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The American Arbitration Association (AAA) has developed dispute resolution systems for real estate. Aribitration is often being offered to buyers and sellers of real estate as an alternate forum (to litigation) for the resolution of real estate related problems. Considering the relatively modest costs, and speed to resolution, arbitration is worth looking in to.


The abandonment of a street, railroad right-of-way or homestead is often accomplished by giving public notice, normally the recording of an instrument. Local, state and federal governments are also usually involved in the process of abandonment when public utilities, railroads or roadways are involved.


Abatement in real estate usually refers to the reduction of the amount of something, often in an improvement. Individuals seek to abate the affects of asbestos, lead, electromagnetic fields (EMF), radon and other potential hazards.


A non-permanent dwelling. A fixed abode would be considered a "domicile."

Absolute Auction

When properties being sold unconditionally, or without the requirement that a minimum bid be met, the auction is considered an "absolute" auction.


When a title search has been completed on a property and copies of all recorded instruments affecting the history of the property are known an abstractor or title examiner compiles the records into a single document that shows all deeds, mortgages, easements, liens, and encumbrances of public record. An abstract will usually not contain information on unrecorded instruments like unrecorded leases.

Abstracts are often reviewed by attorneys who offer an "opinon of title." Abstracts do not, however, insure title.

Abutting Properties

Properties that have a common boundary.

Acceleration Clause

A clause, typically found in a mortgage, that gives the right to a lender to call the balance owing, normally including the principal, interest, late fees, and attorney fees, immediately due and payable. A default under the terms of a mortgage often give the lender the right to accelerate.

Accelerated Mortgage Payments

The early payment of principal. Principal can usually be paid without penalty if it has been allowed by contracted terms. If allowed, a borrower can save significant interest through regular pre-payment. The loan term can also be significantly reduced by principal pre-payment.


The point at which a meeting of the minds occurs in a real estate transaction. This happens when the seller or buyer agree to the terms of the other party without further modification of a contract.

Access Right

The right of ingress and egress through another person's property. This right can be established with an written easement, or through other statutory methods.


A process of adding additional land to an owner's property. This can occur through natural changes (i.e. change in direction of rivers, streams, or tide action.)


The adding of additional property to an existing parcel. Accession often occurs through changes in the earth's physical surface characteristics from natural acts like wind and wave motion.

Accrued Depreciation

The cumulative physical, functional and external deterioration (if any) that has affected property value over time.


A formal declaration before a notary public that a person has executed an instrument of his or her free act and deed. An acknowledgment is required for the recording of most instruments.


To procure or purchase real estate. The process of acquisition can be a complex one, and corporations often have trained professionals in this area.


A unit of measurement for land. An acre is equal to 43,560 square feet, 4,840 square yards or 160 square rods. A square acre would measure 208.71 feet by 208.71 feet.

Acre Foot

The volume of water required to cover an acre of land one foot deep. This volume unit is equivalent to 43,560 cubic feet of water or 325,851 gallons.


A court proceeding or court suit is considered a legal action.


When grounds for instituting legal action can be established they are call actionable.

Actual Age

The chronological age of an improvement is called it's actual age. The actual age of an improvement may not indicate it's condition, and effective age is most often used to relate the overall condition.


Used to describe when two properties are near or close by, but are not necessarily touching one another.


The word used to describe when two properties touch one another or when they are in actual contact with each other.


Is the process of judicial review that usually ends in a court decree, settlement or judgement.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage

A mortgage that allows for changes in the interest rate and payments during pre-arranged times during the life of the loan. Many ARM's have limits set on how quickly the interest rate can be changes, and some set an upper and/or lower interest rate limit.


An individual authorized by a court of law to administer the estate of a deceased person who died intestate (who did not leave a will).

Ad Valorem Tax

Taxes that are levied "according to the value" of a property are considered Ad Valorem Taxes. These taxes are usually assessed at a by the local governmental unit at a fixed millage rate or at a percentage of value.

Advanced Fee

A fee paid prior to the delivery of services. Advance fees are often paid in buyer broker contracts. Traditionally agents are paid by the seller upon the performance of their employment or listing contract, or upon closing.

Adverse Possession

When possession of land has been actual, continuous, hostile, visible and distinct for a statutory period an adverse possession rights may be established and validated by a court of law.


Adopting and defending one side of an issue without regard for one's own opinions.  An advocate is by definition is biased.  Appraiser's typically act as advocates only for their own opinion as expressed within their appraisal report.



A written statement that is signed and sworn to by one or more individuals, and their signatures are evidenced by a notary public or judge.

Affidavit of Real Property value

Many states require the disclosure of the sales price of real property to their Department of Revenue or Tax Department. The completion of a form may be required by the County disclosing the buyer, seller and sale price before the deed to a property can be recorded.


To verify or ratify a statement.

Agency Relationship

An agency relationship is a relationship of trust and confidence, that is established by the law of agency, in which the agent (a broker or attorney) becomes responsible for the cash, real or personal property of a principal. The role of an agent is that of a fiduciary (see Fiduciary).

There are several types or levels of agency that can be established between a principal and an agent including; universal agency (e.g. general power of attorney), general agency (e.g. specific power of attorney - only specific area), special agency (e.g. one specific transaction) and implied agency (e.g. agency create based on the action of the principal). Real estate agent are usually only given the power of a special agency in order to sell one property.

American Society of Appraisers

A multi-disciplinary appraisal organization formed in 1936 with offices in Washington, D.C. Members are required to re-certify every 5 years.


The valuation of real estate using acceptable methods.

The value that is estimated must be well defined within an appraisal report. Loan value, market value, and replacement cost value are only a few of the many values of the same property that could be estimated.

Market value is the most often estimated. The sales comparison approach, the replacement cost new approach and the income approach are commonly accepted methods used to estimate the market value real property.


Real estate appraisers are required to be licensed at the state government level. Many states have adopted a two or three level system that differentiates appraisers based on experience and area of expertise (i.e. commercial versus residential).


An agreement to resolve disputes that occur between real estate buyers and sellers outside the traditional justice system is being adopted by many real estate agents by including standard arbitration agreement in contracts. Parties who agree to arbitrate can reap the benefit of having their dispute settled quickly. The process is also typically less formal than the courts. To be fair, arbitrators often allow evidence that would not be considered in a court of law. The process is binding on the parties and due to its informality the findings are usually not subject to appeal.


Asbestos was used in many building materials in the past and is present in many homes and commercial buildings.


The payment schedule that has been made on a mortgage loan that specifies the times when a payment will be made and the amount of the payment. When payments include both principal and interest and liquidate the principal over the term of the loan the loan is considered to be "fully amortized."

Assessed Value

A estimated value assigned to a property for taxation purposes. In many states an assessor determines the value of a property based on comparable sales and replacement cost.


A tax levied against a specific property, or group of properties, for an improvement. Expensive improvements that benefit a property, like water lines, sewer lines, street lights, and sidewalks are often paid by the property owner.


An attorney that specializes in real estate law is an extremely important asset when dealing with real estate issues and contracts. Real estate sales often involve tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it is best to involve your attorney at the beginning of the sales process, before a problem develops.

Attorneys that specialize in real estate law in your area can be identified by contacting the American Bar Association.


Copyright 2007 Horizon Village Realty & Appraisal

Commercial Real Estate Appraisals in the Las Vegas & Henderson, Nevada Area.