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Sounds like a happy thing, right?  After all, balloons don’t cost very much.  A balloon payment is the final payment of a mortgage and this payment can be substantially larger than the monthly payments have been if the loan was not fully amortized.  Balloon payments are typically found in Adjustable Rate Mortgages and Interest Only Mortgages.  The amount due “blows up like a balloon” after a specified period of time. This final payment includes all the remaining principal and “pops the balloon,” extinguishing the debt.

In property surveying, a benchmark is a permanent reference point on a stationary object used to calculate differences in elevation.

There are two real estate definitions for the term beneficiary. 1) In the case of a trust, the trust is operated on behalf of the person designated as the beneficiary and the income from the trust is drawn for the beneficiary.  2) Beneficiary can also refer to a lender when they lend money on real estate and hold a trust deed from the borrower.

A gift of property or assets made under the terms of a will.


How much the contractor will charge to build or remodel. It is wise to get more than one bid for work to be done.

Equity loan secured to solve short-term financing problem, such as buying a home while still trying to sell another.

Definition of Broker

A person who mediates a transaction between a buyer and a seller for a commission.

A firm that acts on behalf of a buyer or seller for a commission or fee, bringing together parties interested in buying, selling, exchanging, or leasing real property.

“Bonus to selling agent”  Compensation, above and beyond the sales commission


In real estate, this is a zoning term which refers to a strip of land that is separating two different type of land use.  For example, a buffer zone may be used to separate a commercially zoned area from a residentially zoned area.

Based on agreed upon safety standards within a specific area, a building code is a regulation that determines the design, construction, and materials used in building

A line fixed by a local authority which is set at a certain distance from the front, sides and back of a lot.  Structures on the property are prohibited from extending beyond this line.  Also known as the “setback” line.

A document issued by a local authority (usually the City of Austin or Travis County) which grants permission to the holder to construct or make additions to buildings.  The permitting process ensures that the construction is built safely according to set standards.  Permitted work must be completed and inspected to get a certificate of occupancy.

A small, early twentieth-century-style, one-story house noted for having an open or enclosed front porch.

A method of getting a lower interest rate by making an upfront payment on a loan of a 1 or more “points.”  Discount points, or buydown points are equal to 1% of the loan amount.  In the case of a permanent buydown, each discount point bought lowers the interest rate by 0.125% over the life of the loan.  Many buydowns are structured as temporary interest rate reductions which are in place only for the first few years of a loan.

The relationship between a real estate broker and a buyer in which the broker is obligated to protect the fiduciary interests of the buyer and act in the buyer’s best interest.

Licensee who represents only the buyer in a transaction, regardless of whether compensation is paid by the buyer or the listing broker through a commission split.

A written document which establishes an agency relationship between a real estate broker and a buyer.  The document specifies a time period for the relationship and creates exclusivity.  That means that the buyer agrees that for a specific period of time (usually for a specific home purchase or for a few months) the buyer will be working only with the designated broker in searching for a property.  The agreement also delineates the responsibilities of the broker to the buyer.