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The Law Offices of

Jenny L. Colón, P. C. 

Real Estate Terms Common To Investors

1031 Exchange

The IRS code's Section 1031 makes it possible for a real estate investor to defer payment of capital gains taxes on an investment property upon its sale, as long as another "like kind" property is bought with the profit from the sale of the investment property.



Absentee Landlord

This term refers to a landlord that owns and rents out a property to earn profit and does not live on the property or in the local economic region.

Abstract of Title

This is the summary that provides details of the title deeds and documents that prove the seller/owner’s right to dispose of the property.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)

An adjustable rate mortgage is a type of mortgage in which the rate of the outstanding balance varies throughout the life of the loan. With an adjustable rate mortgage, it is more difficult for the borrower to predict and plan for monthly payments. Traditionally, the initial interest rate will be fixed for a certain period of time until it resets from time to time, based on the current interest rates.

Adverse Possession

Adverse possession is a legal doctrine that allows a person to claim a property right in land owned by another. Common examples of adverse possession include continuous use of a private road or driveway, or agricultural development of an unused parcel of land. By favoring the adverse possessor over the true landowner, the doctrine of adverse possession rewards the productive use of land and punishes landowners who "sleep on their rights."

 After Repair Value (ARV)

This estimates the future value of the property after renovations and any repairs that are made to the property. This is not the value of the property at purchase but following the improvements that are made to the property and is an estimation, not a guarantee, based on what comparable properties have recently sold for.


An amenity is a desirable or useful feature or facility within a property structure. Amenities are typically features that are highlighted and pitched to renters when they are looking to rent at a certain complex. Amenities can also be found within gated communities or other areas that have an HOA when talking about single family homes, townhomes, or condos. Examples include a pool, workout room, on-site laundry facilities, etc.

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This is the process of spreading out a loan into a series of fixed payments over a period of time. Although a purchasers total payment remains equal each period, the loan’s interest and principal will be paid off in different amounts each month.


An appraisal will typically happen during escrow or if a person is refinancing their home. It is an unbiased professional opinion of a home’s value, based on recently sold properties nearby.

Appraised Value

Appraised value is the estimated amount from an unbiased professional of the property’s value.


An unbiased professional that is contracted during the escrow or refinance process to assess the value of the property in question.


Appreciation is the increase in a home’s value over time. A home’s appreciation can be calculated based on the fair market value of comparable homes in the neighborhood of the property in question. Appreciation of a home can come through the natural appreciation of the value of the home over time or can be forced into the home through upgrades, remodels, or renovations that add value to the home.


This stands for annual percentage rate and is charged to the borrower. It is expressed as a percentage that represents the actual yearly cost of funds over the term of the loan.

 Assessed Value

The assessed value is different from the appraised value in that it is the dollar value assigned to the property to measure applicable taxes. This determines the value of a property for tax purposes and takes comparable property sales and inspections of the property into consideration.

Asset Protection

Asset protection is a part of one’s financial planning in order to protect one’s assets from creditor claims. Both individuals and businesses use this technique to make sure they limit creditors access to claim valuable assets.


Bad Title

A bad title is when the current sellers are not granted the ownership of title due to a multitude of reasons. These can be either legal or financial problems that lead to a bad title and therefore can prevent the seller from being able to sell the asset.

Balloon Mortgage

A balloon mortgage is a fixed rate, typically low payment loan, with a large remainder due at the end of the loan period. Frequently, these loans are re-amortized before the balloon payment comes due.

Bank Owned Property

A bank owned property is one that is taken back into a bank’s inventory after the owner defaults on the mortgage loan. This type of property is likely to be sold at a discounted price or lower than other comparables in the same location.


A real estate broker is not the same thing as a real estate agent. A broker is an agent that has also passed their broker license exam. The main difference between the two is that a real estate broker can also own a real estate agency or firm. Real estate agents are the ones that work for a real estate broker firm.

Broker Price Opinion

A broker price opinion is a report by a real estate agent or broker that is used to support the professional and unbiased opinion that helps determine the potential selling price. Based on comparable properties nearby that have sold recently, a BPO is used frequently by banks to price their properties for a quick sale.


The BRRRR strategy was coined by Brandon Turner and stands for Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat. This strategy is where an investor buys a fixer-upper property using short-term funds (oftentimes cash, hard money, private money, or other creative means), fixes up the property, rents out the newly renovated property, and seeks a new long-term loan (a refinance) to pay off the old short-term loan. This refinance will free up the short-term capital that was used, allowing the investor to repeat the process again and again. For more information, check out the book “Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat” by David Greene.

Buy and Hold

The buy and hold strategy is long-term investing, where a real estate investor purchases a property with the intention of holding onto and renting it for the foreseeable future.

Buyer’s Agent

A buying agent or a purchasing agent is an agent that works with buyers to find and purchase a property. The buying agent works for a commission that is typically paid by the seller at closing.


Capital Expenditure

Capital expenditure or CapEx refers to large expenses that are performed infrequently but should still be budgeted for. Examples include a new roof or systems like a furnace or air conditioning unit.

 Capital Gains Tax

When you sell an asset for more than you paid for it, you trigger what is called a capital gains tax.

 Capital Improvement

Capital improvement is the addition of permanent structural changes to a property that add to the property value or adapt the property to new uses.

Capitalization Rate aka "Cap Rate"

The capitalization rate or cap rate is used in the world of real estate investing to indicate the rate of return that an investor can expect on any given real estate investment property. This is measured by a formula based on the net income that the property is expected to produce and is calculated by dividing net operating income by the property asset value and is expressed as a percentage. This calculation is typically used by real estate investors to understand the potential ROI on an investment property. While it is a useful calculation, this should not be the only deciding factor when considering an investment property. The capitalization rate indicates the property’s intrinsic, natural, and un-leveraged rate of return.

 Cash Flow

In real estate terms, cash flow is the byproduct of owning a rental property and leasing it to tenants for a monthly rental income. To elaborate on this, real estate investors look for rental properties reaping positive cash flow returns, or, in other words, they invest in positive cash flow properties.

Cash On Cash Return (COCR or CRR)

A cash-on-cash return is a rate of return often used in real estate transactions that calculates the cash income earned on the cash invested in a property.

Cash-Out Refinance

A cash-out refinance will replace a person’s existing mortgage with a new home loan for more than is currently owed on a property. The difference is refunded to the property owner in cash and can be spent on home improvements, debt consolidation, or any other financial needs. In order to use a cash-out refinance, a property owner would need to have built up equity in the property.

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Cash Reserves

Cash reserves refer to the money an individual has set aside for unexpected expenses like home improvement emergencies, such as plumbing issues, appliance replacements, flooding, etc., as well as vacancies, capital expenditures, and non-paying tenants.

Certificate of Title

This is the state-issued document that identifies the owner of real property. A certificate of title provides documentary evidence of the right of ownership so that the seller is actually able to transfer title and sell a property.

Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM)

A CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) is a recognized expert in the commercial and investment real estate industry. The designation process ensures that CCIMs are proficient not only in theory, but also in practice.

Chain of Title

This is the sequence of historical transfers of a title of real property from sellers to buyers. This is a valuable tool to identify the past owners of any given property. This chain will follow the title from the original owners to the current owners.

Clear Title

A clear title is a title that is clear of any type of lien or anything else that might pose a question about legal ownership. An owner with a clear title has legal ownership of the title and property and is able to transfer this title legally to a purchaser.


The closing is when the buyer and seller sign the official papers to transfer ownership.

Closing Costs

This is any cost that is associated with the purchase of a property that is due at “closing.” This typically includes the down payment on the property and any other fees associated with purchasing a home, such as title insurance, taxes, lender costs, and some upfront housing expenses.

 Cloud on Title

This is a document, claim, or unreleased lien that might invalidate or make it difficult to transfer a title. Cloud on title is usually discovered during the title search once a property is under contract.


A co-borrower is the second person on a mortgage loan. This can be anyone from a parent or friend to a significant other or spouse. Co-borrowers are used to help qualify for a loan and are also equally responsible for the mortgage should the initial borrower default.

Commercial Real Estate (CRE)

A commercial property refers to a real estate property that is used for business purposes or large scale residential dwellings, such as apartment buildings.

Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

This is an examination of the prices of different properties within the same area as the property a buyer is considering for purchase. Real estate agents perform this analysis to determine an accurate listing price.

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Consumer Price Index

The Consumer Price Index indicates how much prices of consumer goods and services have increased over a set period of time.

 Contingency Clause

A contingency clause is a portion of a contract that will require certain things to take place before the contract can be considered valid. This often is a part of a conditional offer made on a property during a real estate transaction.

Contract For Deed

A Contract for Deed is a tool that can allow buyers who either don't qualify for traditional lending options or who want a faster financing option to purchase property.

Co-Tenancy Clause

A co-tenancy clause in retail lease contracts allows tenants to reduce their rent if key tenants or a certain number of tenants leave the retail space.

Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&R)

Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions, commonly called CC&Rs, are a set of rules established by a developer or homeowners association that govern residences in a particular neighborhood or condominium. CC&Rs may put restrictions on parking, paint colors, noise-levels and pets, for example.

Curb Appeal

This term is often used to describe the appeal of a property for sale when the property is viewed from the street.


Debt Service Ratio (DSCR)

The debt service coverage ratio (DSCR), also known as "debt coverage ratio" (DCR), is the ratio of operating income available to debt servicing for interest, principal and lease payments. I

Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI)

A buyer’s debt-to-income ratio compares how much a buyer owes monthly versus how much they earn monthly. This ratio is used during the underwriting process of escrow to determine how much house you can afford as a buyer. More specifically, it is the percentage of gross monthly income that goes toward payments for rent, mortgages, credit cards, car payments, or any other debt the buyer possesses.


A deed is a legal document that passes and confirms an interest, right, or property and is signed, attested, delivered, and sealed. It is commonly associated with transferring the title of a property from the seller to the buyer.

 Deed Book

Deed books can be found at the county courthouse and are under the jurisdiction of the registrar of deeds. The deed book contains the record of property transfers.

Deed Of Trust (DOT)

A Deed of Trust is a type of secured real-estate transaction that some states use instead of mortgages. A deed of trust involves three parties: a lender, a borrower, and a trustee. The lender gives the borrower money. In exchange, the borrower gives the lender one or more promissory notes.


Within real estate, default is when a property owner fails to make monthly mortgage payments and therefore defaults on their mortgage loan. When the mortgage payments are not made and a borrower defaults on the loan, the property can then be taken away by the lender through a process called foreclosure.

 Deficiency Balance

This is the amount of the loan that remains unpaid after the lender has taken the property back from the owner.


This term is typically used when a borrower is late or overdue on a mortgage payment.


This term is the opposite of appreciation when considering a real estate property. Depreciation is when a property decreases in value.


Downturn is when the economy or real estate market has softened, resulting in properties typically taking longer to sell.

 Dual Agency

Dual agency is when a real estate agent represents both the buyer and the seller in a single transaction.

Due On Sale Clause (DOS)

A due-on-sale clause is a clause in a loan or promissory note that stipulates that the full balance of the loan may be called due (repaid in full) upon sale or transfer of ownership of the property used to secure the note. The lender has the right, but not the obligation, to call the note due in such a circumstance.


Earnest Money

After an offer is accepted, a deposit is made to the seller by the buyer as a symbol of good faith that you will be following through on buying the property. This deposit can be forfeited if the buyer does not follow through on the purchase.


Easement is the legal right to use someone else’s land for a specific and limited purpose. When someone is granted an easement, they are legally allowed to use the property, but the property title and ownership remain in the possession of the owner.

Effective Gross Income

Effective gross income, or EGI, can be calculated by taking the potential gross income from an investment property, adding other forms of income generated by that property, and subtracting vacancy and collection losses.


When buying a property, there are certain things that qualify a room as “conforming” or “non-comforming.” For example, a basement room with regular windows would be considered a “non-comforming” bedroom. Egress is a way to exit the property, and in order for a room to be a legal bedroom, it must have two points of egress or exit.


This is a common law term for the civil action to recover the possession of a title to the land.

Eminent Domain

Eminent domain refers to the right of the government to take private property and convert it to public use.


Equity is the difference between the market value of a property and the amount of money that is still owed on the loan. Equity can accrue naturally through the market or can be forced into the home based on improvements made by the owner.

 Equity Stripping

This is a set of strategies designed to reduce overall equity in a property. These can be used by debtors as means of making properties unattractive to creditors.

Escrow Agent

An escrow agent is the person that holds property in trust for third parties while a transaction is finalized on the property in question.

Escrow Agreement

This is the contract that defines an arrangement between parties where one party deposits an asset with a third party. This third party then delivers the asset to the second party when the conditions of the contract are met.


A word with deep legal origins, “estate” has been consistently defined for centuries while adapting to the needs of the times. In essence, one’s estate is everything they own; it’s everything that belongs to a person.


The legal method for removing a tenant from a rental property. Eviction typically takes place after the tenant fails to make their monthly rent payments on time.


Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act was initiated to make sure that everyone who applies for housing has the right to be treated the same. For landlords, this means you cannot discriminate against potential tenants based on color, disability, familial status, national origin, race, religion, or sex.

 Fair Market Rent (FMR)

Fair market rent (FMR) is the monthly rent a particular property type is likely to receive.

Fair Market Value (FMV)

This is an estimate of the market value of a property. At its simplest, it is the price that a property would sell for in a fair and open market.

 Federal Housing Administration (FHA)

The Federal Housing Administration, generally known as "FHA", provides mortgage insurance on loans made by FHA-approved lenders throughout the United States and its territories.

Fee Simple

A fee simple represents absolute ownership of land; therefore, the owner may do whatever he or she chooses with the land.

FHA Loan

This is a type of mortgage loan that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration. These types of loans are popular among first time home buyers due to the low down payment requirements—as low as 3.5%—as well as a more lenient credit score requirement.

 First Mortgage

This is the first mortgage loan on a property and has priority over all other liens or claims on a property in the event of a default on the home.

Fix and Flip

This term is coined for properties that need a lot of rehab to make them appealing to buyers. Real estate investors will buy the property, renovate it, and resell the property for a profit.

Fixed Price Purchase Option

A fixed price purchase option is the right, but not the obligation, to buy a leased property at the end of a lease term at a price determined from the onset of the lease agreement.

Fixed Rate Mortgage

This is a fully amortizing mortgage loan where the interest rate on the note remains the same through the term of the loan.

 Forced Equity

Forced equity is equity that is instantly put into the home by making improvements to it. By improving the home, you not only increase the home's market value, but also increase the market rent, which permits you to make more money each month and pay off your property faster. This is the best way to build equity in a home versus waiting for the home’s market value to increase naturally.


Foreclosure is the legal process in which a lender or bank takes control of a property, evicts the homeowner, and sells the home after a homeowner is unable to make full principal and interest payments on his or her mortgage, as decided upon in the mortgage contract.

 For Sale By Owner (FSBO)

For sale by owner is a process by which a homeowner sells their home directly instead of going through a brokerage firm to sell the property. The benefit to the seller is that there is no commission to pay out at the end of the selling process.

 Fractional Ownership

Fractional ownership is a method in which several unrelated parties can share in, and mitigate the risk of, ownership of a real estate property.

 Freddie Mac

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) A private corporation founded by Congress, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage corporation's mission is to promote stability and affordability in the housing market by purchasing mortgages from banks and other loan makers.




Gentrification is a process where a neighborhood undergoes urban development, involving an influx of higher-income residents to an otherwise abandoned or rundown area. Gentrification is a controversial political and social topic.

 Gift Of Equity

The gift of equity is when a family member sells you a property for below market value. This difference is considered an amount of equity. This equity can be used toward the down payment or to help pay off debt in order to qualify to buy the home.

Ginnie Mae (GNMA)

The Government National Mortgage Association (commonly referred to as Ginnie Mae is a U.S. government corporation that guarantees the timely payment of principal and interest on mortgage-backed securities (MBSs) issued by approved Ginnie Mae lenders.

Graduated Lease

Graduated lease refers to an agreement under which a tenant and landlord agree to a periodic adjustment of monthly payments. This typically occurs when the market conditions increase and the landlord then needs to increase the price on the lease.

Gross Rent Multiplier (GRM)

Gross Rent Multiplier (GRM) is the ratio of the price of a real estate investment to its annual rental income before accounting for expenses such as property taxes, insurance, and utilities; GRM is the number of years the property would take to pay for itself in gross received rent. For a prospective real estate investor, a lower GRM represents a better opportunity.

Ground Lease

A ground lease refers to an agreement between a tenant and a property owner that allows the tenant to develop a piece of property during the lease period. After the lease, all of these developments are to be transferred over to the property owner.



Hard Money Lender (HML)

A hard money lender is a private lender that uses property collateral instead of credit scores in order to qualify lending a buyer money.

Hard Money Loan

Hard money is a way to borrow without using traditional mortgage lenders. Loans come from individuals or investors who lend money based (for the most part) on the property you’re using as collateral and not based off of credit scores. When loans need to happen quickly, or when traditional lenders will not approve a loan, hard money may be the only option.

 Hazard Insurance

Hazard insurance protects a homeowner against the costs of damage from fire, vandalism, smoke, and other causes. When you take out a mortgage, the lender will require you to take out hazard insurance to protect their investment; many lenders will incorporate the insurance payment into your monthly mortgage payment.


A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is when a property owner borrows money against the equity that has been built up in said property.

 Holding Costs

When real estate investors purchase property, their main goal is to sell the property for a profit. But during this process, the investor must take into consideration the amount of money they will need to pay out before the investment is re-sold. Holding costs are also known as carrying costs. When calculating the holding costs, investors must include the purchase price, and deduct operating income to come to an estimated figure.

Home Appraisal

Real estate appraisal, property valuation or land valuation is the process of developing an opinion of value, for real property. Real estate transactions often require appraisals because they occur infrequently and every property is unique, unlike corporate stocks, which are traded daily and are identical.

Home Equity

This is the current market value of your home, minus what a borrower still owes on a mortgage.

Home Equity Loan

A home equity loan is a type of loan in which the borrower uses the equity of his or her home as collateral.

Home Inspection

A home inspection is something that a home buyer will pay to have conducted during the escrow period. A home inspector will come to the property and look at different aspects of the home that may deter a buyer from wanting to follow through with the purchase.

 Homeowners Association (HOA)

The primary purpose of a homeowners association is to manage a large property’s or neighborhood's common areas, such as roads, parks, and pools. Homeowners are obligated to pay dues, which can be anything from $100 to $10,000 a year, depending on the building/neighborhood and its amenities. This is an added monthly expense on top of a mortgage payment and should be considered as such when home buying.

Home Warranty

A home warranty is an annual service contract that covers the repair or replacement of important appliances’ and systems’ components in the event they break down.

 House Hacking

House hacking is a strategy in which the property owner lives within the investment property and lives for free (or almost free) based on other tenants paying rent that covers the whole mortgage. This strategy is typically done with a multifamily unit but can also be done in single family homes by renting out extra rooms.

Housing Starts

Housing starts is the number of new projects for residential construction that began over the duration of any given month—and is a pivotal economic indicator.


Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

An IRA is an account set up at a financial institution that allows an individual to save for retirement with tax-free growth or on a tax-deferred basis.


In simple terms, inflation is a quantitative measure of the rate at which the average price level of a basket of selected goods and services in an economy increases over a period of time.


The right to enter a property.


Within real estate, interest can be defined as the cost of borrowing money and is usually expressed as a yearly percentage that is paid as part of your monthly loan payment.

 Interest Only Loan (I/O)

An interest-only loan is a loan in which the borrower pays only the interest for some or all of the term, with the principal balance unchanged during the interest-only period.

Interim Interest

Mortgage interim interest refers to the interest that accrues on your mortgage between the closing date and the date of record. This is the time between when you close on the mortgage and the end of the month.

Internal Rate Of Return (IRR)

The internal rate of return is a measure of an investment’s rate of return.


Intestate refers to when a person dies before determining a will. An intestate estate is also one in which the will presented to the court was deemed to be invalid.


Joint Tenancy

The holding of an estate or property jointly by two or more parties, the share of each passing to the other or others on death.

 Joint Tenants

In estate law, joint tenancy is a special form of ownership by two or more persons of the same property. The individuals, who are called joint tenants, share equal ownership of the property and have the equal, undivided right to keep or dispose of the property.

Joint Venture (JV)

A commercial enterprise undertaken jointly by two or more parties which otherwise retain their distinct identities.

Judicial Foreclosure

Judicial foreclosure refers to foreclosure cases that go through the court system.

Jumbo Loan

A jumbo loan is a type of mortgage that is used to finance real estate that is too expensive for a conventional conforming loan.



A person or company who owns property that they allow other people to live in, in exchange for monthly rent.

Land Trust

A land trust is a legal entity that takes ownership of, or authority over, a piece of property at the behest of the property owner.

Land Value

Land value is the value of a piece of property, including both the value of the land itself as well as any improvements that have been made to the property over time.


The legally binding contract that governs the circumstances in which a landlord will rent their property to a tenant.

Lease Option (L/O)

A lease option is an agreement that gives a renter a choice to purchase the rented property during or at the end of the rental period.


Lenders are people or companies that allow you to borrow money with the promise that it will be repaid. Repayment includes principal and interest, and may include monthly payments or a lump sum payment.


A lessee is a person who rents land or property from a lessor. The lessee is also known as the "tenant" and must uphold specific obligations as defined in the lease agreement and by law.


The lessor is the property owner or landlord that rents out the property to the lessee.


Leverage is the use of various financial instruments or borrowed capital—in other words, debt—to increase the potential return of an investment. It commonly used when talking about the real estate market.


A legal interest in a property, which must be paid in full before the property can be sold. If there is a lien on a property, this is typically identified in the escrow process and will break the contract.

Lien Waiver

In the mechanics lien process, a lien waiver is a document from a contractor, subcontractor, materials supplier, equipment lessor or other party to the construction project stating they have received payment and waive any future lien rights to the property for the amount paid.

Line Of Credit (LOC)

A line of credit is a preset amount of money that a bank or credit union has agreed to lend you. You can draw from the line of credit when you need it, up to the maximum amount. You'll pay interest on the amount you borrow.


A listing is what a property for sale is often referred to as by a real estate broker or agent.

List Price

The price at which a property is listed by the seller.

Live-in Flip

This is when a property purchaser lives in the property as they flip in order to limit costs during the time of the flip.

Loan Estimate

A loan estimate is a three-page form that a potential borrower receives after applying for a mortgage. The loan estimate tells the borrower important details about the loan requested. The form provides important information, including the estimated interest rate, monthly payment, and total closing costs for the loan.

Loan Policy

A loan policy protects the lender's interests and is based on the dollar amount someone is borrowing from the bank, not on the full value of the property.

Loan-To-Value (LTV)

The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is a financial term used by lenders to express the ratio of a loan to the value of an asset purchased.


Market Value

Market value is the price an asset would fetch in the marketplace.

Maximum Allowable Offer (MAO)

Maximum allowable offer (MAO) is the maximum price point at which investors in a real estate deal can realistically expect to pull in a profit while minimizing the risk of losing money.


A mortgage is a legal agreement by which a bank or other creditor lends money at interest in exchange for taking title of the debtor's property, with the condition that the conveyance of title becomes void upon the payment of the debt.

Mortgage Broker

Mortgage brokers are mortgage experts who provide different lenders, loan types, and rates for buyers without upfront charges.


A building or structure that is designed to house several different families in separate housing units.

Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

A multiple listing service is a service used by a group of real estate brokers. Once a buyer begins working with a real estate agent/broker, they will typically be set up with an MLS email drip that will send new listings every day.


National Housing Act

The American Housing Act of 1949 was a sweeping expansion of the federal role in mortgage insurance and issuance and the construction of public housing.

Negative Equity

Negative equity occurs when the value of real estate property falls below the outstanding balance on the mortgage used to purchase that property. Negative equity is calculated by taking the current market value of the property and subtracting the balance on the outstanding mortgage.

Net Operating Income (NOI)

Net operating income (NOI) is a calculation used to analyze the profitability of income-generating real estate investments. NOI equals all revenue from the property, minus all reasonably necessary operating expenses.

Net Worth

Financial resources or other wealth belonging to a particular person, especially when used for investment purposes.

No-Appraisal Refinancing

A no-appraisal mortgage is a type of home loan refinancing for which the lender does not require an appraisal, meaning an independent opinion of the property's current fair market value is not necessary.


Mortgage notes are a written promise to repay a specified sum of money plus interest at a specified rate and length of time to fulfill the promise.




An offer is when a buyer puts in a price offer on a home that the seller can accept or counter.

Open House

An open house is held by the selling agent in order for prospective buyers to come and look at a property. It enables interested parties to view property without scheduling a showing with their agent.

Open Listing

An “open listing” is a non-exclusive real estate contract in which more than one broker may be employed to sell a property, including the owners themselves.

Owner Occupied (OO)

Owner-occupancy or home-ownership is a form of housing tenure where a person, called the owner-occupier, owner-occupant, or home owner, owns the home in which they live.


Personal Use Property

Personal use property is a type of property that an individual does not use for business purposes or as an investment.

Pocket Listing

A pocket listing is a signed real estate listing that is not entered into the multiple listing service, or MLS.

Power Of Sale

Power of sale is a clause written into a mortgage note authorizing the mortgagee to sell the property in the event of default in order to repay the mortgage debt.

Pre-Approval Letter

A pre-approval letter is a document that states the loan amount a lender is willing to extend to a borrower. It is not a guarantee to lend, but it carries significant weight, especially to other parties in a real estate transaction, such as agents and sellers.

Private Mortgage Insurance

Private mortgage insurance, also called PMI, is a type of mortgage insurance buyers might be required to have if he or she uses anything other than a conventional loan. Like other kinds of mortgage insurance, PMI protects the lender if the buyer stops making monthly loan payments.


Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person's estate is properly distributed to heirs and designated beneficiaries and any debt owed to creditors is paid off.

Proof Of Funds

Proof of funds is a document that stipulates that a buyer is financially capable of securing a mortgage or has the funds necessary to make an all-cash purchase in a real estate transaction.

Property Manager

A property manager is an individual or a company that is hired by a property owner in order to run the rental property. Typically property owners will hire a property management company to run it day to day because they are unwilling or don’t have the time to do so.



Quiet Title

A quiet title action is a circuit court action, or lawsuit, intended to establish or settle the title to a property, especially when there is a disagreement. It is a lawsuit brought to remove a claim or objection on a title.

Quitclaim Deed

Quitclaim deeds are most often used to transfer property within a family. For example, when an owner gets married and wants to add a spouse's name to the title or when the owners divorce and one spouse's name is removed from the title.



Real Estate

Real estate refers to property containing land, buildings, or both.

Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents are licensed professionals who arrange real estate transactions for either a buyer or a seller.

Real Estate Broker

Real estate broker’s are real estate agents but with a broker’s license. They work for a real estate brokerage and assist buyers or sellers in the transfer of ownership of a property, much like a real estate agent.

Real Estate Owned (REO)

Real estate owned (REO) is the name given to foreclosed-upon real estate. This happens when a borrower fails to make monthly mortgage payments and therefore defaults on the loan. In this case, the property goes back to the bank or lender for sale. It is typically sold at a discounted price.


A person who acts as an agent for the sale and purchase of buildings and land; a real estate agent.


A period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters.

Refinance Rate

One of the best reasons to refinance is to lower the interest rate on your existing loan. Historically, the rule of thumb is that refinancing is a good idea if you can reduce your interest rate by at least 2%. However, many lenders say 1% savings is enough of an incentive to refinance.


Refinancing is done to allow a borrower to obtain a better interest term and rate. The first loan is paid off, allowing the second loan to be created, instead of simply making a new mortgage and throwing out the original mortgage.


REIT stands for real estate investment trust. Essentially, REITs are corporations that own and manage a portfolio of real estate properties and mortgages.

Rent To Own Homes (RTO)

Rent-to-own is when a tenant signs a rental agreement or lease that has an option to buy the house or condo later — usually within three years. The renter's monthly payments will include rent payments and additional payments that will go towards a down payment for purchasing the home.

Repair Costs

Repair costs within real estate investing are typically applied to fix and flips or even BRRR properties where there is repairs and renovations to be done. Repair costs should be properly calculated before buying any investment property in order to accurately assess a deal. For this, you can use the BiggerPockets Fix and Flip calculator.

Reserve Fund

A reserve fund is a savings account or other highly liquid asset set aside by an individual or business to meet any future costs or financial obligations, especially those arising unexpectedly.

Residential Rental Property

Residential rental property is a type of rented real property, such as a house or apartment complex.

Return On Investment (ROI)

Return on investment (ROI) measures how much money or net profit is made on an investment, displayed as a percentage of the cost of that investment.

Reverse Exchange

A reverse 1031 exchange is a tax deferment strategy that allows real estate investors to purchase a second investment property before selling their relinquished investment property—and importantly, defer capital gains taxes and other taxes that you would normally need to pay upon sale of a property.

Reverse Mortgage

A financial agreement in which a homeowner relinquishes equity in their home in exchange for regular payments, typically to supplement retirement income.

Rural Housing Service

USDA's multifamily housing programs that offers loans to provide affordable rental housing for very low-, low-, and moderate-income residents, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.


Sales and Purchase Agreement

A sales and purchase agreement (SPA) is a legal contract that obligates a buyer to buy and a seller to sell a product or service. SPAs are found in all types of businesses but are most often associated with real estate deals as a way of finalizing the interests of both parties before closing the deal.

Security Deposit

A security deposit is a paid amount of money to the landlord meant to ensure that rent will be paid and other responsibilities of the lease performed (e.g., paying for damage caused by the tenant). The laws surrounding these deposits vary from state to state.

Seller-Financed Sale

Seller financing is a loan provided by the seller of a property or business to the purchaser.

Seller-Paid Points

Seller's points (or seller contributions) are lump sum payments (or finance charges) made by the seller to the buyer's lender to reduce the cost of the loan to the buyer.

Shared Equity Finance Agreements

A shared equity finance agreement is a financial agreement entered into by two parties who would like to purchase a piece of real estate together.

Short Refinance

A short refinance is a transaction in which a lender agrees to refinance a borrower's home for the current market value, in effect making it more cost effective for the borrower.

Short Sale

A short sale is a sale of real estate in which the net proceeds from selling the property will fall short of the debts secured by liens against the property.


A person who unlawfully occupies an uninhabited building or unused land.


Lease from one tenant (lessee) to another (called subtenant or sublessee). The agreement between the landlord (the lessor) and the first lessee remains in force and governs the terms of the sublease.


A syndicate is a temporary, professional financial services alliance formed for the purpose of handling a large transaction that would be hard or impossible for the entities involved to handle individually.


Real estate syndication is an effective way for investors to pool their financial and intellectual resources to invest in properties and projects much bigger than they could afford or manage on their own.


Tax Lien

A tax lien is the government's claim on your property and is generally placed when a taxpayer, such as a business or individual, fails to pay taxes owed.

Tenancy In Common

Tenancy in common is a specific type of concurrent, or simultaneous, ownership of real property by two or more parties. All tenants in common hold an individual, undivided ownership interest in the property. This means that each party has the right to alienate or transfer their ownership interest.

Tenants By Entirety

Tenants by entirety (TBE) is a method in some states by which married couples can hold the title to a property. In order for one spouse to modify his or her interest in the property in any way, the consent of both spouses is required by tenants by entirety.


Also called tenement house, a run-down and often overcrowded apartment house, especially in a poor section of a large city. By law, any species of permanent property, as lands, houses, rents, an office, or a franchise, that may be held of another.


A timeshare (sometimes called vacation ownership) is a property with a divided form of ownership or use rights. These properties are typically resort condominium units, in which multiple parties hold rights to use the property, and each owner of the same accommodation is allotted a period of time.

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In property law, a title is a bundle of rights in a piece of property in which a party may own either a legal interest or equitable interest.

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Title Commitment

A title commitment (or whatever name yours goes by) is basically the title company's promise to issue a title insurance policy for the property after closing. The title commitment contains the same terms, conditions, and exclusions that will be in the actual insurance policy.

Title Defect

A title defect refers to any potential threat to the current owner's full right or claim to sell a property. The property has a publicly-recorded issue, like a lien, mortgage, or judgment, that gives another party a claim to the property.

Title Insurance

Every title insurance policy covers either a homeowner or the lender that financed the mortgage for the property. Lenders require you to pay for lender's title insurance as part of your mortgage closing costs. Homeowner's title insurance is mostly optional and is paid for by the seller or the buyer of the property.

Title Search

A title search is done to verify the seller's right to transfer ownership. It is used to discover any claims, errors, assessments, debts, or other restrictions on the property.

Triple Net Lease (NNN)

A triple net lease (triple-Net or NNN) is a lease agreement on a property whereby the tenant or lessee promises to pay all the expenses of the property including real estate taxes, building insurance, and maintenance.

Truth In Lending

The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) is a federal law passed in 1968 to ensure that consumers are treated fairly by businesses in the lending marketplace and are informed about the true cost of credit.


A turnkey property is a fully renovated home or apartment building that an investor can purchase and immediately rent out.


Under Contract

In real estate, being “under contract” means that a buyer’s offer has been accepted by the seller.


In real estate, underwriting is when an individual or business entity seeks funding for a real estate project or purchase and the loan request is scrutinized to determine how much risk the lender is willing to accept. This procedure is performed by an underwriter.

Unsecured Loan

An unsecured loan is a loan that is issued and supported only by the borrower's creditworthiness, rather than by any type of collateral.

 Use and Occupancy

Use and occupancy (U&O) refers to a type of permit required by some local governments whenever real property is transferred.


Vacancy Rate

Vacancy rate is the ratio of rental units not rented versus the total number in the building.

Voluntary Foreclosure

A voluntary foreclosure is a foreclosure proceeding that is initiated by a borrower who is unable to continue making loan payments on a property in an attempt to avoid further payments and prevent involuntary foreclosure and eviction.



A waiver is the voluntary action of a person or party that removes that person's or party's right or particular ability in an agreement.

Warranty Deed

A warranty deed is one in which a property owner, when transferring the title, warrants that he or she owns the property free and clear of all liens. A warranty deed is used in most property sales. The warranty deed says that: The grantor is the rightful owner and has the right to transfer the title.

Warranty Of Title

A warranty of title is a guarantee by a seller to a buyer that the seller has the right to transfer ownership and no one else has rights to the property.

Workout Agreement

A workout agreement is a mutual agreement between a lender and borrower to renegotiate terms on a loan that is in default. Generally, the workout includes waiving any existing defaults and restructuring the loan’s terms and covenants.

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