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  U

uncollected rent:
Uncollected rent or vacancy is subtracted from gross scheduled income. Uncollected rent is an estimate expressed as a percentage then converted to dollars. (See gross scheduled income)

unconscionable contracts:
An agreement that is so unfair and one-sided that the courts will refuse to honor it.

underground storage tanks (USTs):
USTs are commonly used for storing petroleum products, chemicals or process wastes. Sites which use USTs include airports, gas stations, industrial locations and military bases. Over time neglected tanks may leak hazardous substances into the environment, contaminating groundwater. State and federal laws impose strict requirements on landowners where USTs are located to detect and correct leaks to protect groundwater.
  EPA—Office of Undergound Storage Tanks

underwriter:
A person who evaluates the risk of default by a mortgage loan applicant, and grants approval or denial of the loan.

underwriting:
The process of evaluating a mortgage loan applicant's credit, collateral value and the risks in making a loan.

undisclosed dual agency:
A broker may not intend to create a dual agency. However, like any other agency, it may occur unintentionally or inadvertently. Sometimes the cause is carelessness, and other times a salesperson does not fully understand his or her fiduciary responsibilities. Some salespersons lose sight of other responsibilities when they focus intensely on bringing buyers and sellers together. For instance, a salesperson representing the seller might suggest to a buyer that the seller will accept less than the listing price, or that same salesperson might promise to persuade the seller to accept an offer that is in the buyer's best interests. Giving a buyer any specific advice on how much to offer can lead him or her to believe that the salesperson represents the buyer's interests and is acting as the buyer's advocate.

undue influence:
Strong enough persuasion to completely overpower the free will of another and prevent him or her from acting intelligently and voluntarily, as in a case where a broker guilty of blockbusting has induced someone to sell in fear of a change in the racial character of the community. Undue influence usually requires a close or confidential relationship like parent-child, broker-seller, attorney-client, or trustee-beneficiary. When a person has been unduly influenced to sign a contract, that person can void the contract.

unenforceable contract:
A contract which is considered unenforceable either because it cannot be proven or will not be enforced by a court. In addition to being considered void or illegal, other reasons for unenforceable contracts may be because they were not presented in writing which may have been a requirement under state statutes of frauds or the statutes of limitations period has elapsed.

unequivocal:
Unambiguous; clear; having only one possible meaning or interpretation.

Uniform Building Code:
A national building code published by the International Conference of Building Officials. It has been adopted in part by municipalities throughout the United States, but used mostly in the western states. (See building code)

Uniform Commercial Code:
A codification of commercial law, adopted in most states, that attempts to make uniform all laws relating to commercial transactions, including chattel mortgages and bulk transfers. Security interests in chattels are created by an instrument known as a security agreement. To give notice of the security interest, a financing statement must be recorded. Article 6 of the code regulates bulk transfers--the sale of a business as a whole, including all fixtures, chattels and merchandise.

Uniform Condominium Act (UCA):
Many states have adopted the Uniform Condominium Act (UCA). Under its provisions, a condominium is created and established when the owner of an existing building (or developer of unimproved property) executes and records a declaration of condominium.
  Uniform Condominium Act—Full Text

Uniform Partnership Act (UPA):
Most states have adopted the "Uniform Partnership Act" (UPA), which permits real estate to be held in the partnership name. The "Uniform Limited Partnership Act" (ULPA) has also been widely adopted. It establishes the legality of the limited partnership entity and provides that realty may be held in the limited partnership's name. Profits and losses are passed through the partnership to each partner, whose individual tax situation determines the tax consequences.
  Uniform Partnership Act—Full Text
  Uniform Limited Partnership Act—Full Text

Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA):
A uniform act intended to provide some consistency in regulating the relationship of landlord and tenant in residential leases. A number of states have adopted all or parts of the URLTA, or have enacted similar legislation.
  Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act—Full Text

uniform residential loan application:
A loan application form required by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Uniform Settlement Statement:
The standard HUD Form 1 required to be given to the borrower, lender and seller at the time or before settlement by the settlement agent in a transaction covered under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. The lender must retain its copy for at least two years.

unilateral contract:
A one-sided contract wherein one party makes a promise so as to induce a second party to do something. The second party is not legally bound to perform; however, if the second party does comply, the first party is obligated to keep the promise.

unit-in-place method:
The appraisal method of estimating building costs by calculating the costs of all of the physical components in the structure with the cost of each item including its proper installation, connection, etc. Also called the segregated cost method. (See appraisal)

unity of ownership:
The four unities that are traditionally needed to create a joint tenancy-unity of title, time, interest and possession.

unity of possession:
One of the four "unities" required to create a joint tenancy. All joint tenants hold an undivided right to possession. (See joint tenancy, four unities)

unlawful detainer action:
A legal action that provides a method of evicting a tenant who is in default under the terms of the lease; a summary proceeding to recover possession of property.

universal agent:
A person empowered to do anything the principal could do personally. The universal agent's authority to act on behalf of the principal is virtually unlimited.

Unruh Civil Rights Act:
Forbids discrimination as to sex, race, color, religion, ancestry or national origin in accommodations and business establishments. Under this law there can be no arbitrary eviction, rent increase or withholding of services by virtually any landlord, including the owner of a nonowner-occupied single-family dwelling that is sold or leased for income or gain.

Example:

Len Lessor brings an action to evict Adam Lessee from one of his rental properties because Adam has long hair, associates with black people and homosexuals, receives public assistance and is a student.

Len will not be successful because all of those "reasons" are arbitrary and fail to establish good cause for an eviction.

unsecured:
Describes a debt instrument, such as a debenture, that is backed only by the debtor's promise to pay.

urea-formaldehyde:
First used in building materials, particularly insulation, in the 1970s. Gases leak out of the urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI) as it hardens and become trapped in the interior of a building. Once used to conserve energy by sealing crawl spaces and attics, it is longer used because emissions were found to be a health hazard. (See formaldehyde)
  National Safety Council on Formaldehyde

usury:
Charging interest at a higher rate than the maximum rate established by state law.

utility liens:
Municipalities often have the right to impose a specific, equitable, involuntary lien on the property of an owner who refuses to pay bills for municipal utility services. (See lien)

utility value:
The value in use to an owner-user, which includes a value of amenities attaching to a property; also known as subjective value.

u-value:
A measure used to indicate the insulating value of a window. The U-value measures the heat flow. The smaller the U-value, the better a material can stop heat flow.

  V

valid contract:
A contract that complies with all the essentials of a contract and is binding and enforceable with all associated parties. (See contract)

VA loan:
A government-sponsored mortgage assistance program administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Under the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, eligible veterans and widows or widowers (who have not re-married) of veterans who died in service or from service-connected causes may obtain partially guaranteed loans for the purchase or construction of a house or to refinance existing mortgage debt.
  Quick Guide to VA Home Loans

value:
The measure of the monetary equivalent of a property. The four essential elements of value are utility, scarcity, demand and transferability. Cost does not equal value nor does equity.

There are various types of value, such as market value, tax assessed value, book value, insurance value, use value, par value, rental value and replacement value. By far, the type of value used for the largest number of real estate transactions is market value.

value in exchange:
The market value of a property.

value in use:
The value of a property as used for a specific purpose.

vapor retarders:
Special materials used in the installation of thermal insulation to reduce the passage of water vapor. These materials include treated papers, plastic sheets, and metallic foils.

variable costs:
Operating expenses that fluctuate with occupancy, such as utilities and maintenance costs.

variable lease:
Allows for increases in the rental charges during the lease period. One of the more common is the graduated lease which provides for specified rent increases at set future dates. Another is the index lease, which allows rent to be increased or decreased periodically based on changes in the consumer price index or some other indicator.

variance:
Permission obtained from governmental zoning authorities to build a structure or conduct a use that is expressly prohibited by the current zoning lows; an exception from the zoning laws. A variance gives some measure of elasticity to the zoning game.

variate:
A single item in a group.

vendee:
The purchaser of realty; the buyer. The buyer under a land contract.

vendor:
The seller of realty. The seller under a land contract. In some cases, the vendor may not be the owner--he or she might be the holder of an option.

verification:
Confirmation under oath of the truthfulness of a statement.

Veteran's Administration (VA):
Federal agency providing assistance to veterans, including the guarantee of VA mortgage loans.
  Department of Veterans Affairs Website

veteran's exemption:
California war veterans may receive a $4,000 exemption on the full cash value of their homes.

void:
Having no legal force or binding effect; a nullity; not enforceable. A void agreement is no contract at all. A void contract need not be disaffirmed, nor can it be ratified. A contract for an illegal purpose (for example, gambling) is void. A voidable contract is one that is able to be voided. Voidable implies a valid act that may be rejected by an act of disaffirmance, rather than an invalid act that may be confirmed. For example, if a minor contracts to buy a diamond ring, the contract can be voided by the minor because of lack of sufficient age. If, however, the minor elects to enforce the contract, the contract is valid and the other party cannot assert the minor's lack of age as a defense.

voidable contract:
A contract that seems to be valid on the surface but may be rejected or disaffirmed by one or both of the parties.

volatile organic compounds:
Carbon compounds that tend to be emitted as gases into the air. Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes, and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing, and hobby products. Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All of these products can release organic compounds while in use or in storage.
  EPA Volatile Organic Compounds Website

voluntary conveyance:
Voluntarily signing over to a lender the property pledged as collateral on a defaulted loan. (See deed in lieu of foreclosure)

voluntary lien:
A lien placed on property with the knowledge and consent of the property owner. (See lien)

  W

waiver:
To give up a right voluntarily. (See workout)

walk-through:
A final inspection of a property just before closing. This assures the buyer that the property has been vacated, that no damage has occurred and that the seller has not taken or substituted any property contrary to the terms of the sales agreement. If damage has occurred, the buyer might ask that funds be withheld at the closing to pay for the repairs.

warehousing:
Warehousing is the assembly of mortgage loans into "pools." Securities that represent shares in these pools are then sold to investors. Examples of warehousing "agencies" include Fannie Mae/Federal National Mortgage Association and Ginnie Mae/Government National Mortgage Association.

warranty:
A promise that certain stated facts are true. A guaranty by the seller, covering the title as well as the physical condition of the property. A warranty is different from a representation in that a representation is a statement made in the course of negotiations leading up to the sale, but not incorporated into the contract. A warranty, on the other hand, is a statement in the contract asserting the truth of certain things about the property.

warranty deed:
A deed in which the grantor fully warrants good clear title to the premises; also called a general warranty deed. The usual covenants of title are covenant of seisin (possession), covenant of quiet enjoyment, covenant against encumbrances, covenant of warranty forever and covenant of further assurance. A warranty deed warrants the title, not the quality of construction of the real property. A warranty deed is used in most real estate deed transfers and offers the greatest protection of any deed.

waste:
An improper use or an abuse of a property by a possessor who holds less than fee ownership, such as a tenant, life tenant, mortgagor or vendee. Such waste ordinarily impairs the value of the land or the interest of the person holding the title or the reversionary rights.

water rights:
See appropriative water rights, correlative water rights, littoral rights, right of correlative user, right of prior appropriation, riparian rights
  State of CA—State Water Resources Control Board Department of Water Rights

water table:
The natural level at which water is located in a particular area, be it above or below the surface of the earth.

water well:
An excavation where the intended use is for location, acquisition, development, or artificial recharge of ground water.

weekly activity report:
A weekly written report given to an owner by a listing broker reviewing the sales activities conducted by the broker to sell the listed property.

weighted average technique:
When reconciling appraisal approaches, the application of a weight to each approach for averaging. (See appraisal)

wetlands:
Areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soils. Also referred to as bogs, marshes, sloughs and swamps.

wholesale agreements:
An agreement of a loan originator to work exclusively with a single lender.

will:
A written document, properly witnessed, providing for the transfer of title to property owned by the deceased, called the testator.

will-buy buyers:
Will-buy buyers are bargain-hunters looking for motivated "must-sell" sellers. (See must-sell sellers)

will-sell sellers:
Unmotivated sellers who put their property on the market at an above-market price. Sellers who do not need to sell but will if the price is right.

window well:
The dugout area just outside of a basement window that can be used to escape in the event of a fire.

workers' compensation acts:
Laws that require an employer to obtain insurance coverage to protect his or her employees who are injured in the course of their employment.

working level (WL):
A unit of measurement for documenting exposure to radon decay products. One working level is equal to approximately 200 picoCuries per liter.

workout:
The various ways to offset a foreclosure. (See moratorium, waiver)

wraparound mortgage:
A method of financing in which the new mortgage is placed in a secondary or subordinate position; the new mortgage includes both the unpaid principal balance of the first mortgage and whatever additional sums are advanced by the lender. Sometimes called an all-inclusive loan, an overriding loan or an overlapping loan. In essence, it is an additional mortgage in which another lender refinances a borrower by lending an amount over the existing first mortgage amount, without cashing out or disturbing the existence of the first mortgage. The entire loan combines two or more debts and is treated as a single obligation, and the wrap, or secondary, mortgagee pays the obligations of the first mortgage from the total payments received. While the wraparound lender makes the debt service payments on the first mortgage, the lender does not assume liability for this first lien. A default on the wraparound mortgage would usually result in a default on the underlying mortgage.

writ of execution:
A court order authorizing and directing an officer of the court (sheriff, police officer) to levy and sell property of the defendant to satisfy a judgement.

  X

No terms in X at this time.

  Y

yield:
The return on an investment or the amount of profit, stated as a percentage of the amount invested; the rate of return. In real estate, yield refers to the effective annual amount of income that is being accrued on an investment. The yield on income property is the ratio of the annual net income from the property to the cost or market value of the property. The yield, or profit, to a lender is the spread or differential between the cost of acquiring the funds lent and the interest rate charged.

  Z

zero coupon bonds:
A single-payment bond that grows to its face value over a prescribed time period at a specific interest rate. All compound interest is tax-deferred until the bond is cashed.

zoning:
The regulation of structures and uses of property within designated districts or zones. Zoning regulates and affects such things as use of the land, lot sizes, types of structure permitted, building heights, setbacks and density (the ratio of land area to improvement area). (See aesthetic zoning, bulk zoning, comprehensive zoning, cumulative zoning, downzoning, exclusionary zoning, incentive zoning, noncumulative zoning, partial zoning, spot zoning)

zoning ordinance:
An exercise of police power by a municipality to regulate and control the character and use of property.

zoning variance:
A zoning variance permits a change in the specifications required by the zoning ordinance.

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