A small rental dwelling unit which combines
living and bedroom spaces into one room (and, sometimes, kitchen space as well).
Also known as "efficiency suite" or "studio apartment".
BACK END RATIO:
A comparison of a borrower's monthly expenses to
her gross monthly income used to assess her ability to carry a mortgage or other
BACK TITLE LETTER (OR CERTIFICATE):
Notice by a Title Insurance
Company to a person searching and certifying title that a previous search has
been completed, setting out the status of title of the property as at a given
date such that the person searching need only up-date the search.
An Agreement of Purchase and Sale for a particular
property which is conditional (becomes binding) upon the failure of another
Agreement for the same property.
Often as in "balance due", the amount of principal on a
loan remaining to be paid at any given time.
A table of figures showing the assets, liabilities
and net worth of a person or corporation on a given date.
BALLOON (LOAN) MORTGAGE:
A loan which is repaid by a series of
small, periodic payments until a given date, when either the balance comes due
in a single, large payment or the amount of the payments rises significantly.
The single, large
payment which pays out the balance due on a balloon mortgage.
A noun or adjective. Noun - a person or business which
has made an assignment in bankruptcy or has been petitioned into bankruptcy.
Adjective - owing more money than you have assets or income to repay.
The state of being unable to pay your debts such that
you submit yourself to the protection of the state. A person or business may
voluntarily assign himself into bankruptcy or may be petitioned into bankruptcy
by his creditors. Once in bankruptcy, the person surrenders his assets to a
trustee in bankruptcy who sells the assets for the benefit of the bankrupt's
creditors, first secured creditors then unsecured creditors. Once a person is
discharged from bankruptcy, none of his former creditors may pursue him for his
The set rent payable by a tenant under a lease, to which
is added Additional rents as required by the lease (for common area maintenance,
for example, or for utilities).
One 100th of 1%.
A valuable document (a bond or other security)
which does not bear the name of its legal owner; may be redeemed by whoever is
in possession of it.
A neighborhood or area which offers little in
the way of employment opportunities but plenty of housing, similar to a "suburb"
or commuter town.
BEFORE-TAX CASH FLOW:
Gross amount of money available for the use
of the owner before taking into consideration taxes.
A person or corporation's gross earnings before
taxes are deducted.
BELOW-MARKET INTEREST RATE (BMIR):
A subsidized interest rate on a
mortgage or loan, often provided by a government to allow for acquisition of
property or reduction in rents charged to tenants.
A permanent feature on land which is used as a point of
reference for a land surveyor.
A person or corporate entity entitled to receive money
or assets from a trust or an estate under a will.
To leave an item of personal property to a certain person
in a will (see "Devise",
which refers to gifts of land in this context).
The item bequeathed under a will.
The improvement of real estate that results in a rise
in market value. Also, a legal concept of civil law: when a court award,
judgment or order in favor of an injured party places that party in a better
position than he would have been had his original injury never taken place.
Or semiannual. Occurring every six months or twice per
An offer of a certain amount of consideration.
Occurring once in every two years.
A contract which has a balance of consideration
promised by the parties, where each promises performance of the contract.
A description of a house with two levels, where the main
entrance to the house is between the two levels.
BILL OF SALE:
Documentary evidence that title to personal property
(chattels) has passed to the Purchaser for valuable consideration.
1. A written commitment from an insurance company to insure
a property or a certain risk; or
2. A preliminary agreement to purchase a
property accompanied by a forfeitable deposit which is lost if the purchaser
does not complete the purchase of the property.
BIWEEKLY LOAN OR MORTGAGE:
A loan which features payments equalling
one half of the usual monthly payment made every two weeks (to total 26 in a
year), thus substantially reducing the life of the mortgage and the interest
payable over the life of the mortgage.
BLANKET INSURANCE POLICY:
A single insurance policy that applies to
more than one person or property.
Where one loan is
secured against more than one parcel of land.
Created when an old loan is refinanced and extended
at an interest rate which is different from the original rate: the old debt is
still payable at the old rate; the new debt is payable at the new rate; the
total amount of the debt is payable at a rate of interest that is somewhere
between the two rates.
An area of a community where the infrastructure and
buildings have been allowed to decay.
Construction plans, containing great detail about the
BOARD OF EQUALIZATION:
United States government body with a mandate
to assure uniform property tax assessments.
A standard clause or provision in a contract which
appears in all similar contracts.
Made in good faith, at fair market value, without deceit
1. A sum of money paid into court as an assurance of the
performance of some requirement or as security for payment on a claim. May be
used to allow for the removal of a claim for lien from a property while the
court action over the lien continues.
2. An interest-bearing instrument.
The person or company that receives money
from a lender (often a bank, credit union or trust company) in exchange for a
written promise to pay and a registered lien on property.
Low lying land, near a water course or in a valley or
similar geographic contour.
Edge or limit of a property. See "property
BREACH (OF CONTRACT):
A failure to meet one's obligations, whether
under a contract or otherwise. A breach of contract allows the innocent party to
enforce the contract, rescind the contract or sue for damages.
Also known as a "swing
loan", a loan used to fill a gap in financing, often between the purchase of
a new home and the sale of the old one. If the purchase closes before the sale,
the home owner needs to borrow enough money to pay for the new house for the
period of time before the equity in his old house comes available as a result of
the completion of the sale.
BRITISH THERMAL UNIT (B.T.U.):
A unit of heat or cooling. That
required to change the temperature of a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
An intermediary who brings parties together for specific
purposes. A mortgage broker brings borrowers together with lenders; a real
estate broker brings purchasers together with vendors. Often charges a
percentage of the contract price as a fee. Specific training required to become
a Real Estate Broker, a professional designation.
BROWNSTONE, BRICK ROW HOUSE, OR EASTERN TOWNHOUSE
nineteenth-century-style row house, with up to five storeys and a front stoop,
verandah or porch leading up to the front door.
A mortgage in which the borrower is required to
make periodic payments not only for interest and principal, but also for
insurance premiums and realty tax installments.
An area of land specifically designed to separate one
zoning use from another, such as separating a residential neighborhood from an
BUILD TO SUIT:
An offer by a landowner to develop the land in a
manner dictated by a potential tenant, in return for a long-term lease from the
tenant for the developed land.
An enforceable guarantee of the quality of
construction given by a builder or developer.
Set of regulations established by a municipality to
govern the standards of construction in that municipality.
BUILDING LINE OR SETBACK:
The minimum distance a building or other
improvement may be constructed from a property line. May be established by
agreements, title documents or municipal by-laws or ordinances.
A document obtained from the local government,
allowing for the construction of a structure in accordance with the terms of the
Limiting rules which may appear in building
codes or in title documents which control the size, placement, materials, design
or location of new construction.
Items which could be chattels but which are installed so
as to form part of a building.
A small, one-storey home built in a turn of the century
style, often with a prominent front verandah.
A day in which normal business is transacted.
Generally, Monday to Friday but not weekends or holidays.
A contract between a purchaser and vendor in
which the vendor agrees to repurchase the property from the purchaser if a
certain event occurs within a specified period of time. The buy-back price is
usually set out in the agreement.
BUY DOWN (ACCOUNT OR MORTGAGE):
The payment of extra money on a
loan now so as to reduce the interest rate over a given period or over the life
of the loan. This extra payment may be made by the borrower, by the lender (as
an incentive to the borrower to borrow from the lender) or by the vendor/builder
(as an incentive to the borrower to buy a certain property).
A real estate broker who contracts to represent the
interests of a person wishing to purchase a home. (see also "selling
agent", "Purchaser's agent").
A condition of the real estate market where there
are more properties for sale than people interested in buying them. Buyer's have
more choice and less competition for the available properties, resulting in
A pact between partners in a business or
shareholders in a company, obliging one to buy the other's interest (and
obliging the other to sell) upon the occurrence of some event stated in the
Rules enacted by a governing body of general application.