Real Estate & Investing Dictionary
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External front of a building that faces the street or courtyard and is usually used to describe bigger, elegant buildings. Façade materials include wood, brick, glass, masonry, aluminum, etc.

Face Value
In reference to a note, the face value is the full amount for which the note has been written.

Covering of contrasting material to decorate or protect a building; a finished wall surface.

Fair Credit Reporting Act
A consumer protection law that regulates the disclosure of consumer credit reports by consumer/credit reporting agencies and establishes procedures for correcting mistakes on one's credit record.

Fair Credit Reporting Act
A federal law that regulates credit bureaus and credit reports and gives persons certain rights regarding both.

Fair Housing Act
Federal law making it illegal to refuse to rent or sell to anyone based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. 1988 amendments expanded protections to include family status and disability.

Fair Market Value
Amount that could be received on the sale of real estate when there is a willing seller and buyer. It is a term generally used in property tax and condemnation legislation, meaning the market value of a property.

Fair Market Value
The highest price that a buyer, willing but not compelled to buy, would pay, and the lowest a seller, willing but not compelled to sell, would accept.

Fair Market Value - FMV
The value that a willing and knowledgeable buyer would pay, and a willing and knowledgeable seller would accept, in an arm's-length transaction for a property.

Fannie Mae
See Federal National Mortgage Association.

Fannie Mae - FNMA
The Federal National Mortgage Association, which is a congressionally chartered, shareholder-owned company that is the nation's largest supplier of home mortgage funds. For a discussion of the roles of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac (FHLMC), and Ginnie Mae (GNMA), see the Library.

Fannie Mae's Community Home Buyer's Program
An income-based community lending model, under which mortgage insurers and Fannie Mae offer flexible underwriting guidelines to increase a low- or moderate-income family's buying power and to decrease the total amount of cash needed to purchase a home. Borrowers who participate in this model are required to attend pre-purchase home-buyer education sessions.

The abbreviation a lender puts on a borrower's credit record to indicate a foreclosure.

See Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
The corporation set up by the federal government to insure deposits in banks and S&Ls.

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation
A government-chartered but privately owned corporation that buys mortgages from S&Ls. Also called Freddie Mac.

Federal Housing Administration
An agency of the federal government that regulates many aspects of the real estate industry, and that insures repayment of certain home loans.

Federal Housing Administration - FHA
An agency of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Its main activity is the insuring of residential mortgage loans made by private lenders. The FHA sets standards for construction and underwriting but does not lend money or plan or construct housing.

Federal National Mortgage Association
A government-chartered but privately owned corporation that buys mortgages from mortgage companies. Also called Fannie Mae.

Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation
A corporation formerly run by the federal government that insured deposits in S&Ls; FDIC took over this function. FSLIC deposit insurance funds, what were left of them, were transferred to an FDIC fund called Savings Association Insurance Fund, SAIF for short.

Fee Simple
The greatest possible interest a person can have in real estate.

Fee Simple Estate
An unconditional, unlimited estate of inheritance that represents the greatest estate and most extensive interest in land that can be enjoyed. It is of perpetual duration. When the real estate is in a condominium project, the unit owner is the exclusive owner only of the air space within his or her portion of the building (the unit) and is an owner in common with respect to the land and other common portions of the property.

Feng Shui
Ancient Chinese philosophy, which believes that the positioning and physical characteristics of a home affect the fortunes of the owner.

Any carved or molded decoration that is shaped like a wreath or garland of flowers, leaves, etc. hanging in a loop or curve. This horizontal decorations seems to span two points with a slight sag in the middle.

FHA Guidelines
Rules that specify income and credit requirements for a borrower, and the condition and value of a property to allow an insured loan of a particular size.

FHA Mortgage
The mortgage that is in first place among any loans recorded against a property. Usually refers to the date in which loans are recorded, but there are exceptions.

FHA Mortgage Loan
Mortgage loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

See Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.

Fidelity Bond
Insurance coverage purchased by an employer to cover employees who are entrusted with valuable property or funds, to protect against specified losses arising from any dishonest act by these employees.

An agent in the position of confidence to his principal. Also, a relationship of trust and confidence imposed by law.

Fiduciary Duty
The holding in trust of something by one person for another. Also applies to legal, real estate and business relationships

Final Value Estimate
Final property appraisal estimate arrived at the use of appropriate appraisal methods.

Finance Charge
Interest and any other charges, including points, that make up the fees incurred when borrowing money.

Financed Closing Costs
Costs for closing of title that are added to the loan amount rather than being paid up front. This practice adds to the amount borrowed, increasing the monthly payment.

Financial Analysis
An investor's determination of the value of a property according to their specific needs.

Financial Calculator
Calculator which has numerous built-in financial functions including cash flow analysis, mortgage amortization, present and future yield, yield to maturity and many other business statistics and financial ratios.

Financial Feasibility
The ability of a proposed land use or change of land use to justify itself from an economic point of view.

Financial Leverage
The use of other people's money for investment purposes.

Financial Statement
Report that shows income and expenses for an accounting period and normally consists of a balance sheet, income statement and statement of cash flows.

The way in which an investor obtains the capital with which to purchase a property.

A coded value identifying the existence of a fireplace Code Y 1-9 Blank Description Fireplace in Property Indicates Number of Fireplaces None or Unavailable

Firm Commitment
A lender’s agreement to make a loan to a specific borrower on a specific property.

First Lien
Debt recorded first against a property.

First Loan
The amount of the first loan taken by the owner of a particular piece of property, typically toward the purchase of that property.

First Mortgage
The mortgage that is in first place among any loans recorded against a property. Usually refers to the date in which loans are recorded, but there are exceptions.

First Mortgage
Mortgage that has priority as a lien over all other mortgages. In cases of foreclosures, the first mortgage must be satisfied before other mortgages are paid off.

First Mortgage
Primary mortgage on a property, which takes priority over any other liens and is satisfied before any secondary liens.

First Refusal Right
Being offered the right to buy something before it is offered to others. The opportunity of a party to match the terms of a proposed contract before the contract is executed.

Fixed Assets
Also called long-term assets, they are assets such as office equipment that can be depreciated.

Fixed Expenses
Those expenses which remain the same regardless of circumstances.

Fixed Installment
Monthly home loan payments.

Fixed Payment Mortgage
A loan secured by real estate, which features a periodic payment of interest, and principal, which is constant over the term of the loan. All fixed payment mortgages are fixed rate mortgages, but some fixed rate mortgages may have variable payments, such as a graduated payment mortgage.

Fixed Rate Mortgage
Loan with an interest rate that remains at a specific rate for the entire loan. Approximately 75 per cent of home mortgages are this type.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage
A mortgage in which the interest rate does not change during the entire term of the loan.

Personal property that becomes real property when attached in a permanent manner to real estate.

Flexible Payment Mortgage
Loan allowing the borrower to pay only the interest for the first few years of the loan.

Flexible Seller
A seller who is willing to sell property in a nontraditional manner. This person may be flexible in terms, price, or both.

The turnover of property. An investor buys a property to immediately sell it for a profit.

Flood Insurance
Insurance that compensates for physical property damage resulting from flooding. It is required for properties located in federally designated flood areas.

Floor Loan
The minimum amount of money a lender is willing to provide on a commercial loan for a building that is to be tenant occupied. This loan is progressively funded as the building is constructed and occupied.

Floor Plan
The arrangement of rooms in a structure. A two-dimensional scale drawing of the arrangements, size and orientation of doors, rooms, walls, and windows of a single floor of a building structure.

Flooring, Parquet
Patterned wood flooring, inlaid in geometric forms of contrasting woods.

The value that a willing and knowledgeable buyer would pay, and a willing and knowledgeable seller would accept, in an arm's-length transaction for a property.

See Federal National Mortgage Association.

Folding Door
Door that is manufactured in multiple sections that are hinged and fold back as they are slid open. Ceiling tract mounting is preferable so that the weight of the doors can be held more firmly and without sag.

Folding Partition
Room divider, which is hinged, and folds back to the wall as it is slid open. Ceiling tract mounting is preferable so that the weight of the divider can be held more firmly and without sag.

Folding Rule
Ruler that folds into itself, by hinges at intervals, and which can be extended to measure.

Folding Stairs
Retractable stairway that folds up into an overhead opening, when not in use. Often used as attic stairs, they can be pulled down for use and stored out of the way at other times.

Decorated surface with a leaf design.

The base or bottom of a foundation pier, wall, or column that is usually wider than the upper portion of the foundation. The added width at the bottom spreads the load over a wider area.

A policy of restraint in taking legal action to remedy a default or other breach of contract, generally in the hope that the default will be cured, given additional time. Actions a lender may take to delay foreclosure or legal action against a delinquent borrower.

A lender voluntarily accepts payments that are lower than originally agreed in the loan documents for a limited period of time in order to allow the borrower to recover financially. The borrower must eventually repay the missing or reduced payments, as well as all the other remaining payments on the loan.

Strength, energy or power needed to accomplish a certain act.

Force Cup
The device normally used to unclog toilets, consisting of a long handle with a rubber cup on the end. When the cup is fitted over the drain and pushed toward the drain by pressure exerted on the handle, the air in the cup is compressed and force is exerted on the obstruction in the drain and pushes it through to clear the pipe. This is also referred to as a plumber's friend or a plumber's helper.

Force Fit
Using force to fit together objects which are close to the same size.

Force Majeure
An unavoidable cause of delay or of failure to perform an obligation in time due to an unpreventable, overwhelming and irresistible force. A clause is often added to a contract to provide indemnification should an Act of God delay completion past the contractual deadline.

Forced Air Heating System (Forced Hot Air)
A heating system that circulates warm air, from a heat source, through the ducting by means of a blower fan.

Forced Sale
Sale of property where the seller is under duress and is unable to allow current market prices and conditions determine the selling price.

Forced Sale
The sale of a property used as security for a loan to repay the creditor, or others, in the event of default on the loan.

A proceeding in or out of court, to extinguish all rights, title, and interest, of the owner of a property in order to sell the property to satisfy a lien against it.

The forced sale of a piece of real estate to repay a debt.

Legal process in which a lender ends the borrower's interest in a property after a loan is defaulted.

Intentional false statements that were believed and relied on by a person, who suffered loss as a result.

Freddie Mac
See Federal Home Loan Mortgage.

Freehold Estate
Estate in which ownership is for an indeterminate length of time. Unlimited interest in a property. Freehold estates include freehold in deed, a fee simple estate; freehold in law, an inheritable estate; and determinable freeholds, a life estate.

Freeze Order
See Automatic Stay.

Front Foot
The width of a lot at the front, usually given as the first measurement.

A designation for Federal Savings Association.

For Sale By Owner

FSBO (For Sale By Owner)
Homeowner acting as salesperson for his own property. No listing commission is paid but a sales commission may be paid to a buyer's agent.
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