A-frame design

An interior style that features a steeply peaked roofline and a ceiling that is open to the top rafters.

Abstract of judgment,law

The summary of a court judgment that creates a lien against a property when filed with the county recorder.

Acceleration clause

A provision that gives a lender the right to collect the balance of a loan if a borrower misses a payment.


The seller's written approval of a buyer's offer.


Any means by which a person can enter property.


The degree to which a building or site allows access to people with disabilities.


The gradual addition to the shore or bank of a waterway by deposits of sand or silt.


A written declaration affirming that a person acted voluntarily.


A measurement of land equal to 43,560 square feet.

Acre foot

The volume of material needed to cover an acre of land one foot deep.

Active solar system

A system that utilizes electric pumps or fans to transfer solar energy for storage or direct use.

Actual age

The number of years a structure has been standing.

Add-on interest

The interest a borrower pays on the principal for the duration of the loan.


An addition or change to a contract.

Adjusted cost basis

The cost of any improvements the seller makes to the property. Deducting the cost from the original sales price provides the profit or loss of a home when it is sold.

Adjustment period

The amount of time between interest rate adjustments in an adjustable-rate mortgage.


A person given authority to manage and distribute the estate of someone who died without leaving a will.

Adverse possession

The acquisition of title to property through possession without the owner's consent for a certain period of time.

Adverse use

The access and use of property without the owner's consent.

Aeolian soil

Soil that is composed of materials deposited by the wind.


A person who makes a sworn statement.


A substitution for an oath granted to people based on religious reasons.


The relationship of trust that exists between sellers and buyers and their agents. The agency is formed through a written contract.

Agency closing

The process by which a lender uses a title company or other firm as an agent to complete a loan.


A person licensed by the state to conduct real estate transactions.

Agreed boundary

A compromise boundary to which property owners agree in order to resolve a dispute.

Agreement of sale

A document the buyer initiates and the seller approves that details the price and terms of the transaction.


A recessed section of a room, such as a breakfast nook.

Alienation clause

A provision that requires the borrower to pay the balance of the loan in a lump sum after the property is sold or transferred.


Mineral salt found in soil.

Alkaline soil

Soil that contains a higher concentration of mineral salt than natural acid.


A lane behind a row of buildings or between two rows of buildings.


Budgets offered by builders of new homes for the purchase of carpeting and fixtures.

Aluminum siding

A metal covering that provides an alternative to paint for owners of wood homes.


Parks, swimming pools, health-club facilities, party rooms, bike paths, community centers and other enticements offered by builders of planned developments.

Americans with Disabilities Act

A law passed in 1990 that outlaws discrimination against a person with a disability in housing, public accommodations, employment, government services, transportation and telecommunications.


The process of paying the principal and interest on a loan through regularly scheduled installments.

Amortization tables

Mathematical tables that lenders use to calculate a borrower's monthly payment.


The strength of an electrical current.

Anchor bolt

A large steel bolt anchored in concrete and attached to a building to prevent the structure from moving.


Something that happens once a year.

Annual mortgagor statement

A yearly statement to borrowers that details the remaining principal and amounts paid for taxes and interest.