Real Estate Dictionary



HORIZON
Limestone deposits under the C horizon.
H-BEAM
A beam, the cross-section of which is the shape of a capital H.
HABENDUM
The clause in a deed, following the granting clause, which defines the extent of the estate of the grantee.
HABITABLE ROOM
A room used for living area, such as a kitchen, bedroom, dining room, etc., as opposed to bathrooms, closets, hallways, and similar spaces. Generally, habitable rooms are the only ones counted in the number of rooms in a house; bathrooms are counted separately.
HABITANCY
A legal term meaning the place which a person inhabits (lives). The layman's meaning of a place where someone "lives" is probably the closest definition.
HACIENDA
An estate, farm, or, commonly, even a house. Originally, the royal estate.
HACK STAND
An area where taxicabs may park to solicit fares.
HALF SECTION
One half of a section of land, divided either North and South, or East and West.See also: Section.
HALF-TIMBERED
Residential construction exposing the timber frame of the interior walls, the space between being lath and plaster. In simulated half- timbering, the attaching of boards (or a plastic which is treated to resemble a timber surface) to the surface of an interior wall. In simulated half-timbering, the boards are strictly decorative, and not load-bearing.
HALL
Originally, a large building used as a meeting place, such as a town hall. The term has also become synonymous with "hallway", the latter being a relatively narrow passageway between rooms.
HAMLET
A small village or town.
HAND
A lineal measure equal to four inches, the approximate width of a man's hand. Most commonly used to measure the height of a horse.
HARBOR
A natural or man made sheltered area for ships to anchor. May or may not have docks and other port facilities.
HARD COSTS
See: Direct Costs.
HARD FINISH
A smooth outer coat of varnish, plaster, or similar finish material.
HARD MONEY MORTGAGE
A mortgage given in return for cash, rather than to secure a portion of the purchase price, as with a purchase money mortgage.
HARDPAN
A compacted layer of soil, usually containing clay, through which it is difficult to drain or dig.
HARDWARE
In construction, the metal accessories, such as doorknobs, hinges, locks, etc.
HARDWOOD
Wood used for interior finish, such as oak, maple, and walnut. Although the term originally referred to the type of tree and not the hardness of the wood, modern usage usually refers to the hardness of the wood.
HARMONIOUS
Blending compatibly, as parts of buildings, buildings in a neighborhood or subdivision, etc.
HATCHWAY
Usually describes a door in the deck of a boat. A door in the ceiling or floor of a building, giving access to the attic or cellar.
HAZARD INSURANCE
Real estate insurance protecting against loss caused by fire, some natural causes, vandalism, etc., depending upon the terms of the policy.
HAZARD RANKING SYSTEM
Determining which sites are most in need of immediate Superfund money. The system was created by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The ranking considers such things as degree of toxicity, amount of toxicity, and danger to people.
HEAD
(1) The upper framing member of a door or window. Also called a header. (2) The beginning of a river or stream.
HEAD OF A FAMILY (HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD)
A term used in homestead exemptions to designate the person in charge of managing and supporting a family. It need not be a parent.
HEADER (LINTEL)
A horizontal beam over a wall opening, such as a doorway, fireplace, etc. The header is attached to vertical framing members, and spreads the weight from above to these members.
HEARTH
(1) The fireside. (2) The fireplace floor, of stone, brick, tile, etc.
HEARTWOOD
A dead portion of a tree, no longer producing sap. The wood from the center of the tree (pith) to the wood which produces sap (sapwood).
HEAT PUMP
A pump used in either heating or cooling.
HEATER
Connotes a device working by itself to heat a small area (space heater), rather than a heating system, composed of a central source of heat (furnace) and pipes and ducts which heat several spaces.
HEATING SYSTEM
A general term encompassing any system designed to heat a structure in its entirety, as opposed to a space heater.
HEAVY INDUSTRY
Any industry designated "heavy industry" under a zoning ordinance. Usually connected with some type of pollution, such as air, water, or noise pollution.
HEAVY STEEL FRAME
A building having steel beams, girders, or other framing members, which carry heavy floor loads.
HECTARE
A french unit of measurement, equaling 10,000 square meters (2.471 acres).
HEEL
That part of a vertical framing member which rests closest to the floor.
HEIGHT DENSITY
A zoning term referring to the regulation of maximum building heights for structures in given areas.
HEIR
One who by law, rather than by will, receives the estate of a deceased person.
HEIRS AND ASSIGNS
Words usually found in a deed, showing the interest the grantee is receiving. A deed to "A, his heirs and assigns", would grant the property to A, with the right to assign said property or have it descend to A's heirs upon A's death. This would be considered a fee interest (estate). This would differ from, for example, a life estate granted to A, which would terminate upon A's death and could not be inherited by A's heirs.
HELP (HOMEBUYER EDUCATION LEARNING PROGRAM)
An educational program from the FHA that counsels people about the home buying process. Completion of the program may entitle the homebuyer to a reduced initial FHA mortgage insurance premium.
HEREDITAMENTS
(1) Anything which could be considered real property. (2) Anything which may be inherited.
HETEROGENEOUS
An appraisal term describing an area composed of buildings of varied styles or uses. Not as desirable as homogeneous property.
HIATUS
See: Gore.
HIGH WATER LINE
The line on the shore to which high tide rises under normal weather conditions.
HIGH-RISE APARTMENT BUILDING
An apartment building considered "high" in the area where it is built. There is no national height standard.
HIGHEST AND BEST USE
The use of land which will result in its highest value. In appraisal this cannot be merely theoretical but must be realistic in that the use must be legal (proper zoning, etc.), physically achievable and financially feasible.
HIGHWAY
Technically, any public road, regardless of size. Most commonly, a paved road which carries traffic at high speeds.
HIGHWAY CAPACITY
The number of vehicles which may move along a highway at the same time. The number may vary as the type (size) of the vehicles vary, speed limit changes, access changes, etc.
HIGHWAY FRONTAGE
Technically, land which fronts on a highway. For purposes of determining value, land which fronts on and has access to a highway.
HIP
The convex angle at the exterior meeting of the sides of a hip roof.
HIP RAFTER
The rafter which forms the intersection of a convex roof angle.
HIP ROOF
A roof with four sloping sides which rise to a ridge. Usually found on garages or church steeples. Also called a pyramid roof.
HISTORICAL COST
The cost of a building when first constructed, as opposed to the original cost (cost to the present owner), although they may be the same.
HOGWALLOWS
Small depressions formed by heavy rains, resembling the depressions left after the wallowing of hogs.
HOLD HARMLESS AGREEMENT
See: Indemnity Agreement.
HOLD OVER TENANT
A tenant who retains possession after the expiration of a lease.
HOLDBACK
Portion of a loan held back by the lender until a contingency is net. In the sale of a home insured by V.A. or F.H.A., funds may be held back to make necessary improvements to bring the property to V.A. or F.H.A. standards. The money to make these repairs may not be available until closing. One and one half to double the estimated amount necessary is held back. If repairs are not made in the time allowed, these funds are used to make the repairs. In construction financing, funds are held back until, for example, a certain percentage of a subdivision has been sold, or a certain portion of a building has been completed.
HOLDER
One who rightfully acquires a negotiable instrument, such as a check or note. A holder has the same rights as an assignee, which are less than the rights of a holder in due course. See also: Holder In Due Course.
HOLDER IN DUE COURSE
The transferee of a negotiable instrument, such as a check or note, for value, in good faith and without knowledge that the instrument is in default or has been dishonored. A holder in due course has greater rights than a holder and may have greater rights than the original transferor.
HOLDING ESCROW
An open escrow for the life of a land contract, under which the escrow holder may be empowered to collect payments due under the contract and pay underlying encumbrances, and record a deed and purchase money mortgage, which are executed at the time of the inception of the land contract and held in the escrow, in the event of default by vendee. A cumbersome and costly method not used in all states, and in states where used, rapidly being replaced by the security (installment) land contract.
HOLDING PERIOD
The time period used by the IRS to determine a long or short term capital gain. The period during which the taxpayer owns the capital asset.
HOLDOVER TENANT
One who continues to occupy property after the lease expires.
HOLLOW WALL
See: Cavity Wall.
HOLLOW-NEWELL STAIR
A circular stairway having a hollow center. Usually the curve of the circle is severe.
HOLOGRAPH OR HOLOGRAPHIC WILL
A will written and executed entirely in the handwriting of the testator.
HOME EQUITY CONVERSION MORTGAGE (HECM)
The reverse mortgage program insured by the Federal Housing Administration, a federal government agency. See: Reverse Mortgage.
HOME EQUITY LINE OF CREDIT
See: Equity Line of Credit.
HOME FINANCING
A banking term for loans to construct or property of no more than 4 units.
HOME INSPECTION
A private company goes through the property being sold and writes a report detailing any structural and/or mechanical problems. If the inspection is a condition of purchase, the buyer may then cancel the purchase or offer a lower amount if defects are found.
HOME OWNERS' ASSOCIATION
(1) An association of people who own homes in a given area, formed for the purpose of improving or maintaining the quality of the area. (2) An association formed by the builder of condominiums or planned developments, and required by statute in some states. The builder's participation as well as the duties of the association are controlled by statute.
HOME OWNERSHIP
Ownership as opposed to a rental status. See also: Ownership.
HOME WARRANTY INSURANCE
Private insurance insuring a buyer against defects (usually in plumbing, heating, and electrical) in the home he has purchased. The period of insurance varies and both new and used homes may be insured.
HOMEKEEPER
A reverse mortgage loan from the Federal National Mortgage Association for persons 62 and older. The loan is used to purchase a home with a small down payment and no credit and income requirements. The loan is based on the number and age of the borrowers and the appraised value of the home.
HOMEOWNER'S INSURANCE
Includes the coverage of Hazard Insurance plus added coverage such as personal liability, theft away from the home (items stolen from the insured's car), and other such coverage.
HOMESTEAD
The dwelling (house and contiguous land) of the head of a family. Some states grant statutory exemptions, protecting homestead property (usually to a set maximum amount) against the rights of creditors. Property tax exemptions (for all or part of the tax) are also available in some states. Statutory requirements to establish a homestead may include a formal declaration to be recorded.
HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION
See: Homestead.
HOMOGENEOUS
Similar or the same. In appraisal, an area having similar style properties or properties of similar use is considered more valuable than a heterogeneous area.
HOOD
A projecting canopy, as over a door or window. Any covering serving the protective purpose of a clothing hood.
HOPPER
A device used on the sides of hospital windows to prevent drafts.
HOPPER WINDOW
See: Hospital Window.
HORIZON
(1) The line where the sky and ground appear to meet, when viewed from a distance. (2) A layer of soil. (See specific A horizon, B horizon, C horizon, & D horizon).
HORIZONTAL
Parallel to the horizon. From side to side, rather than up or down.
HOSPITAL
An institution where care, nursing, and surgery are performed for the sick and injured. May be government or privately owned.
HOSPITAL WINDOW
A window that opens inwardly from bottom hinges and has hoppers (draft preventers) on its sides.
HOT AIR HEATING SYSTEM
See: Warm Air Heating System.
HOT WATER HEATER
A tank, usually glass lined, in which water is heated for household, commercial, or industrial use.
HOT WATER HEATING SYSTEM
A heating system using circulating hot water from a boiler through a series of pipes to the areas to be heated, and back to the boiler.
HOTEL
Originally, any place for travelers to spend the night. Any hotel built today would be a multi-storied structure having sleeping rooms with private bathrooms, suites, telephones in each rentable room, at least one restaurant, and many other amenities.
HOUR-INCH
A flow of one miner's inch for one hour. The value of a miner's inch is not standard, being 1/40th of a cubic foot per second in some areas, and 1/50th of a cubic foot per second in others.
HOUSE
Any building used as a residence. When in the phrase "the house of", it is usually used to describe a commercial business (from the French "chez").
HOUSE SEWER
The sewage system from the public sewer in the street to and in the house it serves.
HOUSING AND HOME FINANCE AGENCY
A federal agency created in 1947. A forerunner of HUD, having many of the same powers and duties.
HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD), DEPARTMENT OF
The federal department responsible for the major housing programs in the United States, such as F.H.A.
HOUSING CODE
See: Building Code.
HOUSING COUNSELING AGENCY
A government agency that provides counseling and assistance to individuals on issues such as loan default, fair housing, and home buying.
HOUSING STARTS
Number of houses on which construction has begun. The figures are used to determine the availability of housing, need for real estate loans, need for labor and materials, etc.
HUD (U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT)
See: Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of.
HUD1 STATEMENT
Also known as a settlement sheet. It itemizes all closing costs; must be given to the borrower at or before closing.
HUMIDIFIER
A unit, usually part of a heating system, which raises the relative humidity in a room or building by the emission of water vapor into the air.
HUMMOCKS
Low mounds or conical knolls rising above the ground.
HUMUS
The organic portion of soil, formed by partially decomposed animal and vegetable matter.
HUNDRED PERCENT LOCATION
An appraisal term referring either to land of the highest value in an area, or land best suited to a specific use.
HURST
A wooded hill. A grove.
HUSBAND
A man legally married to a living woman.
HUTCH
(1) A hut or hovel used as a shelter by a person. (2) A house for rabbits.
HVAC
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.
HYDRAULIC CEMENT
A cement which resists moisture.
HYDROELECTRIC PLANT
A plant which generates electricity from flowing water, usually at a waterfall.
HYDROGRAPH
A device which records or charts the depth of water, as in a well, or flow, as in a stream.
HYPOTHECATE
To mortgage or pledge without delivery of the security to the lender.