Real Estate Glossary E

E

earnest money deposit (earnest money)

An earnest money (sometimes called earnest dollar, Ernest Haby or simply earnest, or alternatively a good-faith deposit) is a deposit towards the purchase of real estate or a publicly tendered government contract made by a buyer or registered contractor to demonstrate that he/she is serious (earnest) about wanting to complete the purchase

easement

An easement is a non-possessory interest to use real property in possession of another person for a stated purpose. An easement is considered as a property right in itself at common law and is still treated as a type of property in most jurisdictions. it is right of way giving to persons other than the owner to access to or over a property.

effective age

An appraiser's estimate of the physical condition of a building. The actual age of a building may be shorter or longer than its effective age.

eminent domain

The right of a government to take private property for public use upon payment of fair compensation to the owner. Eminent domain is the basis for condemnation proceedings.

employer-assisted housing

A special Fannie Mae housing initiative that offers several different ways for employers to work with local lenders to develop plans to assist their employees in purchasing homes.

encroachment

An improvement that physically intrudes or trespasses on another's property.

encumbrance

Anything that affects or limits the fee simple title to a property, such as mortgages, leases, easements, deeds, or restrictions.

endorser

A person who signs a check or promissory note over to another party. Contrast with co-signer.

Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)

A federal law that requires lenders and other creditors to make credit equally available without discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, or receipt of income from public assistance programs.

equity

A homeowner's financial interest in a property. Equity is the difference between the fair market value of the property and the amount still owed on any home loans or liens against the property.

escrow

Escrow is an item of value, money, or documents deposited with a third party to be delivered upon the fulfillment of a condition. For example, the deposit by a borrower with the lender of funds to pay taxes and insurance premiums when they become due, or the deposit of funds or documents with an attorney or escrow agent to be disbursed upon the closing of a sale of real estate.

escrow (or impound) account

The account in which a loan servicer holds the borrower's escrow payments prior to paying property expenses, such as property taxes or homeowners insurance.

escrow analysis

The periodic examination of escrow accounts to determine if current monthly deposits will provide sufficient funds to pay taxes, insurance, and other bills when due.

escrow collections

Funds collected by the loan servicer and set aside in an escrow account to pay borrower expenses such as property taxes, mortgage insurance, and hazard homeowners insurance.

escrow disbursements

The use of escrow funds to pay real estate taxes, homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance, and other property expenses as they become due.

escrow payment

The portion of a borrower's monthly payment that is held by the loan servicer to pay for taxes, hazard homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance, lease payments, and other items as they become due. Known as "impounds" or "reserves" in some states.

estate

The ownership interest of an individual in real property. The sum total of all the real property and personal property owned by an individual at time of death.

eviction

A legal proceeding by a landlord to recover possession of real property from the tenant.

examination of title

The report on the title of a property from the public records or an abstract of the title.

exclusive listing

A written contract that gives a licensed real estate agent the exclusive right to sell a property for a specified time, but reserving the owner's right to sell the property alone without the payment of a commission.