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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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
National Safety Council's Lead Poisoning Prevention
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.
A tenant's right to occupy real estate during the
term of a lease; a personal property interest.
A lease under which the tenant has the right to purchase
the property either during the lease term or at its end.
The purchase of real property, the consummation of which
is preceded by a lease, usually long-term. Typically
done for tax or financing purposes.
Real estate salespeople who specialize in leasing rental
properties. Skilled at telephone techniques, on-site
customer qualifying and closing.
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.
The person to whom property is rented or leased; called
a tenant in most residential leases.
Using someone else's money to purchase a property.
Refers to the ability to use the investment as
collateral for a loan.
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.
Insurance coverage for injuries or losses sustained by
the public when on an individual's property.
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.
A charge or claim that one person (lienor) has on the
property of another (lienee) as security for a debt or
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.
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
A person in possession of a life estate.
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
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.
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.
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.
Refers to the time it takes to convert an asset to cash
that is a reflection of its market value.
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.
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
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.
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)
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
A lender's agreement to lend a specified amount of
money which must be exercised within a set time limit.
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
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
A lender's initial source of information on a
borrower/applicant and the collateral involved;
stipulates the amount of money requested and repayment
The relationship between the amount of the mortgage loan
and the value of the real estate being pledged as
A condition in a promissory note that prohibits
prepayment of the note.
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).
A parcel of ground with boundaries determined by the
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
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.
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.