Glossary

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There are 71 names in this directory beginning with the letter E.
E.P.A.
Environmental Protection Agency.
Earnest Money
A deposit that a prospective buyer gives the seller as evidence of his or her good faith intention to complete the transaction. Also called a good faith deposit.
Easement
The right, privilege, or interest that one party has in the land of another.
Easement Appurtenant
An easement that ben_efits a piece of property, the dominant tenement. Compare: Easement in Gross.
Easement by Express Grant
An easement granted to another in a deed or other document.
Easement by Express Reservation
An ease_ment created in a deed when a landowner is di_viding the property, transferring the servient tenement but retaining the dominant tenement; an easement that the grantor reserves for his or her own use.
Easement by Implication
An easement created by law when a parcel of land is divided, if there has been long-standing, apparent prior use, and it is reasonably necessary for the enjoy_ment of the dominant tenement. Sometimes called an easement by necessity.
Easement by Necessity
The right of an owner to cross over another's property for a special necessary purpose.
Easement by Prescription
Continued use of another's property for a special purpose can convert to permanent use if certain conditions are met.
Easement in Gross
An easement that benefits a person instead of a piece of land; there is a dominant tenant, but no dominant tenement. Compare: Easement Appurtenant.
Easement, Access
An easement that enables the easement holder to reach and/or leave his or her property (the dominant tenement) by cross_ing the servient tenement. Also called an ease_ment for ingress and egress.
Easement, Aviation
An easement by which a property owner allows aircraft to fly through the airspace over his or her property (above a specified height).
Easement, Negative
An easement that prevents the servient tenant from using his or her own land in a certain way (instead of allowing the dominant tenant to use it); essentially the same thing as a restrictive covenant that runs with the land.
Easement, Positive
An easement that allows the dominant tenant to use the servient tenement in a particular way. This is the standard type of easement (see the first definition of Easement, above); the term "positive easement" is gener_ally only used when contrasting a standard ease_ment with a negative easement.
Easement, Prescriptive
An easement acquired by prescription; that is, by using the property openly and without the owner's permission for the period prescribed by statute.
Economic Life
The period during which im_proved property will yield a return over and above the rent due to the land itself; also called the useful life. Compare: Physical Life.
Economic Survey
A part of the land use plan_ning process, in which the present and antici_pated future economic needs of an area are analyzed.
Egress
A means of access or exit.
Ejectment
A legal action to recover possession of real property from someone who is not le_gally entitled to possession of it; an eviction.
Elements of Comparison
In the market data approach to appraisal, considerations taken into account in selecting comparables and compar_ing comparables to the subject property; they include time of sale, location, and physical char_acteristics.
Emblements
Crops that are produced annually through the labor of the cultivator, such as wheat.
Emblements, Doctrine of
The legal rule that gives an agricultural tenant the right to enter the land to harvest crops after the lease ends.
Eminent Domain
The right of the government or a public utility to acquire property for necessary public use by condemnation, but the owner must be fairly compensated.
Employee
Someone who works under the direction and control of another. Compare: Independent Contractor.
Encroachment
A building, part of a building, or obstruction that physically intrudes upon, overlaps, or trespasses upon the property of another.
Encumber
To place a lien or other encumbrance against the title to a property.
Encumbrance
Any right to or interest in land that affects its value, including mortgage loans, unpaid taxes, easements, junior liens, or deed restrictions.
Encumbrance, Financial
A lien.
Endorsement
Assignment of a negotiable in_strument (such as a check or a promissory note) by the payee to another party, by signing on the back of the instrument.
Endorsement in Blank
An endorsement that does not specify a particular holder, so that the bearerwhoever has possession of the instru_mentis entitled to payment.
Endorsement, Special
An endorsement to a specific transferee (as opposed to an endorse_ment in blank).
Enjoin
To prohibit an act, or command perfor_mance of an act, by court order; to issue an injunction.
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
A report that contains detailed information con_cerning how a proposed project would affect the environment.
Equilibrium
In the life cycle of a property, a period of stability, during which the property undergoes relatively little change.
Equitable Conversion
A legal doctrine in some states in which, under a contract of sale, buyers and sellers are treated as though the closing has taken place in that the seller in possession has an obligation to take care of the property.
Equitable Remedy
In a civil lawsuit, a judg_ment granted to the plaintiff that is something other than an award of money (damages); an injunction, rescission, and specific performance are examples.
Equitable Title
The interest held by one who has agreed to purchase, but has not yet closed the transaction.
Equity
The value of the unencumbered interest in real estate as determined by subtracting the total of the unpaid mortgage balances plus the sum of any current liens against the property from the property's fair market value.
Erosion
Gradual loss of soil due to the action of water or wind.
Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance
Pro_tects brokers against civil claims of malprac_tice
Escalator Clause
A clause in a contract or mortgage that provides for payment or interest adjustments (usually increases) if specified events occur, such as a change in the property taxes or in the prime interest rate. Also called an escalation clause.
Escape Clause
A provision in a purchase agree_ment that allows the buyer to terminate the con_tract if the appraised value of the property turns out to be significantly less than the agreed price. Required for transactions to be financed with FHA or VA loans, if the loan applicant (the buyer) signs the purchase agreement before the appraisal report is issued.
Escheat
The reversion of property to the state in the event that the owner dies without leaving a will and has no legal heirs.
Escrow
An agreement between two or more parties providing that certain instruments or property be placed with a third party for safekeeping, pending the fulfillment or performance of a specified act or condition.
Escrow Account
An account from which funds can be disbursed only for specified reasons; i.e. the money is held in trust for a specific use. In lending, these accounts are most often used to hold and disburse real estate taxes and hazard insurance premiums, which have been paid in advance (usually on a monthly basis) by the borrower.
Estate
1. An interest in real property that is or may become possessor}'; either a freehold or a leasehold. 2. The property left by someone who has died.
Estate at Sufferance
A situation in which a tenant who originally took possession of the property lawfully stays on after the lease ends without the landlord's consent; the lowest estate in land. Also called a tenancy at sufferance.
Estate at Will
A leasehold estate for an indefi_nite period, which continues until either the land_lord or tenant gives notice of termination to the other party. Also called a month-to-month ten_ancy, periodic tenancy, or tenancy at will.
Estate for Life
A freehold estate that lasts only as long as a specified person lives; that person is referred to as the measuring life. Commonly called a life estate.
Estate for Years
An estate for a definite period of time, which terminates automatically at the end of the period. Also called a tenancy for years or a term tenancy.
Estate of Inheritance
An estate that can pass to the holder's heirs, such as a fee simple.
Estate Tax
A tax on the value of property left by the deceased, subject to certain tax rules.
Estoppel
A doctrine of law that stops one from later denying facts which that person once acknowledged were true and others accepted on good faith.
Estoppel Certificate
A document that prevents the person who signs it from later asserting facts different from those stated in the document; for example, a statement signed by a mortgage lender confirming that the remaining mortgage balance is a specified amount. Also called an estoppel letter.
Et al.
Abbreviation for the Latin phrase "et alius" or "et alii," meaning "and another" or "and others."
Ethics
A system of accepted principles or stan_dards of moral conduct. See: Code of Ethics.
Eviction
Legal proceeding by a lessor (landlord) to recover possession of property.
Eviction, Actual
Physically forcing someone off of real property (or preventing them from re-entering), or using the legal process to make them leave. Compare: Eviction, Constructive.
Eviction, Constructive
When a landlord's act (or failure to act) interferes with the tenant's quiet enjoyment of the property, or makes the property unfit for its intended use, to such an extent that the tenant is forced to move out.
Eviction, Self-Help
The use of physical force, a lock-out, or a utility shut-off to evict a tenant, instead of the legal process. This is generally illegal.
Exchange
Under Section 1031 of the IRS Tax Code, like-kind property used in a trade or business or held as an investment can be exchanged tax-free, subject to certain conditions.
Exculpatory Clause
Provision in a mortgage allowing the borrower to surrender the property to the lender without personal liability.
Execute
1. To sign an instrument and take any other steps (such as acknowledgment) that may be necessary to its validity. 2. To perform or complete. See: Contract, Executed.
Execution
The legal process in which a court orders an official (such as the sheriff) to seize and sell the property of a judgment debtor to satisfy a lien.
Executor
A person named in a will to carry out its provisions. If it is a woman, she may be re_ferred to as the executrix, but that term is pass_ing out of use.
Exemption
A provision holding that a law or rule does not apply to a particular person or group; for example, a person entitled to a tax exemption is not required to pay the tax.
Expenses, Fixed
Recurring property expenses, such as general real estate taxes and hazard in_surance.
Expenses, Maintenance
Cleaning, supplies, utilities, tenant services, and administrative costs for income producing property.
Expenses, Operating
For income producing property, the fixed expenses, maintenance ex_penses, and reserves for replacement; does not include debt service.
Expenses, Variable
Expenses incurred in con_nection with property that do not occur on a set schedule, such as the cost of repairing a roof damaged in a storm.
Express
Stated in words, whether spoken or written. Compare: Implied.