Real Estate Glossary

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

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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Federal department that is active in national housing programs. Some programs they have are urban renewal, public housing, model cities, rehabilitation loans, FHA subsidy programs and water and sewer grants.

Entry link: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

unfair practices

Sales practices that do not involve deception but are still illegal under the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission. It is unfair if it offends public policy; is immoral, unethical, oppressive or unscrupulous; or causes injury to consumers.

Entry link: unfair practices

Uniform Commercial Code

The Uniform Commercial Code Section (UCC) is a central depository for certain financing statements and other documents provided for under the Uniform Commercial Code since 1966.

Excerpt from the Uniform Commercial Code:
The Uniform Commercial Code adopts the "notice filing" approach, under which an abbreviated notice is filed with the appropriate filing officer evidencing that a debtor and secured party intend to engage in a secured transaction using specified collateral as security. The actual security agreement may even be executed later. The Code became effective at midnight on June 30, 1966 , and applies to transactions entered into and events occurring after that date.

Simply the UCC permits an outlet for a creditor to present public notice by filing a financing statement with the appropriate filing office about a debtor’s assets used as collateral for a secured transaction.
Entry link: Uniform Commercial Code

Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA)

sets forth rules for entering into an enforceable contract using electronic means.
Entry link: Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA)

unilateral contract

is a contract that requires only one party of the contract to perform. An option contract is a common unilateral contract.

For example: a lost pet poster that offers an reward, no one is obligated to look for the pet but if the pet was to be found and returned, someone would owe them the reward that was listed.

Entry link: unilateral contract

unit-in-place method

estimates costs more generally than the quantity survey method. It is more of a “systems” or “component” approach to cost estimating.

In the unit-in-place method, costs are provided for installed items – that is the cost includes both the material and the labor to install the material. Costs are commonly given “per unit” for parts of a system or component with lump sum costs for fixtures and equipment.

For example, the electrical cost for a structure might be quoted per electrical receptacle. To calculate the cost for the electrical system, the number of receptacles is multiplied by the cost per receptacle. That calculation will provide the cost of the electrical job including materials and labor. This would be in contrast to the detail required in the quantity survey method which would require an itemization of the cost for receptacle boxes, receptacle plates, receptacles, switches, box covers, wire, etc. with a separate labor charge to install them.
Entry link: unit-in-place method

universal agent

when the principal allows the agent to act on behalf of the principal in every fact of their life. This type is not very common due to the broad scope of authority given to the agent.


  1. A professional athlete may hire a universal agent to negotiate compensation packages, select and choose investments, and negotiate endorsement contracts.
  2. An elderly person may hire to handle bank accounts, income, investments, sale of real or personal property, or any other matters.
Entry link: universal agent

Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI)

this is an insulating foam that can give off harmful formaldehyde gases.

Entry link: Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI)


Charging interest at a higher rate than the maximum rate established by state law.
Entry link: usury


is one of the four essential characteristics that must be present for any product to have value. Utility means that the product is useful and satisfies some need or desire.

The four essential characteristics or elements of value are: Demand, Utility, Scarcity, and Transferability – a useful tool to remember them is the acronym DUST.
Entry link: utility