Real Estate Glossary

Terms and concepts to improve your real estate understanding.
Browse the glossary using this index

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actual notice

one of the three ways the law presumes an indivual has notice of an event. Actual notice occurs when an individual has been informed in some way of the event, such as; overhearing a conversation, presented a document, or in some other way being made aware of the fact that the event occurred.

ad valorem tax

a tax levied according to value, generally used to refer to real estate tax.

Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARMs)

Mortgages originate at one rate then can change over the course of loan based upon different factors.

adverse possession

is a statutory means of acquiring title to the land of another by occupying the property. A claimant under adverse possession must actually be in possession of the property in such a manner as to satisfy the statutory requirements. Possession must be open, notorious, hostile, exclusive, and continuous.

The precise period required for a claim of adverse possession varies depending on the state.


is the relationship between a licensee and the person he/she is representing.

agency coupled with an interest

an agency relationship in which the agent is given an estate or interest in the subject of the agency (the property).


the person who acts on behalf of another person under a contractual relationship

air lots

is a desgnated airspace over a piece of land. An air lot, like surface property, meay be transferred.

air rights

the right to use the open space above a property, usually allowing the surface to be used for another purpose.

alienation clause

also known as a resale clause, due-on-sale clause, or call clause, this provides that when the property is sold, the lender may either declare the entire debt due immediately or permit the buyer to assume the loan at an interest rate acceptable to the lender.

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