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Real Estate Glossary

This glossary was created by a team of real estate professionals. It contains terms regarding real estate buying and selling, home finance, home improvement, as well as legal terms. For your convenience, the glossary is searchable alphabetically.

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

habendum clause
The "to have and hold" clause which defines or limits the quantity of the estate granted in the premises of the deed

hazard insurance
A contract between purchaser and an insurer, to compensate the insured for loss of property due to hazards (fire, hail damage, etc.), for a premium. Most common, lender required feature of homeowners insurance

hereditaments

Property, personal and real, capable of being inherited

high-rise

A nine-story or taller building containing residential apartments or condominium units. In addition to spectacular views, most high-rises offer their residents a full range of amenities. Building features may include 24-hour concierge service, swimming pools, spas, saunas, tennis courts, exercise areas, party rooms and guest suites. Security is enhanced at these buildings by the manned entry desks and limited access, covered parking garages. Compare with mid-rise.

highest and best use
The particular use of a real property which will produce the greatest financial return. The optimum use of a site as used in appraisal. This is often determined by location, neighboring properties, deed restrictions and local zoning regulations. A home built on a busy street, surrounded by commercial property, and not restricted from other development, is not fulfilling its highest and best use. Once the property is redeveloped into commercial property, it can meet it economic potential.

HOA
Homeowner's association

hold harmless
In a contract, a promise by one party not to hold the other party responsible if the other party carries out the contract in a way that causes damage to the first party. For example, many leases include a hold harmless clause in which the tenant agrees not to sue the landlord if the tenant is injured due to the landlord’s failure to maintain the premises. In most states, these clauses are illegal in residential tenancies, but may be upheld in commercial settings.

home equity loan
A fixed or adjustable rate loan obtained for a variety of purposes, secured by the equity in your home. Interest paid is usually tax-deductible. Often used for home improvement or freeing of equity for investment in other real estate or investment. Recommended by many to replace or substitute for consumer loans whose interest is not tax-deductible, such as auto or boat loans, credit card debt, medical debt, and education loans.

home warranty
A service contract that covers a major housing system--for example, plumbing or electrical wiring--for a set period of time from the date a house is sold. The warranty guarantees repairs to the covered system and is renewable. A basic, one year Buyer's warranty costs $295 to $350 with additional coverage available for garage door openers, spas, swimming pools, sprinkler system and other appliances

homeowners' association (HOA)
An organization comprising neighbors concerned with managing the common areas of a subdivision or condominium complex. These associations take on issues such as maintaining common land and recreation areas, and collecting dues from residents. The homeowners' association is also responsible for enforcing any covenants, conditions & restrictions that apply to the property. Payment of dues and participation in the homeowner's association may be either voluntary or mandatory, depending on the neighborhood

homeowners' insurance

A type of insurance policy designed to protect homeowners from financial losses related the ownership of real property. In addition to covering losses due to vandalism, fire, hail, etc. (hazard insurance) most policies also provide theft and liability coverage. Flood related damage requires a separate flood insurance policy or rider.

homestead

1) The house in which a family lives, plus any adjoining land and other buildings on that land. (2) Land, and the improvements thereon, designated by the owner as his homestead and, therefore, protected by state law from forced sale by certain creditors of the owner. Other taxing authorities, such as cities and counties, may offer additional property tax exemptions on homesteads. Homestead protection will not stop forclosures for deliquent mortgages, taxes or mandatory homeowners association dues. (3) Land acquired out of the public lands of the United States. The term "homesteaders" refers to people who got their land by settling it and making it productive, rather than purchasing it outright.

house closing
The final transfer of the ownership of a house from the seller to the buyer, which occurs after both have met all the terms of their contract and the deed has been recorded. Also known as just "closing".

Housing and Urban Development, Deparment of (HUD)
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is the agency responsible for enforcing the federal Fair Housing Act.

HUD
Housing and Urban Development