Dictionary T

Back to top
A hardboard exterior siding with vertical grooves to simulate boards.
tank stopper
A rubber plug or flapper that seals the valve seat between a toilet tank and bowl. Upon
flushing a toilet, the tank stopper is lifts to allow water to rush through the flush valve into the bowl.
tap fees
A fee charged by most companies for hooking up utilities.
tax deduction
A tax break given by the government. Mortgage interest, loan points, and property taxes can be deducted.
tax lien
A lien placed against a property for nonpayment of taxes.
Back to top
tax sale
The public sale of a property by the government for nonpayment of taxes.
tax service fee
A fee collected to set up third-party monitoring of the borrower’s property tax payments. This is done to ensure that the payments are made on time, and to prevent tax liens from occurring to the detriment of the lender.
tax shelter
A term often applied to real estate investment, referring to various tax advantages.
A house in such poor condition as to require rebuilding from the ground up.
teaser rate
A low, short-term interest rate offered on a mortgage to entice the borrower.
tenancy by the entirety
Ownership by a husband and wife in which they together hold title to the whole property with right of survivorship.
Back to top
tenancy in common
A form of ownership in which two or more owners hold an undivided (though not necessarily equal) interest in the property, with no right of survivorship.
A common-law term referring to the way in which a piece of property is held, such as a fee simple or leasehold.
terra cotta
A red, low-fired tile that is a popular roofing material.
A terrace can be several things: a veranda, a roofed balcony, an unroofed paved area next to a
house, or a raised bed of earth constructed to enhance a landscape.
The Buyer’s Agent Inc.
National buyer’s brokerage company with franchises in 28 states. Call (800) 766-8728 for information and referrals.
A thick copper wire that acts as a safety device on a gas burner. If the pilot light for the burner goes out, the sensor on the end of the wire cools and prevents the flow of gas to the burner.
Back to top
A safety device on a pilot light gas ignition system. If the thermocouple isn’t being warmed by the pilot light, it shuts off the flow of gas.
A control that automatically turns on a heater, furnace, or air conditioner when room temperature reaches a set level.
thermostatic control
A device used to regulate the point at which the burner for the water heater is activated.
third-party origination
In a third-party origination transaction, the lender has another institution originate all or part of a mortgage.
three-way switch
A three-way switch controls one or more lights from two different locations. These are often placed at both ends of a stair or hallway.
A flat trim strip normally made of oak or aluminum that offers a durable and finished transition between the floors on both sides of a door or between indoors and out.
Back to top
The distance a deadbolt extends out from the edge of a door when in its locked position.
time is of the essence
A phrase in a purchase contract that indicates a certain period of time in which an act must be performed.
Ownership involves the acquisition of a specific period of time or percentage of interest in a vacation home or resort.
The legal document conferring ownership of a piece of real estate.
title company
A firm that ensures that the property title is clear and provides title insurance.
title examination
An examination of the public record to determine that the seller is the legal owner and there are no encumbrances (such as claims or liens) affecting the property.
Back to top
title insurance
A policy issued to lenders and buyers to protect against loss due to disputed property ownership.
title insurance binder
A title insurance company’s written commitment to insure title to the property, subject to the conditions and exclusions shown on the binder.
title risk
Possible impediments to the transfer of a title from one owner to another.
title search
The process of reviewing all recorded transactions in the public record to determine whether any title defects exist that could interfere with the clear transfer of ownership of the property.
toilet seal
A gasket that seals the joint between the bottom of a toilet and the drain piping. This prevents water leakage and the escape of sewer gases.
tongue and groove
Lumber with a small groove down one side of each board and a protruding piece (tongue) on the other side that fits into the groove when the boards are installed.
Back to top
top producer
A real state industry term that refers to agents and brokers who sell a high volume of homes.
top rail

The horizontal structural member of a door that runs across the top of the door.

top soil
The top layer of soil that is removed when lots are graded in preparation for construction.
total expense ratio
The percentage of monthly debt obligations relative to gross monthly income.
total lender fees
Fees required by the lender to obtain the loan, apart from other fees associated with transferring a property between buyer and seller. Also known as finance charges.
total loan amount
The base loan amount plus any financed closing costs.
Back to top
total monthly housing costs
The sum of principal, interest, property taxes, and if applicable, private mortgage insurance (PMI) and either hazard insurance or homeowners’ association dues.
total of all payments
The total cost of the loan, including repayment of the principal amount and the sum of monthly interest payments.
total paid at closing
All closing costs, prepaid fees, and the down payment. The lender may require you to demonstrate extra cash reserves equal to two months’ worth of housing expenses as well.
An attached home that is not a condominium.
Temperature/pressure relief valve. A device that releases built-up energy in a tank at a certain temperature or pressure.
tract home
Another term for a production home, a mass-produced house constructed by one builder in a project.
Back to top
trade equity
Other real estate or assets that a buyer gives to a seller as part of the down payment.
trading down
Buying a home that is less expensive than the one’s current house.
trading up
Buying a home that is more expensive than one’s current house.
Trans Union Corporation
Trans Union Corporation is one of the “Big Three” credit-reporting bureaus that operate nationwide. Address: 760 Sproul Road, P.O. Box 390, Springfield, PA 19064-0390. Phone: (800) 888-4213 .
transaction broker
A real estate professional who is hired to help a buyer and seller reach an agreement. The transaction broker does not represent either the buyer or the seller.
transfer of ownership
Any legal means by which a piece of real estate changes hands.
Back to top
transfer tax
An assessment by state or local authorities at the time a piece of property changes hands.
A small hinged window directly above a door.
In plumbing, a curved section of drainpipe that fills with water, providing a liquid seal to prevent the emission of sewage gases.
A trap is the U- or S-shaped section of drainpipe directly beneath a plumbing fixture such as a
sink or shower. Its shape is intended to hold a small amount of water so that it blocks sewer gasses from rising into the home.
tray ceiling
A tray ceiling has edges that slant toward the middle from the walls.
The flat part of a stair step.
Back to top
Treasury bills
Securities issued by the Treasury Department that have the full backing of the U.S. government.
Treasury index
An index used to determine interest rate changes for adjustable rate mortgages.
A decorative landscape structure made of thin strips of wood or plastic.
trim work
The finishing of doors, doorways, window frames, and floors.
A prefabricated framework of girders, struts and other items used to support a roof or other load-bearing elements.
trust account
A special account used by a broker or escrow agent to safeguard funds for a buyer or seller.
Back to top
A legally empowered person who holds or controls a piece of property for another person.
Truth in Lending Act
A federal law that allows a consumer to cancel a home-improvement loan, second mortgage, or other loan until midnight of the third business day after a contract is signed, if the home was pledged as security (except for a first mortgage or first trust deed).
The process of removing old mortar from between bricks and replacing it with new mortar.
two- to four-family property
A piece of property that is owned by one person but provides housing for up to four households.
two-step mortgage
An adjustable mortgage with two interest rates: one for the first five or seven years of the loan, and the other for the remainder of the loan term.
Scroll to Top
Skip to content