Real Estate Dictionary

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 of way giving persons other than the owner access to or over a 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.

Eminent Domain


The right of a government to take private property for public use upon payment of its fair market value. Eminent domain is the basis for condemnation proceedings.

Employer-Assisted Housing


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

Encroachment


An improvement that intrudes illegally on another's property.

Encumbrance


Anything that affects or limits the fee simple title to a property, such as mortgages, leases, easements, or restrictions.

Endorser


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

Equal Credit Opportunity


A federal law that requires lenders and other creditors to make credit equally available without discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, or receipt of income from public assistance programs.

Equity


A homeowner's financial interest in a property. Equity is the difference between the fair market value of the property and the amount still owed on its mortgage.

Escrow


An item of value, money, or documents deposited with a third party to be delivered upon the fulfillment of a condition. For example, the deposit by a borrower with the lender of funds to pay taxes and insurance premiums when they become due, or the deposit of funds or documents with an attorney or escrow agent to be disbursed upon the closing of a sale of real estate.

Escrow Account


The account in which a mortgage servicer holds the borrower's escrow payments prior to paying property expenses.

Escrow Analysis


The periodic examination of escrow accounts to determine if current monthly deposits will provide sufficient funds to pay taxes, insurance, and other bills when due.

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 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.

Eviction


The lawful expulsion of an occupant from real property.

Examination Of Title


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

Exclusive Listing


A written contract that gives a licensed real estate agent the exclusive right to sell a property for a specified time, but reserving the owner's right to sell the property alone without the payment of a commission.

Executor


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.