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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

implied warranty of habitability
A legal doctrine that requires landlords to offer and maintain livable premises for their tenants. If a landlord fails to provide habitable housing, tenants in most states may legally withhold rent or take other measures, including hiring someone to fix the problem or moving out. See constructive eviction.

improvements
Valuable additions to the land, such as buildings, fences, roads, etc., which increase the value of the property

incidents of ownership
Any control over property. If you give away property but keep an incident of ownership--for example, you give away an apartment building but retain the right to receive rent--then legally, no gift has been made. This distinction can be important if you're making large gifts to reduce your eventual estate tax

income approach to value
An estimate of value based on the monetary returns that a property can be expected to generate; capitalization. Contrast with the cost approach to value and the market data approach to value.

Independent School District
Each district is run by an elected school board, which appoints a superintendent and sets budgets and tax rates.

index
A number, usually a percentage, upon which future interest rates for adjustable rate mortgages are based

ingress
An entrance, or the act of entering. Compare egress.

inspection clause
A stipulation in an offer to purchase that makes the sale contingent on the findings of a home inspector.

insurable title
A title which a title company will insure

interest
The periodic charge, expressed as a percentage, for use of credit.

intermediary
The broker must obtain the written consent of each party to the transaction to act as an intermediary. The written consent must state who will pay the broker and, in conspicuous bold or underlined print, set forth the broker's obligations as an intermediary. The broker is required to treat each party honestly and fairly. A broker who acts as an intermediary in a transaction: (1) shall treat all parties honestly; (2) may not disclose that the owner will accept a price less than than the asking price unless authorized in writing to do so by the owner; (3) may not disclose that the buyer will pay a price greater than the price submitted in a written offer unless authorized in writing to do so by the buyer; and (4) may not disclose any confidential information or any information that a party specifically instructs the broker in writing not to disclose unless authorized in writing to disclose the information. With the parties' consent, a broker acting as an intermediary between the parties may appoint a licensed person to communicate with and carry out instructions of one party and another person who is licensed under the Act and associated with the broker to communicate with and carry out instructions of the other party

intestate
Legal designation of a person who has died without leaving a valid will

intimidation
As defined in the fair housing laws, it is the illegal act of coercing, intimidating, threatening, or interfering with a person in exercising or enjoying any right granted or protected by federal, state or local fair housing laws.

invitee
A business guest, or someone who enters property held open to members of the public, such as a visitor to a museum. Property owners must protect invitees from dangers on the property. In an example of the perversion of legalese, social guests that you invite into your home are called "licensees."