Oscar Castillo
"Residential" Real Estate


     - Glossary





Capital gain   profit earned from the sale of an asset, where the sales price was greater than the adjusted basis.

Capital loss   loss sustained from the sale of an asset, where the sales price is less than the adjusted book basis.

Capitalization   a mathematical process for converting net income into an indication of value, commonly used in the income approach to value. The net income of the property is divided by an appropriate (capitalization) rate of return to give the indicated value. (Income ÷ Rate = Value)

Capitalization rate  the rate of return a property will produce on the owners investment.

Caravan  a group tour by a real estate office's sales agents to view listed properties.

Carbon monoxide (CO)  a colorless, odorless highly poisonous gas  that occurs as a byproduct of burning such fuels as wood, oil and natural gas due to incomplete combustion because there is not enough oxygen.

Carbon monoxide "alarm"   is a "stand alone" unit and has its own built-in power supply and audible device. It is battery operated or as of late,  some models can be plugged into an electrical outlet.

Carbon monoxide "detector"   gets it's power from the electrical built in system of a home.  It is a system designed to be used with a fire alarm system and is connected to the the fire alarm  panel.

Carry-back   financing where the seller takes back a note for part of the purchase price secured by a junior mortgage, wraparound mortgage or contract for deed.

Cash Flow   the owner's or an individual’s "spendable" income after operating expenses and debt service is deducted.

Caveat emptor  latin for "let the buyer beware." And is a general rule of Real Estate law.   A buyer should do their due diligence and inspect the goods or Realty (Home) before purchase.

CC&R’s   covenants, conditions and restrictions are limitations on land use, which are imposed by deeds, usually when land is subdivided. CC&Rs are a means of regulating building construction, density and use. May be referred to simply as restrictions.

Certificate of Occupancy (CO)   a document issued by a local jurisdiction certifying that all building codes have been met and the property has been properly inspected.

Certificate of eligibility (VA)  a certificate issued by a Veterans Administration regional office to veterans who qualify for a VA loan. The Veteran Housing Act permits regional administrators to restore a veteran's entitlement to loan-guarantee benefits after his or her property purchased with an existing VA-guaranteed loan has been disposed of and 1. this loan has been paid in full; 2. the administrator is released from liability under the guarantee.  The Veterans Housing Act also authorizes regional administrators to restore a veteran/seller's entitlement to loan-guarantee benefits and release the veteran from liability to the VA when another veteran has agreed to assume the outstanding balance on the veteran/seller's existing VA-guaranteed loan and consented to the use of his or her entitlement to the same extent that the veteran/transferor had used the original entitlement. This is not a release from the lender, however. The veteran/transferee and the property must otherwise meet the requirements of the law. Reinstatement of eligibility is never automatic but must always be applied for, preferably at the time of the sale of property purchased with an existing VA-guaranteed loan.

Many veteran/sellers presume that they are eligible for a new VA loan after selling their property by way of a loan assumption. In a loan assumption, the broker should point out that for the seller to have complete VA entitlement restored, the buyer must be a veteran and must agree in the sales contract to substitute his or her entitlement for the seller's.

Certificate of Title    a certificate issued by a title company or a written opinion rendered by an attorney that the seller has good marketable and insurable title to the property, which he is offering for sale. A certificate of title offers no protection against any hidden defects in the title, that an examination of the records could not reveal. The issuer of a certificate of title is liable only for damages due to negligence. The protection offered a homeowner under a certificate of title is not as great as that offered in a title insurance policy.

Certificate of reasonable value (CRV - VA)   a certificate insured by the Veterans Administration setting forth a property's current market value estimate, based on a VA-approved appraisal. The CRV places a ceiling on the amount of a VA-guaranteed loan allowed for a particular property.

Certification Label - (also know as a HUD "TAG" and/or HUD Label) is a metal plate that is affixed to the outside of the manufactured home.  Section 3280.11(b) states, “The label shall be approximately 2 in. by 4 in. in size and shall be permanently attached to the manufactured home by means of 4 blind rivets, drive screws, or other means that render it difficult to remove without defacing it. It shall be etched on 0.32 in. thick aluminum plate. The label number shall be etched or stamped with a 3 letter designation which identifies the production inspection primary inspection agency and which the Secretary shall assign. Each label shall be marked with a 6 digit number which the label supplier shall furnish. The labels shall be stamped with numbers sequentially." (usually 2-tags) one for each side and the "tag" numbers should be in accord with the "data plate" inside the manufactured home.

CFD - Community Facilities Districts (in regards to Mello-Roos) which allows for financing of public improvements and services. The services and improvements that Mello-Roos CFDs can finance include streets, sewer systems and other basic infrastructure, police protection,fire protection, ambulance services, schools, parks, libraries, museums and other cultural facilities.  By law, the CFD is also entitled to recover expenses needed to form the CFD and administer the annual special taxes and bonded debt.

Chain of title  the succession of conveyances, from some accepted starting point, whereby the present holder of real property derives title.

Clean Out plug - (sometimes refered to "drain-out plug")... A cleanout plug is a cap or lid used to close off a drain cleanout pipe. The term cleanout or cleanout pipe may refer to any branch of a plumbing pipe that is used for cleaning or unclogging the system. These pipes can be found at the main sewer pipe leading out of a home or building. If this sewage pipe becomes clogged and the drain fails, a plumbing snake may be required to clear the clog.

Clear Title   titles that are marketable and are free of liens or disputed legal questions regarding ownership of the property.

Client  The person who employs an agent to perform a service for a fee. In traditional real estate brokerage, the client is the seller, and the buyer is the prospect or customer. In modern practice, more and more buyers are seeking representation as a client. Dual agency occurs when a broker represents the seller and the buyer as clients.

Close-of-escrow (closing)  the consummation of a real estate transaction, when the seller delivers title to the buyer in exchange for payment by the buyer of the purchase price. Close of escrow essentially means that a real estate transaction has been completed and that the sale is final.  The actual Closing will not occur until the documents are recorded (County Recorders office) ,  However, under general rules of real estate law, transfer of title takes place upon delivery of the deed to the grantee.

Closing - Also known as "escrow" or "settlement." The process of executing legally binding documents, such as deeds and mortgages most commonly associated with the purchase of real estate and the borrowing of money to assist in the purchase.

Closing costs    Buyer’s side are expenses of the sale (or loan refinancing) that must be paid in addition to the purchase. Essentially, closing costs are an accumulation of separate charges paid to different entities for the professional services associated with buying and selling real estate. They comprise the "settlement of costs" to complete a transaction, including but not limited to: title insurance premium, real estate commission, transfer fees and assumption charges, recording fees, loan fees, escrow fees, property taxes, insurance, interest prorations, and termite inspection fees.  Seller’s expenses are to be deducted from the proceeds of the sale. Buyer.(recurring) recurring costs are those that are repetitive, such as property taxes and/or insurance.  Buyer (non-recurring) non-recurring costs are one-time costs such as escrow, title insurance and loan fees. (Seller may pay for some or all of the buyer's closing costs if they elect to do as part of the negotiations)

Closing Date   the date on which the title to the property changes hands.

Closing statement   A detailed cash accounting of a real estate transaction showing all cash received, all charges and credits made and all cash paid out in the transaction.

Cloud on title   any document, claim, unreleased lien or encumbrance that may impair the title to real property or make the title doubtful: usually revealed by a title search and removed by either a quitclaim deed or suit to quiet title.

CLTA policy   a standard coverage title insurance policy protects real estate buyers in matters of record and specific risk.

CMA    (Comparative Market Analysis) A service normally provided by real estate agents prior to either listing a property or prior to making an offer to purchase a property on the behalf of a purchaser. The true purpose of a CMA is to establish a current estimated market price of a property. This is accomplished by researching both: the currently listed properties and the most recently sold properties, in the same area, with as similar characteristics as the property in question. This information is usually provided to the homeowner to help them establish a fair market selling price or it may be given to a prospective purchaser to help guide them in a proper offer to make the owner. Some real estate agents perform this service for free others may charge as much as $300 for this information. A lot depends on both who is doing the CMA and also how detailed the information that is provided.

Code of ethics   a written system of standards of ethical conduct. Because of the nature of the relationship between a broker and a client or other persons in a real estate transaction, a high standard of ethics is needed to ensure that the broker acts in the best interests of both his or her principal and any third parties.

Commercial acre   a commercial acre is that portion of an acre of newly subdivided land remaining after dedication for streets, sidewalks, parks and so on.

Commingling   the illegal act of mixing deposits or monies belonging to a client (trust funds) with one's personal money. By law brokers are required to maintain a separate trust or escrow account for other parties' funds held temporarily by the broker.

Commission   payment to a broker for services rendered, such as in the sale or purchase of real property; usually a percentage of the selling price of the property.

Commitment   1. A pledge to do a certain act, such as a promise by a lender to loan a certain amount of money at a specific rate of interest to a qualified borrower, provided the loan is made by a certain date. 2. Also refers to an agreement by a title insurance company to issue a policy in favor of a proposed insured upon acquisition of a specific property.

Commitment to Insure - A report issued by a title insurance company, or its agent, committing the title insurance company to issue the form of policy designated in the commitment upon compliance with and satisfaction of requirements set forth in the commitment.

Common areas   land or improvements in a condominium development designated for the use and benefit of all residents, property owners and tenants. Common areas frequently include such amenities as corridor or hall areas, elevators, parks, playgrounds and barbecue areas, which are sometimes called green belts. In shopping centers, the common areas are parking lots, malls and traffic lanes.

Common elements   Parts of a property that are necessary or convenient to the existence, maintenance and safety of a condominium or are normally in common use by all of the condominium residents. Each condominium owner has an undivided ownership interest in the common elements.

Common interest   the percentage of undivided ownership in the common elements belonging to each condominium apartment, as established in the condominium declaration.

Common interest subdivision   a subdivision in which the owners own or lease a separate lot or unit together with an undivided interest in the common areas of the subdivision.

Common law   the body of law based on custom, usage and court decisions.

Community Facilities Districts - CFD's (in regards to Mello Roos) which allows for financing of public improvements and services. The services and improvements that Mello-Roos CFDs can finance include streets, sewer systems and other basic infrastructure, police protection,fire protection, ambulance services, schools, parks, libraries, museums and other cultural facilities.  By law, the CFD is also entitled to recover expenses needed to form the CFD and administer the annual special taxes and bonded debt.

Community property   a system of property ownership based on the theory that each spouse has an equal interest in the property acquired by the efforts of either spouse during marriage.   In states that maintain a community property system, such as California and other states, there are two classifications of property – (1) separate property and (2) community property. Separate property is property that either the husband or wife owned at the time of marriage or that was acquired by one spouse during marriage by inheritance, will or gift. Separate property is considered all community property and is automatically owned equally by each spouse regardless of whose name the record title is held under.

Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (CRA)  Community reinvestment refers to the responsibility of financial institutions to help meet their communities' needs for low- and moderate-income housing. In 1977, Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (CRA). Under the CRA, financial institutions are expected to meet the deposit and credit needs of their communities, participate and invest in local community development and rehabilitation projects, and participate in loan programs for housing, small businesses and small farms.

Comparables   properties that are substantially equivalent to the subject property.

Comparative market analysis (CMA)   this is a term often used by real estate brokers in preparing a report for prospective sellers and buyers, indicating market trends in various neighborhoods, based on computer statistics generated from multiple-listing service data. Generally, these analyses are used for clients to determine a listing price for the sale of a home or for buyers to determine if a list price is reasonable for a given location.

Compensating factors   positive factors in an individual's credit history which offset negative factors. "Compensating factors" certainly adds to the possibility that a borrower's loan application will be approved.

Compensatory damages   monetary damages paid to compensate an injured party for a loss.

Completion bond   a surety bond posted by a landowner or developer that guarantees a proposed development will be completed according to specifications and free of mechanic's liens.

Compound interest   interest computed on the principal sum plus accrued interest. At the beginning of the new interest period, all interest is added to the principal, forming a new principal figure on which interest is then calculated. This process repeats itself each interest period—interest may be compounded daily, monthly, semiannually or annually.

Concession   discount given to prospective tenants by landlords to induce them to sign a lease. Concessions are frequently encountered in commercial leases.

Concurrent ownership   ownership by two or more persons at the same time, such as joint tenants, tenants by the entirety, tenants in common or community property owners

Condemnation   a judicial or administrative proceeding to exercise the power of eminent domain, through which a government agency takes private property for public use and compensates the owner.

Conditional Sales Contract   a contract for the sale of property where the buyer has possession and use, but the seller retains title until the conditions of the contract have been fulfilled. Also known as a land contract.

Conditional-use permit   written governmental permission allowing a use inconsistent with zoning but necessary for the common good, such as locating an emergency medical facility in a predominantly residential area.

Condominium   a subdivision providing an exclusive ownership interest in the airspace of a particular portion of real property, as well as an interest in common in a portion of that property.

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 in the condo project such as the land, parking areas, elevators, stairways, exterior structure and so on. Each condominium unit is a statutory entity that may be mortgaged, taxed, sold or otherwise transferred in ownership, separately and independently of all other units in the condo project. Units are separately assessed and taxed based on the combined value of the individual living unit and the proportionate ownership of the common areas. The unit also can be separately foreclosed upon, in case of default on the mortgage note or other lienable payments. In effect, the condominium permits ownership of a specific horizontal layer of airspace as opposed to the traditional view of vertical property ownership from the center of the earth to the sky. Typically, the unit, the percentage of common interest and the limited common elements are appurtenant to each other and cannot be sold or transferred separately.

Conforming loan   a mortgage loan that meets all Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac underwriting guidelines.

Conservator   a guardian, protector, preserver or receiver appointed by a court to administer the person and property of another (usually an incapable adult) and to ensure that the property will be properly managed. A conservator may not need a real estate license to sell the protected real estate, although the sale does require court approval.

Consideration   an act or the promise thereof, which is offered by one party to induce another to enter into a contract.

Construction Loan   the short-term financing of improvements on real estate. Once the improvements are completed a 'take out' loan for a longer term is usually issued

Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) - The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has imposed obligations and restrictions on lenders to lend only on "qualified mortgages". Lenders will be required to verify and inspect the borrows’ financial records, income, employment, and debt to income levels (DTI).  In short, the CPFB has placed a "ban on loans that have risky loan features" - such as interest only loans/payments, No income documentation (stated income) or balloon payment/loans and loans with fees that add up to more than 3 percent of the loan amount.  In addition, (according to the Consumer Protection Bureau) these loans must go to qualified borrowers whose debt does not exceed 43 percent of their debt-to-income ratio (DTI) as long as they met the underwriting standards required by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or other U.S. government housing agencies.  - A "qualified mortgage" , is a mortgage loan that upon full verification by the Lending institution,  the verification and the borrower  would automatically be considered compliant with the ability-to-repay requirement by the CFPB.

Consumer Price Index (CPI) - A measure that examines the weighted average of prices of a basket of consumer goods and services, such as transportation, food and medical care. The CPI is calculated by taking price changes for each item in the predetermined basket of goods and averaging them; the goods are weighted according to their importance. Changes in CPI are used to assess price changes associated with the cost of living CPI is one of the most frequently used statistics for identifying periods of inflation or deflation. This is because large rises in CPI during a short period of time typically denote periods of inflation and large drops in CPI during a short period of time usually mark periods of deflation.

Contingency   a provision in a contract that requires a certain act to be done or a certain event to occur before the contract becomes binding.

Contract   a legally enforceable promise or set of promises that must be performed and for which, if a breach of the promise occurs, the law provides a remedy. A contract may be either unilateral, by which only one party is bound to act, or bilateral, by which all parties to the instrument are legally bound to act as prescribed.

Contractor   in the construction industry, a contractor is one who contracts to erect buildings or portions of them. There are also contractors for each phase of construction: heating, electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, road building, bridge and dam erection, and others.

Contract for Deed   an agreement to sell and purchase under which title is held as security by the seller until such time as the required payments to the seller have been completed

Contract of sale   a contract for the purchase and sale of real property in which the buyer agrees to purchase for a certain price and the seller agrees to convey title by way of a deed or an assignment of lease (for leasehold property). In addition to binding the parties to the purchase and sale of the property during the period of time required to close the transaction, the contract frequently serves as the initial directions to the closing agent or escrow company to process the mechanics of the transaction. In essence, the contract of sale is an executory contract to convey property, serving as the vehicle to get to the deed, which finally conveys title; it is the blueprint for the entire transaction. Some of the many names for this contract are sales contract, purchase agreement, deposit receipt, offer and acceptance, agreement of sale, offer to lease or purchase and sale agreement.

Conventional loan  (mortgage)   a loan made with real estate as security and not involving government participation in the form of insuring (FHA) or guaranteeing (VA) the loan.  The mortgagee can be an institutional lender or a private party. The loan is conventional in the sense that it conforms to accepted standards and the lender looks solely to the credit of the borrower and the security of the property to ensure payment of the debt.  Because the lender is not subject to the more stringent government regulations of the FHA and VA, conventional loans are frequently more flexible with respect to terms and interest rates, although they do reflect a higher interest rate and larger down payment requirements due to the higher risk involved. Nonconventional loan interest rates (VA loans) are fixed by federal regulation. Conventional loans are subject to institutional regulation, which may be statutory (federal, state) or self-created

Convertible loan   an adjustable-rate loan that the borrower can convert to fixed-rate at any time during the life of the loan

Convey   the act of deeding or transferring title to another.

Conveyance   A term used to refer to any document that transfers title to real property. The term is also used in describing the act of transferring. (See title)

Cooperating broker   a broker who assists another broker in the sale of real property. Usually the cooperating broker is the selling broker (buyer agent/broker) who found a buyer for the listing broker.

Cooperating broker fee agreement   an agreement between brokers specifying the commission split should the cooperating broker (buyer agent/broker) sell a property listed by the listing broker.

Cooperative Short Sale    proactive approach to the short sale process whereby the short sale is initiated before an offer is made on the property. This is in contrast to a traditional short sale, which begins the process after an offer is received. The proactive approach allows the servicer to gather paperwork and required documents in advance. The servicer provides the homeowner with a suggested list price that is based on the current market value. Examples of a cooperative short sale include Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) and various banks  Cooperative Short Sale Programs

Co-ownership   title ownership held by two or more persons.

Coping    (has two meanings in residential housing and buildings)   1. The tile around the outer edge of a swimming pool at the water line.   Coping is the natural stone or precast concrete cap on the edge of a swimming pool or spa.  It is a concrete tile with a rounded edge and has a decorative finish or can be in white.    And  2. The flat portion at the top of a parapet wall rising above the roof line of a building.

Correlative water rights   a modern law in some states that holds that a riparian owner who has rights in a common water source is entitled to take only a reasonable amount of the total supply for the beneficial use of land (such as irrigation).

Cosigners   additional signers of a financial agreement that add their personal guarantees to that of the borrower.

Cost approach  the process of estimating the value of a property by adding to the estimated land value. The appraiser's estimate of the reproduction or replacement cost of the building, less depreciation.

Cost basis  the dollar amount that the Internal Revenue Service attributes to an asset for purposes of determining annual depreciation or cost recovery, and gain or loss in the sale of the asset. The determination of basis is of fundamental importance in tax aspects of real estate investment. All property has a basis. If property was acquired by purchase, the owner's basis is the cost of the property plus the value of any capital expenditures for improvements to the property, reduced by any cost recovery depreciation actually taken or allowable.

Cost recovery   an Internal Revenue Service term for depreciation.

Counteroffer   a new offer made in response to an offer received. It has the effect of rejecting the original offer, which cannot be accepted thereafter, unless revived by the offeror.

Covenant   a written agreement between two or more parties in which a party or parties pledge to perform or not perform specified acts with regard to property; usually found in such real estate documents as deeds, mortgages, leases and contracts for deed.

Covenant against encumbrances   the grantor warrants that the property is free from liens or encumbrances, except for any specifically stated in the deed. Encumbrances generally include mortgages, mechanics' liens and easements. If this covenant is breached, the grantee may sue for the cost of removing the encumbrances.

Covenant of quiet enjoyment   the covenant implied by law by which a landlord guarantees that a tenant may take possession of leased premises and that the landlord will not interfere in the tenant's possession or use of the property. The grantor guarantees that the grantee's title will be good against third parties who might bring court actions to establish superior title to the property. If the grantee's title is found to be inferior, the grantor is liable for damages.

Covenant of seisin   the grantor warrants that he or she owns the property and has the right to convey title to it ("seisen" simply means "possession").

Covenants that run with the land   Convenants that become part of the property rights and benefit or bind successive owners of the property.

Crawl space   1. The space between the ground and the first floor, often found in homes with no basement. 2. The space found between the top floor and the roof, often found in the place of an attic.

Creative financing   structuring the financing of a real estate transaction based on the cash positions of the buyer and seller. It involves working in conjunction with the existing financing to create a financing package that enables the buyer to purchase the property at better interest rates or terms than a conventional loan.

Credit   Obligations that are due or are to become due to a person.  In closing statements, that which is due and payable to either the buyer or seller--the opposite of a charge or debit. The credit appears in the right-hand column of the accounting statement.

Credit Inquiry/Check HARD - is a “hard” credit check that a lender or business may run which does show up on your credit report as an inquiry plus it does affect your credit score.  Anytime that you are actually getting a loan or a new credit card, the lender conducts a "hard pull" on your credit report. This stays on the record. It also lowers your credit score by about five points for six months. For this reason, it is important to guard your credit report from too many hard pulls. If you get a store credit card just to save 10 percent on a single purchase, you have hurt your credit score. That is probably not worth the 10 percent savings. Some banks even use a hard pull if you are opening a savings account, so be sure to check your potential bank’s policy. Additionally, the incentives that credit card companies offer for signing up may not be worth the hit to your credit score.   A good rule of thumb for your credit report is to try to avoid any inquiries that are considered hard pulls. By limiting them your credit will be in good shape and you can qualify for the best interest rate available to you when it comes time for you to apply for a loan that you truly need.

Credit Inquiry/Check SOFT -  is a “soft” credit check which accesses only your credit score. Also known as a "soft pull", is a term used to refer to an inquiry into your credit history that does not adversely affect the credit score.  Often, you are not even aware that there has been a soft inquiry on your credit report. For example, if you receive a solicitation in the mail offering you a credit card, the credit card company has most likely conducted a soft pull to see if you qualify. When mortgage lenders pre-approve you for a loan, they initially use a soft pull. Potential employers use it as a part of background checks, and your current credit card companies use soft inquiries to check up on you. Banks use them to verify that you are who you say you are when opening an account. If you check your own credit report, which you can do for free once a year, this is done with a soft pull. Most of the time, you do not even know when they occur, and they do not affect your credit report.

Credit invisible -  These are persons who have no information on file with any of the nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies. Currently about one in every 10 American adults have no credit history.  As a result, those consumers who have a limited or nonexistent credit history face great hurdles in obtaining credit.

Credit loan   a mortgage issued upon the financial strength of a borrower, without regard for collateral.

Credit report   a document, obtained from a credit repository, indicating an individual's credit circumstances. Used to derive credit scores for borrowers seeking a real estate loan.

Credit repository   organizations that maintain and make available public credit history records.  Lenders use this information from credit repositories to derive credit scores for potential borrowers. (Equifax – Experian - Transunion)

Credit score  a snapshot of a borrower's credit worthiness; a numerical score based on statistics showing the risk of default on a loan; takes into consideration available credit, management of existing credit, and any detrimental credit information.

Credit Unions   credit unions are cooperative organizations whose members place money in savings accounts. In the past, credit unions made only short-term consumer and home improvement loans. Recently, however, they have branched out to originating longer-term first and second mortgages and deed of trust loans…. Credit Unions are considered to be Non-institutional lenders. 

Creditor   the person to whom a debtor owes a debt or obligation; (ie: the lender).

Cul-de-Sac   the terminus of a street or alley. Usually laid out by modern engineers to provide a circular turn around for vehicles.

Cultured Marble  (synthetic/fabricated marble)  is a mixture of fiberglass resin and crushed limestone. It is thoroughly mixed and placed into open molds which are coated with a clear gelcoat. The gelcoat is especially formulated as to produce a tough, durable, non-porous and shiny surface, very stain resistant and easy to maintain.

Curb appeal - describes the "initial" visual impression or attractiveness of a house that is for sale , as seen from the street or sidewalk, to a potential buyer when viewing a property for the first time.

Current Value   the value of a property at the time of appraisal.


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