Tap fees

Most companies charge a tap fee for hooking up utilities.

Tax deduction

A tax break given by the government. Mortgage interest, loan points and property taxes can be deducted.

Tax lien

An impediment placed against a property, such as back taxes.

Tax sale

The public sale of a property by the government for nonpayment of taxes.

Tax shelter

A term often applied to real estate investment and refers to various tax advantages.

Tear-down condition

A house that requires the entire interior to be rebuilt.

Teaser rate

An low, short-term rate offered on a mortgage to entice the borrower.

Tenancy by the entirety

When a married couple owns a home, it is usually considered tenancy by the entirety If the property must be sold to pay the debts of one spouse, both must agree.

Tenants in common

Two or more owners who share interest in a specific property.


A terrace can be several things: an unroofed paved area right next to a house; a roofed balcony; a veranda; or a raised bed of earth constructed to enhance a landscape.

The 72-hour clause

When a buyer has a house to sell before they can purchase another home, most sellers insist on a 72-hour clause. In the event of a better offer coming in before the contingency is settled, this clause entitles the seller to give the buyer 72 hours to remo

Third-party origination

In a third-party origination transaction, the lender has another institution originate all or part of a mortgage.


Ownership that involves the acquisition of a specific period of time, or that percentage of interest, in a vacation home or resort.


The actual legal document conferring ownership of a piece of real estate.

Title company

Firms that ensure that the title to a piece of property is clear and provide title insurance.

Title insurance

A policy issued to lenders and buyers to protect any losses because of a dispute over the ownership of a piece of property.

Title risk

Possible impediments to the transfer of a title from one owner to another.

Title search

A check of public title records to ascertain that the seller is the legal owner and that there are no claims or liens against the property.

Top producer

A real state industry term that refers to agents and brokers who sell a high volume of homes.

Top soil

The top layer of soil that is removed when lots are graded in preparation for construction.

Total expense ratio

The percentage of monthly debt obligations relative to gross monthly income.


An attached home that is not a condominium.

Tract home

Another term for a production home, a mass-produced house constructed by one builder in a project.

Trade equity

Other real estate or assets a buyer gives to a seller as part of the down payment.

Trading down

A reference to buyers who purchase a home that is less expensive than their current house.

Trading up

A reference to buyers who purchase a home that is more expensive home than their current house.


Trans-Union Corp. is one of the “Big Three” credit-reporting bureaus that operate nationwide. Address: 760 Sproul Road, P.O. Box 390, Springfield, PA 19064-0390. Phone: (312) 408-1400.

Transfer of ownership

Any legal means by which a piece of real estate changes hands.

Transfer tax

An assessment by state or local authorities at the time a piece of property changes hands.


A small hinged window directly above a door.

Tray ceiling

A tray ceiling has edges that slant toward the middle from the walls.

Treasury bills

Securities issued by the Treasury Department that have the full backing of the U.S. government.

Treasury index

An index used to determine interest rate changes for adjustable rate mortgages.


A decorative landscape structure made of thin strips of wood or plastic.

Trim work

The finishing of doors, doorways, window frames and floors.


A prefabricated framework of girders, struts and other items used to support a roof or other load-bearing elements.

Trust account

Special accounts used by brokers and escrow agents to safeguard funds for a buyer or seller.


A legally empowered person who holds or controls a piece of property for another person.

Truth-in-Lending Act

A federal law that protects consumers in a variety of ways. One of its key provisions allows a consumer to cancel a home-improvement loan, second mortgage or other loan if the home was pledged as security (except for a first mortgage or first trust deed)


The process of removing old mortar from between bricks and replacing it with new mortar.

Two- to four-family property

A piece of property that is owned by one person but provides housing for up to four households.

Two-step mortgage

An adjustable mortgage with two interest rates, one for the first five or seven years of the loan, and the other for the remainder of the loan term.


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