Oscar Castillo
"Residential" Real Estate


     - Glossary




Back on Market (BOM) a property that was temporarily off the market, usually because a purchase offer was accepted, but the deal fell through and the property has been placed back on the market. This happens most often with Short Sales.

Backflow  is the undesirable reversal of the flow of water from its intended direction in any pipeline or plumbing system. Backflow is dangerous because it can allow drinking water in plumbing systems to become contaminated and unusable.   Is it really important to prevent backflow.  From a community standpoint it is important to have a City/community on-going program to protect the public water supply from contamination from possible cross connections. The most effective method for the water utility is to require customers to install a backflow preventer on the main supply line to their property or facility, thus protecting the community water and home personal water system from any cross connections that may be present inside a customer's plumbing system. All water users benefit from an active, on-going cross connection control program that includes the installation of backflow preventers.

Backflow preventer   are mechanical plumbing devices installed in a plumbing system to prevent water from flowing backward in the system. A properly installed, tested and maintained backflow preventer at the service entrance to a building or property can reliably prevent the backflow of water of an unknown quality from flowing back into the community water system.  The backflow preventor prevents anything from getting through with a spring loaded valve. Basicaly, it works like a heart valve.  It lets the flow of pressure through one way and closes when there is back pressure.

Backup offer  an offer to buy and submitted to a seller, with the understanding that the seller has already accepted a prior offer; thus this is a secondary offer.  Sometimes the seller accepts the backup offer contingent on the failure of the sales transaction on the part of the first purchaser within a specified period of time.  The seller must be careful how he or she proceeds when the time for the buyer's performance, under the first contract, has expired.

Balloon payment   under an installment loan agreement, a final payment that is substantially larger than the previous installment payments and repays the debt in full; the remaining balance that is due at maturity (stop date) of a note or obligation.

Baluster  any of the vertical supports for a stair, balcony or railing.

Bankruptcy   a condition of financial insolvency in which a person's liabilities exceed assets and the person is unable to pay current debts.   A federal court proceeding in which debtors are relieved of liability for their debts after surrender of their assets to a court appointed trustee. A proceeding in Federal Court that alters or eliminates an eligible individual's obligations to repay some or all of his or her debts to creditors. Different chapters or types of bankruptcy exist. If a person files bankruptcy, this most likely will negatively affect his or her credit.

Bankruptcy: Chapter #13  a court-approved repayment plan. Debtors repay their debts over 3-5 years and must submit a plan to the court detailing how they propose to pay off the debts. Sometimes called a “reorganization “ bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy: Chapter #7  a legal procedure that wipes out all allowable debts. It creates a bankruptcy estate out of the debtor’s property, which may then be sold to pay off the debts.

Beneficiary  a person who receives benefits from the gifts or acts of another, as in the case of one designated to receive the proceeds from a will, insurance policy, or trust; the real owner, as opposed to the trustee who holds only legal title. With a trust, the trustee holds the legal title, but the beneficiary enjoys the benefits of ownership.

Bilateral contract/agreement  a contract in which each party promises to perform an act in exchange for the other party's promise to perform. The usual real estate contract is an example of a bilateral contract in which the buyer and seller exchange reciprocal promises respectively to buy and sell the property. If one party refuses to honor his or her promise and the other party is ready to perform, the nonperforming party is said to be in default.

Bill of Sale   an instrument used to transfer personal property.

Binder  (or offer to purchase)an preliminary agreement that may accompany an earnest money deposit for the purchase of real property as evidence of the purchaser's good faith and intent to complete the transaction. A binder secures the right to purchase real estate upon agreed terms for a limited period of time. If the buyer changes his mind or is unable to purchase, the earnest money is forfeited unless the binder expressly provides that it is to be refunded

Blanket Mortgage (Trust Deed)   a single mortgage or trust deed, which covers more than one piece of real estate

Blind offers - an offer on a piece of real estate (house, condo or land) where the potential buyer has not been to the property and is willing to submit a purchase offer "sight unseen".  Physically the buyers have not seen the inside nor the outside of property.

Blockbusting   an illegal and discriminatory practice whereby one person induces another to enter into a real estate transaction from which the first person may benefit financially by representing that a change may occur in the neighborhood with respect to race, sex, religion, color, handicap familial status or ancestry of the occupants. A change possibly resulting in the lowering of the property values, a decline in the quality of schools or an increase in the crime rate. Also called panic selling or panic peddling.

Bond    an insurance agreement (surety bond) by which one party is insured against loss or default by a third party. In the construction business a performance bond ensures the interested party that the contractor will complete the project. A bond can also be a method of financing debt by a government or corporation, which is interest-bearing and has priority over stock in terms of security.

Boomerang Buyers - A former homeowner who has gone thru a “short sale”, “foreclosure” or “bankruptcy” in the past few years and has been saving for a down payment in preparation of the expiration of the waiting period, in order to qualify once again for a mortgage.

Boot   money or other property that is not like-kind, which is given to make up any difference in value or equity between exchanged properties. Boot may be in the form of cash, notes, gems, the market value of an asset such as a mortgage, land contract, personal property, goodwill, a service or a patent offered in an exchange. The taxable gain in the like-kind exchange is recognized immediately to the extent of boot, whereas, other gain from the exchange may be deferred until subsequent transfer.

Breach of contract  a violation of any of the terms or conditions of a contract without legal excuse; default; nonperformance. The non-breaching party can usually seek one of three alternative remedies upon a material breach of the contract: rescission of the contract, action for money damages or an action for specific performance

Broker cooperation  working with outside licensed real estate brokers who have prospective tenants in exchange for a finder's fee or commission split.

Broker Price Opinion  (BPO)  estimated value of a property as determined by a real estate broker or other qualified individual or firm. A broker price opinion or competitive market analysis is based on the characteristics of the property being considered.  Property value typically based on drive-by exterior examination, public data sources, and recent comparable sales, obtained by servicer as alternative to full appraisal after loan is placed in default status or upon loan modification.

Building code   an ordinance that specifies minimum standards of construction for buildings to protect public safety and health

Building inspection   an overall inspection of a home or building performed by a qualified contractor or inspector. The inspection usually covers all major systems including foundation, plumbing, electrical, roof, heating and air conditioning.

Building permit  written governmental permission for the construction, alteration or demolition of an improvement, showing compliance with building codes and zoning ordinances.

Burden of proof  the obligation to prove the truth or falsity of a fact.

Buydown    a financing technique used to reduce the monthly payments for the first few years of a loan. Funds in the form of discount points are given to the lender by the builder or seller to buy down or lower the effective interest rate paid by the buyer, therefore reducing the monthly payments for a set time.

Buyer Agency agreement  a principal-agent relationship in which the broker is the agent for the buyer with fiduciary responsibilities to the buyer. The broker represents the buyer under the law of agency.

Buyers Agent   a residential real estate broker or salesperson who represents the prospective purchaser in a transaction. The buyer's agent owes the buyer/principal the common-law or statutory agency duties.

Buyer's Closing Costs (BCCs)   recurring or non-recurring costs that the seller may pay for a buyer. Non-recurring costs are one-time costs such as escrow, title insurance and loan fees. Recurring costs are those that do not end, such as property taxes and/or insurance.

Buyers Market   a market condition that occurs in real estate where more homes are for sale than there are interested buyers.


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