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Real Estate and Mortgage Terms Glossary

If you need a more in-depth understanding of a particular term, or have additional questions on any of these definitions, please contact us directly and we'll be happy to assist you.

Glossary Index

A | B | C | D | E | F | G-H | I-K | L | M | N | O | P-Q | R | S | T | U-Z


Terms starting with Letter C

CALL OPTION

A clause in a mortgage which allows the lender to demand payment of the outstanding balance at a specific time.

CAP

Associated with Adjustable Rate Mortgages. A limit on how high monthly payments or how much interest rates may change within a certain time period or the life of the mortgage.

CAPACITY

Your ability to make your mortgage payments on time. This depends on your income and job stability, your assets and savings, and the amount of your disposable income left over after you've paid all your monthly obligations.

CAPE COD COLONIAL

A single-story house style made popular in New England. Often characterized by a steep roof with gables.

CAPITAL

Accumulated goods and money which is most often used to generate additional income.

CAPITAL EXPENDITURE

An outlay of funds designed to improve the income-producing capabilities of an asset or to extend its economic life.

CAPITAL GAIN

The taxable profit derived from the sale of a capital asset. See Capital Gains.

CAPITAL LOSS

A loss derived from the sale of a capital asset.

CASH-OUT REFINANCE

Refinancing a mortgage at a higher amount than the current balance in order to transform a portion of the equity into cash.

CAULKING

A pliable material used to seal cracks or openings such as around windows.

CAVEAT EMPTOR

Literally translated: "Let the buyer beware."  A common business tenet whereby the buyer is responsible for verifying any and all claims by the seller of property.

CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT

A document showing that the bearer has a certain amount of money, at a particular rate of interest, on deposit with a financial institution.

CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT INDEX

An index based on the interest rate of six month CD's. Used to set interest rates on some Adjustable Rate Mortgages.

CERTIFICATE OF ELIGIBILITY

A document issued by the Veterans Administration that certifies eligibility for a VA loan.

CERTIFICATE OCCUPANCY

Issued by an appropriate jurisdictional entity, this document certifies that a building complies with all building codes and is safe for use or habitation.

CERTIFICATE OF REASONABLE VALUE (CRV)

Usually based on an independent appraisal, a CRV for a particular property establishes the maximum amount which can be secured by a VA mortgage.

CERTIFICATE OF TITLE

A document designating the legal owner of a parcel of real estate. Usually provided by a title or abstract company.

CERTIFIED GENERAL APPRAISER

Generally, any professional who has met the local or state requirements, and passed the appropriate certification exam, and is capable of appraising any type of property.

CERTIFIED RESIDENTIAL APPRAISER

A sub-classification of appraiser who is only licensed to appraise residential property, usually up to four units.

CHAIN OF TITLE

The complete history of ownership of a piece of property.

CHATTEL

Any personal property which is not attached to or an integral part of a property. Chattel is not commonly taken into consideration when appraising the value of real property.

CHILD PROTECTION ACTS

The Florida Legislature has enacted two very tough laws dealing with child protection and public schools. Visit our Jessica's Law page for more information.

CIRCUIT BREAKERS

Electrical devices which automatically shut down electrical circuits if they are overloaded.

CLEAR TITLE

Ownership of property that is not encumbered by any counter-claim or lien. See Title Insurance.

CLOSING

The process whereby the sale of a property is consummated with the buyer completing all applicable documentation, including signing the mortgage obligation and paying all appropriate costs associated with the sale (i.e. closing costs).

CLOSING COSTS

All appropriate costs generated by the sale of property which the parties must pay to complete the transaction. Costs may include appraisal fees, origination fees, title insurance, taxes and any points negotiated in the deal. See Loan Closing Costs.

CLOSING STATEMENT

The document detailing the final financial arrangement between a buyer and seller and the costs paid by each. Also known as a HUD-1 settlement statement.

CLOUD ON TITLE

Any defect, valid claim or encumbrance that serves to impair the title or curtail an owner's rights.

CO-BORROWER

A second person sharing the obligation on a loan and the title on the property.

CODE OF ETHICS

A standard of ethical conduct, normally committed to writing. Any organization can establish a code of conduct for its members, such as the code of ethics of the National Association of Realtors and other professional organizations.

COLLATERAL

An asset which is placed at risk to secure the repayment of a loan.

COLLECTION

The process a lender takes to pursue a borrower who is delinquent on his payments in order to bring the mortgage current again. Includes documentation that may be used in foreclosure.

CO-MAKER

A second party who signs a loan, along with the borrower, and becomes liable for the debt should the borrower default.

COMMINGLING

Mixing or mingling monies; for example, depositing clients funds in a personal account.

COMMON ELEMENTS

Parts of a property that are in common use by all of the residents of the property.

COMMON LAW

As opposed to statute law. Laws that have been established by custom, usage and the courts over many years.

COMMISSION

A percentage of the sales price or a fixed fee negotiated by an agent to compensate for the effort expended to sell or purchase property.

COMMITMENT LETTER

A written agreement in which the lender agrees to lend money to the borrower after certain conditions have been met.

COMMON AREA ASSESSMENTS

Fees which are charged to the tenets or owners of properties to cover the costs of maintaining areas shared with other tenets or owners. Commonly found in condominium, PUD or office spaces.

COMMON AREAS

Any areas, such as entryways, foyers, pools, recreational facilities or the like, which are shared by the tenets or owners of property near by. Commonly found in condominium, PUD or office spaces.

COMPLETION BOND

A surety bond posted by a landowner or developer to guarantee that a proposed development will be completed according to specifications.

COMMUNITY PROPERTY

In many jurisdictions, any property which has been acquired by a married couple. The ownership of the property is considered equal unless stipulated otherwise by both parties.

COMPARABLES

An abbreviated term used by appraisers to describe properties which are similar in size, condition, location and amenities to a subject property whose value is being determined. The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) establish clear guidelines for determining a comparable property.

COMPARABLE MARKET ANALYSIS - CMA

An abbreviated term used by Brokers and Agents to describe a comparable property analysis using homes which are similar in size, condition, location and amenities to your property to help determine the selling price of your home. See Home Valuation Report.

COMPOUND INTEREST

Interest paid on the principal amount, as well as any accumulated interest.

CONCESSIONS

Additional value granted by a buyer or seller to entice another party to complete a purchase deal.

CONCURRENCY

A provision that mandates that infrastructure, such as roads, and water and waste treatment facilities needed to support additional development be in place concurrent with development.

CONDEMNATION

The official process by which a property is deemed to be uninhabitable or unusable due to internal damage or other external conditions.

CONDENSATION

The transition of water vapor to liquid. Typically forms in areas of high humidity.

CONDO HOTEL

A condominium project that has rental for short-term occupancy, food and telephone services, and daily cleaning services and that is operated as a commercial hotel even though the units are individually owned.

CONDOMINIUM

A development where individual units are owned, but common areas and amenities are shared equally by all owners. Please visit our Condominium and HOA Documents page for more information.

CONDOMINIUM CONVERSION

Commonly, the conversion of a rental property such as an apartment complex into a condominium-style complex where each unit is owned rather than leased.

CONDUIT

The pipe through which electric wiring is run.

CONSTRUCTION LOAN

A loan made to a builder or home owner that finances the initial construction of a property, but is replaced by a traditional mortgage one the property is completed.

CONTIGUOUS

Connected to or touching along an unbroken boundary.

CONTINGENCY

Something that must occur before something else happens. Often used in real estate sales when a buyer must sell a current home before purchasing a new one. Or, when a buyer makes an offer that requires a complete home inspection before it becomes official. See Contract Contingencies.

CONTRACT

A legally binding agreement, oral or written, between two parties.

CONTRACT FOR DEED

A contract under which the purchase price is paid in installments over a period of time during which the purchaser has possession of the property but the seller retains title until the contract terms are completed.

CONVENTIONAL MORTGAGE

A traditional, real estate financing mechanism that is not backed by any government or other agency (FHA, VA, etc.). See Interest Rates.

CONVERTIBLE ARM

A mortgage that begins as and adjustable, that allows the borrower to convert the loan to a fixed rate within a specific timeframe.

COOPERATIVE (CO-OP)

A form of ownership where each resident of a multiunit property owns a share in a cooperative corporation that owns the building. With each resident having rights to a specific unit within the building.

CORPORATE RELOCATION

A situation where a person's employer pays all or some of the expenses associated with moving from one location to another, usually over a substantial distance. Relocation expenses often include the amounts, such as brokerage fees, incurred in the selling and buying of the employee's primary residence.

COSIGNER

A person who agrees, along with another party, to take responsibility for payment of a debt.

COST OF FUNDS INDEX (COFI)

An index of financial institutions costs used to set interest rates for some Adjustable Rate Mortgages.

COUNTEROFFER

A new offer made in response to an offer received from an offeror. It has the effect of rejecting the original offer, which cannot be accepted thereafter unless the offeror revives it.

COVENANT

A stipulation in any mortgage that, if not met, can be cause for the lender to foreclose.

CREDIT

A loan of money for the purchase of property, real or personal. Credit is either secured by an asset, such as a home, or unsecured.

CREDIT HISTORY

A record of debt payments, past and present. Used by mortgage lenders in determining credit worthiness of individuals.

CREDITOR

A person or company to whom money is owed.

CREDIT REPORT

A detailed report of an individuals credit, employment and residence history prepared by a credit bureau. Used by lenders to determine credit worthiness of individuals.
Visit www.equifax.com | www.experian.com | www.transunion.com

CREDIT REPOSITORY

Large companies that gather and store financial and credit information about individuals who apply for credit.

CREDIT SCORING

A method of reporting a person's credit standing with a numeric or letter grade used by lenders in setting interest rates, down payments and credit limits. See FICO Scores.

CREDITWORTHY

Your ability to qualify for credit and repay debts.

CUL-DE-SAC

A dead-end street. One with only one entrance/exit.

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Page Authored by Benjamin Dona of Gulf Coast Associates, Realtors