the location and boundaries of individual properties.

PLATFORM FRAMING -A type of framing where each story is built on a platform and the studs run the height of each story.

PLENUM: A large duct or air chamber in which the hot air from the furnace is distributed to the ducting and through the ducts to the registers.

Plenum: A term used to define the air distribution or inlet box of an air distribution system. In air conditioning, a plenum is a box to which air distribution ducts are connected to carry conditioned air to various rooms.

Plies: A term used when a film or surface is constructed by adding one film over another. A built-up type roof for residences us usually fabricated with three separate plies cemented together with asphalt.

PLOTTAGE: The merging or consolidating of adjacent lots into one larger lot, with the consequent result of improved usability and increased value; also called assemblage.

Pneumatic: A term used with a system that uses a compressed gas such as an inflatable tire, an air conditioning damper control system, etc.

POCKET LISTING: A listing which is retained by the listing broker or salesperson, who does not make it available to other brokers in the office or to other Multiple Listing Service members.

POINT OF BEGINNING: The starting point in a metes and bounds description of property, which is usually a street intersection or a specific monument.

POINTS: A generic term for a percentage of the principal loan amount which the lender charges for making the loan; each point is equal to one percent of the loan amount.

POINT-UP MORTAR JOINTS: To fill and finish the joints between bricks with cement or mortar. Often called Tuck Pointing. We always recommend that this work be done by experienced professionals.

POLARITY REVERSED: An electrical receptacle which has been wired with the hot and neutral wires reversed. Reversed polarity can compromise the grounding of an appliance and cause some electrical equipment to operate improperly. We recommend that the polarity be corrected.

POLICE POWER: The constitutional authority and inherent power of a state to adopt and enforce laws and regulations to promote and support the public health, safety, morals and general welfare.

Polybutylene: A plastic that has been used in water pipe. The product remains flexible at relatively low temperatures. The plastic has not performed well when exposed to chlorine for extended periods of time.

Polyethylene: A plastic material that is used for fabricating pipe, plastic film, and other things of a similar nature.

Polyurethane: A plastic material frequently used to create a foam that becomes hard and acts as an insulation and sealer. The plastic usually does not work well when exposed to the direct rays of the sun.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): A plastic material frequently used for fabrication of water piping, and many other plastic components. The material is widely used in drain pipes and for water distribution pipes outside buildings.

Porosity: A term used to indicate how porous a material is. A highly porous material is said to have high porosity.

PORTE COCHERE: A roofed structure extending from the entrance of a building over an adjacent driveway to shelter those getting into or out of vehicles.

Porte-cochere: A term used for a portion of a building that is used for cover for automobiles. The porte-cochere usually contains rooms that are high enough above a drive to allow an auto be parked below them.

POSSESSION: The act of either actually or constructively possessing or occupying property.

Post-tensioned cable reinforced concrete slab on grade: A term used to define a concrete slab that is reinforced with steel cables. The cables are spaced several feet apart in the width and length of the slab, at 90 degrees. The cables are stretched after the concrete has cured so that the slab is placed in compression.

POWER OF ATTORNEY: A written instrument authorizing a person(the attorney-in-fact) to act as the agent on behalf of another to the extent indicated in the instrument.

POWER OF SALE: A clause written into a mortgage authorizing the mortgagee to sell the property in the event of default.

PREMISES: The subject property, such as the property which is deeded or the unit that is leased.

PREPAID INTEREST: The paying of interest before it is due.

PREPAYMENT PENALTY: The amount set by the creditor as a penalty to the debtor for paying off the debt prior to its maturity. The prepayment penalty is charged by the lender to recoup a portion of interest that he had planned to earn when he made the loan.

PREPAYMENT PRIVILEGE: The right of the debtor to pay off part or all of the debt without penalty prior to maturity, such as in a mortgage or agreement of sale.

Prerogative: A term used to indicate that someone has the right to act in a certain way even though it may not be a desirable way to act.

PRE-SALE: A pre-construction sale program by a condominium developer who is required to sell a certain percentage of units before a lender will commit to finance construction of the project.

PRESCRIPTION: The acquiring of a right in property, usually in the form of an intangible property right such as an easement or right-of-way, by means of adverse use of property that is continuous and uninterrupted for the prescriptive period.

PRESENT VALUE OF ONE DOLLAR: A doctrine which is based on the fact that money has a time value. The present worth of a payment to be received at some time in the future is the amount of the payment less the loss of interest.

Primapell: A trade name of a sealant frequently used to seal masonry surfaces against water penetration.

PRIME RATE: The minimum interest rate charged by a commercial bank on short-term loans to its largest and strongest clients(those with the highest credit standings).

PRINCIPAL BROKER: The licensed broker directly in charge of and responsible for the real estate operations conducted by a brokerage company.

PRINCIPAL: The capital sum; interest is paid on the principal. NOT spelled principle.

PRIVATE MORTGAGE INSURANCE: A special form of insurance designed to permit lenders to increase their loan-to-market-value ratio, often up to 95 percent of the market value of the property.

PRO FORMA STATEMENT: A projection of future income and expenses.

PROBATE: The formal judicial proceeding to prove or confirm the validity of a will. The will is presented to the probate court, and creditors and interested parties are notified to present their claims or to show cause why the provisions of the will should not be enforced by the court.

PROCURING CAUSE: That effort which brings about the desired result, as in producing the buyer for the listed property.

PROMISSORY NOTE: An unconditional written promise of one person to pay a certain sum of money to another, or order, or bearer, at a future specified time.

Propagate: A term used to indicate something is extending across a domain. An example is that a crack has propagated (spread or extended) across a concrete slab.

PROPERTY MANAGEMENT: That aspect of real estate devoted to the leasing, managing, marketing and overall maintenance of the property of others.

PROPERTY REPORT: A disclosure document required under the federal interstate land sales act where applicable to the interstate sale of subdivided lots.

PROPERTY: The rights or interests a person has in the thing owned; not, in the technical sense, the thing itself. These rights include the right to possess, to use, to encumber, to transfer and to exclude, commonly called the "bundle of rights."

PROPRIETARY LEASE: A written lease in a cooperative apartment building, between the owner-corporation and the tenant-stockholder, in which the tenant is given the right to occupy a particular unit.

PRORATE: To divide or distribute proportionately.

PROSPECT: A person or corporation who may be interested in buying or selling real property. The prospect does not become a client until the parties establish a fiduciary relationship, such as upon signing a listing contract or upon executing a DROA.

PROSPECTUS: A printed statement distributed to describe, advertise and give advance information on a business, venture, project or stock issue.

Psi: An abbreviation for Pounds per square inch

PUFFING: Exaggerated or superlative comments or opinions not made as representations of fact and thus not a grounds for misrepresentation. A statement such as "the apartment has a fantastic view," is puffing because the prospective buyer can clearly assess the view in each case.

PULL CHAIN LIGHT NEAR WATER: Pull chain lights in rooms with running water are dangerous. Their proximity to running water creates a shock hazard. We recommend that these lights be equipped with approved and grounded switches.

PUNCH LIST: A discrepancy list showing defects in construction which need some corrective work to bring the building up to standards set by the plans and specifications.

PURCHASE MONEY MORTGAGE: A mortgage given to the seller as part of the buyer's consideration for the purchase of real property, and delivered at the same time that the real property is transferred as a simultaneous part of the transaction.

Purlin: The term applied to a horizontal member installed across the underside of roof rafters to uniformly transfer vertical bracing support to each rafter

Purlins: A horizontal structural member, (beam), which runs along the underside mid-span of the roof rafters. Purlins distribute the load, provided by vertical supports, uniformly across the roof rafters.

PVC: Rigid white plastic pipe and fittings used for supply of domestic water and yard sprinkler systems and in interior drain, waste and vent systems. Introduced in the 1960's.


QUALIFIED FEE: An estate in fee which is subject to certain limitations imposed by the owner.

QUANTITY SURVEY: A method of estimating construction cost or reproduction cost; a highly technical process used in arriving at the cost estimate of new construction and sometimes referred to in the building trade as the price take-off method.

QUIET ENJOYMENT: The right of a new owner or a lessee legally in possession to uninterrupted use of the property without interference from the former owner, lessor or any third party claiming superior title.

QUIET TITLE ACTION: A circuit court action intended to establish or settle the title to a particular property, especially where there is a cloud on the title.

QUITCLAIM DEED: A deed of conveyance which operates, in effect, as a release of whatever interest the grantor has in the property; sometimes called a release deed.

Quoin corners: A decorative brick installation at the corners of brick veneer walls which appear to be columns used to support a building.


R Max vapor barrier: A trade name for a sheathing that is installed on wall studs prior to application of a final exterior siding. The barrier provides insulation as well as vapor penetration protection.

Rabbited splices: Splices that are formed by a tongue and groove type connection where a joint is formed by sliding several tongues into grooves provided for the purpose.

Radiant: A term used to define a means of transferring energy such as heat, through space.

RADON: Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that occurs as part of natural decay of uranium. Radon is present to some extent in all soils and groundwater and its levels vary within geographic areas. Radon is classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a known carcinogen. There are no immediate symptoms resulting from exposure to radon. Most radon enters the home through cracks and openings in concrete slabs, crawlspaces, sumps and the tiny pores in hollow-wall concrete blocks from the soil underneath. Sometimes radon enters homes through well-water. The level of radon can be measured and mitigation measures taken if necessary. Contact the Colorado Department of Health Radon Program for a list of radon testing laboratories and mitigation contractors who meet federal requirements. Additional information may be obtained from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

RAFTER: One of a series of inclined structural members which support the roof, running from the exterior wall to the ridge board.


Ramset fasteners: A trade name for a power driven fastener that can be set in concrete, metal, or other hard surfaces. The fasteners are usually driven by an explosive charge.

RANDOM SAMPLING: For multiple identical components such as windows, doors, electrical outlets or heating registers. One per room is chosen at random.

RANGE: A measurement, used in the government survey system, consisting of a strip of land six miles wide, running in a north-south direction.

RATE OF RETURN: The relationship (expressed as a percentage)between the annual net income generated by a business and the invested capital, or the appraised value, or the gross income, etc., of the business.

RAW LAND: Unimproved land; land in its unused natural state prior to the construction of improvements such as streets, lighting, sewers, and the like.

REAL ESTATE: The physical land and appurtenances, including any structures; for all practical purposes synonymous with real property.

REAL PROPERTY: All land and appurtenances to land, including buildings, structures, fixtures, fences, and improvements erected upon or affixed to the same; excluding, however, growing crops.

REALTOR: A registered word which may only be used by an active real estate broker who is a member of the state and local real estate board affiliated with the National Association of Realtors. The use of the name REALTOR and the distinctive seal in advertising is strictly governed by the rules and regulations of the National Association.

REALTY: Land and everything permanently affixed thereto.

Rebar: Reinforcing steel rod used in cast concrete to add strength which resist breaking up of the concrete when stress load is applied to the concrete.

REBATE: A reduction or kickback of a stipulated charge.

RECAPTURE CLAUSE: A clause usually found in percentage leases, especially in shopping center leases, giving the landlord the right to terminate the lease (and thus "recapture" the premises)if the tenant does not maintain a specified minimum amount of business.

RECEIVER: An Independent party appointed by a court to impartially receive, preserve and manage property which is involved in litigation, pending final disposition of the matter before the court.

RECEPTACLE: An electrical device to receive the prongs of a plug and which is connected to an electric circuit.

Recirculating: A term used for something that circulates a fluid through a system, such as hot water recirculated through distribution piping to have instant hot water at fixtures.

Recompacted: A term referring to compacting a substance that has been un-compacted such as by digging it up.

RECORDING: The act of entering into the book of public records the written instruments affecting the title to real property, such as deeds, mortgages, contracts of sale, options, assignments, and the like. Proper recordation imparts constructive notice to all the world of the existence of the recorded document and its contents.

REDEMPTION, EQUITABLE RIGHT OF: The right of a mortgagor who has defaulted on the mortgage note to redeem or get back his title to the property by paying off the entire mortgage note prior to the foreclosure sale.

REDUCTION CERTIFICATE: An instrument which shows the amount of the unpaid balance of a mortgage, the rate of interest and the date of maturity.

REFINANCE: The act of obtaining a new loan to pay off an existing loan; the process of paying off one loan with the proceeds from another.

Refloating with asphalt: A term used in repair of a built-up type roof where the assembled membrane is covered with a film of asphalt.

REFORMATION: A legal action to correct or modify a contract or deed which has not accurately reflected the intentions of the parties due to some mechanical error, such as a typo graphical error in the legal description.

REGISTER: A fixture installed at the end of a duct which controls and directs the flow of air into a room.

Rehydrate: To return moisture to a substance that has become dehydrated or dried out.

RELEASE CLAUSE: A provision found in many blanket mortgages enabling the mortgagor to obtain partial releases of specific parcels from the mortgage upon the payment of, typically, a larger-than-pro-rata portion of the loan.

RELEASE: The discharge or relinquishment of a right, claim or privilege. Releases involving real property transactions should be acknowledged and recorded.

Releveled: When referring to foundations, it indicates that a foundation has been repaired by adjusting the levelness of a foundation.

RELOCATE LIGHT SWITCH: The bathroom light switch is located in the shower receiving wall. This is hazardous. We recommend that the light switch be moved to a safe location.

REMAINDER ESTATE: A future interest in real estate created at the same time and by the same instrument as another estate, and limited to arise immediately upon the termination of the prior estate.

RENEWAL OPTION: A covenant in some leases which gives the lessee the right to extend the lease term for a certain period, on specified terms.

RENT CONTROL: Regulation by state or local governmental agencies restricting the amount of rent landlords can charge their tenants; such regulation is a valid exercise of the state's police power.

RENT: Fixed periodic payment made by a tenant or occupant of property to the owner for the possession and use thereof, usually by prior agreement of the parties.

RENTAL AGREEMENT: An agreement, written or oral, which establishes or modifies the terms, conditions, rules, regulations, or any other provisions concerning the use and occupancy of a dwelling unit and premises; a lease on residential property.

RENTAL POOL: A rental arrangement whereby participating owners of rental apartments agree to have their apartment units available for rental as determined by the rental agent, and then share in the profits and losses of all the rental apartments in the pool according to an agreed formula.

Reoccurrence: The occurrence of something that has been corrected and after a period, the condition occurred again.

REPAIR RECOMMENDED -An item which no longer functions as designed or intended and should be repaired or replaced as necessary.

REPRODUCTION COST: The cost, on the basis of current prices, of reproducing a new replica property with the same or fairly similar material.

RESCISSION: The legal remedy of canceling, terminating or annulling a contract and restoring the parties to their original positions; a return to the status quo.

RESERVE FUND: Monies set aside as a cushion of capital for future payment of items such as taxes, insurance, furniture replacement, deferred maintenance, etc.; sometimes referred to as an impound account.

RESIDUAL PROCESS: An appraisal process used in the income approach to estimate the value of the land and/or the building, as indicated by the capitalization of the residual net income attributable to it.

RESTRICTIONS: Limitations on the use of property. Private restrictions are created by means of restrictive covenants written into real property instruments, such as deeds and leases.

RESTRICTIVE COVENANT: A private agreement, usually contained in a deed, which restricts the use and occupancy of real property.

RETALIATORY EVICTION: An act whereby a landlord evicts the tenant in response to some complaint made by the tenant.

Retrieve: To acquire something that has been lost.

REVERSION: A future estate in real property created by operation of law when a grantor conveys a lesser estate than he has. The residue left in the grantor is called a reversion which commences in possession in the future upon the end of a particular estate granted or devised, whether it be freehold or less-than-freehold.

Rheem: A trade name for appliances such as air conditioning or water heaters that are manufactured by The Rheem manufacturing company.

Rheostat: An electrical device that allows control of voltage to an electrical component.

RIDGE BOARD: The horizontal structural member at the top of a roof where the rafters meet.

RIGHT OF SURVIVORSHIP: The distinctive characteristic of a joint tenancy (also tenancy by entirety) by which the surviving joint tenant(s) succeeds to all right, title and interest of the deceased joint tenant without the need for probate proceedings.

RIGHT-OF-WAY: The right or privilege, acquired through accepted usage or by contract, to pass over a designated portion of the property of another.

Ringed shank nails: Nails that have raised rings around their shafts. The rings engage the grain in wood an prevent the nails from being pulled from the wood into which they have been driven.

RIPARIAN: Those rights and obligations which are incidental to ownership of land adjacent to or abutting on watercourses such as streams and lakes.

RISK OF LOSS: Responsibility for damages caused to improvements. The risk of loss passes to the vendee when either title or possession passes, and he should protect himself by securing proper insurance.

Romex electrical wiring: Insulated electrical wiring sheathed in paper and a protective plastic or fabric coating to protect the electrical conductors from being exposed when the wiring is abraided.

ROOF PITCH: The degree of slope of a roof.

ROOMS WITHOUT HEAT: Some areas of the structure are without heat. Individual need may necessitate upgrading of this heating system.

ROTATION: A significant number of older foundations were constructed without steel reinforcement and with shallow footings. The weight of the structure was placed on the outer edge of the foundation wall. This design commonly results in some leaning of the foundation. Poor drainage is often times the catalyst for rotation. Rotation does not necessarily mean that the foundation has failed. It does weaken the foundation and it is more vulnerable to excessive moisture conditions and seismic activity. The foundation can be repaired. However, if left unattended, this condition will worsen and may eventually result in a failure of the foundation which would require replacement.

Rotisserie: A straight rod that is used to hold an item being cooked over a heat source while the item is rotated to distribute heat to its surface.

Roto-Rooter: A trade name of a company that unstops clogged plumbing drains.

ROUTE DOWNSPOUTS: All downspouts that do not terminate within drain lines should be routed sufficiently away from the foundation to prevent puddling and pooling and subsequent seepage through the foundation and into the basement, garage and/or sub area.

ROUTE TEMPERATURE AND PRESSURE RELIEF VALVE: We recommend that the water heater temperature and pressure relief valve be routed to an approved drain or safely to the exterior. This will help limit damage in the event of a release of the relief valve.

Router: A tool with a high speed bit that is used, among other things, to shape trim edges and to cut decorative holes in wood surfaces.

RUNNING SPLICE: An electrical connection made without proper protection. We recommend that all of these connections be repaired and be mechanically protected.

RUNNING WITH THE LAND: Rights or covenants which bind or benefit successive owners of a property are said to run with the land, such as restrictive building covenants in a recorded deed which would affect all future owners of the property.

Rust-Oleum: A trade name of a paint used to coat metal items with the intent of preventing corrosion.

Ruud A/C: The trade name of an air conditioning system made by Rheem Manufacturing which is generally identical to certain models of Rheem air conditioners.


Sag, sagging: A term used to indicate deflection in a beam, lintel, roof, floor, header, or other similar component,

SALE AND LEASEBACK: A transaction in which, typically, an owner sells his improved property and as part of the same transaction signs a long-term lease and remains in possession.

Saltillo tile: A Mexican tile with a certain texture and surface finish that is frequently used to cover floors in residences.

Saw kerfs: A gap in material left by the passage of a saw blade through the material. A saw kerf is frequently used when installing counter flashings on brick veneer.

Schedule 40 PVC: An ASTM designation for PVC plastic pipe that is frequently used for water distribution and drain lines.

Schematic: A line drawing used to define plumbing piping routing, an electrical circuit layout, street layout, or any other planned arrangement.

SCHEMATICS: Preliminary architectural drawings and sketches; basic layouts not containing the final details of design.

Scrap, scrapped, scrapping: In construction, the term usually refers to incomplete pieces of materials left over after construction has been completed.

Scrape, scraped, scraping: To remove a surface coating by shearing away the coating with a sharp blade. A term frequently used when removing paint from a surface.

SCREEN DOWNSPOUT OPENINGS: All downspout openings should be screened to help prevent debris blockages and subsequent drainage failures within these lines or the drain lines into which they terminate.

SECOND MORTGAGE: A mortgage which is junior or subordinate to a first mortgage; typically, an additional loan imposed on top of the first mortgage, which is taken out when the borrower needs more money.

SECONDARY MORTGAGE MARKET: A market for the purchase and sale of existing mortgages, designed to provide greater liquidity for mortgages; also called secondary money market.

SECURITY AGREEMENT: A security document which creates a lien upon chattels, including chattels intended to be affixed to land as fixtures; known as a chattel mortgage prior to the adoption of the Uniform Commercial Code.

SECURITY DEPOSIT: Money deposited by or for the tenant with the landlord, to be held by the landlord for the following purposes: to remedy tenant defaults for damage to the premises (be it accidental or intentional), for failure to pay rent due, or for failure to return all keys at the end of the tenancy.

Seep, seepage: A term used to define a very slow leak or flow of a liquid from a source. Example is a seeping (very small) leak of water from a shutoff valve.

SEER: The acronym stands for seasonal electrical efficiency rating. The number is obtained by dividing the cooling provided in BTU by the amount of electrical energy required in watts to obtain the cooling.

Seized or galled threads: A condition where the threads of device have stuck because the metals making up the threads have fused so that the male and female portions of the threads cannot pass each other.

SEPTIC TANK: A sewage settling tank in which part of the sewage is converted into gas and liquids before the remaining waste is discharged by gravity into a leaching bed underground.

Serviceable: A term used to define something that is functional even though the item may be in need of repair or servicing to make it function in the manner for which it was intended.

SETBACK: Zoning restrictions on the amount of land required surrounding improvements; the amount of space required between the lot line and the building line.

SETTLEMENT: Settlement is that instance in which some portion of the foundation drops below the original "as built" grade. This occurs as a result of a loss of bearing compaction of fill, erosion of supporting soil, and/or dehydration (shrinkage of supporting soil)

SETTLEMENT: The act of adjusting and prorating the various credits, charges and settlement costs to conclude a real estate transaction.

SEVERALTY: Sole ownership of real property.

SHAKES: Hand split shingles.

Shear, shearing: A term used to indicate relative movement between two surfaces such as the ceiling and wall of a room or the adjacent walls of a room.

Sheared: A term used to indicate that something has failed because of excessive applied force. Another usage is where a material such as sheet metal is cut with a scissors type device.

SHEATHING: The material used to cover the outside wall of a frame house or timber roof.

Sheer: Is reference to a very thin material such as cloth that can be used for curtains or wall coverings.

Sheet metal: A relatively thin sheet of metal that can range from a few thousands of an inch thick to about 1/4 inch thick.

Sheetrock: A term used to define gypsum board when used to cover interior walls of buildings.

SHELL LEASE: A lease wherein a tenant leases the unfinished shell of a building, as in a new shopping center, and agrees to complete construction himself by installing ceilings, plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems, and electrical wiring.

Shim, shimming:  A piece of material used as a spacer to keep two surface separated by a desire distance.

Ship lap: A wood siding that is made so that the siding can be over lapped at the edges of planks to for a siding membrane to exclude rain water during rains. The siding is usually installed with the planks horizontal.

SHOPPING CENTER: A modern classification of retail stores, characterized by off-street parking and clusters of stores, subject to a uniform development plan, and usually with careful analysis given to the proper merchant mix.

SHORELINE: The dividing line between private land and public beach on beachfront property.

Shower Diverter Valve: The valve at the tub/shower, or shower enclosure, which allows water to be diverted between a spigot and the shower head.

SHOWER RECEIVING WALL: The walls surrounding a shower which, because of their orientation in relation to the shower head, are likely to be wetted by the direct or indirect spray from that shower head.

SIDING EMBEDDED IN THE GRADE: Exterior siding embedded in the exterior grade is subject to moisture damage and pest control problems. We recommend that this condition be corrected. Any damaged material found in the Course of this work should be replaced.

Sight glass: A glass window in the liquid line of a refrigerant system that allows one to see if there are vapor bubbles in the liquid refrigerant line. Sight glasses are also used in swimming pool back flush lines and other types of lines or pipes to determine the visible condition of liquids in the lines or pipes.

SIGN OF SIGNIFICANT NON-PERFORMANCE REQUIRING IMMEDIATE CORRECTION: A system or component which no longer functions as designed and intended. All Such items require immediate correction.

Silicone: A term that is used to define a rubbery caulking and sealing materials. The material is also used for cement to hold windows in place and for a multitude of other needs.

SILL PLATE: Framing lumber placed on and around the foundation to support exterior wall studs and outer floor joists.

Sill plates: The lower plate of a wall that is used to support and hold the components of a wall in place. The seal plate of a wall in a building is usually fastened in place with bolts or Ramset fasteners.

SILT MARKS: When a sub area gets wet enough for water to pond, it can leave a sediment deposit on the foundation walls and foundation area support piers.

Similar: A term used to indicate that something like an object is like another object but not exactly the same.

SIMPLE INTEREST: Interest computed on the principal balance only.

Siphon: The passing of a fluid through a hose, tube, or pipe where the suction left by the passage pulls additional liquid after the flowing liquid.

Skewed: A term used to indicate that two objects do not align, but are oriented in different directions.

Slightly more than normal: Slightly more than normal is a term used in inspections reports which indicate that an aspect of a property is not completely normal but not seriously abnormal as compared to other properties of similar age and type that have been inspected.

Slope, sloping: A term used in foundation evaluation to indicate the downward pitch of a surface that has been effected by movement of the foundation.

Soffit: Area at the underside of the roof overhang between the facia board and the wall of the structure. Structures without roof overhangs have no soffits.

SOFFIT: The underside of an overhang of structural members, such as staircases, beams and eaves.

SOIL CONTAMINATION: Soil can be contaminated from leaking underground storage tanks, illegal dumping, poorly contained landfills or hazardous waste spills. Contaminated soil can be a health hazard, especially for children. Qualified individuals would have to be retained for evaluation and a determination of what corrective steps may be necessary.

SOIL PIPE: Pipe carrying organic waste.

Solenoid: A relay that is activated by a lower voltage power source to connect a higher voltage and power to a load. An example is the contactor in and air conditioning system that is operated by about 24 volts to connect 240 volts to a compressor.

Spaced decking: a term used to define the slats used to support the shingles of a wood shingle roofs.

Spacers: Blocks or shims that are installed between something to maintain a specified distance.

SPALLING: Breaking off of the surface of brick or concrete.

Spalling: To break up into chips or fragments. A term used when paint separates from a surface and falls a way in pieces or when concrete breaks up and falls away from a wall or foundation.

Spandrel beams: Beams usually made of concrete that are used as a floor on one side and act as the structural member to support the floor.

Spark Arrester: A device normally installed at the outlet of something that can emit sparks. An example is the flue of a fireplace. The spark arrester captures sparks to reduce fire hazard.

SPECIAL ASSESSMENT: A tax or levy customarily imposed against only those specific parcels of realty which will benefit from a proposed public improvement, as opposed to a general tax on the entire community.

SPECIAL WARRANTY DEED: A deed in which the grantor warrants or guarantees the title only against defects arising during the period of his tenure and ownership of the property and not against defects existing before the time of his ownership.

SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE: A legal action brought in a court of equity to compel a party to carry out the terms of a contract.

Splashblock: A term used to define small concrete troughs that are placed at the base of gutter downspouts to collect rain water and direct it away from the side of a building.

Splashblocks: Blocks placed below the discharge point of a gutter downspout to divert water away from the foundation of a structure. The splashblock reduces the detrimental effects that erosion may have on the performance of a foundation at the discharge point of a gutter downspout.

Splashguard: A device that is placed so that splash from something will be intercepted. An example is the mud flaps placed back of the wheels of trucks.

SPLITS/CRACKS/TEARS: A roofing surface condition conducive to moisture penetration and subsequent leakage. These need to be repaired as necessary to prevent leakage.

Splitter box: An electronic device that is used to provide identical electrical signals from a single source to two or more locations.

Spongy: A term used to indicate when something is soft but resilient as opposed to hard and not flexible.

Sporadic: Something that occurs occasionally with an unknown frequency.

SPOT LOAN: A loan on a particular property, usually a condominium unit, by a lender who has not previously financed that particular condominium building.

Squeak: The sound emitted from two or more surfaces being rubbed together, usually with out proper lubrication, such as a motor shaft that is in need of lubrication.

Squeal: A shrill sound that is uniform in loudness and occurs for a short period of time.

Squeeze blocks: A term used for the blocks installed between floor joists to support the ends of joists against a beam or other wood support member.

STAIR RAILING UPGRADE: Stairs with four or more steps should have a safety railing. We recommend that an approved handrail be installed.

STAIR/LANDING MOISTURE MEMBRANE FAILED: The moisture membrane has failed. Water has penetrated through the membrane. There may be damaged framing below. All damaged material must be replaced or the damage may spread. Moisture must be prevented from penetrating the framing or additional damage will occur. Our primary recommendation is to install a new moisture membrane. This will stop any further leakage and subsequent damage. It may be possible to seal the surface above, thereby, hopefully stopping further water penetration. However, there is no guarantee that sealing the surface will work and this repair will require frequent maintenance.

STANDING LOAN: A commitment by the interim or construction lender to keep the money already funded in the project for a specified period of time after the expiration of the interim loan, usually until permanent take-out financing is secured.

STATUTE OF FRAUDS: That law which requires certain contracts to be in writing and signed by the party to be charged therewith in order to be legally enforceable.

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS: That law pertaining to the period of time within which certain actions must be brought to court.

STEP-UP LEASE: A lease with fixed rent for an initial term and provision for pre-determined rent increases at specified intervals and/or increases based upon periodic appraisals; sometimes called a graduated lease.

Stiffbacks: Structural members placed across the ceiling joists that span a room to maintain alignment between adjacent joists. This keeps the room ceiling smooth when a covering such as sheetrock is applied. Stiffback are not support beams and should never be loaded with the roof structure..

STRAIGHT NOTE: A promissory note evidencing a loan in which "interest only" payments are made periodically during the term of the note, with the principal payment due in one lump sum upon maturity.

S-TRAP: A sink drain line configuration in which the piping beyond the trap runs vertically instead of horizontally. This can cause the water in the trap to be siphoned out, allowing sewer gas to enter the occupied interior. We recommend that the pipe after the trap be repaired so that it runs horizontally with a slight downward slope until it joins the main drain and vent piping, or that an approved mechanical vent be installed.

Strip, stripped, stripping: A strip of material such as the beryllium copper strip used at the edges of exit/entrance doors to limit air infiltration. This material is known as weather stripping.

Stripe, striped, striping: To remove a surface finish from a material. Paint is often removed (stripped) from a wall or surface prior to repainting.

Stub-up: A term used to indicate that preparation has been made to install a fixture. An example is that a drain pipe is stubbed up in the floor in preparation for attaching a toilet.

STUD: A vertical, framing member in a wall or partition, usually spaced from twelve to sixteen inches apart.

Styrofoam: A type of usually white board like foam frequently used for insulation. Styrofoam is used as a sheathing in many homes today.

SUBJECT TO MORTGAGE: A grantee taking title to real property "subject to mortgage" is not personally liable to the mortgagee for payment of the mortgage note. In the event the grantor-mortgagor defaults in paying the note, the grantee could, however, lose property, and thus his equity, in a foreclosure sale.

SUBORDINATION AGREEMENT: An agreement whereby a prior mortgagee agrees to subordinate or give up their priority position to an existing or anticipated future lien.

Substantiate: To verify or support that something has been done or is a fact.

Substrate: A material used below an exposed material such as a built-up roof is installed over a layer of felt paper. The felt paper is a substrate.

Subterranean: A term used to indicate that something is installed below the surface of the soil. A foundation is usually releveled with subterranean piers.

Sub-Zero freezer: A home freezer with the trade name indicating the manufacturer.

Suction side filter dryer: A filter dryer installed in the return refrigerant line of an air conditioning system. The dryer is used to neutralize acids, remove contaminants, and remove moisture from the refrigerant of a system.

SUMMARY POSSESSION: A legal process used by a landlord to regain possession of the leased premises if the tenant has breached the lease or is holding over after the termination of tenancy.

Support, railing: A railing with balusters used to support an upper structure.

Surewall (fiberglass wall): A trade name for a stucco like siding that is applied like stucco. Surewall has fiberglass fibers embedded in it for increased strength.

SURFACE GRANULATION FAILURE: An indication of roofing surface wear due to exposure. This wear will continue and leaks may eventually develop. This condition is one indication that the roof is nearing the end of its useful life. Until the roof is replaced, it should be periodically examined by a qualified and licensed roofing contractor for indications of further wear significant enough to result in moisture penetration and repairs should be made as necessary.

SURRENDER: A premature conveyance of a possessory estate to a person having a future interest, as when a lessee surrenders the leasehold interest to the owner of the reversion interest, the lessor, before the normal expiration of the lease.

Surveillance: A term used to indicate that something should be observed closely for an undefined period of time.

SURVEY: The process by which boundaries are measured and land areas are determined; the on-site measurement of lot lines, dimensions, and position of houses in a lot including the determination of any existing encroachments or easements.

SURVIVORSHIP: The right of survivorship is that special feature of a joint tenancy whereby all title, right and interest of a decedent joint tenant in certain property passes to the surviving joint tenants by operation of law, free from claims of heirs and creditors of the decedent.

Swale: A lengthy depression in the surface of the soil that is somewhat like a ditch but the sides are gently sloped away from the center. A swale can carry water away from an area without the ditch feature being apparent.


TAKE-OUT FINANCING: Long-term permanent financing.

Tamko Awaplan roof: A single ply, modified butimen, built-up type roof manufactured by Tamko roofing company.

Tape, taping: A flexible material that has a tacky surface or surfaces that adheres to another surface when placed against it and pressed into place.

Tappan: The trade name of a manufacturer that manufactures kitchen appliances, air conditioners, and other residential equipment.

TAX LIEN: A general statutory lien imposed against real property for failure to pay taxes. There are federal tax liens and state tax liens.

TAX SHELTER: A phrase often used to describe some of the tax advantages of real estate investment, such as deductions for depreciation, interest, taxes, etc., which may offset the investor's other ordinary income to reduce the investor's overall tax payment.

Tecumseh compressor: An air conditioning compressor manufactured by Tecumseh manufacturing company.

TEMPERATURE/PRESSURE VALVE: A safety valve designed to release excess temperature and pressure. Commonly used in water heaters and steam boilers.

TENANCY AT SUFFERANCE: A tenancy which exists when a tenant wrongfully holds over after the expiration of a lease, without the landlord's consent, as where the tenant fails to surrender possession after termination of the lease.

TENANCY AT WILL: A tenancy in which a person is in possession of real estate with the permission of the owner, for a term of unspecified or uncertain duration, as when an owner permits a tenant to occupy a property until it is sold.

TENANCY BY THE ENTIRETY: A special joint tenancy between a lawfully married husband and wife, which places all title to the property into the marital unit, with both spouses having an equal, undivided interest in the whole property.

TENANCY FOR YEARS: A less-than-freehold estate in which the property is leased for a definite, fixed period of time, be it for 60 days or any fraction of a year, a year, ten years, etc.

TENANCY IN COMMON: A form of concurrent ownership of property between two or more persons, in which each has an undivided interest in the whole property; frequently found when the parties acquire title by descent or by will.

TENANCY IN SEVERALTY: Ownership of property vested in one person alone, and not held jointly with another; also called Several Tenancy or Sole Tenancy.

TENANT: In general, one who holds or possesses property, such as a life tenant or a tenant for years; commonly used to refer to a lessee under a lease.

Tendency: A term used to indicate that something may likely perform in a certain manner. An example is that there is a tendency for a spherical object o roll off a sloped table surface.

Tensile strength: The type of strength of a material to resist a load that is pulling the fibers of the material apart rather than compressing them.

Terrazzo: A registered trade name of a surface finish where aggregate is mixed with cement, spread to form a surface, allowed to cure, and then the surface is ground to a polished smooth finish.

Thermador: A trade name of what is considered high quality kitchen equipment.

Thermocoate: A trade name for a sheathing product often called Denney Board. The sheathing has a reflective surface that provides some insulating quality as well as moisture resistance.

Thermocouple: A device used to generate electrical energy to operate safety devices and controls used in gas systems. The device is also used in electrical coolers and for other similar applications.

Thermopane window: The trade name of a double paned window which provides better insulation than a single pane of glass.

Thermopane: Trade name for windows designed with insulation considerations, typical double pained with an inert gas or evacuated area between pains.

THERMOSTAT: An automatic heating/cooling control device. Some units are controlled by clocks to set back the temperature during certain time periods as a fuel-saving measure.

Thompson's Water Seal: A silicone based water repellent with the trade name of the manufacturer. The substance can be applied to a porous surface to render it water proof.

Threshold: The plate at the floor level of a door located between the casing edges that mark the interior from the exterior of the door.

THW or TW Electrical wire: A single strand of insulated electrical wire that must be installed in a protective conduit or container when in use.

TILE ROOF: Fired clay, stone or concrete roofing material. Tile roofs are highly resistant to wear and have a life expectancy of fifty plus years. However, problems can develop and these problems need attention in order to prevent leakage. Walking on a tile roof may result in some tile breakage; therefore, we examine tile roofs from ground level and other vantage points. We look for cracked and missing tiles and cracked and deteriorated tile mortar joints. We also examine the visually accessible connection and penetration flashings for damage and defects. Problems in these areas create opportunities for leakage and must be corrected to prevent moisture penetration. The water tightness of a tile roof depends to a large degree on the condition of the felt underlayment. The only way to completely examine the underlayment is to remove all of the tile. This, of course, is not practical. We inspect the felt underlayment by lifting up the tiles at a random number of places. If the felt is found to be deteriorated, it must be repaired. Repairing the underlayment requires removing the tile and it may not be possible to reuse the tile. Often times repairing the underlayment results in replacing all of the tile and flashing around the connections and penetrations. Problems may be present at areas we were unable to access. We recommend that tile roofs be periodically examined by a qualified and licensed roofing contractor. Occasionally tile roofing surfaces are installed directly over the sheathing without an underlayment. An underlayment provides a moisture barrier between the tile and the attic. The manufacturer's specifications may permit this method of installation; however, it is our opinion that without an underlayment, a tile roof is subject to premature leakage. In such cases, we recommend that the tile surface and the connections and penetrations be frequently examined by a qualified and licensed roofing contractor for signs of damage and leakage and repairs made if necessary.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE: The clause in a contract which emphasizes that punctual performance is an essential requirement of the contract.

TIME SHARING: A modern approach to communal ownership and use of real estate which permits multiple purchasers to buy undivided interests in real property (which is usually in a resort condominium or hotel) with a right to use the facility for a fixed or variable time period.

TITLE INSURANCE: A comprehensive contract of indemnity under which the title company agrees to reimburse the insured for any loss if title is not as represented in the policy.

TITLE SEARCH: An examination of the public records to determine what, if any, defects there are in the chain of title.

Toe-nailed: A means of fastening the end of a plank such as a floor joist to the side of a beam with nails where the nails are the only means of supporting the end of the joists.

TOILET LOOSE: When a toilet is not securely fastened to the floor, the wax ring seal can deteriorate, causing the toilet to leak. A leaking toilet can damage the floor and the floor framing. A toilet can leak for some time before the damage becomes visible. We recommend that the wax ring seal be replaced now and the toilet be securely fastened before the need for additional costly repairs becomes necessary.

TON OF REFRIGERATION: A measure of the rate of refrigeration equal to 12,000 BTU per hour.

Tongue-and-groove: A term used for planks in wall siding where the planks are secured together at the edges by a tongue on one side of a plank in the groove of the opposite side of an adjacent plank.

TOWNHOUSE: A type of dwelling unit normally having two floors, with the living area and kitchen on the base floor and the bedrooms located on the second floor.

TOWNSHIP: A piece of property, used in the government survey system of land description, which is 6 miles square, and contains36 sections, each 1 mile square; and consists of 23,040 acres.

TRADE FIXTURES: Articles of personal property annexed to leased premises by the tenant, as a necessary part of the tenant's trade or business.

Trane air conditioning or compressor: The trade name of an air conditioning system manufactured by the Trane, a division of American Standard.

TRANSITE VENT: A pipe composed chiefly of asbestos and Portland cement used to carry products of combustion from gas fired appliances safely to the exterior of a dwelling. Transite vents are not recognized by present code. They are subject to failure because of their absorbency and the effect of the products of combustion on the product binders. The local building department may require replacement of these vents. Asbestos has been determined by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to be a health hazard. There are a number of choices available in dealing with asbestos. They include leaving it alone, encapsulation and abatement. Removal of this material is a specialized procedure and should be attempted only by a qualified and licensed expert. Information regarding identification of asbestos, its hazards and safe removal may be obtained from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (800) 638-CPSC, Environmental Protection Agency and other governmental agencies.

TRANSITION BOOT: A rectangular box attached to the end of a duct into which the register is placed.

TRAP: A fitting to provide a liquid seal that prevents the back passage of gases, without materially affecting the flow of sewage or water through it.

TRIPLE NET LEASE: A net, net, net lease, where in addition to the stipulated rent, the lessee assumes payment of all expenses associated with the operation of the property.

TRUST DEED: A real property security device (also called a deed of trust) very similar to a mortgage, except that there are three parties, the trustor, the trustee, and the beneficiary (the lender).

TRUST FUND ACCOUNT: An account set up by a broker at a bank or other recognized depository, into which the broker deposits all funds entrusted to him by his principal or others.

TSP: An abbreviation for a cleaner called Tri Sodium Phosphate. The material can be used for cleaning a surface in preparation for painting and to etch a surface so that paint will adhere.

TURNKEY PROJECT: A development term meaning the complete construction package from ground breaking to the completion of the building. All that is left undone is to turn over the keys to the buyer.

Tygon: A trade name for very flexible clear pvc plastic pipe.

Tyvek: A registered trade name of a Dupont vapor barrier material that is placed over sheathing prior to laying bricks or applying an outer siding.


Ultraviolet: A very high frequency light that is beyond the visible range. The light is harmful to people and can cause plastics to age prematurely.

Uncompacted: The term refers to a material that is not solidified, such as loose soil that has been dug up and has not been recompressed to a firm state.

UNDERLAYMENT: Building material, generally paper or felt, used as a protection against the passage of air and moisture.

UNDERSIZED GAS CONNECTOR: We found an undersized gas connector at one or more of the appliances. The diameter of the gas supply piping should be no smaller than the inlet connection of the appliance. We recommend that the connector be removed and an approved connector installed in accordance with standard building practice.

Undesirable: The term refers to a condition or action that is not totally acceptable.

UNILATERAL CONTRACT: A contract in which one party makes an obligation to perform without receiving in return any express promise of performance from the other party, such as an open listing contract, where the seller agrees to pay a commission to the first broker who brings in a ready, willing and able buyer.

UNSTEADY DECK OR STAIRWAY: Movement due to a lack of cross bracing. We recommend that additional structural members be installed as necessary to eliminate this movement.

UPGRADE DRAINAGE: We found excessive moisture in the foundation area. This moisture can damage the foundation and framing, plumbing piping and heating ducts. It is our opinion that there is either insufficient or defective site drainage. We, therefore, recommend that a qualified and drainage professional be contacted to design and install a perimeter drainage system. This drainage system should collect the surface as well as the subsurface waters approaching the foundation system, and divert them to some type of central drainage collection or disposal point.

UPGRADE THE SHOWER WALLS: We found bathroom shower wall material extends only part way up the receiving walls. This construction detail is conducive to moisture penetration into and subsequent damage in presently concealed areas behind the shower walls. We found no outward indications of leakage or damage. However, with access and an opportunity for examination, reportable conditions may be discovered. If review of these inaccessible areas is desired, this will be performed upon arrangement at an additional cost to the interested parties at such time as access can be provided. Ideally, the shower walls should be upgraded and extended above the shower arm.

UPGRADING RECOMMENDED: These are changes that we feel would be beneficial to the functional use of a system and/or component. They are not required.

UPSET PRICE: A minimum price set by a court in a judicial foreclosure, below which the property may not be sold by a court appointed commissioner at public auction; the minimum price which can be accepted for the property after the court has had the property appraised.

Upside down: A term used to indicate when something is not in the expected orientation. A car is upside down if it has turned over with the top against the ground.

Urea-formaldehyde foam: A foam often used for insulation in walls and or attics. The material is very soft and fragile so it must be protected when in use.

Urethane: A plastic material that is often foamed to a shape and allowed to harden. It can be used in a film or sheet for paint, shoe soles, and other such uses.

Usage: The act of using something such as electrical power. One refers to electrical energy consumption as power usage over a period of time.

Useable: A term used to indicate that something is functional enough even though it is not completely perfect.

USEFUL LIFE: That period of time over which an asset, such as a building, is expected to remain economically feasible to the owner.

USURY: Charging a rate of interest in excess of that permitted by law.


VACANCY FACTOR: An allowance or discount for estimated vacancies(unrented units) in a rental project. The vacancy rate is the ratio between the number of vacant units and the total number of units in a specified project or area.

Vacuum: The lack of a substance in a space. A vacuum exists when all air has been removed from a container and there is an empty void with nothing in it.

VALLEY: A depressed angle formed where two roof planes meet.

Valleys: A term used in roofing to indicate where two planes of a roof surface come together.

VALUE: The power of a good or service to command other goods in exchange for the present worth of future rights to income or amenities; the present worth to typical users and investors of future benefits arising out of ownership of a property.

VAPOR BARRIER: A material or paint applied to a wall, floor or ceiling to prevent the passage of moisture. Plastic vapor barriers are sometimes applied over the sub area soil. This helps create a dry air space between damp soil and wood framing and limits the amount of moisture able to rise into the framing, thereby reducing moisture damage. A plastic vapor barrier also provides a reasonable surface upon which to crawl in the event of needed access to a moist sub area. Finally, a plastic vapor barrier tends to keep moist soil from drying out completely and reduces the subsequent shrinkage and cracking that often occurs. This reduces the settlement often associated with expansive soil subject to fluctuating moisture content.

VARIANCE: Permission obtained from governmental zoning authorities to build a structure or conduct a use which is expressly prohibited by the current zoning laws; an exception from the zoning laws.

VEGETATION ENCROACHMENT: Vines and/or shrubbery that cover the exterior finished siding, foundation vents, decks, stairways and electrical equipment. This vegetation can cause damage. We recommend that all shrubbery against sidewalls and foundation vents be cut back. Tree limbs and branches that have overgrown or surround the electrical service entrance conductor wires should be removed.

VENDEE: The purchaser of realty; the buyer. The buyer under an agreement of sale.

VENDOR: The seller of realty. The seller under an agreement of sale.

VENT (PLUMBING): A pipe installed to provide a flow of air to or from a drainage system and to minimize possibilities of trap siphonage and back pressure.

Venturi: A term used to define a shaped restriction in a pipe where a flowing fluid accelerates under pressure to maintain a constant volumetric flow the same as at other locations in the pipe.

Vertical: A term used to indicate when something such as a pole is at 90 degrees to a horizontal surface.

Vice versa: A term used to indicate that it may be possible for a condition to be in two separate but opposite states at different times.

Viscous: A term used to indicate when a fluid is not thin but is thick and resists flow.

Visqueen vapor barrier: A vapor barrier of poly ethylene plastic. The vapor barrier is usually black when used under concrete slabs.

Vitreous clay: A clay with a glazed surface that will not absorb water. Vitreous clay tile liners are usually installed in fireplace flues of site fabricated fireplaces.

VOID: Having no legal force or binding effect; a nullity; not enforceable. A contract for an illegal purpose (i.e. gambling)is void.

VOIDABLE: A contract which appears valid and enforceable on its face, but is subject to rescission by one of the parties who acted under a disability, such as being a minor or being under duress or undue influence; that which may be avoided or adjudged void but which is not, in itself, void.

VOLTAGE: Electric power. The greater the speed at which electrons travel, the more power present (240 volts is more powerful than 120 volts).

Vulnerability: A measure of the possibility of something occurring, such as there is a high vulnerability or likelyhood that a building may become infested with termites.


Wainscot: The wooden paneling of the lower part of an interior wall up to the dado height in a room.

WAIVER: To voluntarily give up or surrender a right.

Walkway: A path intended for one to walk on and in many instances walkway means a paved path that may be paved with concrete, gravel, or other hard surface material.

Wall plate: The piece of lumber placed at the top and/or bottom of a wall formed with studs. The sole or lower plate supports the wall and the upper structure of a building. The upper plate us used to support and retain the rafters.

Wallpaper: A paper made with a decorative surface that is applied to a wall surface to improve appearance of a room.

WAREHOUSE: A building used to store merchandise and other

WAREHOUSING: A term used in financing to describe the process which loan correspondents employ, assembling into one package a number of mortgage loans which the correspondent has originated and selling them in the secondary mortgage market.

WARM AIR SYSTEM: A heating system in which air is heated inside a furnace and distributed throughout the house by means of convection.

WARRANTY DEED: A deed in which the grantor fully warrants good clear title to the premises. Also called a general warranty deed.

WARRANTY: A guaranty by the seller, covering the title as well as the physical condition of the property.

WASTE AIR GAP: A sink device installed between the dishwasher and the drain line. Its purpose is to prevent the drawing of waste water into the dishwasher.

WASTE: An improper use or abuse of property by one in possession of land, who holds less than the fee ownership, such as a tenant, life tenant, mortgagor, or vendee.

WATER HAMMER: A sudden pounding noise in a piping system caused by rapid pressure changes due to very quick closing of valves or other restrictions. It is possible to correct this condition by installing an air chamber.

WATER PRESSURE: 55 pounds per square inch is considered in the mid-range of normal water pressure. Less than 30 pounds per square inch is considered in the low-range of normal water pressure. This usually occurs as a result of mineral deposits building up inside the domestic water supply piping which restrict the flow of water. The corroded lines eventually will need to be replaced. Excessive water pressure (above 100 pounds per square inch) puts unnecessary strain on the water heater, water lines and fixtures which can result in leaks. We recommend that a pressure reduction valve be installed in such instances.

WATT: The amount of electricity flowing through a line, measured in terms of watts. Volts multiplied by amps equals watts.

WEAR AND TEAR: The gradual physical deterioration of property, resulting from use, passage of time and weather. Only property subject to wear and tear is depreciable.

Weather stripping: The material applied along the edge of a door or window that is usually flexible and capable of spanning a gap between a door edge and the door casing. The strip of material prevents the entry of air.

Weatherhood: The hood or deflector on a vent opening that is intended to prevent rain water and undesired unconditioned air entry.

Weir: A barrier across a stream of liquid that is used to divert or measure flow per unit of time.

WET VENT: A vent that also serves as a drain. Most modern plumbing practices do not permit wet vents. This condition should be corrected.

Whisker coils: Whisker coils refers to air conditioning coils where there are no flat plate fins but heat transfer is accelerated by whiskers of metal attached to a tube carrying the liquid used for heating or cooling.

Wolmanized: A trade name of a wood treatment process that renders wood resistant to rot and insect damage.

WOOD FLOOR INSTALLED OVER AN UNKNOWN SURFACE: Ground level wooden flooring that has been constructed on wood framing slightly elevated over an unknown surface below. This type of construction is conducive to framing damage within the concealed areas. We found no evidence to suggest the presence of damage. However, with access and an opportunity for examination, reportable conditions may be discovered. We recommend that portions of the flooring be removed to provide sufficient access to determine the presence and extent of any damage, and any necessary corrective measures.

WRAP-AROUND MORTGAGE: A method of refinancing in which the new mortgage is placed in a secondary or subordinate position. In essence, it is an additional mortgage in which another lender refinances a borrower by lending an amount over the existing first mortgage amount, without cashing out or distributing the existence of the first mortgage.


Xs (2Xs 2x4 siding): The X is short for by such as a 2 by 4 inch plank can be indicated by a 2X4 inch plank.

Xylol: An aromatic hydrocarbon which is distilled from coal tar. It is used as a solvent for synthetic resins and gums.


YEAR-TO-YEAR TENANCY: A periodic tenancy in which the rent is reserved from year to year.

YIELD: The return on an investment or the amount of profit, stated as a percentage of the amount invested.


Zeolite: A material used in water softeners that attracts colloidal particles in water and retains them until the material is subject to water with a high concentration of salt dissolved in it. When in the presence of salt water, the particles attached to the zeolite are set free and can be washed away by a water back wash.

Zip cord: A cord built into a package covering that can be used to tear away the covering. The exposed end of the zip cord is pulled on so that it will tear through the package cover and allow it to be pulled away.

ZONING: The regulation of structures and uses of property within designated districts or zones. Zoning regulates and affects such things as use of the land, types of structure permitted, building heights, setbacks, and density (the ratio of land area to improvement area).

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