top of page
  • Writer's pictureErica Swinehart

Florida Real Estate Dictionary - A

Real Estate Terminology

Real Estate Terminology can be tough to follow. With all of these acronyms and definitions, you can easily get lost on what agents and brokers are talking about. This collection of terms and definitions for real estate words should help you follow along. These posts are broken down by letter groups indicated in the title of the post.


  • Actionable Fraud: Fraud that meets certain criteria, so that a victim can successfully sue. The victim must prove the defendant concealed material facts or made false statements (intentionally or negligently) with the intent to induce the victim to enter a transaction, and the victim was harmed by relying on misrepresentations.

  • Actual Fraud: An intentional misrepresentation or concealment of a material fact; when a person actively conceals material information or makes statements that he knows are false or misleading.

  • Actual Notice: Actual knowledge of a fact, rather than knowledge imputed or inferred by law.

  • Ad Valorem: Latin phrase meaning “according to value,” used to refer to taxes assessed on the value of property.

  • Adequate Consideration: Consideration that is comparable in value to the consideration the other party to the contract is giving.

  • Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM): A type of loan structure that permits the lender to periodically change or vary the interest rate charged, based on a standard index.

  • Administrator: A person appointed by the probate court to manage and distribute the estate of a deceased person when no executor is named in the will or there is no will.

  • Adverse Possession: The open, notorious, hostile, adverse, exclusive, and continuous possession of another person's property for a statutory number of years, after which time the adverse possessor may seek to obtain title to the property.

  • Advertisement: A public notification in any type of media featuring property for sale or rent or marketing brokerage services; must follow guidelines of federal, state, and local fair housing laws.

  • Affidavit of Title: A statement, sworn in front of a notary public or other authorized official, by the seller or grantor of property that identifies the grantor, identifies the grantor’s marital status, and certifies that the grantor has no new judgments, liens, divorces, unrecorded deeds, or other potential title defects since the title examination was completed. It also certifies that the grantor is indeed in possession of the property.

  • Affiliated Business Arrangement (AfBA): A situation where a person in a position to refer settlement services—or an associate of that person—has either an affiliate relationship with or a direct or beneficial ownership interest of more than 1% in a provider of settlement services and who then refers business to that provider or in some way influences the selection of that provider.

  • Agency: A relationship of trust created when one person (the principal) gives another person (the agent) the right to represent the principal in dealings with third parties.

  • Agency Coupled with an Interest: A situation in which the agent has a personal interest in the subject of the agency, as when one co-owner has been authorized by the others to sell their property.

  • Agent: A licensed broker who represents another (the principal) in a real estate transaction; a person authorized to represent the principal in dealings with third parties (clients or customers).

  • Aggregate Rent: The total rent for the full term of the lease.

  • Air Rights: The right to undisturbed use and control of the airspace over a parcel of land (within reasonable limits for air travel); may be transferred separately from the land.

  • Alienation: The transfer of ownership or an interest in property from one person to another, by any means.

  • Alienation Clause: A mortgage clause allowing the lender to demand the full and immediate payment of the mortgage because the owner transferred or pledged to transfer ownership of the property. Also called Due on Sale Clause.

  • Allodial System: The system of land ownership that allows anyone to own land.

  • Alluvion: Solid material deposited along a shore by accretion. Also called Alluvium.

  • Amenity: A tangible or intangible feature that enhances or adds value to real estate.

  • Amenity Purchaser: A person who values a property based on its ability to fulfill his specific business needs or use, unlike investors who value a property based primarily on its investment return.

  • American Land Title Association (ALTA): A national association of title companies, abstractors, and attorneys. Members agree to promote uniformity, quality, and professional standards in title insurance policies. Policies issued by ALTA members follow specific guidelines.

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A wide-ranging federal civil rights law, signed in 1990, that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability.

  • Amortization: Occurs when a loan balance decreases because of periodic installments paid on the principal and interest.

  • Amortized Loan: A financial debt that is paid off over a period of time by a series of periodic payments. A loan can be fully amortized or partially amortized requiring a balloon payment to satisfy the debt at the end of the term.

  • Amperage: Amount of electricity going through electric wires, measured in amperes (amps).

  • Anchor Tenant: Major department or chain store strategically located at shopping centers to give maximum exposure to smaller satellite stores. A center may have several anchor tenants. Also called Magnet Store.

  • Annexation: Attaching personal property to land so that it becomes a fixture and the law views it as part of the real property.

  • Annexation, Actual: The process of physically attaching personal property to land, causing it to be a fixture.

  • Annexation: Constructive personal property associated with real property in such a way that the law treats it as a fixture, even though it is not physically attached to the real property.

  • Annexer: Person who owns an item as personal property and brings it onto real property, making it a part of the real property.

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Relationship between the total cost of borrowing and the amount financed, represented as a percentage. Also called Effective Rate of Interest.

  • Anticipation: An economic principle that says value is created by the expectation of future benefits, such as profit on resale, pleasure, tax shelter, production, income, etc. Anticipation is the foundation of the income approach.

  • Anticipatory Repudiation: When one party to a contract informs the other before the set time of performance that he or she doesn’t intend to perform as agreed. The other party may immediately file a lawsuit for breach of contract without making a tender offer. Also called Anticipatory Breach.

  • Antitrust: An area of federal law concerned with maintaining competition in private markets by prohibiting unlawful restraint on trade.

  • Appraisal: A professional estimate or opinion of the value of a piece of property (parcel of land), as of a certain date, that's supported by objective data.

  • Appraisal Foundation: Nonprofit organization recognized as the authority for professional appraisal standards.

  • Appraisal Management Company (AMC): An entity that, for compensation, acts as a third party intermediary by contracting with independent real estate appraisers to perform appraisals for lenders.

  • Appraiser: A person who estimates the value of property, especially an expert qualified to do so by education and experience.

  • Appreciation: The increase in value of an asset over time.

  • Appropriative Rights: Water rights allocated by government permit, according to an appropriation system. It is not necessary to own property beside the body of water in order to apply for an appropriation permit.

  • Appurtenance: A right that goes along with ownership of real property; usually transferred with the property but may be sold separately.

  • Arbitration: An alternative to a court proceeding where the parties agree to submit facts and evidence to an impartial third party for a decision.

  • Area Variance: Entitles landowners to use land in a way that is typically not allowed by the dimensional or physical requirements of the zoning law.

  • Arm’s Length Transaction: A transaction that occurred under typical conditions in the marketplace, with each party acting in his or her own best interest.

  • Arrears:

    • Owing payment on things for which one has the use of but has not yet paid for, such as property taxes or mortgage interest that is paid in arrears.

    • Not on time; late in making payments or completing work.

  • As of Right Zoning: Refers to the landowner’s bundle of rights associated with a property; prohibits discrimination among landowners in a particular area.

  • Asbestos: A fibrous material that was once very common in many building materials because of its insulating and heat-resistant value; can cause breathing issues and illness.

  • As-Is Clause: A statement in a contract that indicates the property is being sold without warranty in its present condition at the time of the contract.

  • Ascending Bid: An auction method where the bidding starts low and the auctioneer asks for more, affording the opportunity for buyers to bid more, before the item is sold to the highest bidder.

  • Assemblage: The act of combining two or more parcels of land into one larger parcel.

  • Assessed Value: The value placed on a property by a taxing authority for the purpose of taxation. With real estate, this value is usually a fraction of true value.

  • Asset: An item of economic value owned by an individual, especially those that can be converted to cash.

  • Assignment:

    • The transfer of rights or interests under a contract to another party.

    • A valuation service that is provided by an appraiser as a consequence of an agreement with a client.

  • Association Fees: Monthly fees paid by each condominium or cooperative owner for common area expenses such as utilities, management, building maintenance, hazard and liability insurance for the common areas of the property, and other amenities.

  • Attachment Lien: A lien intended to prevent property transfer pending the outcome of litigation.

  • Attestation: The act of witnessing a person’s signing of an instrument by a notary public.

  • Attorney-In-Fact: A person specifically designated in an instrument (e.g., power of attorney) to do something legally for another in his stead. An attorney-in-fact has a fiduciary relationship with the principal. An attorney-in-fact need not be an attorney-at-law.

  • Attorney's Opinion of Title: A statement issued by an attorney after analyzing an abstract as to quality of title.

  • Auctioneer: A person licensed or authorized to conduct a public auction of item(s) belonging to someone else. In some states, an auctioneer selling real property must be licensed as a real estate broker, whereas in others he or she must be a licensed auctioneer.

  • Avulsion: A natural process in which land is removed from one person’s property and deposited onto another’s. Avulsion happens very suddenly, as in a flash flood.

If you have considered buying or selling a property, whether commercial or residential, wouldn't you want to know you're walking into a bad deal before it happens? Reach out to me for a consultation and protect yourself.

©Nick Swinehart - Coldwell Banker Coast Realty

14 views0 comments


bottom of page