Real Estate Glossary

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habendum clause
That part of a deed beginning with the words "to have and to hold," following the grantor is conveying.
habitability
Fit for human habitation. (See implied warranty)
handicap:
As defined in the fair housing act, a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (walking, seeing, learning, working) or a record of having such an impairment or being regarded as having such impairment. Handicap does not include current, illegal use or addiction to a controlled substance. (See disability)
hard money loan:
A loan made in cash by a non-institutional lender.
hazardous waste:
A subset of solid wastes that pose substantial or potential threats to public health or the environment and meet any of the following criteria:
Is specifically listed as a hazardous waste by EPA;
Exhibits one or more of the characteristics of hazardous waster (ignitability, corrosiveness, reactivity, and/or toxicity;
Is generated by the treatment of hazardous waste or is contained in a hazardous waste.
Toxic waste materials jeopardizing the value of real estate. (See asbestos, Environmental Protection Agency, undergound storage tanks, urea-formaldehyde)
hazardous waste disclosure:
California Health and Safety Code (§ 25359.7(a)) requires owners of nonresidential properties to disclose to prospective buyers or lessees the existence of hazardous substances on or beneath a property. Both residential and nonresidential tenants are required to notify landlords if hazardous substances have been released on a property.
heat absorbing glazings:
A technology that uses heat-absorbing glazing with tinted coatings to absorb solar heat gain through windows. This approach does allow some light to pass through the tinted windows.
heat exchanger:
Heat exchange is the method by which the unwanted heat is removed from a system. A heat exchanger is a device by which energy (in the form of heat) is transferred from one fluid or gas to another across a solid surface.
heir:
A person who inherits under a will or a person who succeeds to property by the state laws of descent if the decedent dies intestate. (See intestate)
hereditaments:
Property capable of being inherited.
HERS score:
A number between 0-100 that is used to designate the energy efficiency of a home compared to guidelines established by the Home Energy Rating System Council. The higher the score (number), the greater the energy efficiency of the residence. (See Home Energy Rating System (HERS))
heterogeneity:
The quality or state of being heterogeneous; different in kind; unlike; incongruous.
highest and best use:
The possible use of a property that would produce the greatest net income and thereby develop the highest value.
highrise developments:
Sometimes called mixed-use developments (MUDs), these combine office space, stores, theaters and apartment units in a single vertical community. MUDs usually are self-contained and offer laundry facilities, restaurants, food stores, valet shops, beauty parlors, barbershops, swimming pools and other attractive and convenient features.
hold-harmless clause:
A contract provision whereby one party agrees to indemnify and protect the other party from any injuries or lawsuits arising out of the particular transaction. Such clauses are usually found in leases in which the lessee agrees to "indemnify, defend and hold harmless" the lessor from claims and suits of third persons for damage resulting from the lessee's negligence on the leased premises.
holdback:
Funds not released under a construction loan agreement due to a failure to lease to the required minimum.
holder in due course:
The holder of a negotiable instrument (check or note) purchased for value when the instrument appears complete and regular on its face; is taken before its due date and without notice of previous dishonor; and the holder has no notice of any defects in title of the transferor.
holdover tenancy:
A tenancy whereby a lessee retains possession of leased property after the lease has expired and the landlord, by continuing to accept rent, agrees to the tenant's continued occupancy as defined by state law.
holographic will:
A will that is written, dated and signed in the testator's handwriting, but not witnessed. Some states consider a holographic will to be valid even though it was not witnessed, presumably on the theory that the handwriting can be analyzed to verify authenticity and demonstrate competency.
home equity loan:
A loan (sometimes called a line of credit) under which a property owner uses his or her residence as collateral and can then draw funds up to a prearranged amount against the property.
Home Energy Rating System (HERS):
A standardized system for rating the energy efficiency of residential buildings. (See HERS score)
home expense-to-income ratio:
A ratio expressed as a percentage that is used by the mortgage industry to determine a borrower's qualification for a loan. It is calculated by dividing the borrower's total monthly housing expenses by his or her gross monthly income.
Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA):
Enacted by Congress in 1975 and implemented by the Federal Reserve Board's Regulation C, a federal law that requires lenders with federally related loans to disclose to the Federal Reserve the number of loan applications and loans made in different parts of their service areas; designed to eliminate the discriminatory practice of redlining. (See Federal Reserve, redlining) Home Mortgage Disclosure Act
homeowner instructions:
Instructions given to a property owner by a listing broker that advise the owner of cleaning and repairs that will improve the appearance and increase the value of a listed property.
homeowner's association:
A nonprofit association of homeowners organized pursuant to a declaration of restrictions or protective covenants for a subdivision, PUD or condominium.
Homeowner's Guide to Earthquake Safety:
A document produced by the State of California Seismic Safety Commission intended to help inform homeowners on earthquake safety issues in homes.
homeowner's insurance policy:
A standardized package insurance policy that covers a residential real estate owner against financial loss from fire, theft, public liability and other common risks. (See basic form homeowner's policy and broad form homeowner's policy)
homestead:
A statutory exemption of real property used as a home from the claims of certain creditors and judgments up to a specified amount; requires a declaration of homestead be completed and filed with the county recorder's office.
homestead exemption:
The amount of homestead protection from unsecured creditors—$50,000 for single persons, $75,000 for families, $100,000 for persons 65 years of age, and $100,000 for disabled persons unable to work.
home warranty insurance policy:
An insurance policy that insures against plumbing, electrical, heating, and major appliance problems for the term of the policy.
homogeneous:
Composed of parts all of the same kind or of the same kind or nature; essentially alike.
housing accommodation:
Housing accommodations are any improved or unimproved real property, or portion thereof, used as the home, residence, or sleeping place of one or more human beings. It does not include accommodations operated by non-profit religious, fraternal, or charitable associations or corporations, provided that such accommodations are used in the furtherance of the primary purposes for which the association or corporation was formed.
housing affordability index:
A measure of the percentage of the United States population who can afford to purchase a home; based on average income and average home price.
Housing Financial Discrimination Act of 1977 (Holden Act):
The Act prohibits financial institutions (banks, savings & loans, or other financial institutions, including mortgage loan brokers, mortgage bankers and public agencies) from engaging in discriminatory loan practices.
household waste (also referred to as domestic waste):
Solid waste, composed of garbage and rubbish, which normally originates from residential, private households, or apartment buildings. Domestic waste may contain a significant amount of toxic or hazardous waste from improperly discarded pesticides, paints, batteries, and cleaners.
HUD:
A federal cabinet department officially known as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD is active in national housing programs. Among its many programs are urban renewal, public housing, model cities, rehabilitation loans, FHA-subsidy programs and water and sewer grants. The Office of Interstate Land Sales Registration is under HUD's jurisdiction, as are the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA). HUD Website
HUD-1 settlement statement:
At closing, in conformance with Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) regulations, a HUD-1 settlement statement is prepared showing the exact closing costs to buyer and seller. (See RESPA)
HVAC:
The acronym for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.
hybrid financing:
Mixing forms of conventional financing to create a new approach. (See convertible loan, participation mortgage)
hypothecate:
To pledge real or personal property as security for a loan or other obligation without surrendering possession of the property. The borrower retains the rights of control and possession, and the lender secures an underlying equitable right in the pledged property.

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