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A measure of a material's resistance to heat loss. The higher the R-value, the slower the rate of heat loss.

A radioactive gas found in some homes that, if occurring in strong enough concentrations, can cause health problems.

One of a series of beams that form the slope of a pitched roof.

The horizontal structural members of a door.  Most doors have a top rail, a bottom rail, and a center rail connected at both ends to vertical stiles.

Rammed-earth construction
An alternative building process in which dirt is compacted into large structural frames to create walls.

Rate cap
The maximum interest rate allowed on the monthly payment of an adjustable rate mortgage during an adjustment period.

Rate lock
A lender's commitment to a borrower to guarantee (or "lock in") a specific interest rate for a limited amount of time.

Rate-improvement mortgage
A loan with a clause that entitles a borrower to a one-time interest rate cut without going through refinancing.

Real estate
Land and anything permanently affixed to it, including buildings.

Real estate agent
A person licensed by a state to represent a buyer or a seller in a real estate transaction in exchange for a commission.

Real estate broker
A person, corporation, or partnership licensed by a state to represent a buyer or seller in a real estate transaction in exchange for a commission.

Real estate investment trust (REIT)
Publicly traded companies that own, develop and operate commercial properties.

Real estate professional
Any real estate broker, sales agent or attorney who holds a real estate license.

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)
A federal law designed to make sellers and buyers aware of settlement fees and other transaction-related costs.  RESPA also outlaws kickbacks in the real estate business.

REAL PROPERTY (immovable)
Land, from the center of the earth and extending above the surface indefinitely, including all inherent natural attributes and any man-made improvements of a permanent nature place thereon. For example: minerals, trees, buildings, appurtenant rights.

A real estate agent or broker who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS, and its local and state associations.

An instrument used to transfer title from a trustee to the equitable owner of real estate, when title is held as collateral security for a debt. Most commonly used upon payment in full of a trust deed. Also called a deed of reconveyance or release.

A public official responsible for keeping record of all real estate transactions.

Filing documents affecting real property as a matter of public record, giving notice to future purchasers, creditors, or other interested parties. Recording is controlled by statute and usually requires the witnessing and notarizing of an instrument to be recorded.

Recording fee
A fee charged by real estate agents for conveying the sale of a piece of property into the public record.

An illegal practice by a bank or insurance company that denies credit or insurance to people based on ethnic background or neighborhood.

Paying off one loan by obtaining another; refinancing is generally done to secure better loan terms (like a lower interest rate).

The principle that the value of a better-quality property is adversely affected by the proximity of a lesser-quality property.

Regulation Z
A federal code issued under the Truth in Lending Act that requires a borrower be advised in writing of all costs associated with the credit portion of a financial transaction.

Rehabilitation mortgage
A mortgage that covers the costs of rehabilitating (repairing or Improving) a property; some rehabilitation mortgages - like the FHA's 203(k) - allow a borrower to roll the costs of rehabilitation and home purchase into one mortgage loan.

A contract which one insurer makes with another to protect the first insurer, wholly or partially, against loss or liability by reason of a risk under a separate and distinct contract as insurer of a third party. Reinsurance differs from coinsurance in that, in the case of reinsurance, only one insurer has a direct contractual relationship with the insured, and that insurer (commonly referred to as the lead insurer) purchases reinsurance in order to lessen or spread the risk. The lead insurer will assume a risk up to a limit (the amount of which is referred to as the retention) and any loss which exceeds this limit would be borne by the reinsurers. In the case of coinsurance, each coinsurer has a direct contractual relationship with the insured, and the risk is shared in agreed-upon proportions from the first dollar of loss.

Release clause
A provision in a purchase contract that allows a seller to continue marketing their home and accept other offers.

Relocation company
A firm that administers all aspxects of relocating new employees from one location to another.

Remaining balance
The amount of unpaid principal on a home loan.

Remaining term
The original loan term minus the number of payments made.

Renter's insurance
A policy for renters that covers the replacement value of possessions.

Repayment plan
When a borrower falls behind in mortgage payments many lenders will negotiate a repayment plan rather than go to court.

Replacement cost
The current cost of rebuilding a structure to its original specifications.

Replacement reserve fund
Money that is set aside from homeowners' assessments to replace common property such as furniture in a planned development's community room.

Replacing damaged mortar in the joints between bricks or stones.

To take back property.  A lender holding a mortgage may repossess a property if the buyer fails to make payments.

The cancellation of a contract by law or consent from the parties involved.

Reserve fund
Money set aside by a homeowners' association for major repairs or improvements.

Resilient channel
A channel run across wall studs underneath wallboard to reduce sound transmission.

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act; a law protecting consumers from abuses during the residential real estate purchase and loan process by requiring lenders to disclose all settlement costs, practices, and relationships.

Often called restrictive covenants. Provisions in a deed or other instrument whereby an owner of land prohibits or restricts certain use, occupation or improvement of the land.

Restructured loan
A mortgage in which new terms are negotiated.

Reverse mortgage
A special type of loan available to equity-rich, older home owners.  Repayment is not necessary until the borrower sells the property.  Many downsides exist to these loans.

Ridge board
A horizontal board that serves as the apex of the roof structure.

Ridge vent
A vent located along the ridge board of the roof that allows moisture to escape.

Right of first refusal
An agreement by a property owner to give another person the right to buy or rent the property before it goes on the open market.

(1) The right to pass over property owned by another, usually based upon an easement; (2) A path or thoroughfare over which passage is made; (3) A strip of land over which facilities such as highways, railroads or power lines are built.

Right to rescission
A provision in the federal Truth in Lending Act that allows borrowers to cancel certain kinds of loans within three (3) days of signing.

Riparian rights
An owner's right to use a river, stream or lake bordering the owner's property.

Vertical boards between the steps of a stairway.

Rocker switch
An electrical switch operated by tapping the top or bottom of the control plate.

A limitation on annual assessed value increases or a reduction in the amount of property tax paid.

Roof sheathing
Flat boards nailed to the rafters to which a covering is fastened.

The installation of plumbing, electrical and other mechanical systems.

Rural Housing Service
A U.S. Department of Agriculture program that provides financing to farmers and certain borrowers to purchase rural property when other funds are not available.