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Ever had that moment when a real estate definition leaves you with more questions than answers, causing a wave of irritation? Yeah... us too.

Common Joe 'n Jane Real Estate Wiki

Your down-to-earth guide to mastering real estate exam terms and concepts! We've stripped away the industry jargon and complex language, breaking down intricate ideas into bite-sized, easy-to-digest pieces for all the common "Joe 'n Jane's" out there.

Date of Sale
The "Date of Sale" is the specific day when a property is officially sold from one person to another. It's the day when the deal is finalized, which could be the day when the purchase agreement is signed, the closing date, or the day when the... (Read more)
Date of Value
The "Date of Value" is the specific day when an expert, called an appraiser, figures out how much a property is worth. This date is important for things like taxes, loans, or buying and selling a property because it helps everyone know what... (Read more)
A "datum" is a starting point or reference used by surveyors to measure the height or elevation of land in an area. It helps people compare different heights and understand how high or low a piece of land is compared to... (Read more)
Debit (Closing Statement)
A "debit" is an amount of money that a person has to pay during a real estate transaction. In accounting terms, it's an entry on a closing statement, which is a document that shows all the money coming in and going out during the sale of... (Read more)
Debt Coverage Ratio (DCR)
The "Debt Coverage Ratio" is a number that helps people understand if a property makes enough money to pay off its loans. It's calculated by dividing the property's Net Operating Income (the money the property makes after paying its expenses) by... (Read more)
Debt Ratio
The "Debt Ratio" is a number that helps figure out how much debt a person or a household can handle based on their income. It's used by banks or other lenders to decide if someone can afford to take on more debt, like a mortgage, car loan, or... (Read more)
Debt Service
"Debt Service" is the total amount of money a person has to pay each year to cover their loan payments. This includes things like paying back the borrowed money (called principal) and any interest charged on... (Read more)
A "debtor" is a person or a company that owes money to someone else. When you borrow money, like taking out a loan or using a credit card, you become a debtor because you have to pay that... (Read more)
Decision-Making Process
The "Decision-Making Process" is a series of steps that someone goes through to make a choice, especially when it's a big or important decision, like buying a house. This process helps people think about their options, consider their needs, and... (Read more)
Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure
A "Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure" is when a person who can't pay their mortgage gives the ownership of their property back to the lender, like a bank, instead of having the lender take it through foreclosure. It's an agreement that helps both... (Read more)
Deed in Trust
A deed in trust is a special piece of paper that gives someone, called a trustee, the power to take care of a piece of land or a house for the person who owns it, called the trustor. The trustor is also the person who benefits from this... (Read more)
Deed of Trust
A deed of trust is a special agreement where someone who wants to borrow money for a house lets another person, called a trustee, hold onto the house's legal papers until they pay back the loan. The lender, who gave the money, also benefits... (Read more)
Deed Restriction
A deed restriction is a rule that's added to a house or land's legal papers, which tells the owner what they can or cannot do with their property. These rules help keep a neighborhood looking nice and can protect the environment or maintain... (Read more)
Defeasible Fee
A defeasible fee is a special kind of ownership for a house or land that can be taken away if the owner doesn't follow certain rules. It's like having a membership in a club that you can only keep if you follow the... (Read more)
Defeasible Title
A defeasible title is a special kind of ownership for a house or land that can be taken away if the owner doesn't follow certain rules. It's like having a library card that you can keep and use as long as you return the books on time and... (Read more)
Deficiency Judgment
A deficiency judgment is a decision made by a court that says a person who borrowed money to buy a house still owes money to the lender, even after the house is sold in a foreclosure. It happens when the money from the foreclosure sale isn't... (Read more)
Delineation is the process of drawing lines or boundaries to show the limits of something, like a piece of land or an area. It's like when you draw a map and mark the borders between different places so people know where one place ends and... (Read more)
Demand (Supply and Demand)
Demand is the number of people who want to buy or rent a certain thing, like a house or an apartment, at a particular time. When lots of people want something, the demand is high, and when fewer people want it, the demand is low. Demand is... (Read more)
Demographics are the details about a group of people, like their age, income, or where they live. These details help real estate professionals, like agents and developers, as well as businesses, like chain stores, decide if a new location would be... (Read more)
Density, in the context of real estate, refers to the number of people, homes, or buildings in a certain area. It's like how crowded a place is or how many things are squeezed into a space. A high-density area has lots of people or buildings... (Read more)
A deposit, in the world of real estate, is money that a buyer gives to the seller or an escrow agent as a sign of their commitment to buy a property. It's like giving someone a small part of the money you owe them to show that you're serious... (Read more)
Depreciable Basis
Depreciable basis, in the world of real estate, is the part of a property's value that can be used to calculate how much it loses in value over time due to wear and tear. This usually applies to the buildings and improvements on the land, but... (Read more)
Depreciation, in the world of real estate, is the decrease in value of a property's buildings and improvements over time. This can happen because of things wearing out (deterioration) or becoming... (Read more)
Descent and Distribution, Laws of
Laws of Descent and Distribution are rules that decide who gets a person's property after they pass away without a will. These laws help figure out which family members or relatives should inherit the property, so everything is... (Read more)
Detached Type
A "detached type" in real estate refers to a type of building or home that stands all by itself, separate from other buildings or homes. It means that the building has no shared walls or connections with any other buildings, giving it more... (Read more)
Determinable Fee
A "determinable fee" is a type of ownership of land or property that lasts only as long as certain conditions are met. If those conditions are broken, the ownership can be taken away and given back to the original owner or... (Read more)
A "devise" in real estate is when someone gives property, like a house or a piece of land, to another person after they pass away. This is done through a legal document called a will. The person who gives the property is called the "devisor,"... (Read more)
Direct Capitalization
"Direct capitalization" is a method used to figure out how much a property, like an apartment building or office space, is worth based on the money it can make for the owner. It's a way to determine the value of an investment property by taking... (Read more)
Direct Market Extraction
"Direct market extraction" is a way to figure out the value of a property by looking at similar properties that have been sold or rented recently. By comparing the prices and features of these properties, you can get a good idea of what... (Read more)
Discounted Cash Flow Analysis
"Discounted cash flow analysis" is a way to find out how much an investment, like a rental property or a business, is worth today by looking at the money it is expected to make in the future. Because money today is worth more than the same amount... (Read more)
"Discounting" is a way to find out how much money that you expect to get in the future is worth in today's dollars. Since money today is worth more than the same amount of money in the future, we "discount" the future money to find its... (Read more)
Discrimination in Housing
"Discrimination in housing" means not giving everyone an equal chance to buy, rent, or get a loan for a home because of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, marital status, or family status. It is treating people... (Read more)
"Disintermediation" is when people or businesses decide to skip using middlemen, like banks or other financial institutions, and deal directly with each other instead. This often happens when people think they can save money or have better... (Read more)
A "dividend" is a payment made by a company to its shareholders, usually as a way of sharing the company's profits. When a company makes money, it can choose to give some of it back to the people who own its stocks, as a reward for... (Read more)
Dividend Yield
"Dividend yield" is a percentage that tells you how much money you get from a company's dividend, compared to the cost of its stock. It's a way to measure how much income you're getting from your investment in the company, relative to the... (Read more)
Documentary Stamp
A "documentary stamp" is a type of tax that some states in the U.S. charge on certain legal documents, like deeds, mortgages, or promissory notes. It's a fee that you pay when you record these documents with the government, and the money goes to... (Read more)
Dominant Estate
A "dominant estate" is a term used in real estate to describe a property that benefits from a specific right or privilege, often called an easement, over another property. An easement allows the owner of the dominant estate to use a portion of... (Read more)
Dominant Tenement
A "dominant tenement" is another term used in real estate that refers to the property that benefits from an easement over another property. Just like a "dominant estate," the dominant tenement enjoys a specific right or privilege to use a portion... (Read more)
"Dower" is a legal term that refers to a wife's right to a portion of her husband's property when he passes away. In the past, this was a way to make sure that the wife would be financially protected even after her husband's death. Nowadays,... (Read more)
Dual agency
"Dual agency" is a term in real estate that means one agent represents both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. While this can be convenient, it can also be tricky because the agent has to be fair to both parties and avoid taking... (Read more)
Due on Sale
"Due on Sale" is a rule that says when a property owner sells their house, they have to pay back their mortgage right away. It's like when you're done borrowing something, and you have to give it back before someone else can... (Read more)
A duplex is a type of building that is divided into two separate living spaces, each with its own entrance. Imagine two houses connected together, side by side, or one on top of the other. These living spaces share a common wall but are... (Read more)
Duress is a situation where someone experiences unusual or excessive pressure to do something they wouldn't normally do voluntarily. It's like being pushed into making a decision that you're not comfortable with because of the intense... (Read more)