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Real Estate Terms In Laymens Terms
by David Rattiner
David Rattiner is a business writer for

Real Estate Terminology
By David Lion Rattiner

Over the weekend I took an accelerated real estate salesperson course at Long Island University's School of Continuing Education with Professor John Viteritti. I am now halfway done with the course, as it requires two full weekends of study, beginning at nine in the morning and ending at five in the afternoon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

I have to say, I forgot how much of a pain it is to get this license. In college, I became licensed to sell real estate in Massachusetts, but since I'm here now, I have to take this course all over again, and the definitions you need to know are tough to remember. For me, though, something that has been helpful has been putting what I need to know for the exam in laymen's terms. Here is what I mean.

Tenancy at Sufferance - When some jackass decides that he isn't going to pay you for renting the room in your house, but refuses to leave. Also known as a lazy uncle.

Acceleration Clause - When the bank adds a line to your mortgage contract that says something like, "If you don't pay your mortgage, not only are you going to take it up the butt, but we are going to do it to you faster than we would normally."

Foreclosure - When the bank says, "Well you didn't pay us fast enough, so instead of breaking your legs, we're just going to destroy your family by taking your home away from you."

Corporation - An imaginary person that a bunch of greedy people make up so they can blame the imaginary person instead of themselves when they are caught stealing.

Oral Contract - Similar to oral sex in that it is just not the real thing.

Expressed Valid Contract - The real deal.

Implied Contract - Common sense. Relatively pointless term invented for people who at one point or another tried to legally get away with not paying for goods or services after they were performed.

Undue Influence and Duress - Terms that can void any contract when proven. In general if "You are made an offer you can't refuse" by the mafia, or in other words, a gun is held to your head and a mobster says, "EITHER YOUR BRAINS ARE GOING TO SIGN THIS CONTRACT OR YOU ARE!" A judge might consider this duress and void the contract, assuming he's not on the payroll.

Adverse Possession - When your neighbor builds a fence on your property and out of politeness you don't say anything about it. Then, ten years later, the neighbor suddenly lets you know that he now owns your land through adverse possession, and you consider kicking the crap out of him.

Consideration - Money. In the Hamptons when referring to real estate, lots and lots and lots of money.

Severalty - An annoying word that means one person owns something but it sounds like several people do. Most likely invented one night when a group of lawyers got extremely drunk and thought that as a goof they would invent a legal term that sounded completely opposite of its meaning.

Brokers Commission - The reason I'm in this real estate class.

Deed - A piece of paper that says you own a piece of real estate through a title that has a really cool stamp on it and you can show it to people and be all like, "Dude, check out this deed that says I own some real estate."

Legal Description - An annoying way of speaking to people so they feel dumb and you feel smart.

Federal Estate Taxes - In general these just kind of suck and everybody hates them.

Offer and Acceptance - I'm not kidding you, an entire page was dedicated to explaining what this means in my fifty dollar textbook.

Agent - Not to be confused with secret agent, which was disappointing to find out. An agent is basically the slave of the principal.

Principal - The dude who can be like, "Yo, if you say anything bad about me to somebody else, I'll sue the crap out of you." It is important to not be the agent of a principal who sucks and instead be of one that is awesome.

Statute of Limitations - The amount of time you get to think about suing the crap out of somebody. Should that time run out, even if you deserved to sue the crap out of that person, you can't.

Actual Eviction - A legal way of saying, "Get the @$#* OUT OF MY HOUSE!"

Published: Sep 9,2008 17:04
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