RealtyHop Real Estate Glossary

RealtyHop Real Estate Glossary

421a: A New York property tax abatement that is granted to real estate developers who are developing new multi-family residential housing buildings. In order to qualify, developers must build affordable housing units. The program is administered by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).

Abandonment: Lack of use of a property can lead to abandonment which causes a loss of rights.

Abatement: A legal term meaning, the ending, lessening, reduction, removal of something.

Abutting Property: Properties that share at least one common border.

Abstract of Title: A brief summary of the recorded history of all recorded documents and proceedings related to a property. An abstract of title is usually prepared by an attorney or title company in order to make sure there aren’t any liens, easements or other problems associated with the property.

Acceleration Clause: A provision in a contract that allows a lender to require a borrower to repay all or part of an outstanding loan if the borrower does not meet certain requirements. The acceleration clause in a contract will outlined the requirements the borrower needs to meet.

Acceptance: Agreement to the terms in a clause which makes a contract binding.

Accession: Gives property owners the right to everything produced by their land.

Actual Income: Also known as gross income or gross pay, this is an individual’s total income before taxes and other deductions.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM): A loan with a varying interest rate that is periodically adjusted based on an index, usually the LIBOR or prime rate. Also known as a variable rate mortgage.

Adjusted Sales Price: An appraisal practice used to indicate the price of a comparable property after adjustments have been made to account for the differences between the original and comparable property.

Ad Valorem Tax: Tax that is calculated based on the assessed value of a property.

After Tax Cash Flow (ATCF): Cash flow available after taxes.

Agency: Outlines the legal relationship between a real estate professional and their clients. Each state has their own agency laws so it’s important to double check what the laws are in your state. The most common types of agency in real estate are the seller agency, buyer agency, dual agency, and designated agency.

Agency Disclosure Statement: A form that discloses whether the agent is representing the seller, buyer or both in a transaction.

Agent: A licensed real estate professional who represents another person in a real estate transaction. An agent is a member of the National Association of REALTORS.

Air Rights: Rights that guarantee the undisturbed use and control of space above land without interference from others. Air rights can be transferred separately from the land.

Alcove Studio (ALC): An “L Shaped” studio that is larger than a standard boxed shaped studio. The extra alcove is usually used for sleeping. Some will convert these spaces into a bedroom space or use a partition to break up the sleeping area from the main living area.

Alteration Agreement: A written agreement that allows for any renovations, modifications, repairs, etc. This agreement must be signed by the co-op shareholder-tenants before any actions outlined in the agreements occur.

Amenities: Enhancements that buildings offer its residents. The term amenities typically encompass any facilities, common areas or services available to residents within and sometimes even beyond the property. Examples of amenities include a doorman, gym (aka fitness center/health club/etc.), garage, children’s playroom, package-receiving, common lounge, rooftop, etc.

Amenity Fees: Some buildings may charge an amenity fee to residents for access/usage of amenities. The fee can be charged on an annual or monthly basis. The cost can also vary depending on the building.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A civil right law established in 1990 that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to ensure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

Amortization: The decrease in a loan balance because of periodic installments that pay down both principal and interest.

Amortized Loans: Loans that are paid off in monthly payments instead of leaving the borrower with a large balloon payment at the end of the loan term.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): The amount of interest on your total loan amount that you’ll pay on an annual basis. The APR is expressed as a percentage and it includes the interest rate and other charges such as points, mortgage broker fees, etc.

Appraisal: An unbiased opinion of the value of a property calculated based on object data such as the property’s condition, location and features as of a specific date. Appraisals are important in the buying and selling of a property.

Appraisal Report: A report that includes the results of an appraisal.

Appraiser: A trained person who works on providing an unbiased value of a property.

Appreciation: The increase in value of a property over time.

Asbestos: Refers to six naturally occurring fibrous minerals that are extremely durable and able to resist heat, fire, and electricity. Due to its durable properties, asbestos has been used for many years in a number of different commercial and industrial settings, as well as in a wide range of consumer products. Sadly, asbestos is best known for its role in causing mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer that can develop in the linings of the lungs, abdomen or heart after inhalation. Though its use has diminished, there are still many products that contain asbestos, especially in older homes.

Asbestosis: This degenerative respiratory condition results from the formation of scar tissue plaques on the surface of the pleura (lung linings). It can be a precursor to the onset of mesothelioma.

As Is Clause: A provision in a purchase agreement that states the buyer accepts the property in its present condition.

Assigning a Contract: The transfer of a contracts obligations and rights to a property to another party prior to the closing.

Assignment: The action of transferring rights or interests from one party (the assignor) to another party (the assignee). All contracts are assignable unless the contracts states otherwise.

Associate Broker: A real estate broker who works for another broker.

Assumption: When on party takes over responsibility of a loan for another party. Generally speaking, the lender must approve.

Bachelor Apartment: Similar to a Studio apartment, the bachelor apartment combines the living room, kitchen and sleeping area into one space. However, a bachelor apartment is often times much smaller than a studio apartment and can be found with kitchenettes vs a full kitchen.

Bait and Switch: The action (generally illegal) of advertising a listing that is an apparent bargain (too good to be true), with the intention of substituting inferior or more expensive listings.

Balcony: An outdoor space connected to your apartment that can be private or shared with adjacent neighbors.

Balloon Mortgage: Loans with small, periodic payments that still leaves the loaner with a single, lump payment that includes both the balance of principal and interest not yet paid off at the end of the loan term.

Basement: Considered a story and defined as, that portion of a building below the first floor joists where at least half of its clear ceiling height is above the average elevation of the finished grades along the perimeter of the building. A basement is not the same as a cellar, which is not counted as a story and its clear ceiling height is below the average elevation.

Basis: A key factor in calculating the capital gain or loss after the sale of a property.

Before Taxes Cash Flow (BTCF): Gross amount of income before consideration of taxes.

Bearing Wall: A wall that carries the load for the roof, ceiling, and/or floors.

Bedroom: Laws vary by state but there are features that define a bedroom. 1.) The minimum square footage of a bedroom must be at a minimum around 80 square feet. 2.) A bedroom must also measure at least 8 feet in any horizontal direction unless the apartment contains three or more bedrooms in which case the minimum dimension drops to 7 feet. 3.) Minimum ceiling height has to be at least 8 feet. If the bedroom is in a basement then the ceiling height requirement drops to 7 feet. 4.) Two means of egress: There have to be two ways out of a bedroom. Traditionally, these would be a door and window. 5.) The window opening must be a minimum of 5.7 square feet. At least one window needs to open up to a street, yard, garden or court on the same lot. Contrary to popular belief, a bedroom does not have to have a closet.

Bill of Sale: The document which is used to transfer the title to property from one party to another.

Bi-Weekly Mortgage: A fixed rate mortgage that you pay on a bi-weekly basis rather than monthly.

Blanket Mortgage: A mortgage that covers a whole building rather than an individual unit.

Blind Advertisement: Requirement that all advertisements placed by an agent/broker must indicate that the advertiser is an agent/broker, or give the name of the agent/broker and his/her telephone number and firm affiliation.

Blockbusting: An illegal practice of persuading owners to sell their property often at a lower price by suggesting that property values in the neighborhood are going to decrease due to the change of the neighborhood racial and ethnic composition.

Board Package: A package presented to a co-op or condo board of managers and directors. The board package includes financial qualifications, reference letters, employment verification, and other information necessary in the board application. Condo boards are much more informal and will generally require less information as a co-op board.

Bona Fide: A Latin term meaning good faith.

Breach of Contract: When one parties breaks the terms outlined in a contract.

Bridge Loan: A short-term loan that covers the period between two transactions, such as the selling of one property and the buying of another. The period covered by a bridge loan can vary from two weeks to three years.

Broker: An individual employed on a fee or commission basis as an agent to bring two parties together and assist them in a real estate transaction. A real estate broker can work independently and/or hire real estate salespersons. The broker’s exam is generally longer and more difficult than a salesperson’s exam. Brokers are held to higher standards of knowledge.

Broker Protection Clause: A clause that protects brokers by ensuring that they will earn their commission if the property was sold under certain circumstances within a certain period of time.

Broker’s Agent: An agent that works directly for the broker. The broker’s agent still owes the same amount of fiduciary duty that the broker does to either the buyer or seller.

Brokerage: The business or establishment of a broker.

Brownstone/Townhouse (BSTN, TWHHSE, TH): A brownstone is a townhouse that is usually a 3 to 5 story building, named for traditional “brown stone” used in the façade. It may be a single family building or have been converted into multiple apartments. The original structures were built in the 19th or early 20th centuries. Brownstones are usually desirable for their unique architecture; fireplaces and “homey” feel. However, standard brownstones tend to lack elevators and other “luxury” type amenities.

Budget Mortgage: A mortgage that allows where insurance and tax payments are consolidated into the principal and interest payments. This allows the loaner to write only one check for all expenses.

Building Code: The Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, as modified by local amendments. Governs the construction details of buildings and other structures in the interest of the safety of the occupants and public.

Building Department: Protects a municipality’s residents by seeing that code restrictions are followed, and construction and renovation are done by licensed professionals.

Building Inspection: The process whereby government authorities, usually state or local, are charged with ensuring compliance with prevailing building codes.

Building Insurance: Insurance that covers the structure (such as walls, roofs, and floors), fixtures, and fittings of your home.

Building Manager: Oversees the management of a building for a property owner.

Building Permit: Official documents from a local government or other authority that allow the beginning of a construction or remodeling project.

Bump Clause: A clause that allows the seller to keep the property for sale on the market until a certain condition stated in the contract is met.

Bundle of Rights: All the rights associated the ownership of a property. The rights include the right of possession, right of control, right of exclusion, right of enjoyment, and right of disposal.

Buydown: A technique where a loaner lowers a loan’s interest rates and monthly payment by paying additional funds to a lender at the beginning of a loan term.

Buyer’s Broker Contract: A contract that states that the buyer will pay the broker a commission once the buyer purchases a property.

Buyer’s Agent: An agent who represents and owes their fiduciary duties to the buyer.

Buyer’s Broker: A broker in an exclusive agency relationship with the buyer.

Buyer’s Market: A market which includes a large selection of options at favorable prices for the buyer.

By-Laws: The rules by which the co-operative and condominium association operates. This includes the purpose of the building, rules for elections and voting, and frequency of board of directors or shareholders meetings.

Call Provision: A clause that lets the lender demand full payment of a loan.

Cancellation: The action of terminating a contract. Termination does not undo the actions already taken under the contract.

Cancellation Clause: A provision in a lease or other contract which confers upon one or more of the parties to the lease the right to terminate the party’s or parties’ obligations thereunder upon the occurrence of the condition or contingency set forth in the said clause.

Capacity: The ability to perform acts, such as entering a contract.

Capital Expense: An expense used to improve the property.

Capital Gain: The profit you make off of a property’s increase in value.

Capital Loss: The monetary loss you incur from a property’s decrease in value.

Capitalization Rate: Also known as the cap rate, the capitalization rate is the rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income the property is expected to generate. The cap rate is the ratio of net operating income (NOI) to property asset value. Generally speaking, a cap rate above 3% for a condo unit and a cap rate above 4% for a co-op unit is considered great in New York.

Cash Flow: The amount of money available after removing all expenses. If you have more money coming in than going out, then that’s positive cash flow. If you have more money going out than coming in, then that’s negative cash flow.

Cash on Cash Return: The ratio of cash flow to the total number of cash invested expressed as a percentage. This ratio essentially calculates the cash income earned on the cash invested in a property.

Caveat Emptor: The rule that the buyer alone is responsible at the end of the day for checking the quality of a property.

Cease and Desist List: Once an owner registers to join this list, brokers and agents are prohibited from soliciting them. An owner has to own property in a cease and desist zone in order to file to join the cease and desist list.

Cease and Desist Zone: Areas designated by the New York Department of State in which owners can file indicating that they do not want to sell, list or lease their property out to others.

Central Heating: This system provides warmth to the whole interior of a building (or portion of a building) from one point to multiple rooms. When combined with other systems in order to control the building climate, the whole system may be an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system.

Certificate of Occupancy (C of O): A document issued by a government authority to a builder after all inspections have been made and the property is deemed fit for occupancy.

Certificate of Title: A document prepared by an attorney or title company after reviewing all public documents associated with a title to a property.

Certificate of Transfer: A court document that verified the transfer of title from a deceased person to his/her heirs or devisees.

Chain of Title: A chain of deeds and other documents disclosed in public records that show the transfer title to land from one owner to the next.

Classic 6, 7 or 8: The term “classic” followed by a number (usually starting at six) refers to the number of rooms in an apartment unit. These apartments can be found in buildings built in New York City prior to 1940. For example, a “classic six” refers to two bedrooms, a living room, dining room, kitchen, and a smaller bedroom that can be referred to as a maid’s room.

Clear Title: A title free from any defects or encumbrances. Also known as a marketable title.

Client: The person who is represented by a broker, lawyer, or other professional they employed. A client can be a buyer, seller or both.

Closing: The final stages in a real estate transaction where the property ownership is transferred from seller to buyer.

Closing Costs: Costs associated with the transfer of property in addition to the sales price. Costs can include the broker’s commission, title insurances, appraisal fees, attorney fees, etc.

Closing Date: The date in which the final step in a real estate transaction is to be completed. The closing date can usually occur several weeks after an offer is officially accepted.

Closing Statement: A document prepared by the closing agent that itemizes all the expenses and costs paid by the buyer and seller to close the transaction.

Clouding the Title: A title that comes with a claim, encumbrance or defect that makes the title unmarketable.

Co-broke: An arrangement between two brokerage firms to share a commission. Normally used when one broker is the exclusive listing agent for a seller and the other broker represents the buyer.

Color of Title: A title that appears to look good and marketable but is not actually. This is why it is important to have your attorney check over the history of the title to make sure it is a clear title.

Commingling: The action of mixing a client’s money held in trust with personal funds.

Commission: Money paid to the broker for services provided.

Common Areas or Common Elements: The common area is the area in the property or in the building that is available for use by all owners. These can including the parking lot, hallways, and recreational facilities.

Common Charges: Monthly charges that cover management fees and operating expenses in a condominium building. Taxes are not included in this charge. See Maintenance Fees for co-ops.

Comparables: Other similar properties located in the same market area as the subject property.

Comparative Market Analysis (CMA): The method of analyzing the approximate value of a property by comparing the subject property to other comparable properties that have sold.

Concurrent Ownership: Ownership of property by more than one person, also known as co-ownership.

Condominium (CONDO): Property developed for co-ownership, with each co-owner having a separate interest in an individual unit, combined with an undivided interest in the common areas of the property.

Condominium Boards: Board members are selected by the condo owners to run/manage the condo. Boards have the right of first refusal on every purchase, meaning they can review the purchaser’s application if they have any issues. They can’t reject a buyer without reason, unlike co-op boards.

Condop: A building that has been divided into at least two condominiums. The first is the co-op controlled residential units considered one condominium unit. The second is the professional and commercial units.

Confirmation of Loans: Loans that meet Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac standards

Conformity: A theory that states properties can achieve maximum value when it is surrounded by other properties with similar function and style.

Contingencies: Clauses in a purchase contract that are essentially legal loopholes that will allow you to back out of a contract under certain circumstances.

Convertible/Flex Studio, One, Two, Three, or Four bedroom: “Convertible” or “Flex” are terms used to describe an apartment that has space to make another bedroom. The other bedroom can be created using the construction of a wall, bookshelf or space dividers. The newly constructed bedroom must have a window in order for it to be legally considered an additional bedroom. Some landlords may allow the construction of a wall while others may not.

Co-operatives (Co-op): A building owned by a corporation, where residents are shareholders in the corporation; each shareholder receives a proprietary lease on an individual unit and the right to use the common areas.

Co-op Board: A board of directors selected from amongst the co-op shareholders. The co-op board determines the rules surrounding the co-op and addresses issues that arise in the community. The board also has the power to deny a prospective purchaser.

Corner Apartment: Generally desired, a corner apartment unit on the floor may mean that you have more windows and sunlight for your apartment.

Counteroffer: A response to an offer. It implies rejection or an update to the original offer.

Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment: Guarantee that a buyer has the exclusive possession of a property without anyone claiming interest in the property.

Creditor: The lender; person or entity who is owed a debt.

Credit History: A credit history is a record of a borrower’s responsible repayment of debt.

Credit Report: A credit report is a record of the borrower’s credit history from a number of sources, including banks, credit card companies, collection agencies, and government. Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you are entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major consumer reporting companies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) via

Credit Score: This score is a numerical rating provided on a credit report that establishes creditworthiness based on a person’s past credit/payment history and their current credit standing. The most well-known types of credit score are FICO scores (created by Fair Isaac Corporation). FICO scores range from 300 to 850. Having a score above 670 is considered a good credit score, anyone above 740 is very good, and those above 800 are exceptional.

Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI): The percentage of a person’s monthly gross income that goes towards paying debts. DTI is used to establish if a person is able to take on another loan. The lower the DTI, the better.

Debtor: Person or entity who owes money to another.

Deed: A legal document that is signed and delivered that conveys the ownership of a property and/or legal rights.

Default: Failure to comply with agreements outlined in a contract.

Delivery: The deliverance of a deed. The deed does not convey title until it has been delivered to the grantee.

Den: Used interchangeably with “Office”, “Library”, “Study”, “Media Room”, “Guest Room” etc. This term can be used to refer to a room that doesn’t qualify as a bedroom space. Generally, this means the room is smaller than the required dimensions for a bedroom or missing a window.

Designated Agency: When a managing broker assigns an agent for the seller and an agent for the buyer to act as their exclusive agents. While both agents may work for the same brokerage firm, this avoids issues that might come up when an agent has dual agency.

Direct Buyer: Buyers who aren’t represented by a buyer’s agent.

Disclosures: Information that must be revealed by the agent in a real estate transaction.

Disclosure Statement: A statement that details all of the finances associated with a residential mortgage loan.

Discrimination: The action of denying housing, providing housing under inferior terms or providing segregated housing because of a person’s age, disability, income, race/color, religion, sex, nationality, etc.

Doorman: An individual hired to provide both courtesy and security services at a residential building. They are a common feature at luxury high-rises within the city, generally responsible for screening visitors, collecting packages/deliveries, and opening doors. Doorman services are considered an amenity of a building.

Down Payment: A large sum of money paid in cash by the buyer.

Drywall: Also known as temporary walls and pressurized walls in New York, drywalls are a great way to convert living space within an apartment into an additional room.

Dual Agency: Occurs when a broker or agent must represent both the buyer and seller. Consent is needed from both the buyer and seller before the transaction can proceed.

Dual Licensure: When an agent or broker holds more than one license at a time. For example: when an agent wants to work with more than one broker; or, when a broker wants to be an associate broker with another brokerage firm).

Due Diligence: The act of taking the necessary steps to find out facts or liabilities about a property prior to its purchase.

Duplex: An apartment with two levels.

Earnest Money Deposit: Money that is deposited to the seller from the buyer as a signal of good faith regarding a future transaction.

Easement: A right to use some part of a real estate property without possessing it. Easements are irreversible and creates an interest in the property.

Eat-In Kitchen (EIK): Given the fact that most apartments in New York aren’t huge, many apartments do not have dining rooms separated from the kitchen but instead have eat-in kitchens. Eat-in kitchens can consist of a breakfast bar or seats at the kitchen island to eat, or simply have a space big enough to fit a dining table where the inhabitants can eat. While some people prefer having a separate dining room to entertain guests, some also like the idea of being able to socialize while cooking.

Elevator Building (ELEV BLDG): A building that has one or more elevators accessible to residents. Buildings with elevators can be any height; the vast majority of walk-up apartments in New York are in buildings that are five stories high or less. By law, a walk-up building in New York cannot exceed six stories. Usually (but not always) elevator apartments are more expensive than walk-up apartments.

Encumbered Property: A property with mortgages, liens, or other restrictions against it which may prevent it from being transferred.

Escrow: An account maintained by a disinterested third party to hold on to things of value on behalf of parties in a transaction. Also called trust accounts. These accounts can be used to hold on to earnest money deposits, etc. This is done to ensure that the funds are kept in a safe, neutral location.

Exclusive Agency: A listing agreement between a broker and an owner that provides the broker with the exclusive right to represent the owner in the sale of a property.

Exclusive Listing: An apartment unit that the owner has exclusively commissioned a broker to find a buyer for. This is done through the exclusive agency agreement.

Exclusive Right to Sale: An agreement that entitles the broker to a commission if anyone including the seller finds a buyer for the property during the listing term.

Execute: To carry out or put into effect a plan, order or course of action.

Exposed Brick: An apartment feature found in older buildings. Exposed brick walls can be a real attraction for those who love it for its aesthetic effects. However, because brick is porous, it can be more susceptible to temperature and moisture fluctuations meaning that more care is necessary for brick walls. It is also harder to hang things off of brick walls. Make sure to consult with your landlord before making any changes to the brick walls in your apartment.

Express: Stated in words (spoken or written).

Expressed Agency: Agency relationship that has been formed in an expressed agreement whether written or oral.

Express Contract: Contract that has been put into words, either spoken or written.

Fair Housing Act: Protects tenants from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, mental or physical handicap, or familial status. The Fair Housing Act is the common name for Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Fair Market Value: The value that the buyer and seller agrees to in a competitive market and under normal circumstances.

Features: Highlighted or special components of an individual apartment unit, such as granite countertops, hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances or high-end fixtures.

Federal Discount Rate: Interest rate charged on loans to member commercial banks that the Federal Reserve Bank charges.

Federal Funds Rate: The rate that banks charge each other to borrow money on an overnight basis. The Federal Reserve also uses this to influence monetary decisions.

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation: Commonly known as Freddie Mac, this is a government sponsored enterprise whose purpose is to expand the secondary market for mortgages. Its primary task is to buy mortgages on the secondary market, pool them together, and sell them back to investors on the open market. Freddie Mac purchases mortgage loans from smaller banks known as thrift banks.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA): A government agency that provides mortgage insurance on loans made by FHA- approved lenders.

Federal Nation Mortgage Association: Commonly known as Fannie Mae, this is a government sponsored enterprise. Its purpose is to expand the secondary market for mortgages by securitizing residential mortgages and sell them to investors as mortgage-backed securities. Fannie Mae buys most mortgage loans from commercial banks.

Fiduciary: A person held by law to perform duties of good faith and trust. This person is bound ethically and legally to act in the best interest of the party they are representing.

Fiduciary Duties: The duties of a fiduciary, falls into two broad categories: the duty of loyalty and the duty of care.

Fiduciary Relationship: The relationship between a fiduciary and a party whom the fiduciary is representing.

Finder’s Fee: A referral fee paid for referring either a buyer or seller to an agent.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage: A fully amortizing mortgage loan where the interest rate remains the same throughout the loan period. A fixed-rate mortgage is also commonly known as a vanilla wafer mortgage because they are very straightforward.

Fixture: A man-made attachment; either a piece of equipment or furniture that is fixed in position in a building. It is legally part of the real property covered under the rights of ownership, meaning that it usually remains in place even when an owner moves. A fixture does not have to exist inside the house.

Flip Tax: A fee that the co-op board charges a seller for the transfer of ownership during the sale of a property.

Flipping: The action of purchasing a property only to immediately resell it for profit.

Floorplan: A drawing of an apartment to scale. Generally, the floorplan is drawn showing a view from above. A floorplan is a great way for a buyer to understand the space in an apartment is arranged prior to a physical walk-through.

Floor-through: An apartment unit that occupies the entire floor of a building. Most of these types of units have both windows in the front and back of the apartment which provides more ventilation.

For Sale By Owner (FSBO): When an owner attempts to sell his/her real estate property without the representation of a real estate agent.

Fraud: Intentional or negligent misrepresentation or concealment of an important fact for financial or personal gain.

Fully Amortized Loans: Loans that will pay off the entire balance of principal and interest due at the end of the loan term.

Furnished Apartment: An apartment that comes furnished with furniture and sometimes basic kitchen essentials and bathroom necessities. You should double check with the landlord to see what pieces of furniture are actually included.

Garden Apartment: An apartment with access to a private garden or lawn. Garden apartments are generally located on the ground-floor of apartment buildings. These type of apartments can be found most often in brownstone buildings or townhouses. You’ll also see agents refer to these in ads as apartments with “garden access” or “private garden”.

General Lien: A lien that’s held against all the property of a debtor instead of just one.

Government National Mortgage Association: Commonly known as Ginnie Mae, this is a government agency that provide guarantees to cover loses lenders would have to experience through federally insured or guaranteed loans, should a borrower chooses to default on their obligations.

Graduated Mortgage: A mortgage that allows the borrower to make smaller payments at the beginning of a loan term with payments increasing over time.

Gross Income: An individual’s total income, both cash and non-cash received from all sources such as their salary, investment, etc. It is usually the starting point for determining taxes that the individual will pay.

Guardian: A court-appointed person who looks after and is legally responsible for someone who is unable to manage their own affairs, especially an incompetent or disabled person or a child whose parents have died.

Habitable: A living space that complies with building and safety code standards that materially affect tenant’s health and safety.

House Rules: Rules and requirements that tenants living in a condominium and/or co-op have to obey. Rules can be applied to common areas, parking, pets, noise, trash, etc.

Half-Bath: A bathroom in a private home that contains a toilet and sink but no bathtub or shower.

Highest and Best Use: The most profitable, legal and physically possible use of a property that results in its highest value. A property must be appraised based on its highest and best use.

Home Inspection: A home inspection if useful prior to the signing of a contract. The inspection can highlight issues inside the walls and under the floors, whether the plumbing and electrical systems are up to code, and if appliances have been properly installed and much more. To find an inspector, consider checking out the websites of the American Society of Home Inspectors or the New York State Association of Home Inspectors.

Homeowner’s Association (HOA): A private association comprised of homeowners that is responsible for managing community affairs and enforcing rules pertaining to your property in a manner that won’t negatively impact the community you’re living in. Many HOAs will charge a monthly or annual fee for the upkeep of common areas.

House Rules: Rules and requirements that tenants living in a condominium and/or co-op have to obey. Rules can be applied to common areas, parking, pets, noise, trash, etc.

Housing Expense Ratio: The ratio of your total monthly housing expense to income, expressed in a percentage.

Implied Agency: Agency relationship that has been formed through the behavior of one or both parties. Does not have to be formed through a written or oral agreement.

Improvements: Man-made changes or additions made to a property. Improvements can generally increase the value of the property.

Income Approach: A method in an appraisal which measures the value of a property by analyzing the amount of income the property is generating or can generate in the future through comparisons of the subject property to other comparable properties.

In Contract: A listing that is “in contact” means that an offer has been accepted but the closing has yet to be completed.

Infrastructure: The basic physical and organizational structures and support facilities needed for a community. These can include schools, roads, trash collection, buildings, parks, sewers, etc.

Installment Note: A note that calls for payments of principal and interest in periodic payments until the loan is fully repaid.

Installment Sales Contract: An agreement where the deed or title won’t be transferred from the seller to the buyer until the buyer completes a portion or all of the payments to the seller. The buyer can still have the right to occupy and use the property during the payment period. Also known as a Land Contract.

Interest: Cost of using borrowed money.

Interest Rate: The percent of principal charged by the lender for the use of its money. The most common form of interest rates is the annual percentage rate (APR), which is noted on an annual basis.

Interest Rate Cap: A limit placed on how much the interest rate can increase within an adjustable rate mortgage.

J-51: A tax exemption and abatement for renovating a residential apartment building. This particular program is overseen by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).

Joint Tenancy: A form of co-ownership where the co-owners have equal undivided interest in the property and each co-owner will also have the right of survivorship.

Junior 1 Bedroom: Not defined as a true one bedroom, a junior 1 bedroom is more like a studio but comes with a more defined, walled-in space. The walled-in space can be treated as a private bedroom space, however, is not legally defined as a bedroom as the space is not closed off by a true door and features either a sliding door, a pocket door or no door at all.

Junior 4 Bedroom: An apartment that has four distinct rooms. Generally speaking, it is defined as a true one bedroom apartment with a living room, kitchen and dining room (bathrooms are not counted). Some may even use the space intended for the dining room either as an office or additional bedroom.

Kitchenette: Not considered a full kitchen, a kitchenette can usually be found in a bachelor apartment. A kitchenette is usually lacking equipment that can found in normal full kitchens, such as an oven, dishwasher, etc.

Latent Defect: A defect that’s not apparent or visible or difficult to discover without a thorough inspection.

Lawful Objective: Also known as the legal purpose, a lawful objective is a lawful purpose that has to exist for a contract to be considered valid. A contract can’t legally bound either party to complete something illegal.

Laundry Hookups: Also known as “washer and dryer hookups”, this term means that hook ups to an electrical outlet and a supply of hot & cold water and a drain is set up, but no laundry appliances are connected to them. The tenant may have to purchase their own laundry appliances and have them installed.

Laundry in Building: An often desired building amenity, laundry in building refers to the fact that the building will either have an accessible area or room with laundry machines accessible to tenants who live in the building. Depending on the building, machines can be coin based or charge via a refillable card. The number of laundry machines offered or amount charged for laundry can vary per building.

Laundry in Unit: Even more desirable by some than the standard “laundry in building”, laundry in unit means that the unit comes with laundry appliances already set up and ready to use.

Lease with the Option to Purchase: Also known as a lease/option, this is a type of contract that allows the renter to purchase the property during or at the end of a lease term. While this contract is in effect, the landlord cannot offer the property for sale to any other buyers.

Lead-Based Paint Disclosure: Paint that contains lead, a highly toxic metal that can cause a wide-range of health issues. Many buildings built prior to 1978 used lead paint because of its durability. People can be exposed to lead in many ways, such as the air, water, food, etc.

Lender: A person or organization who lends money.

Letter of Opinion: A letter that generally comes with the abstract of title in which the attorney relays their opinion on the status of title to a property.

Liable: To be legally responsible for.

Liability Insurance: An insurance plan that insures individuals against financial losses that may occur from risks of liabilities imposed by law or contract.

Lien: An interest in a property giving a lienholder the ability to foreclose if the owner does not pay a debt owed to the lienholder. The interest the lienholder has is not possessory.

Limited Common Areas: Areas in a co-op or condominium that can only be used by one owner but is owned by all. For example: a designated mailbox or parking space.

Listing: An advertisement for an available property.

Loan Estimate: A form that breakdowns the approximate payments due on a closing of a mortgage loan. These payments include the estimated interest rate, monthly payment and total closing costs. The Loan Estimate is a good way for borrowers to shop for loans with lenders. Also known as the Good Faith Estimate

Loan-To-Value Ratio (LTV): The amount of loan borrowed compared to the total value of the property.

Loan Value: The amount of money a lender is willing to loan to finance a property.

Loft (LFT, LOFT): An apartment unit that has a large, open space layout without any internal walls. Generally speaking, lofts are found in old commercial or industrial buildings that have been converted into residential spaces. Other features found in lofts are high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Loss Assessment Insurance: An insurance that covers them for situations where each owner in a condo or co-op is being held financially responsible for property damage to the building or shared common areas, liability issues, etc.

Loss Factor: The difference between the rentable square footage and usable square footage.

Low-Rise Buildings: Buildings that are only around five or six stories high without elevators or doormen and other amenities are usually categorized as low-rises.

Luxury High Rise Buildings: Buildings that are over 12 stories. Luxury high-rise buildings usually come with many building amenities such as elevators, doormen, common areas, etc.

Maintenance: The act of maintaining or preserving something in order to keep it in good condition. Maintenance fees are paid by co-op or condominium owners to pay for things such as utilities and maintenance that keeps the building in good shape.

Maintenance Fees: Monthly charges that cover operating expenses, property taxes, underlying mortgage and interest, building insurance, and other fees in co-ops. The amount of maintenance fees you pay is based on the number of shares your co-op unit holds in the corporation. See Common Charges for condos.

Mansion Tax: A tax on an expensive residential property above a particular value. In New York, the mansion tax is a one percent tax on sales of homes more than one million dollars.

Market Price: The actual price paid for a property in an arm’s length transaction.

Market Value: The amount for which a property is most likely going to be sold for.

Master Policy Insurance: A type of insurance paid for by the condo or co-op association to cover common areas from both liability and physical damages. It’s important to find out exactly what your building’s master policy insurance covers so that you can take out your own insurance policy for your property in the building.

Micro Apartments: An apartment that is a room within 50-350 square footage. They usually contain only space for sleeping, sitting, a small kitchenette and limited amount of storage space.

Mold: Fungus that can cause a wide-range of health issues for those exposed. There are many different types of mold but generally speaking, they thrive in wet and warm environments.

Mortgage: A legal agreement by which a lender loans money at interest in exchange for a lien on real property.

Mortgage Clause: An agreement that states property insurance has to be purchased prior to receiving a mortgage loan. This helps protect the lender’s interest in the property even if the borrower is at fault.

Mortgage Contingency: Allows the buyer to take their down payment with them and back out if they can’t get financing within a specified period of time.

Multiple Listing Service (MLS): Developed by REALTORS®, MLS is a service used by agents/brokers to share their inventory of listings with other local agents/brokers. Listings brokers agree to compensate other brokers who help to sell the listing unit.

Murphy bed: Helpful in saving space, a Murphy bed is a bed that can be stored vertically against the wall, inside a cabinet or closet. A Murphy bed is also known as a fold-down bed, a wall bed, or a pull-down bed.

Mycotoxin: The toxins produced by fungi aka mold. Mycotoxin can cause weakened immune systems, allergic reactions, even death.

National Association of Realtors® (NAR)®: A North-American trade association for those who work in Real Estate. Members are known as Realtors®. The association was first created to promote the real estate profession and foster relationships and professional behavior. They have their own code of ethics that Realtors® must follow.

Negative Amortization: An increase in the balance of a loan due to deferred interest and causing a larger balloon payment.

Negligence: Failure to exercise a legal duty with the appropriate and ethically ruled care expected to be conducted as a result of incompetence, carelessness, or recklessness. Those who suffer damages from someone’s negligence may be able to sue to compensate for the harm received. In order to win the case, the plaintiff must prove that all four elements of negligence occurred. The four elements are: duty, breach, damages, and causation.

Net to Seller: Estimate of how much money a seller receives after all costs and expenses are paid in a real estate transaction.

Nonconforming Loans: Loans that do not meet Fannie Mae/Freddie Mae’s standards for funding and thus can’t be sold on the secondary market.

Notary Public: A person authorized to witness and certify the acknowledgement made by one signing a legal document.

Novation: When one party in a contract withdraws and a new party is substituted with the consent of all parties, relieving the withdrawing party of liability. Novation can also mean the substitution of a new obligation for an old one.

Obsolescence: Loss in property value due to economical and functional factors in the neighborhood or immediate property.

Offer: A contract proposed from one person to another.

Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO): The FHEO is a division located under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Their mission is to eliminate housing discrimination, promote economic opportunity, and achieve diverse, inclusive communities by being responsible for the enforcement, administration, development and public understanding of federal fair housing policies and laws.

One-Bedroom: A housing unit that is expected to come with one full bedroom, a living room, kitchen and bathroom.

Open-end Mortgage: A mortgage loan that allows the borrower to request further funds from the lender, up to a specific amount, without having to re-negotiate the loan.

Open House: An occasion when all prospective buyers are welcome to tour an advertised listing without an appointment.

Open Kitchen/Pass Through kitchen: A kitchen layout that exposes the kitchen area to either a dining room or a living room. An open kitchen is usually preferred by those who enjoy being able to socialize with guests while cooking.

Open Listing: A non-exclusive listing that is open to all brokers and agents to advertise. Only the broker/agent who ends up bringing the buyer who purchases the apartment will receive a commission.

Oral Contract: A contract that is spoken and not memorialized in writing. An oral contract is legally binding, but it is still recommended that you put all agreements in a written contract as it can be hard to prove the terms of the oral contract.

Ownership: Title to property. Those who have ownership of a property will also have the rights of possession and control of the property.

Ownership in Severalty: Ownership of a property by a single person.

Package Mortgage: A mortgage loan that includes personal property, such as furniture, is included in the property sale and financed together as one packaged loan.

Package Policy: An insurance policy that combines coverage for different lines of coverage, such as liability and property insurance.

Parking Space: A space designated for parking. A parking space could be located in a parking garage, parking lot or city street or on a private driveway.

Patent Defect: A defect that’s visible and easy to identify through reasonable inspection of a property.

Payment Cap: A limit on how much a borrower’s payment can increase in their mortgages.

Penthouse: An apartment unit located on the top-floor of a mid-rise or high-rise building. Generally speaking, a penthouse offers a good view and is more luxuriously fitted than other apartment units located on the lower floors of the same building. In recent years, some developers have stretched the meaning of a penthouse to include the top floors of a building.

Peril: Any risk or cause of loss. Examples of perils can include fire, earthquake, windstorm, flood or theft.

Pied-A-Terre: A home which is not treated as a primary residence but instead as more of a vacation home or non-primary residence. Due to the nature of a pied-a-terre, this is a type of listing that is usually associated with buyers, however, there may be situations where a renter can rent/live in a pied-a-terre.

PITI: An acronym for a mortgage that includes principle, interest, taxes and insurance in the payments.

Pledged Account Mortgage: An escrow account that is created to hold all or part of a buyer’s down payment. Money from inside the escrow account is then applied towards the monthly payments to lenders.

Post-War Building: A building constructed after World War II. Post-war apartments can vary in style, ranging from extremely contemporary to mid-century styles. Apartments built in this era can have thinner walls but may also come with better amenities than pre-war buildings.

Powder Room: A bathroom with only a sink and toilet. No bathtub or shower area. Usually intended for use by guests.

Pre-approval: Process in which the lender determines how much money you can borrow and the interest. Pre-approval is a much more involved process and requires you to submit an official mortgage application and other documents necessary to perform a check on your financial background. It’s a good idea to get pre-approval so the seller knows you’re closer to obtaining an actual mortgage.

Pre-qualification: Process in which the lender determines if you would get approved for a loan and approximately what amount. Pre-qualification is an easier process than getting pre-approved since there is no cost involved and you can easily do this over the phone or internet.

Pre-War Building: A building constructed prior to World War II. Homes built during this time frame often have distinctive characteristics such as high ceilings, thick walls, sturdy construction, detailed woodwork, crown molding, and more traditional layouts such as a separate kitchen and dining rooms. Many of these types of buildings can be found in the West Village, Upper West Side, and Upper East Side.

Pressurized Wall: Also known as a dry wall or temporary wall. These walls can be used towards converting a space in an apartment into an additional room. Since pressurized walls are temporary, they can be easily put up and removed.

Preventative Maintenance: Routine maintenance and inspections that is done to a piece of equipment or property to ensure that they remain in good shape.

Price: The value and amount both the buyer and seller agrees to for a property.

Primary Market: A market where mortgage loans are made directly from lenders to borrowers.

Principal: 1.) In mortgages, the principal is the original amount borrowed. 2.) A person who grants another to represent him in dealings with third parties.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): A insurance offered by private companies to insure a lender in case a borrower defaults on payments.

Promissory Note: A legally binding promise to repay a debt.

Property Manager: A person or firm charged with the task of operating a real estate property on a day to day basis for a fee. A property manager is usually in charge of managing renters; from finding right renters, collecting rent, to handling maintenance and repair issues. A property manager may have to oversee multiple buildings.

Property Taxes: Tax based on the value of the real estate property. Paid to the government.

Proprietary Lease: Also known as an occupancy agreement, a proprietary lease is given to a shareholder in a co-op which grants them the right to occupy an apartment unit within the building. This lease usually outlines the relationship between the co-op and each shareholder.

Public Accommodation: Are places, both public and private, that is open to use by the public. Examples of public accommodations are stores, educational institutions, recreational facilities, etc. Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, requires that places of public accommodation must be designed, constructed, and altered to ensure that they are accessible by all, including those who are disabled.

Public Nuisance: Usage of land that threatens the health, safety, morals, and/or welfare of the public.

Purchase Agreement: A contract in which the seller promises to transfer title to a property to the buyer in exchange for the purchase price.

Quiet Enjoyment: The ability for tenants to enjoy the use or possession of a real estate property in peace without disturbance from third parties who may claim an interest in the premise.

Railroad Apartments: An apartment with a number of rooms that are aligned one after another without a hallway connecting them. The only way to access a room is therefore through another room (forming a very railroad passenger cart feel). Due to the smaller square footage and lack of privacy railroad apartments have, they can be relatively affordable.

Rate Adjustment Period: The interval at which a borrower’s interest rate changes with an adjustable rate mortgage.

Rate Cap: A limit/cap on how much a borrower’s interest rate can increase in an adjustable rate mortgage.

Rate Lock: A guarantee from a lender that they will give the borrower a certain interest rate, at a certain price, for a specific time period.

Rate of Return: The rate at which an investor recaptures his investment in an income-producing property over a period of time.

Realtist: An agent or broker who is a member of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers. This is different from a REALTOR®.

REALTOR®: A trademarked term reserved only for members of the National Association of REALTORS®. This is different from a Realtist.

Real Estate: Land and everything physical that is affixed to it. For example: a house, trees, fencing, etc.

Refinance: The process of replacing an existing loan with a new loan under different terms. The new loan pays off the old loan so the debt is not eliminated.

Real Property: Includes Real Estate and a bundle of rights. This bundle of rights grants the Real Property owner the right to use their property as they see fit. There are five different rights: the right to Possess, Control, Enjoy, Exclude, and Dispose.

Reduction Option Mortgage: A fixed rate mortgage that gives the borrower the limited option to reduce the interest rate during the course of the loan.

Rentable Square Footage: Square footage that is used in calculating a lease payment. Generally speaking, the rentable square footage is bigger than the actual livable space because it includes common areas such as the lobby or gym, etc.

Residential Lead-based Paint Hazard Reduction Act: The Act was passed by Congress in 1992 to ensure the protection of families from exposure to lead which can be found in paint, dust, and soil.

Resident Manager: Similar to a property management in that they are charged with the task of operating a real estate property on a day to day basis for a fee. Their role includes managing renters, finding the right renters, collecting rent, to handling maintenance, and repair issues. A resident manager is different in that they will live in the actual building that they operate in and may be accessible to renters 24/7.

Residential Market Analysis: An analysis of an investment property on how it stands on its own based on current market conditions.

Rider: An amendment to a contract/lease.

Right of Disposal: A right to transfer all or some of a person’s ownership interest in a property to another party, either permanently or temporarily.

Right of Enjoyment: A right to enjoy the benefits of ownership on the property without outside interference.

Right of First Refusal: A right to have the first chance to buy or lease the property if the owner decides to sell or lease it.

Right of Survivorship: An attribute of several types of join ownership of property where the surviving owner automatically received the dying co-owner’s interest/share of the property.

Right of Use: A right that allows the owner the control over the use of the property. Also known as Right of Control.

Room: A space within a building enclosed by a floor, ceiling, and walls that can be occupied or where something can be done. A room can be a bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen, etc. Generally, while a bathroom is a room, it will be shown as a separate count and not be included in the total room count of a home.

Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA): The Act was first passed by Congress in 1974 to ensure public health through regulation of the nation’s public drinking water supply. The Act was later amended both in 1986 and 1996. Sources of water that are protected include rivers, lakes, reservoirs, springs, and ground water wells (note, private water wells which serve under 25 individuals are not protected).

Sales Agent/Sales Associate/Salesperson: Known under many different titles, a salesperson is a licensed individual whom acts on behalf of a licensed broker. They may not operate independently.

Satisfaction of Mortgage: A document that the lender gives to the borrower when the mortgage debt has been paid off in full.

Secondary Market: Private investors and government agencies that buy and sell mortgages.

Securitization: The practice of pooling mortgages and the selling them off to third party investors as mortgage-backed securities.

Seller’s Agent: An agent who is representing only the seller in a transaction.

Seller’s Market: A situation where there is more buyers than there are properties for sale in the housing market. This market favors the seller.

Septic System: A private sewage disposal system that is commonly used in areas that are not equipped with public sewers. A septic system is usually a chamber made of concrete, plastic, etc. They may cause groundwater pollution if not properly maintained.

Sick Building Syndrome: A condition where symptoms of illness seemingly linked to time spent in a building are felt by residents who live there. The causes of the symptoms are usually unidentifiable.

Sit Down Contract: When negotiations regarding a transaction is conducted in one place at one time with all parties and their representing attorneys present.

Special Agent: An agent with limited authority to act on behalf of the principal/client.

Specific Lien: A lien that’s attached to only one specific property.

Stable Income: A consistent amount of income during each scheduled pay period.

Stachybotrys: A genus of fungi which creates mycotoxins. Species of fungi in this particular genus include S. chartarum & S. chlorohalonata, which are infamously known as “black mold”. They are usually associated with poor air quality that arises from fungal growth on water-damaged building material.

Stainless Steel Appliances (SS Appliances): Kitchen appliances that have been finished with stainless steel. Currently one of the more popular defector finishes, stainless steel is great for resisting corrosion, heat damage, and chemical damage. Stainless Steel is also 100 percent recyclable.

State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA): This New York agency offers programs funded by the sale of tax-exempt bonds and works to make housing affordable to both low and moderate income households.

Statute: A law passed by a legislative body or a rule created by an organization or institution.

Statutory Law: A specific term used to describe laws that have been passed by a legislative body.

Steering: The practice of guiding specific buyers into or away from certain neighborhoods based on their race, religion, national origin, or other protected categories. Fair Housing Laws deem these practices as illegal.

Stigmatized Property: Property that has no apparent defect but has a lower market value due to the fact that they were the scene of an unfavorable event, such as a murder, suicide, etc.

Straight Mortgage: A mortgage that’s not amortized over a fixed period. The borrower usually only has to pay interest-only during the term of the loan and when the term ends, the principal becomes payable as a lump sum, aka a balloon payment.

Storage Facility: Landlords may offer additional storage facilities for tenants living in a building as an additional building amenity. Rules regarding storage facility usage differs from building to building.

Studio: Studio apartment vary in size and in their layout, but the one common factor is that they do not have a legally defined bedroom. Studios may come with an alcove area that tenants can use as a sleeping area or tenants may put up a dry or pressurized wall (after consulting the landlord) to create a temporary bedroom space.

Subpoena: A document which summons a person to appear before court to testify or provide evidence.

Subprime Loan: A loan with a higher interest rate than a conventional loan.

Superintendent: Commonly known as the super, they play a critical role in repair and maintenance of a residential building. The super may report to a property manager or may directly report to the landlord. Some supers may live within the actual residential building where they work, or they may live offsite.

Square Footage: Measurements of an area used to determine the size of an apartment. To figure out square footage, simply multiple the width by the length of the floor.

Tax Abatements: Reduction or an exemption from taxes granted by a government for a specific reason and timeframe. It’s usually used to encourage real estate development.

Tax Assessor: A person who evaluates the value of a property in order to calculate the tax on a property.

Tax Exemptions: An exemption from taxes that can provide complete or partial relief from taxes.

Three-Room: An apartment layout featuring three rooms with no extra space in the layout to create more than one or two bedrooms. Usually comes with a separate kitchen, living room and at least one bathroom.

Title: A bundle of rights in real property which refers to ownership of property. The rights within the bundle may be held by a single or multiple parties. Titles are transferred from one person to another through a deed. The deed has to be a written document.

Title Closing: The final stage in a real estate transaction where the transfer of ownership in a property is transferred from seller to buyer.

Title Insurance: An insurance policy that covers the loss of ownership rights in case of a title defect. The three major types of title insurances are owners, lender’s, and extended coverage. Generally speaking the buyer pays for the lender’s coverage.

Title Report: A report issued by a title company which goes over the condition of the title of a specific property.

Title Search: The action of inspecting the public record to determine all rights and encumbrances affecting a title to a property.

Total Debt Service Ratio: The ratio of total debt to income, expressed as a percentage.

Trash Chute: An installation commonly found in apartment complexes that is used to move trash into a central collection point. Generally speaking, there is one trash chute accessible per floor. Trash chute areas are usually also areas where tenants can throw their recyclables.

Triplex (TRPLX): A triplex by definition is an apartment which covers three floors, all connected internally by stairs. Triplexes are usually in a penthouse unit or are converted from three units on top of each other.

Two-Bedroom: An apartment layout featuring two rooms with no extra space in the layout to create more than one or two bedrooms. Usually comes with a separate kitchen, living room and at least one bathroom.

Underwriter: A person that evaluates a loan to figure out he risk level for a lender or investor.

Underwriting: The process of determining whether or not to make a loan based on the risk level.

Undisclosed Dual Agency: When both parties in a real estate transaction (usually a buyer and seller) are represented by the same fiduciary without full disclosure or approval from the principals involved.

Undivided Loyalty: Prevents the fiduciary from acting in a manner that would be adverse to your best interests. Buyers and Sellers who have consented to a dual agency are giving up their undivided loyalty from the agent.

Unencumbered Property: A property whose title is clear from mortgages, encumbrances or other liens.

Unit Owners Association: An organization that manages the operations of a condominium. The members are usually unit owners and they are also the ones to elect the board of directors.

Untenantable: An uninhabitable property.

Usable Square Footage: Square footage in an apartment that is used directly by the tenant from wall to wall. Does not include common area space that the tenant may also have access to.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): HUD was first established in 1965 as a Cabinet department by President Lyndon Johnson. Today, the department is overseen by the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The mission of HUD is to create strong, sustainable inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. The department includes offices such as the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.

Utilities: Utilizes generally mean electricity, gas, water, cable, telephone, and internet.

Valuation: The process of gathering and analyzing information to determine the value of a property.

Value: The monetary worth of a property.

Verifiable Income: Income that can be verified whether through recent paystubs, W-2’s, 1099’s, or tax returns. Income can also be verified through bank statements showing consistent monthly deposits or letter from employer that verifies you earn a certain amount of cash regularly, letter from family members proving that they provide support and in what amount.

Waiver: A written document that when signed voluntarily and knowingly will waive a right, claim, privilege, etc.

Walkthrough: A process that occurs before a move in, after a move out or both. A walkthrough before signing a lease or moving in can help the buyer and seller identify the current condition of the apartment prior to the closing and see if there’s anything that needs fixing.

Walk-in Closet: Varying in size, a walk-in-closet can be as big as a room or be as small as 4 by 4 feet. A walk-in closet is often an attractive feature in an apartment.

Walk up building (WLK-UP BLDG): A building that does not have elevator access. Generally speaking, walk up buildings may not be higher than six stories.

Washer/Dryer Connections (W/D Connections): Apartments that come with Washer/Dryer Connections do not necessarily come with the actual washer and dryer units. Instead, they simply come supplied with the connections you need to install your own washer/dryer units. This can be useful for tenants who already have their own washer and dryers and don’t want to use one pre-installed by the building.

Winged Apartment: Generally speaking, this type of apartment layout will have a common area in the middle of the apartment with separate rooms to the left or right of this space.

Yield: The amount of money that can be expected to be made from an investment.