London Elite Trades wish to make all our clients building and refurbishment work as clear as possible. For that reason we have compiled a list of all the most commonly used terms and definitions.

  • Appraisal

    A professional analysis used to estimate the value of the property.
  • Appreciation

    An increase in the market value of a home due to changing market conditions and/or home improvements.
  • Area wells

    Corrugated metal or concrete barrier walls installed around a basement window to hold back the earth .
  • Assessment

    A tax levied on a property, or a value placed on the worth of a property.
  • Balusters

    Vertical members in a railing used between a top rail and bottom rail or the stair treads.
  • Base or baseboard

    A trim board placed against the wall around the room next to the floor.
  • Buy down

    A subsidy (usually paid by a builder or developer) to reduce monthly payments on a mortgage.
  • By fold door

    Doors that are hinged in the middle for opening in a smaller area than standard swing doors. Often used for closet doors.
  • By pass doors

    Doors that slide by each other and commonly used as closet doors.
  • Certificate of Occupancy

    This certificate is issued by the local municipality and is required before anyone can occupy and live within the home. It is issued only after the local municipality has made all inspections and all monies and fees have been paid.
  • Closing (Closing Date):

    The completion of the real estate transaction between buyer and seller. Also known as the settlement date.
  • Closing Agent

    A person who coordinates closing-related activities.
  • Closing Costs

    The costs to complete the real estate transaction. These costs are in addition to the price of the home and are paid at closing and include points, taxes, title insurance, financing costs, and other items.
  • Condominium

    A unit in a multiunit building. The owner of a condominium unit owns the unit itself and has the right, along with other owners, to use the common areas but does not own the common elements such as the exterior walls, floors and ceilings or the structural systems outside of the unit; these are owned by the condominium association.
  • Contingency

    A plan for something that may occur but is not likely.
  • Deed

    The legal document transferring the ownership or title to a property.
  • Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure

    A cancellation of your mortgage if you voluntarily transfer the title of your property to your mortgage company. Usually you must try to sell your home for its fair market value for at least 90 days before a mortgage company will consider this option. A deed-in-lieu of foreclosure may not be an option if there are other liens on the property, such as second mortgages, judgments from creditors, or tax liens.
  • Deed of Trust

    A legal document in which the borrower transfers the title to a 3rd party (trustee) to hold as security for the lender. When the loan is paid in full the trustee transfers the title back to the borrower. If the borrower defaults on the loan the trustee will sell the property and pay the lender the mortgage debt.
  • Easement

    A formal contract that allows a party to use another party’s property for a specific purpose. For example, a sewer easement might allow one party to run a sewer line through a neighbor’s property.
  • Egress

    A means of exiting the home. An egress window is required in every bedroom and basement. Normally a 4′ X 4′ window is the minimum size required.
  • Field measure

    To take measurements (cabinets, countertops, stairs, shower doors, etc.) in the home itself instead of using the blueprints.
  • Forced air heating

    A common form of heating with natural gas, propane, oil or electricity as a fuel. Air is heated in the furnace and distributed through a set of metal ducts to various areas of the house.
  • GFCI or GFI, Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

    An ultra sensitive plug designed to shut off all electric current. Used in bathrooms, kitchens, exterior waterproof outlets, garage outlets, and “wet areas”. Has a small reset button on the plug.
  • Grade

    Ground level, or the elevation at any given point. Also the work of leveling dirt.
  • Heat pump

    A mechanical device that uses compression and decompression of gas to heat and/or cool a house.
  • Home Inspection

    A professional inspection of a home to determine the condition of the property. The inspection should include an evaluation of the plumbing, heating and cooling systems, roof, wiring, the foundation and pest infestation.
  • Homeowner’s Insurance

    A broad-protection package policy that typically covers you, your spouse, children, and anyone else under the age 21 living in the same household against fire, personal liability exposure, and other associated perils.
  • Hose Bib

    An exterior water faucet.
  • HVAC

    An abbreviation for Heat, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.
  • Insulating Glass

    Window or door in which two panes of glass are used with a sealed air space between.
  • Market Value

    The current value of your home based on what a purchaser would pay, sometimes determined by an appraisal.
  • NEC (National Electrical Code)

    A set of rules governing safe wiring methods.
  • Offer

    A formal bid from the homebuyer to the home seller to purchase a home.
  • Open House

    When the seller’s real estate agent opens the seller’s house to the public for viewing. You are not required to have an agent to attend an open house.
  • Percolation Test (Perc. Test)

    A test to determine if the soil on a proposed building lot is capable of absorbing the liquid affluent from a septic system.
  • Property Survey

    A survey to determine the boundaries of your property. The cost depends on the complexity of the survey.
  • Punch List

    A list of discrepancies that need to be corrected by the contractor.
  • Quarter Round

    A small trim molding that has the cross section of a quarter circle.
  • Ratified Sales Contract

    A contract that shows that both you and the seller or homebuilder have agreed to your offer.
  • Real Estate Professional

    An individual who provides services in buying and selling homes. The real estate professional is paid a percentage of the home sale price by the seller for their services.
  • Replacement Cost

    The cost to replace damaged personal property without a deduction for depreciation.
  • R Factor or Value

    A measure of a materials resistance to the passage of heat. New home walls are usually insulated with 4″ of batt insulation with an R value of R-13, and a ceiling insulation of R-30.
  • Scratch Coat

    The first coat of plaster, which is scratched to form a bond for a second coat.
  • Spec Home

    A house built before it is sold.
  • Title

    The right to, and the ownership of, property.
  • Title Insurance

    Insurance that protects both lenders and homeowners against legal issues that may arise with the title on a property.
  • Utility Easement

    The area of the earth that has electric, gas, or telephone lines. The homeowner may own these areas, but the utility company has the legal right to enter the area as necessary to repair or service the lines.
  • Warranty

    A written guarantee of the quality of a your home and the promise to repair or replace defective parts free of charge.