Regulations that control the use of land within a jurisdiction..

Verification of deposit

Part of the loan process, in which a lender will ask a borrower's bank to sign a statement verifying the borrower's account balances and history.

Window well

A curved, corrugated steel insert used to isolate basement windows from moisture if they're below the soil line.

Window well covers

Curved plastic covers designed to be installed on top of a window well to cover the opening.


A voluntary relinquishing of certain rights or claims.


A legally binding promise to do something in the future.


The most basic legal document outlining the disposition of a person's estate in the event of death.

Verification of employment

Part of the loan process, in which a lender asks the borrower's employer for confirmation of the borrower's position and salary.


Wood paneling, tongue-and-groove boards or similar material installed between a baseboard and a chair rail.

Veterans Administration (VA)

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs operates a variety of programs to help veterans. One of the key plans it oversees is the VA loan program, which allows most veterans to purchase a house without a down payment.


Watery areas such as swamps, marshes and floodplains.

Wraparound mortgage

A loan to a buyer for the remaining balance on a seller's first mortgage and an additional amount requested by the seller. Payments on both loans are made to the lender who holds the wraparound loan.


A buyer's final inspection of the home to determine if conditions in the purchase agreement have been satisfied.

Zero-lot lines

Houses built without space between them and with little or no yard.

Unrecorded deed

An unrecorded deed transfers ownership from one party to another without being officially recorded.

Variable interest rate

A loan rate that moves up and down based on factors including changes in the rate paid on bank certificates of deposit or Treasury bills.


A reference to illegally excessive interest charged on any loan.

Truth-in-Lending Act

A federal law that protects consumers in a variety of ways. One of its key provisions allows a consumer to cancel a home-improvement loan, second mortgage or other loan if the home was pledged as security (except for a first mortgage or first trust deed)

Two-step mortgage

An adjustable mortgage with two interest rates, one for the first five or seven years of the loan, and the other for the remainder of the loan term.


The process in which a property is zoned from a lower to a higher use.

Undisclosed heir

A person who claims the right to a piece of property after the death of an owner without a will.


Options than the standard carpeting, lighting, finish carpentry and other amenities offered to all buyers in a new-home project.

Urban sprawl

The unplanned expansion of development over a large area.

Variable rate mortgage

A loan with an interest rate that hinges on factors such as the rate paid on bank certificates and Treasury bills.

Variable rate

An interest rate that changes with fluctuations in such indexes as the U.S. Treasury bill index.


The process that lenders go through to evaluate the risks posed by a particular borrower and to set appropriate conditions for the loan.

VA loans

A program that allows most veterans to purchase a house without a down payment.


The process of removing old mortar from between bricks and replacing it with new mortar.


A precise measurement of a piece of property by a licensed surveyor.

Tax shelter

A term often applied to real estate investment and refers to various tax advantages.

Sweat equity

The non-cash value put into a piece of property by the owner, such as do-it-yourself home improvements.

Teaser rate

An low, short-term rate offered on a mortgage to entice the borrower.

Tax lien

An impediment placed against a property, such as back taxes.

Tax sale

The public sale of a property by the government for nonpayment of taxes.