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Real Estate Terms / Real Estate Dictionary

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T-intersection Lot
A lot whose front is facing head-on into a street and where the noise and glare from headlights may distracting and detract from its ownership.

Tandem Garage
In a tandem garage, cars can be parked end to end. Whereas in a traditional garage, cars are parked side by side. A modified tandem garage will have space for three cars. From the outside, the garage appears to be a two-car garage. However, one side will have a garage spot long enough to park two cars in tandem.

Any real or personal property that can be physically touched or handled.

As applied to real estate, an enforced charge imposed on persons, property or income, by the government to be used to support government services and programs.

Tax Abatement
The amount of decrease or deduction of a tax improperly levied.

Tax Deed
A deed executed by the tax collector to the state when property taxes are unpaid and the property is sold for the payment of back taxes. A tax deed is used to convey title to the buyer.

Tax Rate
The percent of income paid as tax, or the percent of the value of a property, product, service or asset paid as tax.

Tax Reform Act of 1986
The Act which replaced the previous Internal Revenue Code Act of 1954 to simplify the income tax code, broaden the tax base and eliminate many tax shelters and other preferences. The top tax rate was lowered from 50% to 28% while the bottom rate was raised from 11% to 15%. This is the only time in the history of the U.S. income tax that the top rate was reduced and the bottom rate increased concurrently.

Tax Shelter
The creation of a taxable loss on an investment property, and applying such a loss to offset taxable income earned by another source.

Taxable Gain
The amount received on a sale of a property that is greater than what it was purchased for and which is subject to federal taxation.

Taxable Income
Income or loss reported for tax purposes. Taxable income is the "gross income" minus "allowed deductions".

Taxable Value
Actual value as determined by the Property Assessor. This value, in thousands of dollars, when multiplied by the Tax Rate equals the amount of real property taxes payable.

A forced contribution levied by the government and taken from persons, corporations and organizations to be used to support government services and programs.

Tenancy Agreement
Also called Rental Agreement. Legally binding contract between the landlord and the tenant containing details about the rental terms such as price, "Covenants", and obligations of the let.

Tenancy at Will
A tenancy where the tenant, with the permission of the landlord, occupies premises as a tenant for an indefinite period which can be terminated by either party at any time.

Tenancy by the Entirety
Ownership that is acquired by a husband and wife during marriage is jointly and equally owned, with the survivor taking the whole ownership upon the other's death.

Any person who has legal temporary possession, occupancy or use of real property belonging to another occupying with the owner's permission.

Tenants in Common
The co-ownership of a property by two or more persons with varying interests. Each may sell or bequeath their interest and in the event of death, their interest becomes a part of their estate.

The length of a contract period. With respect to mortgages, a time period at the end of which the outstanding balance of a mortgage is due and payable.

The ant-like insects which feed on wood and are highly destructive to wooden structures.

Term Mortgage
A type of loan having a stated length (normally under 5 years), which only interest is paid and at the expiration of the term, the entire principal is paid.

Coastal land submerged during high tide and visible during lowtides.

A property development where occupancy time is sold. This allows multiple owners to share title and enjoy use or occupation of the property for specific periods of time.

In real estate, the rights of ownership and possession of particular property. Title may refer to the documents by which a right of ownership is established (title documents), or it may refer to the ownership interest one has in the real estate.

Title Company
A corporation whose primary function is to insure and examine titles to real property.

Title Defect
Any encumbrance or legal right to a property claimed by a person other than the owner. Examples include unpaid real estate taxes or claims to the property such as those of an unknown heir. Also called a cloud on title.

Title Insurance
A policy that protects a buyer against errors or omissions or defects in the title of a specifically described parcel of real property.

Title Search
A review of all public records and legal proceedings affecting a specific piece of property to determine the present condition of title.

Torrens System
A system of title recordation provided by provincial law, it is a system for the registration of land title, indicating the state of the title, including ownership and encumbrances without the necessity of an additional search of the public records. Also known as the Land Titles System.

Any wrongful act such as a private injury or civil wrong doing that does not involve a breach of contract, for which the court will provide a remedy in the form of an action for damages.

Townhome (Townhouse)
A townhome is a house in a row of usually the same or similar design with common side walls or with a very narrow space between adjacent side walls. The major difference between a townhome and a condo is that a condominium owns his or her individual unit, but does not own the land surrounding the living space. The condo does, however, own a percentage of the surrounding property, including land and any amenities on the property which are outlined in deed. The buyer of a townhome owns the individual unit, as well as the ground underneath that unit and any front and back yards. Each townhome has its own roof, in contrast to condominiums which may be part of a multiple story building.

A territorial subdivision six miles long, six miles wide and containing 36 sections, each one mile square which is located between two range lines and two township lines.

A parcel of land.

Tray Ceiling
A tray ceiling is a rectangular architectural feature (found often in bedrooms and formal dining rooms) that is either inverted or recessed. Tray ceilings can be plain, elaborate, subtle or dramatic. It is often painted in a color different that the walls and ceilings in a room. It is created to add volume and/or height to a room.

An unauthorized entry by a person called a trespasser on another's property. The legal term "Trespass" refers to wrongfully entering, remaining on, or placing something on another's land.

Triple Net Lease
A lease in which the tenant pays all operating expenses of the property being leased in addition to rent. Typical expenses covered this type lease include taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities. Also called a "NNN" lease or "3N".

A building or home consisting of 3 separate apartment units. The building may be 3 stories with one apartment on each separate floor. Or each of the three apartments may occupy a portion of all three floors.

A fiduciary relationship under which an independent trustee, a third party, holds legal title to a property for the beneficiaries of the trust. He may not deal with the property as his own but must deal with it in the best interests of the beneficiaries.

Trust Account
An account where money is deposited by one for the benefit of another. The money is devoted to a particular purpose and cannot or should not be diverted for other purposes. Also known as an Escrow account.

A third party individual or business holding legal title in trust for a beneficiary to secure the performance of an obligation by the trustor under a trust deed.

Truth-in-Lending Act
A federal law that protects consumers such as requiring lenders to fully disclose, in writing, the terms and conditions of a mortgage, including the APR and other charges.


In architecture, a turret is a decorative tower that projects from the wall of a building. Formerly, it was common for medieval castles to have one or more turrets which was used for defense and to fire on intruders.


Turret on a bridge, photo by Mary Baird Modern home Turret  

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