Real Estate Glossary
Lansing Area Real Estate
REAL ESTATE
 
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L

laches
An equitable doctrine used by courts to bar a legal claim or prevent the assertion of a right because of undue delay or failure to assert the claim or right.

land
The earth's surface, extending downward to the center of the earth and upward infinitely into space, including things permanently attached by nature, such as trees and water.

land contract

A land contract is a real property sales contract. The real estate is sold to the buyer who usually pays part of the purchase price when the contract is signed and then makes regular payments over specified period of time. The title to the property remains with the seller until the total purchase price is paid.

landfill
A landfill is an enormous hole, either excavated for the purpose of waste disposal or left over from a surface mining operation. The hole is lined with clay or a synthetic lining to prevent leakage of waste into the surrounding water supply. Waste is laid on the liner at the bottom of the landfill and a layer of topsoil is then compacted into the waste. The layering is repeated again and again until the landfill reaches its full capacity.

landlord

The lessor or the owner of leased premises. The landlord retains a reversionary interest in the property, so that when the lease ends the property will revert to the landlord.

land trusts
A few states permit the creation of land trusts, in which real estate is the only asset. As in all trusts, the title to the property is conveyed to a trustee, and the beneficial interest belongs to the beneficiary. In the case of land trusts, however, the beneficiary is usually also the trustor. While the beneficial interest is personal property, the beneficiary retains management and control of the real property and has the right of possession and the right to any income or proceeds from its sale.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of a land trust is that the public records usually do not name the beneficiary. A land trust may be used for secrecy when assembling separate parcels. There are other benefits as well. A beneficial interest can be transferred by assignment, making the formalities of a deed unnecessary. The beneficial interest in property can be pledged as security for a loan without having a mortgage recorded. Because the beneficiary's interest is personal, it passes at the beneficiary's death under the laws of the state in which the beneficiary lived. If the deceased owned property in several states, additional probate costs and inheritance taxes can be avoided.

latent defect
A hidden structural defect that would not be discovered by ordinary inspection and that threatens the property's soundness or the safety of its inhabitants. Some states impose on sellers and licensees a duty to inspect for and disclose latent defects. Buyers have been able to either rescind the sales contract or receive damages when a seller fails to reveal known latent defects. The courts have also decided in favor of the buyer when the seller neglected to reveal violations of zoning or building codes.

latitude

Distance on the earth's surface, measured northward or southward from the equator measured in degrees of the meridian; angular distance reckoned on a meridian.

law of agency
A fiduciary relationship is created under the law of agency when a property owner, as the principal, executes a listing agreement or management contract authorizing a licensed real estate broker to be his or her agent.

leach
Water that collects contaminants as it trickles through wastes, pesticides, or fertilizers. Leaching may occur in farming areas, feedlots, and landfills, and may result in hazardous substances entering surface water, ground water, or soil.

lead

Lead is an element that was once used as a pigment and drying agent in paint. An elevated level of lead in the body can cause serious damage to the brain, nervous system, kidneys and red blood cells. The degree of harm is related to the amount of exposure and the age at which a person is exposed. The Federal government estimates that lead is present in about 75 percent of all private homes in the United States built before 1978.
 
National Safety Council's Lead Poisoning Prevention Outreach Program

lease
An agreement, written or unwritten, transferring the right to exclusive possession and use of real estate for a definite period of time. To create a valid lease, the lessor must retain a reversionary right; that is, the lessor (landlord) must grant the right of possession to the lessee (tenant) but retain the right to retake possession after the lease term has expired.

leasehold estate
A tenant's right to occupy real estate during the term of a lease; a personal property interest.

lease option
A lease under which the tenant has the right to purchase the property either during the lease term or at its end.

lease purchase
The purchase of real property, the consummation of which is preceded by a lease, usually long-term. Typically done for tax or financing purposes.

leasing agent
Real estate salespeople who specialize in leasing rental properties. Skilled at telephone techniques, on-site customer qualifying and closing.

legal description

A description of a specific parcel of real estate complete enough for an independent surveyor to locate and identify it.

legally competent parties
People who are recognized by law as being able to contract with others; those of legal age and sound mind.

legal life estate

A legal life estate is not created voluntarily by an owner. Rather, it is a form of life estate established by state law. It becomes effective automatically when certain events occur.

lessee
The person to whom property is rented or leased; called a tenant in most residential leases.

leverage
Using someone else's money to purchase a property. Refers to the ability to use the investment as collateral for a loan.

levy
To assess, seize or collect. To levy a tax is to assess a property and set the rate of taxation. To levy an execution is to officially seize the property of a person in order to satisfy an obligation.

liability coverage
Insurance coverage for injuries or losses sustained by the public when on an individual's property.

license
1. A privilege or right granted to a person by a state to operate as a real estate broker or salesperson. 2. The revocable permission for a temporary use of land—a personal right that cannot be sold.

lien
A charge or claim that one person (lienor) has on the property of another (lienee) as security for a debt or obligation.

lien waiver
Documents signed by subcontractors and suppliers, indicating they have received payment in full.

life cycle costing
In property management, comparing one type of equipment to another based on both purchase cost and operating cost over its expected useful lifetime.

life estate
Any estate in real or personal property that is limited in duration to the life of its owner or the life of some other designated person. Although classified as a freehold estate because it is a possessory estate of indefinite duration, a life estate is not an estate of inheritance. For example, Bob Smith conveys his home to his son John and reserves a life estate for himself. Bob (the life tenant) has a life estate, and Hohn has a reversionary interest in the property. When Bob Smith dies, the fee simple property reverts to John. (See freehold estate)

life tenant
A person in possession of a life estate.

like kind

A term relating to the nature of a property rather than its quality or quantity. Only like kind properties qualify for a real estate exchange and the resulting tax benefit.

limited liability company (LLC)
LLCs are a relatively recent form of business organization. An LLC combines the most attractive features of limited partnerships and corporations. The members of an LLC enjoy the limited liability offered by a corporate form of ownership and the tax advantages of a partnership. In addition, the LLC offers flexible management structures without the complicated requirements of S corporations or the restrictions of limited partnerships. The structure and methods of establishing a new LLC, or of converting an existing entity to the LLC form, vary from state to state.

lineside
This is the page of information that has all the details about a listed property. This term is used by Lansing area Realtors and is probably not used anywhere else in the country.

liquidated damages
An amount predetermined and agreed by the parties to an agreement as the total amount of compensation an injured party should receive if the other party breaches a specified part of the contract.

liquidity
Refers to the time it takes to convert an asset to cash that is a reflection of its market value.

lis pendens
A recorded legal document that gives constructive notice that an action affecting a particular piece of property has been filed in a state or federal court. Lis pendens is Latin for "action pending' and is in the nature of a "quasi lien." A person who subsequently acquires an interest in that property takes it subject to any judgment that may be entered; that is, a purchaser pending a lawsuit is bound by the result of the lawsuit.

listing agreement
A written employment agreement between a property owner and a real estate broker authorizing the broker to find a buyer or a tenant for certain real property. Listing can take the form of open listings, net listings, exclusive-agency listings, or exclusive-right-to-sell listings. The most common form is the exclusive-right-to-sell listing.

listing broker
The broker in a multiple-listing situation from whose office a listing agreement is initiated, as opposed to the cooperating broker, from whose office negotiations leading up to a sale are initiated. The listing broker and the cooperating broker may be the same person.

littoral rights
The rights of a landowner whose land borders a pond, lake or ocean shore-line where the body of water is non-flowing. Littoral rights extend to the mean high watermark of ocean or tidal waters. (See riparian rights, water rights)

living trust
An arrangement in which a property owner (trustor) transfers assets to a trustee who assumes specified duties in managing the asset. After payment of operating expenses and trustee's fees, the income generated by the trust property is paid to or used for the benefit of the designated beneficiary.

loan commitment
A lender's agreement to lend a specified amount of money which must be exercised within a set time limit.

loan documents

Documents prepared by a lender in conjunction with granting the loan to the borrower; may include a promissory note, deed of trust, and required loan disclosure documents.

loan fees
Also called loan origination fees. Costs charged by a lender for giving out a loan; may include points, tax service fees, an appraisal fee, etc.

loan origination fee
The processing of a mortgage application is known as loan origination. When a mortgage loan is originated, a loan origination fee, or transfer fee, is charged by most lenders to cover the expenses involved in generating the loan. These include the loan officer's salary, paperwork and the lender's other costs of doing business.

loan application
A lender's initial source of information on a borrower/applicant and the collateral involved; stipulates the amount of money requested and repayment terms.

loan-to-value ratio
The relationship between the amount of the mortgage loan and the value of the real estate being pledged as collateral.

lock-in clause
A condition in a promissory note that prohibits prepayment of the note.

longitude
Distance measured east or west on the earth's surface, measured by the angle which the meridian through a place makes with some standard meridian, as that of Greenwich, Great Britain or Paris, France. Longitude may be measured in time (longitude in time) or in degrees (longitude in arc).

lot  
A parcel of ground with boundaries determined by the county.

lot-and-block (recorded plat) system
A method of describing real property that identifies a parcel of land by reference to lot and block numbers within a subdivision, as specified on a recorded subdivision plat.

loyalty
The duty of loyalty requires the agent to place the principal's interests above those of all others, including the agent's own self-interest. The agent must be particularly sensitive to any possible conflicts of interest. Confidentiality about the principal's personal affairs is a key element of loyalty.

low/doc or no/doc loan
Loans that require little or no documentation regarding the borrower's income, assets or liabilities. Because of the higher perceived risk, these loans will usually require a larger down payment, higher interest rate and high credit score for borrowers. Conventional qualifying ratios do not apply.

Low-ball offer 
An offer that is substantially below market value. The longer a property stays on the market, the more likely there are to be such offers.

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