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Home Buyer and House Plan Terms and Definitions - Part VI

Recording Fee - A charge for recording the transfer of a property, paid to a city, county, or other appropriate branch of government.

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) - A federal law requiring lenders to provide home buyers with information about known or estimated settlement costs. The act also regulates other aspects of settlement procedures.

R-Value - The resistance of insulation material (including windows) to heat passing through it. The higher the number, the greater the insulating value.

Sales Contract - A contract between a buyer and seller which should explain, in detail, exactly what the purchase includes, what guarantees there are, when the buyer can move in, what the closing costs are, and what recourse the parties have if the contract is not fulfilled or if the buyer cannot get a mortgage commitment at the agreed-upon terms.

Settlement - (See Closing).

Shared Appreciation Mortgage - A loan in which partners agree to share specified portions of the downpayment, monthly payment, and appreciation.

Tenancy in Common - A form of ownership in which the tenants own separate but equal parts. To inherit the property, a surviving tenant would either have to be mentioned in the will or, in the absence of a will, be eligible through state inheritance laws.

Title - Evidence (usually in the form of a certificate or deed) of a personís legal right to ownership of a property.

Transfer Taxes - Taxes levied on the transfer of property or on real estate loans by state and/or local jurisdictions.

Veterans Administration (VA) - A federal agency which insures mortgage loans with very liberal downpayment requirements for honorably discharged veterans and their surviving spouses.

Walk-Through - A final inspection of a home before settlement to search for problems that need to be corrected before ownership changes hands.

Warranty - A promise, either written or implied, that the material and workmanship of a product is defect-free or will meet a specified level of performance over a specified period of time. Written warranties on new homes are either backed by insurance companies or by the builders themselves.

Zoning - Regulations established by local governments regarding the location, height, and use for any given piece of property within a specific area.

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