An abbreviation for air conditioner or air conditioning.

A/C Condenser

The outside fan unit of the air conditioning system. It removes the
heat from the Freon gas, ‘turns&squo; the gas back into a liquid, and pumps
the liquid back to the coil in the furnace.

A/C Disconnect

The main electrical ON-OFF switch near the A/C condenser.


The round screened screw-on tip of a sink spout. It mixes water and air for a smooth flow.


A mixture of sand and stone and a major component of concrete.

Air Space

The area between insulation facing and interior of exterior wall coverings. Normally a 1 inch air gap.


The sum of money set aside in the construction contract for items which
have not been selected and specified in the construction contract. For
example, selection of tile as a flooring may require an allowance for
an underlayment material, or an electrical allowance which sets aside
an amount of money to be spent on electrical fixtures.


A payment plan by which a loan is reduced through monthly payments of principal and interest.


Payment of a debt in regular, periodic installments of principal and interest as opposed to interest only payments.


See Ampere


A unit of electrical current or volume--see ‘Voltage.’ Most homes have
an electrical service ‘entrance’ package of 125 or 200 amps. Some older
homes have 60 or 100 amp ‘entrances’.


See Ampere

Anchor Bolt

Bolt to secure a wooden sill plate to concrete, masonry floor or wall.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

Annual cost of credit over the life of a loan, including interest,
service charges, points, loan fees, mortgage insurance, and other items.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

A term used in the Truth-in-Lending Act to represent the percentage
relationship of the total finance charge to the amount of the loan. The
APR reflects the cost of your mortgage loan as a yearly rate. It will
be higher than the interest rate stated on the note because it
includes, in addition to the interest rate, loan discount points, fees
and mortgage insurance.


A printed form used by a mortgage lender to record necessary information concerning a prospective mortgage.

Application Fee

A sum of money paid towards estimated initial mortgage processing expenses such as appraisal and credit report.


A report made by a qualified person setting forth an opinion or
estimate of property value. The term also refers to the process by
which this estimate is obtained


An expert valuation of property.


A trim board that is installed beneath a window sill.


One who has completed a course of study in building and design, and is
licensed by the state as an architect. One who draws up plans and
sometimes supervises the construction of homes.

Area Walls

Corrugated metal or concrete barrier walls installed around a basement window to hold back the earth.

Assessed Valuation

The value that a taxing authority places on real or personal property for the purpose of taxation.


A tax levied on a property, or a value placed on the worth of a property.


Allows a buyer to assume responsibility for an existing loan instead of
getting a new loan. The assumption may have to be approved by the


A molding, attached to one of a pair of swinging double doors, against which the other door strikes.

Attic Access

An opening that is placed in the drywalled ceiling of a home providing
access to the attic. Sometimes found in halls, closets or garages.

Attic Ventilators

Screened openings in houses to allow for ventilation of an attic space.

Automated Valuation

An automated report sets forth an estimate of property value, based on comparable sales in the area.

Awning Windows

Single level windows that tilt outward and up.


Back Charge

Billings for work performed or costs incurred by one party that, in
accordance with the agreement, should have been performed or incurred
by the party to whom billed. Owners bill back charges to general
contractors, and general contractors bill back charges to
subcontractors. Examples of back charges include charges for cleanup
work or to repair something damaged by another subcontractor, such as a
tub chip or broken window.


The replacement of excavated earth into a trench around or against a basement or crawlspace foundation wall.


Frame lumber installed between the wall studs to give additional
support for drywall or an interior trim related item, such as handrail
brackets, cabinets, and towel bars. In this way, items are screwed and
mounted into solid wood rather than weak drywall that may allow the
item to break loose from the wall. Carpet backing holds the pile fabric
in place.


Work the framing contractor does after the mechanical (heating,
plumbing & electrical) subcontractors finish their phase of work at
the rough stage prior to insulating to get the home ready for a
municipal frame inspection. Generally, the framing contractor repairs
anything disturbed by others and completes all framing necessary to
pass a Rough Frame Inspection.


Device to help achieve a ventilation space between insulation and roof
sheathing. It helps assure air flow from the eave vents in attics and
cathedral ceilings.


A transformer that steps up the voltage in a florescent lamp.


A loan that has a series of monthly payments with the remaining balance due in a large lump sum payment at the end.

Balloon Framed Wall

Framed walls (generally over 10’ tall) that run the entire vertical
length from the floor sill plate to the roof. This is done to eliminate
the need for a gable end truss.


Vertical members in a railing used between a top rail and bottom rail
or the stair treads. Sometimes referred to as ‘pickets’ or ‘spindles.’


The rail, posts and vertical balusters along the edge of a stairway or elevated walkway.

Band Joist

Vertical member that forms the perimeter of a floor system in which the floor joists tie in. Also known as the rim joist.


A horizontal beam rafter that supports shorter rafters.

Barge Board

A decorative board covering the projecting rafter (fly rafter) of the gable end. At the cornice, this member is a fascia board.

Barrel Vault

A vaulted ceiling of semi-circular shape, creating a dome-like appearance.


Any board or molding found at the bottom of an interior wall.

Basement Foundation

A basement is a usable foundation that typically has ceiling heights of 8’ and is often finished off as living or storage space.

Bay Window

A window that projects outward in a curve.


A home that has two levels. Typically, a garage or storage area is
situated in the lower level and the home in the upper section.

Board Foot

Measurement of lumber that is the equivalent of 144 cubic inches.

Bonus Room

A room with no specifically designated function, unlike a living room,
bedroom, or kitchen. Is not included in the initial square footage.


A person (also known as mortgagor) who receives funds in the form of a loan with an obligation to repay principal with interest.

Bottom Plate

The lowest horizontal member of a wall which rests on the rough floor, to which the studding is nailed.

Braced Framing

A construction method in two-story homes in which the frame is reinforced with posts and braces.

Brick Veneer

A vertical facing of brick laid against and fastened to sheathing of a framed wall or tile wall construction.


Often used in reference to rough frame opening members. Door bucks used in reference to metal door frame. See Window Buck.

Builder’s Risk Insurance

Insurance coverage on a construction project during construction,
including extended coverage that may be added for the contract for the
customer’s protections.

Building Code

A comprehensive set of laws that controls the construction or remodeling of a home or other structure.

Built-Up Roof

A roofing composed of three to five layers of asphalt felt laminated
with coal tar, pitch, or asphalt. The top is finished with crushed slag
or gravel. Generally used on flat or low-pitched roofs.

Bull Nose Drywall

Rounded drywall corners.


A package of shingles. Normally, there are 3 bundles per square and 27 shingles per bundle.


Money advanced by an individual (builder, seller, etc.) to reduce the
monthly payments for a home mortgage either during the entire term or
for an initial period of years.



A projecting structure supported on one end, such as a balcony.

Cash to Close

Liquid assets that are readily available to be used to pay the closing costs involved in a closing of a mortgage transaction.


The empty space between studs or joists to place insulation batts.

Central Air Conditioning

A system which uses ducts to distribute cooling and/or dehumidified air
to more than one room or uses pipes to distribute chilled water to heat
exchangers in more than one room, and which is not plugged into an
electrical convenience outlet.

Circuit Breaker

A device which looks like a switch and is usually located inside the
electrical panel or circuit breaker box. It is designed to (1) shut of
the power to portions or all of the house and (2) to limit the amount
of power flowing through a circuit (measured in amperes). 110 volt
household circuits require a fuse or circuit breaker with a rating of
15 or a maximum of 20 amps. ‘220’ volt circuits may be designed for
higher amperage loads e.g. a hot water heater may be designed for a 30
amp load and would therefore need a 30 amp fuse or breaker. also see GFI


An outside wall of a room or building that rises above an adjoining roof and contains windows.

Closed Loop

A system in which each component is connected to the next component
with the last component being connected to the original device. Forms a
complete circle.


The consummation of a real estate transaction. The closing includes the
delivery of a deed, financial adjustments, the signing of notes, and
the disbursement of funds necessary to complete the sale and loan

Closing Costs

Money paid by the borrower in connection with the closing of a mortgage
loan. This generally involves an origination fee, discount points,
appraisal, credit report, title insurance, attorney’s fees, survey, and
prepaid items such as tax and insurance escrow payments.

Closing Statement

A form used at closing that gives an account of the funds received and
paid at the closing, including the escrow deposits for taxes, hazard
insurance, and mortgage insurance.


Additional borrower(s) whose income contributes to qualifying for a
loan and whose name(s) appears on documents with equal legal

Coffered Ceiling

A ceiling with recessed square panels, bordered with trim for ornamental purposes.

Collar Beam

A horizontal tie beam in a roof truss that connects two opposite rafters at a level considerably above the wall plate.


Property pledged as security for a debt, such as the real estate pledged as security for a mortgage.

Commitment (Loan)

A binding pledge made by the lender to the borrower to make a loan,
usually at a stated interest rate within a given period of time for a
given purpose, subject to the compliance of the borrower to stated

Commitment Fee (Loan)

Any fee paid by a potential borrower to a lender for the lender’s
promise to lend money at a specified rate and within a given time

Commitment Letter

A formal offer by a lender stating the terms under which it agrees to loan money to a home buyer.

Concrete Block

A hollow concrete ‘brick’ often 8 inch x 8 inch x 16 inch size. Often
used in low rise commercial and some residential construction. The
original design and use is attributed to the architect Frank Lloyd


Conduction is the direct flow of heat through a material resulting from
physical contact. The transfer of heat by conduction is caused by
molecular motion in which molecules transfer their energy to adjoining
molecules and increase their temperature.


A tube or duct for enclosing electric wires or other cables.

Conforming Loan

Conventional home mortgages eligible for sale and delivery to either
the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) or the Federal Home
Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC). These agencies generally purchase
first mortgages up to loan amounts mandated by Congressional directive.

Construction Documents

All drawings, specifications and addenda associated with a specific construction project.


Convection is the transfer of heat in fluid or air, caused by the
movement of the heated air or fluid itself. In a building space, warm
air rises and cold air settles to create a convection loop and is
termed free convection. Convection can also be caused mechanically by a
fan and is termed forced convection.

Conventional Mortgage

A mortgage not obtained under a government insured program (such as FHA or VA).


Overhang of a pitched roof, usually consisting of a fascia board, a soffit and appropriate trim moldings.

Crawlspace Foundation

The space between the ground and the first floor of a home, usually no higher than four feet.

Crawlspace Vent

An opening to allow the passage of air through the unexcavated area
under a first floor. Ideally there should be at least two vents per

Credit Report

A report detailing an individual’s credit history.

Cross Bracing

A system of bracing by the use of ties. Typically used between floor joists to prevent them from twisting.

Crown Molding

A molding used on cornice or wherever an interior angle is to be covered, especially at the roof and wall corner.


Daisy Chain

A wiring scheme in which device A is wired to device B, device B is
wired to device C, etc. The last device is normally wired to a switch
or circuit breaker.

Deed of Trust

An instrument used in many states in place of a mortgage. Property is
transferred to a trustee by the borrower (trustor), in favor of the
lender (beneficiary) and reconveyed upon payment in full.


The failure to perform an obligation as agreed in a contract.


A loan payment that is overdue but within the period allowed before actual default is declared.


One of a series of small projecting rectangular blocks forming a molding under an overhang, most common in colonial-style homes.


A loss of value in real property brought about by age, physical deterioration, functional or economic obsolescence.

Discount Point

Amount payable to the lender institution by the borrower or seller to
increase the lender’s effective yield. One point is equal to one
percent on the loan amount.

Discounted Loan

When the note rate on a loan is less than the market rate, the lender
requires additional points to raise the yield on the loan to the market

Dormer Windows

Dormers are located on the second floor and project or extend out through the roof to provide window space.


The amount of progress billings on a contract that is currently
available to a contractor under a contract with a fixed payment

Drive Under

A style of home where the garage is located in a basement.


A rigid metal or flexible insulated tube, designed to deliver air to and from a furnace or other air-handling unit.


A system of large tubes, pipes or channels (ducts) designed to deliver air to and from a furnace or other air-handling unit.


Earnest Money

A portion of the down payment delivered with a purchase offer by the
purchaser of real estate to the seller or an escrow agency by the
purchaser of real estate with a purchase offer as evidence of good
faith. Also known as a deposit.

Eave Vent

Vent opening located in the soffit under the eaves of a house to allow
the passage of air through the attic and out the roof vents.


The projecting overhang at the lower edge of a roof.


A means of exiting the home. An egress window is required in every
bedroom and basement. Normally a 4’ X 4’ window is the minimum size

Electrical Rough

Work performed by the Electrical Contractor after the plumber and
heating contractor are complete with their phase of work. Normally all
electrical wires, and outlet, switch, and fixture boxes are installed
(before insulation).

Electrical Service Panel

Refers to the high-voltage electrical system’s first point of entry into a home beyond the meter.


Provides power for lighting, appliances, and heating & cooling in a
home. A meter records usage for billing by your local utility.


The exterior view of a home design that shows the position of the house relative to the grade of the land.


Emittance refers to the ability of the surface to emit radiant energy.
Emissivity ranges from 0 to 1 and a lower value indicates a reflective
surface with a low level of radiation.

Entry Box

See Electrical Service Entry

Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)

A Federal law requiring lenders and other creditors to make credit
equally available without discrimination based on race, color,
religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, receipt of income
from public assistance programs or past exercising of rights under the
Consumer Credit Protection Act.


The ownership interest; i.e. portion of a property’s value over and above the liens against it.


A procedure whereby a disinterested third party handles legal documents and funds on behalf of a seller and buyer.


Face Staple

Stapling facing flange to the front side of a stud or rafter, along the 1 inch dimension.

Faced Insulation

Insulation with an attached vapor retarder (kraft paper or foil-backed paper).

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

A federal law which requires a lender who is rejecting a loan request
because of adverse credit information to inform the borrower of the
source of such information. This law also requires consumer reporting
agencies to exercise fairness, confidentiality and accuracy in
preparing and disclosing credit information.


Horizontal boards attached to rafter/truss ends at the eaves and along gables. Roof drain gutters are attached to the fascia.

Fiber Glass Insulation

An energy-efficient glass fiber product manufactured by Owens Corning
to ensure the best thermal and noise control performance available.

First Mortgage

A real estate loan that has priority over any subsequently recorded mortgages.

Fixed Interest Rate

An interest rate which does not change during the loan term.


The building component used to connect portions of a roof, deck, or
siding material to another surface such as a chimney, wall, or vent
pipe. Often made out of various metals, rubber or tar and is mostly
intended to prevent water entry.

Flat Ceiling

A ceiling with no change in elevation.

Foil-Faced Vapor Retarder

Created by coating a foil-backed paper with a thin layer of asphalt
adhesive. The coated side of the foil-backed paper is then applied to
the un-faced insulation material. The asphalt adhesive bonds the
foil-backed paper and the insulation together.


Trenches of poured concrete around the perimeter of the house and below
each pier or column that supports and distributes the weight of the
house to the ground.

Forced Air Heating

A common form of heating with natural gas, propane, oil or electricity
as a fuel. Air is heated in the furnace and distributed through a set
of metal ducts to various areas of the house.


A legal procedure in which property mortgaged as security for a loan is sold to pay the defaulting borrower’s debt.


The carpenter contractor that installs the lumber and erects the frame,
flooring system, interior walls, backing, trusses, rafters, decking,
installs all beams, stairs, soffits and all work related to the wood
structure of the home. The framer builds the home according to the
blueprints and must comply with local building codes and regulations.

Furring Strip

Flat piece of lumber used to build up an irregular framing to an even
surface, either the leveling of a part of a wall or ceiling.


A device often found in older homes designed to prevent overloads in electrical lines. See Circuit Breakers.


Gable End Wall

The triangular end of an exterior wall above the eaves formed under a gable roof.

Gable Roof

A roof that consists of two sloping planes that meet at the ridge or
peak. The planes are supported at their ends by triangular, upward
extensions of walls known as gables.

Gable Vent

A louver mounted in the top of the gable to allow the passage of air through the attic.


See Ground Fault Current Interrupter


See Ground Fault Current Interrupter

Gift Letter

A written explanation signed by the individual giving the gift stating,
‘This is a bona fide gift and there is no obligation expressed or
implied to repay this sum at any time.’


Crossbeams that support floor joists.

Glass Fiber

Glass in a strand form. The ingredients are essentially the same that
go into any glass product such as a window pane or drinking glass.

Glued Laminated Beam (Glulam)

A structural beam composed of wood laminations or lams. The lams are
pressure bonded with adhesives to attain a typical thickness of 1
inches. (It looks like 5 or more 2 X 4’s are glued together).


Ground level, or the elevation at any given point. Also the work of
leveling dirt. Also the designated quality of a manufactured piece of

Gross Monthly Income

Total monthly income earned before tax and other deductions.

Ground Fault Current Interrupter

An electrical device used to prevent injury from contact with faulty electrical appliances and faulty wiring


Hazard Insurance

A contract whereby an insurer, for a premium, undertakes to compensate
the insured for loss on a specific property due to certain hazards
(i.e. fire).


A crossbeam above a window or door.

Heat Pump

A device which uses compression and decompression of gas to heat and/or cool a house.

High Voltage System

See Electricity.

High-Ratio Loan

Mortgage loans in excess of 80 percent of the loan amount divided by the lower of the sales price or appraised value.

Hip Roof

A pitched roof with sloping sides.

Homeowners’ Association Dues

The fees imposed by a condominium or homeowners’ association for maintenance of common areas.


Heating, ventilation and air conditioning.


Ice Dam

A condition which can occur with snow and freezing conditions. When
snow or ice melts on a roof over a heated or partially heated attic
space, the melting water may refreeze over an unheated area such as a
roof overhang. This re-frozen water may create a ‘dam’ and allow
additional melt water to back up under shingles and cause leaks.
Solutions include: proper roof venting and insulation, membrane roofing
or roofing underlayment, and heat tapes. Once an ice dam occurs,
remedies are difficult and or dangerous. Working on a frozen roof
should be avoided, as should the use of any open flames. The use of hot
water to melt the ice may help; it may also increase the amount of

Inset Staple

Stapling to the inside portion of the stud or rafter.

Insulated Ceiling (I.C.)

Marking on recessed lighting fixture indicating that it is designed for direct insulation contact.

Insulation Density

Denser insulation products have more fibers per square inch and,
therefore, give you greater insulating power through higher R-values.

Insured Loans

A loan insured by HUD-FHA or a private mortgage insurance company.


Consideration in the form of money paid for the use of money. Also a right, share or title in property.

Interest rate

The percentage of an amount of money which is paid for its use for a
specified time. Investment Property Real estate owned with the intent
of supplementing income and not intended for owner occupancy.

Interior Finish

Material used to cover the interior framed areas of walls and ceilings.



Part of the framing that provides the structure for a floor. In most
homes, floor joists are made of 2x8s or larger lumber set on edge and
spaced 16 inches apart, from center to center.


Knee Wall

A wall-like structure that supports roof rafters.

Kraft-Faced Vapor Retarder

Created by coating kraft paper with a thin layer of asphalt adhesive.
The coated side of the kraft paper is then applied to the un-faced
insulation material. The asphalt adhesive bonds the kraft paper and the
insulation together.


Knee space in a cabinet or under a desk.



A porch-like room or open-sided living room.


A platform between flights of stairs or at the termination of a flight
of stairs. Often used when stairs change direction. Normally no less
than 3 ft. X 3 ft. square.

Lap Siding

Slightly wedge-shaped boards used as horizontal siding in a lapped
pattern over the exterior sheathing. Varies in butt thickness from
inch to inch and in widths up to 12 inches.

Lath and Plaster

The most common wall finish prior to the introduction of drywall. Thin
wood strips (lath) were nailed onto the framing as a base for the
sand/lime plaster.


A legal claim or attachment against property as security for payment of an obligation.

Living Square Footage

See Square Footage, Living

Load-Bearing Point

A point where a bearing or structural weight is concentrated and transferred to the foundation.

Load-Bearing Wall

Includes all exterior walls and any interior wall that is aligned above
a support beam or girder. Normally, any wall that has a double
horizontal top plate.

Loan-To-Value Ratio

The ratio between the amount of a given mortgage loan and the lower of sales price of appraised value.

Low-Voltage System

Provides security, entertainment, communications, environmental
control, networking, and other functions generally powered by a signal
cable, phone line or data cable. Is not typically metered.


Market Value

The most probable price which a ready, willing and able buyer would pay
and a willing seller will accept, both being fully informed under no
pressure to act. The market value may be different from the price a
property can actually be sold for at a given time (market price).


The termination or due date on which final payment on a loan must be paid in full.

Metal Flue

A metal channel through which hot air, gas, steam or smoke may pass.

Metal Insulation Support

16 inch or 24 inch wire rod or crisscrossed wire to hold floor insulation in place.


A revolutionary soft-to-the-touch glass fiber insulation developed by
Owens Corning for easier handling and installation. In addition to its
virtually itch-free characteristic, insulation with Miraflex® has
extraordinary resiliency allowing it to be packaged in more convenient,
ultra-compact rolls.

Monolithic Slab

A slab foundation that is part of the footings.

Monthly Payment

Usually, the amount of PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance) paid each month on a mortgage loan.


The conveyance of an interest in real property given as security for the payment of a loan.

Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP)

The consideration paid by a mortgagor (borrower) for mortgage insurance - either to the FHA or to a private mortgage insurer.

Mortgage Note

A written promise to pay a sum of money at a stated interest rate
during a specified term. The note contains a complete description of
the conditions under which the loan is to be repaid and when it is due.


The lender on a mortgage transaction.


The borrower in a mortgage transaction who pledges property as security for a debt.


A vertical piece of stone, metal, or wood that divides the panes of a window, the panels of a screen or the doors of a cabinet.



A recess in a wall, usually designed to contain ornamental statues or other decorations.

Non-Conforming Loan

Conventional home mortgages not eligible for sale and delivery to
either FNMA or FHLMC because of various reasons, including loan amount,
loan characteristics or underwriting guidelines.

Nonbearing Wall

A wall supporting no load other than its own weight.


The material will not burn. The glass fibers in PINK fiber glass
insulation have a natural fire resistance, and are considered
non-combustible when tested in accordance to ASTM E136.



The use of a property as a full-time residence, either by the title
holder (owner-occupancy) or by another party through a formal agreement

Origination Fee

The amount charged for services performed by the company handling the initial application and processing of the loan.


Part of the roof that hangs over the wall.


Palladian Window

One larger window with a circle top window above and usually has two smaller, rectangular windows on each side.


A rough coat of mortar applied over a masonry wall as protection or
finish; may also serve as a base for an asphaltic waterproofing
compound below grade.

Particle Board

Plywood substitute made of course sawdust that is mixed with resin and
pressed into sheets. Used for closet shelving, floor underlayment,
stair treads, etc.


A wall that subdivides spaces within any story of a building or room.


An interior courtyard or a paved backyard area.

Percentage Point

One percent of the loan or a measure of the interest rate.


A projection or the foundation wall used to support a floor girder or stiffen the wall.


The angle of slope of a roof.

Plant Shelf

A decorative feature approximately 8 feet above the floor, normally
associated with volume ceilings that add high spaces/shelves to use for
decorative purposes.


Pieces of wood placed on wall surfaces as fastening devices. The bottom
member of the wall is the sole plate and the top member is the rafter


A chamber which can serve as a distribution area for heating or cooling
systems, generally between a false ceiling and the actual ceiling.

Plot Plan

An overhead view plan that shows the location of the home on the lot.
Includes all easements, property lines, set backs, and legal
descriptions of the home. Provided by the surveyor.


Treatment of joints in masonry by filling with mortar to improve appearance or protect against weather.


Polyethylene wrap that encloses Owens Corning MIRAFLEX® insulation,
making it comfortable to touch, less likely to itch and irritate, and
easier to handle and install. The poly wrap has tiny perforations that
allow the insulation to breathe and resist the collection of moisture
within the wrap.

Polyethylene Vapor Barrier

Plastic film used to prevent moisture from passing through un-faced
insulation. Both 4- and 6-mil polyethylene are preferred because they
are less likely to be damaged during construction.


A carriage entrance leading through a building or wall into an inner
courtyard. Also, a roofed structure covering a driveway at the entrance
of a building to provide shelter while entering or leaving a vehicle.


A portico (Latin) is a roofed area, open to the air on one or more
sides, typically supported on one side by the facade of a building and
on the remaining sides by columns or arches. Porticos are common on
Federal, Early Classical Revival, Greek Revival, and other houses of
the 18th and 19th centuries. The English word porch is derived from
portico, and is approximately synonymous.


Wall construction in which beams are supported by heavy posts rather than many smaller studs.

Preliminary Title Report

The results of a title search by a title company prior to issuing a title binder or commitment to insure clear title.

Primary Residence

A residence which the borrower intends to occupy as the principal residence.

Principal Balance

The remaining balance due on a debt, exclusive of accrued interest.

Private Mortgage Insurance

Insurance written by a private company protecting the mortgage lender against loss resulting from a mortgage default.


The preparation of a mortgage loan application and supporting documentation for consideration by a lender or insurer.

PUD (Planned Unit Development)

A planned combination of diverse land uses, such as housing,
recreation, and shopping in one contained development or subdivision. A
major feature of a PUD includes areas of common land for use by the
housing unit owners; the association of unit owners generally owns,
pays fees, and maintains the common areas. Also see DiMinimus PUD.

Punch List

A list of discrepancies that need to be corrected by the contractor.

Purchase Contract (Agreement/Offer)

An agreement between a buyer and seller of real property, setting forth
the price and terms of the sale. Also known as a sales contract.


Quarry Tile

A man-made or machine-made clay tile used to finish a floor or wall. Generally 6 inch X 6 inch X ¼ inch thick.

Quarter Round

A small trim molding that has the cross section of a quarter circle.


R Value

A measure of insulation. A measure of a material’s resistance to the
passage of heat. The higher the R value, the more insulating ‘power’ it
has. For example, typical new home’s walls are usually insulated with 4
inches of batt insulation with an R value of R-13, and a ceiling
insulation of R-30.


A groove cut in a board to receive another board.

Radiant Barrier

A radiant barrier is a reflective surface, on or near a building
component, that intercepts the flow of radiant energy to and from the
building component.

Radiant Barrier System

A Radiant Barrier System (RBS) is a building section that includes a radiant barrier facing an air space.

Radiant Heat

A heating system which uses hot water, steam pipes or electric
resistance coils to heat the floors, walls or the ceilings of a room.


Radiation is the transfer of heat or energy from a hot surface to a cold surface through air or through a vacuum.

Radius Window

A window with an arched top.


One of a series of beams that form the slope of a pitched roof and are analogous to floor joists.


Refers to the slope of the roof at the end of a gable, where the outside part of the overhang forms an upside down V.

Rate Lock Option

An agreement guaranteeing an individual a specified interest rate on a
loan provided the loan is closed within a set period of time.

Real Assets

Real estate or real property owned by an individual of business.

Real Property

Land and that which is affixed to it.


Ribbed steel bars installed in foundation concrete walls, footers, and
poured in place concrete structures designed to strengthen concrete.
Comes in various thickness’ and strength grade.

Red-Lined Prints

Blueprints that reflect changes and that are marked with red pencil.


See Red-Lined Prints


The repayment of a debt from the proceeds of a new loan using the same property as security.


Reflectance refers to the fraction of incoming radiant energy that is reflected from the surface.

Reflective Insulation System

Reflective Insulation System is formed by a combination of low
emittance surfaces and air spaces that provide reflective cavities,
which have low levels of radiant energy transmission.

Reinforcing Bar

See Rebar

Resilient Channels

Metal channels used to further inhibit sound transmission through wall
and ceiling framing. Create a break in the vibration path from drywall
to the framing.

Ridge Board

A horizontal board that serves as the apex of the roof structure.

Ridge Vent

A vent mounted along the entire ridge line of the roof to allow the passage of air through the attic or cathedral ceiling.


Vertical boards between the steps of a stairway.

Roof Valley

The ‘V’ created where two sloping roofs meet.

Roof Vent

A louver or small dome mounted near the ridge of the roof to allow the passage of air through the attic.


Satisfaction of Mortgage

The recordable instrument issued by the lender verifying full payment of a mortgage debt.


A concave molding.

Secondary Mortgage

A secondary lien that is in ‘second position’ on title.


In lending, the collateral given, deposited, or pledged to secure the payment of a debt.

Seepage Pit

A sewage disposal system composed of a septic tank and a connected cesspool.

Septic Tank

A sewage settling tank in which part of the sewage is converted into
gas and sludge before the remaining waste is discharged by gravity into
a leaching bed underground.

Settlement Services

Services provided by the lender at the closing of a loan.

Shed Roof

A roof that pitches up further on one side than the other. Shed roofs are also used over some porches.


Thin tapered piece of wood used for leveling or tightening a stair or other building element.


A vertical window beside a door or another window.


See Lap Siding

Slab Foundation

For a slab foundation, the site is leveled off, and a trench is dug
around the perimeter of the home site. Gravel is then spread across the
site, and concrete is poured approximately four inches thick over wire
mesh and a moisture barrier. In areas of load bearing walls, trenches
need to be dug to allow for additional thickness at this location. Slab
foundations have no piers or floor joists, and the concrete slab is the
floor system.


Strip of wood laid over concrete floor to which the finished wood floor is nailed or glued.


The underside of the roof overhang or porch ceiling that covers the
rafter bottoms. This horizontal surface usually has vents to allow air
into the attic.

Sole Plate

See Bottom Plate.

Square Footage, Living

The square footage in a home that is heated and/or cooled. The space
occupied by two-story rooms and stairwells is counted once in the lower
floor’s square footage. Living square footage does not include garages,
bonus rooms, or porches unless otherwise noted.

Stapling Flange

A protruding edge on faced insulation used to staple the insulation to the framing.

Stick-Built Home

A house built without prefabricated parts. Also called conventional building.


A long, horizontal member which connects uprights in a frame or
supports a floor or the like. One of the enclosed sides of a stair
supporting the treads and risers.


An upright piece of lumber or steel in a wall, to which panels, siding, drywall, or other coverings are attached.


The structural material that spans across floor joists. It serves as a
working platform during construction and provides a base for the finish


A pit in the basement in which water collects to be pumped out with a sump pump.


The measurement and description of land by a registered surveyor.


Take Off

The list of materials necessary to complete a job.


The time limit within which a loan must be repaid.


The legal evidence of ownership rights to real property.

Title Insurance Policy

A contract in which an insurer, usually a title insurance company,
agrees to pay the insured party a specific amount for any loss caused
by defects of title on real estate in which the insured has an interest
as purchaser, mortgagee, or otherwise.

Title Search

An examination of public records to disclose the past and current facts regarding the ownership of a given piece of real estate.

Top Plate

The horizontal member nailed to the top of the studding of a wall.


A small hinged window directly above a door.


A ‘trap’ is a triangular window whose top edge follows the pitch of the
roof. It is a four sided window but the top edge of the window is

Tray Ceiling

A decorative ceiling treatment used to add volume and/or height to a
room. 2 Common types are: 1) Angled area toward the center leading to a
flat ceiling surface, and 2) Stepped square edged leading toward the
center of the ceiling.


The flat part of a stair step.

Trombe Wall

A passive solar wall, usually masonry or concrete, used for passing
heat from one room (like a sun room or solar garden room) to another.


A prefabricated framework of girders, struts and other items used to support a roof or other load-bearing elements.

Truth-in-Lending Act

A Federal law requiring full disclosure of credit terms using a
standard format. This is intended to facilitate comparisons between the
lending terms and financial institutions.


A term used when the subcontractor provides all materials (and labor) for a job.


Un-faced Insulation

Insulation with no attached vapor retarder.


Analysis of risk and setting of an appropriate rate and terms for a mortgage on a given property for given borrowers.


Vapor Retarder

Helps control the amount of moisture passing through the insulation and collecting inside exterior walls, ceilings and floors.

Vaulted Ceiling

A ceiling that angles upward on one or both sides to create volume in the room.


Extremely thin sheets of wood. Also a thin slice of wood or brick or stone covering a framed wall.


Creates a positive flow of air that allows the house to "breathe" and helps prevent moisture build-up year-round.


Wafer Board

A manufactured wood panel made out of 1 inch to 2inch wood chips and
glue. Often used as a substitute for plywood in the exterior wall and
roof sheathing.

Walk Through

A final inspection of a home before ‘closing’ to look for and document problems that need to be corrected.

Wall Out

When a painter spray paints the interior of a home.

Widow’s Walk / Widow’s Watch

A platform with a rail around it, built onto the roof of a house. The
platform is accessible by stairs or a ladder from the interior of the

Window Buck

Square or rectangular box that is installed within a concrete
foundation or block wall. A window will eventually be installed in this
‘buck’ during the siding stage of construction.

Window Sash

The operating or movable part of a window; the sash is made of window panes and their border.

Wire Nut

A plastic device used to connect bare wires together.

No glossary terms for this selection



A ‘Y’ shaped plumbing fitting.

Yard of Concrete

One cubic yard of concrete is 3’ x 3’ x 3’ in volume, or 27 cubic feet.
One cubic yard of concrete will pour 80 square feet of 3 ½ inch
sidewalk or basement/garage floor.


The location where a home’s water meter is sometimes installed between
two copper pipes, and located in the water meter pit in the yard.


Z-Bar Flashing

Bent, galvanized metal flashing that is installed above a horizontal
trim board of an exterior window, door, or brick run. It prevents water
from getting behind the trim/brick and into the home.

Zero Point Option

An option which allows the borrower to opt to pay a slightly higher
loan interest rate in lieu of paying the loan origination points
generally charged for the particular loan product.

Zero-lot line

The positioning of a house near or on top of the lot boundary, resulting in little or no space between houses.


The section of a building that is served by one heating or cooling loop
because it has noticeably distinct heating or cooling needs. Also, the
section of property that will be watered from a lawn sprinkler system.

Zone Valve

A device usually placed near the heater or cooler, which controls the
flow of water or steam to parts of the building; it is controlled by a
zone thermostat.


A governmental process and specification which limits the use of a
property e.g. single family use, high-rise residential use, industrial
use, etc. Zoning laws may limit where you can locate a structure. Also
see Building Code.