Real Estate Glossary

Real Estate Glossary
Our glossary is the largest dictionary of real estate and construction terms on the Internet with almost 10,000 definitions.


Rectangular area bordered on all sides by buildings and is often grassy with decorative landscaping. A quadrangle can be found in a central business district or on the site of an academic institution.

One of four equal parts created when an object or area is divided by lines that intersect at right angles. Alternately, one fourth of a circle.

Figure defined by four lines.

Free-standing building having four dwelling units under one roof.

Four-unit building with four tenants in a condominium type of ownership and management.

Lender specializing in home mortgage finance under the rules established by FIRREA. One requirement being that the lender holds at least 70% of its portfolio in residential mortgage loans and mortgage-backed securities. Qualified lenders are eligible for advances from the district Federal Home Loan Bank.

Process determining an individual's financial ability to meet the terms of a loan. When selling real estate, the sales broker must qualify the buyer to make certain he/she has the financial ability to purchase the property.

Ratio used, by a lender, to determine how much a potential buyer can afford to borrow.

Program that is intended, by its actions, to guarantee a standard level of quality.

System of control meant to guarantee, by periodic inspections, that a certain amount of quality is being maintained during the production of the product in question. Materials, procedures, tools, etc., as well as the product itself are inspected.

Type and value of real estate improvements made, in addition to the use to which the land is put which is controlled by zoning and suitability.

A total amount or number of things measured or estimated.

Estimated itemization of all costs in constructing a structure including site acquisition and preparation and a detailed cost estimate of all materials, labor and overhead required to reproduce a structure. Quantity surveys are used by contractors in preparing a project's bid price. Also, an appraisal estimate of the replacement cost of a structure including current costs of materials and labor.

An itemization of the entire number of items that are necessary to complete a building project, as it appears on the blueprint.

Diamond-shaped leaded windowpanes.

Place where building stone, marble, slate, limestone, etc. is evacuated by blasting. Alternately, the act of excavating from a quarry.

Tile made from shale, clay or earth, resulting in an unglazed tile with color throughout. Quarry tiles are used for both floors and walls and are normally used indoors. Quarry tiles vary greatly depending on the material used. Some tiles made with earth are soft and irregular and break easily. Others are so soft that they need a seal coat before they can be used.

Roadway area that lies between the centerline and the roadway edge.

Molding used in corners that is a quarter of a circle in profile.

Wood which is cut from a log which has been quartered lengthwise and at an angle of at least 45 degrees between the board face and the annular growth rings, to lessen warping and shrinking.

A quarter of a square mile or a land area of 160 acres that is ½ mile on each side.

Basically meaning, as if it were, in a sense or manner. Something that appears to be something it is not.

Legal obligation to do something imposed upon someone by law, which bears the force of a contract and is subject to legal action as a contract. It is basically a legal obligation to pay for a benefit received as if a contract had actually occurred.

Exterior building decoration made of a flower with four petals or a leaf with four leaflets. Alternately, a circular design made of four converging arcs.

Victorian-era style of home, which is multistory and features turrets, high chimneys and decorative trim.

Vertically split brick, which becomes a full-length brick that is only 2 inches wide rather than four inches wide, the normal width of brick. The queen closure is placed next to the last brick in the row, forming an "English" corner.

Vertical supporting posts in a post and beam roof construction.

Cooling metal rapidly by using water, cold air or oil.

Balance sheet used to quickly discover the financial health of a business by checking the ratio of current assets without inventories (liquid assets) to current liabilities. A ratio of 1:1 is acceptable.

To cause solvent-based paints, which dry by oxidation of polymerization, to dry rapidly, oxidation or polymerization agents are added to the oil-based paint. Soaps, which result from a reaction between a metal oxide, such as cobalt, zinc, calcium or manganese and an organic acid such as petroleum-based naphthenic acid. Driers are soluble in the paint vehicle.

Also called fat lime, or rich lime, calcium oxide (CaO) is a caustic lime that is created by burning a pure or nearly pure limestone. It is mixed with water, making it putty-like in substance, and is used in finish coats of plastering.

Used when normal drying is too slow, this fast-setting drywall joint compound has chemical accelerators added to speed reaction and drying time. Since too much accelerator causes cracking and shrinkage and shortens the working life of the compound, it is used only when necessary.

In cold weather or when cement must set up quickly, this roof cement made with a fast-evaporating solvent is used.

Valve, which opens and closes with only a quarter turn.

Latin term, literally "this for that". It is used to mean something given in exchange for something else.

The rights of owners or those legally entitled to possession, to use their property without interference.

Electrical switch that is noiseless when moved from one position to another. One example is constructed of a glass bulb with unconnected wires running into both ends and a small amount of mercury, which is electrically conductive. If the bulb is moved into a horizontal position, the mercury connects both wires, which makes a track through which the electricity can flow. When the bulb is vertical, only one wire is touched by the mercury, which breaks the circuit. The switch positions the bulb.

Lawsuit filed to ascertain the legal rights of an owner to a parcel of property, remove a defect or to remove a cloud on the title.

Deed that conveys only the grantor's rights or interest in real estate, without stating the nature of the rights and with no warranties of ownership. It is often used to remove a cloud on a title.

The rectangular stone block used to form an outer corner of a building. A building cornerstone.

Highest bid to buy and the lowest offer to sell a parcel of real estate in a particular market at a specified time. Sometimes also refers to a proposal to perform certain work for a specified price.

Latin abbreviation for the literal translation meaning, "which see".

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Our glossary is the largest dictionary of real estate and construction terms on the Internet with almost 10,000 definitions.

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