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Realty and Mortgage Terms and Definitions



Radon - A naturally appearing radioactive gas found in some buildings, that, in sufficient concentrations, may cause health problems.

RAM - Reverse annuity mortgage.

Ranch House - Once described a low, one-story house typical of the western United States. The term is now used to describe just about any one-story home.

Rate - The annual rate of interest for a loan.  Also called the interest rate.

Rate Change Cap - The maximum amount that an interest rate can change, either at an adjustment period or over the entire life of the loan.  Commonly associated with an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM).

Rate Improvement Mortgage - A fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) that includes a clause allowing the borrower the option to reduce the interest rate one time (without refinancing) during the first few years of the loan term.

Rate Lock - An agreement by a lender to guarantee the interest rate offered for a mortgage provided that the loan closes within the specified period of time.

Rate of Interest - Same as interest rate.

Ratios - The percentages of mortgage payment debt to gross monthly income and total debts to gross monthly income.

Real Estate Agent - A person licensed to negotiate the purchase and sale of real estate on behalf of buyers and sellers.

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) - A consumer protection law that requires mortgage lenders and brokers to give borrowers advance notice of closing costs in the form of a Good Faith Estimate.

Real Property - Land and anything permanently affixed to the land, including structures, trees, minerals, and the interest, benefits and rights thereof.

RealtorĀ® - A real estate broker or associate who is an active member of a local real estate board that is affiliated with the National Association of Realtors.

Reconveyance Fee - This fee is charged by title companies or attorneys in some states and covers the cost of removing your current lender's lien from your property title when you refinance.  For our comparison purposes, a reconveyance fee is considered to be a third party fee and may be included in the title insurance fee by some lenders.

Recordation Exam - A fee charged by the title company in some states to review documents, to assure they meet the state standards prior to being recorded. For our comparison purposes, a recordation exam is considered to be a third party fee and may be included in the title insurance fee by some lenders.

Recorder - The public official who keeps records of transactions that affect real property in a specific geographic area (usually a county). Often known as a County Recorder or County Clerk.

Recording - The entering in a book of public record the details of a properly executed legal instrument that affects title to real property, thereby making it a part of the public record.

Recording Fees - A fee charged by the local government to record mortgage documents into the public record so that any interested party is aware that a lender has an interest in the property.  For our comparison purposes, a recording fee is considered to be a tax or other unavoidable fee.

Refinance - The process of paying off any existing mortgages on a home with a new mortgage loan.

Rehabilitation Mortgage - A loan granted to cover the costs of repairing or improving an existing property. Sometimes also used to acquire property with the intent to improve it.

Release Fee - The fee charged to release a lien to free real estate from a mortgage.

Relocation Specialist - A real estate agent who deals exclusively with homebuyers moving from one community to another.

Remaining Balance - The amount of principal owed on a loan that has not yet been fully repaid.

Remaining Term - The number of payments left to be made on a loan before it is fully amortized (paid in full).

Rent Loss Insurance - An insurance policy that protects a landlord against loss of rent or value due to natural casualties that renders the premises unsuitable for use, and therefore excuses the tenant from paying rent.

Repayment Plan - An agreement between a lender and a borrower, made to help the borrower repay delinquent installments.

Replacement Reserve - An amount set aside from net operating income for replacement of short-lived common property in cooperative housing projects such as condominiums.

Rescission - The cancellation of a contract by the operation of a law or by mutual consent. In some circumstances, borrowers have the right to cancel a transaction within three business days after closing.

RESPA - See Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.

Retail Sales - Measures the total receipts of retail stores. Monthly percent changes reflect the rate of changes of such sales. Changes in Retail Sales are widely followed as an indicator of consumer spending. Frequency: monthly. Source: Commerce Department.

Retirement Plan 401(k) & 403(b) - Employer-sponsored investment plans that allows individuals to set aside tax-deferred income for retirement or emergency purposes. 401(k) plans are provided by private corporations. 403(b) plans are provided by non-profit organizations.

Retirement Plan 401(k) & 403(b) Loans - Some administrators of 401(k) and 403(b) plans allow for loans against the funds you have accumulated in these plans.

Reverse Mortgage - See Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM).

Revolving Credit - A credit agreement (typically a credit card) that allows a customer to borrow against a pre-approved credit line when purchasing goods and services. The borrower is only billed for the amount that is actually borrowed plus any interest due.

RHS - See Rural Housing Service.

Right of First Refusal - A contract provision that requires a property owner to give another party the first opportunity to purchase or lease the property before it is offered to others.

Right of Ingress or Regress - The right to enter or leave specific property or premises.

Right of Survivorship - In joint tenancy, the right of surviving joint tenants to acquire the interest of a deceased joint tenant.

Rural Housing Service (RHS) - An agency within the United States Department of Agriculture that provides financing to farmers and other qualified borrowers buying property in rural areas, who are unable to obtain loans elsewhere.