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Real Estate Terms


  • Early occupancy The condition in which buyers can occupy the property before the sale is completed.
  • Earnest money Money a buyer gives with an offer to purchase a property. Also called a deposit.
  • Earthquake insurance A policy that provides coverage against damage to a home from an earthquake.
  • Easement A right given to a third party to use a portion of the property for certain purposes, such as power lines or water mains.
  • Eaves The projecting overhang at the lower edge of a roof.
  • Effective age The age of a structure estimated by its condition rather than its actual age.
  • Effective gross income Additional income that a lender considers when assessing the loan application of a potential borrower.
  • Electric service panel A panel that transfers power from the utility line into a house to be distributed through fuses or circuit breakers.
  • Elevations The exterior view of a home design that shows the position of the house relative to the grade of the land.
  • Ell An extension or wing of a house that is at right angles to the main structure.
  • Eminent domain The government’s right to condemn private land for public use, such as the routing of a public highway.
  • Employer-assisted housing Programs which help employees purchase homes through special plans developed with lenders.
  • Empty nesters Potential buyers who have raised their families and want to move into a smaller home.
  • Encroachment Fences or other structures that extend into the property of another owner.
  • Encumbrance A claim or lien on a property which complicates the title process.
  • End loan The conversion from a construction loan to permanent financing a condominium buyer secures after all units in a project have been completed.
  • Endorser A person who signs over ownership of property to another party.
  • English Tudor style An architectural design that features stone or brick exterior walls and exposed beams.
  • Environmental impact statement A government-mandated evaluation of all aspects and effects a development will have on the environment of a proposed site.
  • Environmentally friendly home construction A method of construction that utilizes recycled materials.
  • Equal Credit Opportunity Act. A h3 law that prohibits a lender or other creditor from refusing to grant credit based on the applicant’s sex, marital status, race, religion, national origin or age. The law also prohibits a creditor from refusing to grant credit because the applicant receives public assistance.
  • Equifax Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc., is one of the “Big Three” credit-reporting bureaus that operate nationwide. Address: P.O. Box 740249, Atlanta, GA 30374.
  • Equity A determination of the value of a property after existing liens are deducted.
  • Errors and omissions insurance A policy that pays for any mistakes a builder or architect makes in a project.
  • Escrow A neutral third party holds the documents and money involved in a real estate transaction and ensures that all conditions of a sale are met.. Escrow also refers to a special account that a lender establishes to hold monthly installments from the borrower to cover property taxes and insurance.
  • Escrow account An account that a lender or mortgage servicer establishes to hold funds for the payment of expenses such as homeowners insurance and property taxes. Also known as an impound account.
  • Escrow agent A neutral third party who ensures that all conditions of a real estate transaction are met.
  • Escrow analysis A lender’s periodic examination of an escrow account to determine if the lender is withholding enough funds from a borrower’s monthly mortgage payment to pay for expenses such as property taxes and insurance.
  • Escrow closing Escrow closes when all conditions of a real estate transaction are met and the title of the property is transferred to the buyer.
  • Escrow company Firms that act as neutral third parties to ensure that all conditions that the buyer, seller and lender establish in a real estate transaction are met.
  • Escrow payment Funds that a mortgage servicer withdraws from a borrower’s escrow account to pay property taxes and insurance.
  • Estate The total assets of a person, including real property, at the time of death.
  • Eviction A legal procedure to remove a tenant for reasons including failure to pay rent.
  • Examination of title An inspection by a title company of public records and other documents to determine the chain of ownership of a property.
  • Excavation The process of clearing trees, removing topsoil and grading land before the foundation is laid.
  • Exclusive listing A contract that gives an agent the exclusive right to market a property for a specific period of time.
  • Executor A person appointed to carry out the instructions in a will. If there is no will, a probate court will appoint an executor.
  • Exhaust fan Ventilating devices that remove water vapor, undesired smells or smoke.
  • Experian Experian, formerly known as TRW Information Systems & Services, is one of the “Big Three” credit-reporting bureaus.. Address: 505 City Parkway West, Orange, CA 92868.