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Glossary - E
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Earnest money
Money deposited by a buyer under the terms of a contract, to be forfeited if the buyer defaults but applied to the purchase price if the sale is closed.

Earnest money contract (EMC)
A contract for the sale or purchase of real estate in which the purchaser is required to tender earnest money to evidence good faith in completing the contractual obligations. Almost every sales contract for real estate in Texas will be an earnest money contract.

Earnest money deposit
A deposit made by the potential home buyer to show that he or she is serious about buying the house.

Easement
A right to use the land of another for a specific purpose, such as for a right-of-way or utilities; an incorporeal interest in land.

Easement by condemnation
An easement created by the government or government agency that has exercised its right under eminent domain.

Easement by necessity
An easement allowed by law as necessary for the full enjoyment of a parcel of real estate; for example, a right of ingress and egress over a grantor's land.

Easement by prescription
An easement acquired by continuous, open and hostile use of the property for the period of time prescribed by state law.

Easement in gross
An easement that is not created for the benefit of any land owned by the owner of the easement but that attaches personally to the easement owner. For example, a right granted by Eleanor Franks to Joe Fish to use a portion of her property for the rest of his life would be an easement in gross.

Economic life
The number of years during which an improvement will add value to the land.

Economic obsolescence
Loss of value of real property due to external forces or events; e.g.., a sewer plant is built next door to the subject property.

Effective age
An appraiser’s estimate of the physical condition of a building. The actual age of a building may be shorter or longer than its effective age.

Effective gross income
Normal annual income including overtime that is regular or guaranteed. The income may be from more than one source. Salary is generally the principal source, but other income may qualify if it is significant and stable.

Effective interest rate
The cost of credit on a yearly basis expressed as a percentage. Includes up-front costs paid to obtain the loan, and is, therefore, usually a higher amount than the interest rate stipulated in the mortgage note. Useful in comparing loan programs with different rates and points.

Effluxion of time
The normal expiration of a lease due to the passage of time, rather than due to a specific event that might cause the lease to end, such as destruction of the building.

Egress
An exit, or the act of exiting. The most famous use of this word was by P. T. Barnum, who put up a large sign in his circus tent saying "This Way to the Egress." Thinking an egress was some type of exotic bird, people eagerly went though the passage and found themselves outside the circus tent.

Emblements
Growing crops, such as grapes and corn, that are produced annually through labor and industry; also called fructus industrials.

Eminent domain
The right of a government or municipal quasi-public body to acquire property for public use through a court action called condemnation, in which the court decides that the use is a public use and determines the compensation to be paid to the owner.

Employee
Someone who works as a direct employee of an employer and has employee status. The employer is obligated to withhold income taxes and social security taxes from the compensation of employees. See also independent contractor.

Employer-assisted housing
A special Fannie Mae housing initiative that offers several different ways for employers to work with local lenders to develop plans to assist their employees in purchasing homes.

Employment contract
A document evidencing formal employment between employer and employee or between principal and agent. In the real estate business this generally takes the form of a listing agreement or management agreement.

Enabling acts
State legislation that confers zoning powers on municipal governments.

Enclave community
Smaller in scope than master-planned communities, enclave communities typically blend different price ranges of residential neighborhoods with amenities such as public recreation areas and parks, neighborhood schools and extensive landscaping. Recreation areas may include public swimming pools, tennis courts, and children's play grounds. Many offer large water features and gated access.

Encroachment
A building--or some portion of it--a wall or fence for instance, that extends beyond the land of the owner and illegally intrudes on some land of an adjoining owner or a street or alley.

Encumbrance
Anything, such as a mortgage, tax, or judgment lien, an easement, a restriction on the use of the land or an outstanding dower right that may diminish the value or use and enjoyment of a property.

Endorsement
Writing one's name, either with or without additional words, on a negotiable instrument, or on a paper attached to it.

Endorser
A person who signs ownership interest over to another party. Contrast with co-maker.

Equal credit opportunity act (ECOA)
The federal law that prohibits discrimination in the extension of credit because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age or marital status.

Equalization
The raising or lowering of assessed values for tax purposes in a particular county or taxing district to make them equal to assessments in other counties or districts.

Equalization factor
A factor (number) by which the assessed value of a property is multiplied to arrive at a value for the property that is in line with statewide tax assessments. The ad valorem tax would be based on this adjusted value.

Equal treatment/Different impact
It is possible to be guilty of discrimination even by treating two individuals the same. If the results of the treatment are discriminatory, or tend to exclude or otherwise harm members of a minority group, or have discriminatory impact, they are against the law. For example, an apartment house which rents only to doctors and lawyers, where there are few, if any, minority doctors or lawyers in the area, may be a violation of the Fair Housing Laws.

Equitable lien
A lien imposed on property by statute, a tax lien, for example--in contrast to an equitable lien, which arises out of common law.

Equitable right of redemption
The right of a defaulted property owner to recover the property prior to its sale by paying the appropriate fees and charges.

Equitable title
The interest held by a vendee under a contract for deed or an installment contract; the equitable right to obtain absolute ownership to property when legal title is held in another's name.

Equity
The interest or value that an owner has in property over and above any indebtedness.

Erosion
The gradual wearing away of land by water, wind and general weather conditions; the diminishing of property by the elements.

Escalator clause
The clause in a contract permitting adjustments of the payments.

Escheat
The reversion of property to the state or county, as provided by state law, in cases where a decedent dies interstate without heirs capable of inheriting, or when the property is abandoned.

Escrow
The closing of a transaction through a third party called an escrow agent, or escrowee, who receives certain funds and documents to be delivered upon the performance of certain conditions outlined in the escrow instructions.

Escrow account
The trust account established by a broker under the provisions of the license law for the purpose of holding funds on behalf of the broker's principal or some other person until the consummation or termination of a transaction.

Escrow analysis
Once each year your lender will perform an "escrow analysis" to make sure they are collecting the correct amount of money for the anticipated expenditures.

Escrow collections
Funds collected by the servicer and set aside in an escrow account to pay the borrower’s property taxes, mortgage insurance, and hazard insurance.

Escrow disbursements
The use of escrow funds to pay real estate taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance, and other property expenses as they become due.

Escrow instructions
A document that sets forth the duties of the escrow agent, as well as the requirements and obligations of the parties, when a transaction is closed through an escrow.

Escrow payment
The portion of a mortgagor’s monthly payment that is held by the servicer to pay for taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance, lease payments, and other items as they become due. Known as "impounds" or "reserves" in some states.

Estate
The ownership interest of an individual in real property. The sum total of all the real property and personal property owned by an individual at time of death.

Estate (tenancy) at sufferance
The tenancy of a lessee who lawfully comes into possession of a landlord's real estate but who continues to occupy the premises improperly after his or her lease rights have expired.

Estate (tenancy) at will
An estate that gives the lessee the right to possession until the estate is terminated by either party; the term of this estate is indefinite.

Estate (tenancy) for years
An interest for a certain, exact period of time in property leased for a specified consideration.

Estate (tenancy) from period to period
An interest in leased property that continues from period to period, week to week, month to month or year to year.

Estate in land
The degree, quantity, nature and extent of interest a person has in real property.

Estate taxes
Federal taxes on a decedent's real and personal property.

Estimate of value
An appraisal; the appraised value.

Estoppel
Method of creating an agency relationship in which someone states incorrectly that another person is his or her agent, and a third person relies on that representation.

Estoppel certificate
A document in which a borrower certifies the amount owed on a mortgage loan and the rate of interest.

Ethics
The system of moral principles and rules that becomes standards for professional conduct.

Et ux
Abbreviation for "et uxor", meaning "and wife".

Eviction
A legal process to oust a person from possession of real estate.

Evidence of title
Proof of ownership of property; commonly a certificate of title, an abstract of title with lawyer's opinion, title insurance or a Torrens registration certificate.

Examination of title
The report on the title of a property from the public records or an abstract of the title.

Exchange
A transaction in which all or part of the consideration is the transfer of like-kind property (such as real estate for real estate).

Exclusive-agency listing
A listing contract under which the owner appoints a real estate broker as his or her exclusive agent for a designated period of time to sell the property, on the owner's stated terms, for a commission. The owner reserves the right to sell without paying anyone a commission if he or she sells to a prospect who has not been introduced or claimed by the broker.

Exclusive listing
A written agreement in which the seller appoints only one agent to market the property for a specific period of time. If the owner sells the property himself, he is not required to pay a commission.

Exclusive right-to-sell listing
A listing contract under which the owner appoints a real estate broker as his or her exclusive agent for a designated period of time, to sell the property on the owner's stated terms, and agrees to pay the broker a commission when the property is sold, whether by the broker, the owner or another broker.

Exculpatory clause
A provision in a lease that absolves the landlord from responsibility for all damages, injuries or losses occurring on the property, including those caused by the landlord's actions. Most states have laws that void exculpatory clauses in rental agreements, which means that a court will not enforce them.

Executed contract
A contract in which all parties have fulfilled their promises and thus performed the contract.

Execution
The signing and delivery of an instrument. Also, a legal order directing an official to enforce a judgment against the property of a debtor.

Executor/executrix
A person named in a will to administer an estate. The court will appoint an administrator if no executor is named. "Executrix" is the feminine form.

Executory contract
A contract under which something remains to be done by one or more of the parties.

Express agreement
An oral or written contract in which the parties state the contract's terms and express their intentions in words.

Express contract
An oral or written contract in which the parties state the contract's terms and express their intentions in words.

Expropriation
The right of government to take private property for public use, through court action known as condemnation. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution allows the government to take private property if the taking is for a public use and the owner is "justly compensated" (usually, paid fair market value) for his or her loss. A public use is virtually anything that is sanctioned by a federal or state legislative body, but such uses may include roads, parks, reservoirs, schools, hospitals or other public buildings. Sometimes called expropriation.

External depreciation
Reduction in a property's value caused by outside factors (those that are off the property).

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