Real Estate Glossary

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

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CERCLA - Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act

A federal law, in 1980 and reauthorized by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, which imposes on owners, lenders, occupants, and operators liability got correcting environmental problems discovered on a property.

Certificate of reasonable value (CRV)

This states the property's current market value based on a VA-approved appraisal. The CRV places a ceiling on the amount of a VA loan allowed on the property.

certificate of title

document from and attorney/agent expressing an opinion as to the lawful holder of title to the real estate. The title insurance company will use the certificate of title to issue the title insurance.

chain of title

shows each property’s history of ownership. Because the current owner’s title is only as good as the title received from the previous owner, the chain of title can establish that the ownership was properly vested in each of the proceeding owners.


or personal property, includes all tangible items that are not considered real estate.

Civil Rights Act of 1866

This banned all racial discrimination and was mainly intended to protect the civil rights of African Americans in the wake of the civil war. This law provided that "All citizens of the United States shall have the same right in every state and territory as is enjoyed by White citizens thereof, to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property."

Civil Rights Act of 1968

This emulated the objectives of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and extended protections against discrimination in residential real estate transactions based on the protected classes of race, color, religion, or national origin.


is the individual or entity that creates a contractual relationship with the real estate professional.

The appraisal client is generally the party engaging the services of the appraiser. The client may or may not be the party who pays the appraiser for his or her services. A financial institution may request an appraisal for a mortgage loan. The borrower/owner may pay the appraiser at the time of the inspection but the actual client for the appraisal service would be the financial institution who engaged the appraiser to perform the valuation service.


This involves two major events: the promises made in the sales contract are fulfilled and the mortgage funds are distributed to the buyer.

Closing disclosure

A five page document that shows the accounting of the settlement of payments and expenses for both the borrowers and sellers in the transaction.

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