Real Estate Terms
Facade The part of a building facing the street or a courtyard.
Fair Credit Billing Act A federal law that governs credit and charge card billing errors. If a credit or charge card company violates any provision, consumers can sue to recover damages.
Fair Credit Reporting Act. A federal law passed in 1971 that regulates the activity of credit bureaus. It is designed to prevent inaccurate or obsolete information from staying in a consumer’s credit file and requires credit bureaus to have reasonable procedures for gathering, maintaining and disseminating credit information. The act also requires credit bureaus to show a consumer their credit file if the consumer presents proper identification, although the bureau reserves the right to charge a fee for doing so.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. A federal law passed in 1977 which outlaws debtor harassment and other types of collection practices. The act regulates collection agencies, original creditors who set up a separate office to collect debts, and lawyers hired by the creditor to help collect overdue bills. An original creditor–the company or individual that originally granted the credit–is not covered by the act, but may be covered by similar measures approved by state governments.
Fair Housing Act Landmark federal law passed in 1965 and amended in 1988 that makes it illegal to deny rent or refuse to sell to anyone based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The 1988 amendment expanded the protections to include family status and disability.
Fannie Mae The official name of the Federal National Mortgage Association, it is a congressionally chartered, shareholder-owned company that buys mortgages from lenders and resells them as securities on the secondary mortgage market.
Farmer’s Home Administration A U.S. Department of Agriculture agency that provides credit to farmers and rural residents.
Fascia A board that connects the ends of the roof rafters and provides a surface to support gutters.
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation,law The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, commonly known as Freddie Mac. The company buys mortgages from lending institutions, pools them with other loans and then sells shares to investors.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) This government agency operates a variety of home-loan programs. Its most popular is the Sec. 203(b), program, which provides low-rate mortgages to buyers who make a down payment as small as 3 percent.
Federal National Mortgage Association Now officially dubbed Fannie Mae, this federally chartered agency buys mortgages from lending institutions, pools them with other loans and sells shares to investors.
Federal Reserve Board A group of economists and other experts who set the nation’s monetary policy. Its chief tool to control inflation is the power to control interest rates.
Federal Trade Commission The government agency responsible for regulating a variety of companies and industries, from credit bureaus and collection agencies to timeshare operators and certain types of creditors. National headquarters: Sixth and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20580. Phone: (202) 326-2222.
Fee simple This type of ownership is the maximum interest a person can have in a piece of real estate. It entitles the owner to use the property in any manner they see fit, in accordance with state and local laws.
Fee simple defeasible The owner of the property holds a fee simple title contingent upon certain conditions.
Federal style The all-American home architecture style that evolved after the Revolutionary War. Details include bigger windows and a front doorway surrounded by glass and topped with an arched window.
FHA loans Mortgages that are insured by the Federal Housing Administration. The FHA’s 203(b) loan program provides low-rate mortgages to buyers who make a down payment as small as 3 percent. The agency also operates loan plans for investors and purchasers of rural property.
Feng shui An ancient Chinese belief that the physical characteristics of a house and the positioning of the home will affect the fortunes of the owner.
Fiduciary duty The relationship of trust that buyers and sellers expect from a real estate agent. The term also applies to legal and business relationships.
Field changes Modifications made on the construction site that do not match blueprints.
Fill dirt Soil brought in to solidify a finished foundation.
Filled land An area where the ground has been raised by adding dirt, gravel or other fill material.
Finder’s fee A fee in any amount that is paid to someone.
Finish grade A finish that prepares a lot for landscaping.
Fire wall A buffer composed of fire-resistant material.
Firm commitment A promise made by a lender when it agrees to loan money for the purchase of property.
First mortgage The primary mortgage on a property that has priority over all other voluntary liens.
Fixed installment The monthly payment on a home loan.
Fixed-rate mortgage A home loan with an interest rate that will remain at a specific rate for the term of the loan. About 75 percent of all home mortgages have fixed rates.
Fixed time The specific weeks in a year an owner of a timeshare arrangement has access to accommodations.
Fixer-upper A house that needs refurbishment or remodeling It usually sells at a below-market price.
Fixture Personal property permanently attached to a house, such as drapery rods, toilets, built-in bookcases or a furnace.
Flashing Metal strips placed around chimneys, skylights, vents, windows, doors, beneath shingles and along seams in the roof to prevent water seepage.
Flat fee A set fee charged by a broker instead of a commission.
Flat roof A roof with a level surface.
Floor area ratio The calculation of the floor area of all homes or buildings in a project. It is used in the planning and development of a site.
Float floor drain A drain that diverts water from the basement to a collection area. Water is then removed with a sump pump.
Floating wall Walls built to withstand movement in the basement floor.
Flood insurance Hazard coverage that is required in designated flood areas.
Flood plain Flat, flood-prone areas located along waterways.
Florida rooms Enclosed porches built on the side or back of a home.
Footings Concrete foundations that support a structure.
Forbearance A course of action a lender may pursue to delay foreclosure or legal action against a delinquent borrower.
Foreclosure The legal process reserved by a lender to terminate the borrower’s interest in a property after a loan has been defaulted. When the process is completed, the lender may sell the property and keep the proceeds to satisfy its mortgage and any legal costs. Any excess proceeds may be used to satisfy other liens or be returned to the borrower.
Forfeiture The relinquishing of property rights by a delinquent borrower.
For Sale By Owner (FSBO) The owner acts as the agent to avoid paying a sales commission.
Foundation The support structure of a house.
Foyer The entrance hall to a home or building.
Framing The construction of the skeletal framework of a house.
Freddie Mac The common name for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, a congressionally chartered institution that buys mortgages from lenders and resells them as securities on the secondary mortgage market.
Free-market lots Owners of these types of lots may hire any builder to construct their home.
French doors Two adjoining doors inlaid with glass that open from the middle.
Frontage The portion of property that borders a roadway or body of water.
Fully amortized adjustable-rate mortgage A mortgage that amortizes, or pays down, the balance of a loan.
Furnace An enclosed heating device powered by coal, oil, propane or natural gas.
Fuse A device that allows power to be channeled into a home.