About Harken









A different kind of real estate brokerage.

Real estate terminology


Absolute title Total unrestricted ownership of title.
Acceptance The expressed agreement to the terms of an offer.
Accession Additions to property made by deposits of soil OR other natural causes OR man-made cause, such as adding fixtures.
Action A lawsuit.
Addendum An addition to the earnest money agreement.(Addenda – plural)
Adverse Possession Acquiring title to the land by actual, open, notorious, hostile, exclusive and continuous possession, for required statutory time period.
Air lot A property without land, such as a fourth floor condo unit.
Alienation The transfer OR conveyance of ownership (title) of real property, to another person or entity, as when selling OR gifting.
Anchor bolts Bolts placed into concrete that hold beams in place.
Architecture Planning and designing buildings, or the style of construction, such as Tudor, Spanish, Georgian, Contemporary, or Rustic.
Assignee The person to whom an assignment is made.
Assignment The transfer of rights and obligation to another person.
Assignor The person who assigns a right to another person.
Average Cost per Unit The total space area divided by the number of living units.
Avulsion Sudden tearing away OR removal of land by water.

Baseboard Heating
Heating source located at the base of outside walls. Usually electric or hot water.
Basement Living space below the ground floor level.
Beam The principal horizontal load carrying timber or steel member used between posts, columns, or walls.
Bearing wall A wall that supports a vertical load.
Bilateral Contract A contract where both sides MUST perform- a promise for a promise.
Binder A term sometimes used for “earnest money”
Board A term for lumber that is under two inches thick.
Bona fide In good faith, genuine, sincere, truthful.
Breach A default by one of the parties, with NO legal excuse.
Brick Veneer A facing of brick against the frame or wall of the building.
Bridging Supportive members to distribute the floor load .
BTU - British Thermal Unit A measure of heating capacity.
Building codes Minimum standards regulation of construction methods and materials.
Built-up roof A type of roof that is composed of several layers of asphalt felt, saturated with hot or pitch.
Bump clause A clause used when the seller receives a second offer to purchase that requires the first buyer to either waive OR conclude the contingency “to sell buyer's existing home” OR rescind the contract

Terminations of a contract, BUT previous contractual acts are NOT affected.
Capacity A mentally competent person, at least 18 years old.
Cased opening The interior passageway with jambs and trim BUT without a door.
Caulk The material used to seal, fill and waterproof cracks and joints.
Closing Also called settlement, the final accounting of ALL documents, recording and the disbursement of funds.
Code of Ethics Rules that have an impact on the ethics, conduct, education, professional principles and practices of real estate agents.
Codicil A change in a will OR other document.
Collar beam The beam connecting rafters above the wall plate.
Column A vertical supporting member.
Common Wall A wall used jointly by two buildings as separation BUT NOT as a partition.
Composition Roofing material composed of felt paper and hot asphalt topped with finely crushed gravel.
Commission Compensation paid to a real estate broker for services in connection with a real estate transaction.
C.M.A. Competitive (or Comparative) Market Analysis An estimate of value of a home to determine a fair listing price, by comparing recent sales and current listings of similar homes in the same or similar area.
Condemnation The process used to take property by the power of eminent domain.
Conditional use permit A permit that authorizes a special use for a property where it would otherwise be prohibited by the zoning, such as allowing a hospital in a neighborhood.
Conduit Piping or tubing in which wiring is drawn through and installed.
Contingency clause A contract clause that states that something MUST occur by a specific date, OR the contract will be void.
Contract An agreement between competent parties to do OR NOT to do something in return for consideration.
Contract for forbearance An agreement that certain things will NOT be done.
Contract of sale A purchase agreement, also called a purchase contract.
Consideration Something of value, that is exchanged by the parties.
Corner braces The corners reinforcement braces set into the studs of frame structures.
Cornice An ornamental crown molding at the top of a sidewall under the eaves.
Counteroffer A response to an original offer, BUT with modifications.
Course Used in metes and bounds - directions in terms of compass bearings.
Crawl space The access space between the ground and the first floor.

Conveying property to the public without receiving consideration.
Dimension lumber Lumber that is planed to two to five inches thick and up to twelve inches wide, used in framing.
Disability A physical OR mental impairment that substantially limits one OR more major life activity.
Discrimination Treating people differently on the basis of minority status such as age, gender, race, color, religion, disability, etc.
Distance Used in metes and bounds to measure between boundaries.
Door hanger A type of flyer, advertisement or notice that has an opening at the top so that it can hang from a doorknob. Usually announcing an open house, a new listing or sale, or prospecting materials to list or sell homes.
Dormer A gable structure for a room or space built out from a sloping roof.
Drywall The wall covering material that does NOT require water as sheet rock does.
Due diligence A promise that the broker will use effort and diligence to find a buyer Due on sale A clause that does NOT allow the buyer to let another person assume the existing loan and states that the loan must be paid in full upon a sale.
Duress Forcing, compelling or manipulating a person to do something against their will by use of threats, pressure, or coercion.
Dwelling House, apartment OR residential building. Includes residential building lots.

Earnest money
Good faith deposit by the buyer to be applied to the purchase price at closing, OR forfeited as liquidated damages to seller, if the buyer defaults.
Eaves The overhang from the lower part of a roof that protects the exterior wall.
Elevation A scale drawing of all sides of a building to show a reference of the height above the earth’s surface.
Eminent domain The power of the government to take private property for public for fair compensation.
Employee Person working under the direction and control of another, usually paid salary or wages.
Enforceable contract A contract that has legal recourse and binds the parties to obedience.
Equitable Title An interest or security held by the purchaser of real estate until absolute title.
Erosion Loss of land due to water, wind OR other natural causes.
Exclusionary zoning The use of zoning in local governments, to inhibit housing projects.
Exclusive Agency Listing A listing with ONLY one broker, who earns a commission if he/she sells the property, BUT may NOT if the seller sells it him/herself.
Exclusive Right to Sell Listing The broker has earned a commission on the sale of the property if sold during the listing period, no matter who was the procuring cause.
Expired listing A listing contract that has NOT been renewed before the end of its term, and may be now be listed by another agent.

Factory built
Items assembled in a plant or construction facility and then transported to the site.
Familial status The discrimination of families based on whether they live with children, minors under 18 years old, OR based on pregnancy, adoption OR custody of a child.
Farming A method of real estate prospecting that involves staking out a certain neighborhood, territory, or area and continuously staying in touch with the people by mail, phone calls, flyers, or door hangers.
Fascia Wood nailed to the ends of protruding rafters.
Fill Earth or dirt used to raise the ground to a certain level.
Fire wall The block or stop in a wall between studs, designed to prevent a fire from spreading.
First Right of Refusal The first opportunity to “meet or beat” the terms of an offer made by a third party OR to meet the terms of a listing before it is sold to anyone else.
Flashing Impervious material (usually sheet metal), used in roof and wall construction to prevent rain or other water seepage.
Flue The space in a chimney that smoke, gas, or fumes escape.
Footing The broad protecting base supporting the foundation wall, pier, or column.
Framing The structure of the walls, floors, ceilings, and roof that gives it shape and strength.
Fraud Deliberate misrepresentation of a material fact OR an act intended to deceive a person into entering into a contract, and the act harms the person.
F.S.B.O. Common term used by real estate agents that means “for sale by owner” Pronounced fiz-bo.

The walls inside the slopes of a roof.
General plan A long-term comprehensive development plan implemented by local zoning and other laws.
General real estate taxes Annual taxes based on the value of the property OR “ad valorem” and levied against real property for the payment of general government services.
Glazing The installation of glass.
Government lot A system to describe a parcel that is NOT in a regular section in a government survey system.
Gutter A trough attached to the edge of a roof, to collect and direct water from precipitation.

An actual, implied OR record of a physical OR mental impairment that substantially impairs one OR more major life activities, BUT does NOT protect persons with illegal addiction of controlled substances.
HUD (The Department of Housing and Urban Development) a federal government agency that oversees public housing and rehabilitation projects.
Header The horizontal support of the load over an opening, such as a window or door.
Hearth The floor that extends outside the fireplace into the room and is usually made of decorative tile or brick.
Heat Pump A reversible refrigeration system that can heat or cool a building.

Independent contractor
Person who works for another but has control over the manner of completing the job, rather than following detailed instructions and is usually paid a commission.
Innocent misrepresentation Offering incorrect information with NO intention to deceive.
Installment contract A contract to finance as well as an agreement to purchase. Also called a “land contract”.
Insulation Material used to resist heat, cold, noise, or electrical shock. Measured in R- values or R- factors.

The top and sides of a door or window frame that touch the door or sash.
Job Built Put together on site with available materials.
Joist The parallel framing members that support floor and ceiling loads.

Key Lot
The piece of property which is pivotal to the success of the development.
Kickback Gratuitous payment made to a person for a referral of business.

Material attached to the structure frame as a base for applying plaster.
Lean To An addition to a structure which share a common wall.
Legal majority The age a person attains legal competence.
Listing broker Real estate firm which represents the seller in marketing the home.
Listing contract An employment agreement in which a seller hires a broker to represent the seller in the sale or rental of real property.
Liquidated damages An advance agreement of a remedy that provides full compensation if one party defaults.


Manufactured Home
Houses built after 1976 that are built to HUD code, on a frame system in a construction facility and moved to a site.
Meeting of the minds An agreement of mutual intentions and mutual approval of ALL parties entering into a contract.
Metes and bounds A system to describe property by reference to monuments, courses, and distances.
Minor A person under the age of legal competence; Also referred to as an “infant”.
Minority People OR persons who are identified by their race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability OR familial status OR by any characteristic that is prohibited by federal, state, OR local fair housing law.
Mobile Home Usually refers to a manufactured home built before the enforcement of HUD code in 1976.
Modular Home A “stick built” home or structure, built to UBC code in a construction facility and moved in major sections and assembled on a foundation or basement on site. NOT a manufactured home.
Molding A practical or decorative strip of wood used to conceal surface or angle joints.
Monument Natural or artificial marker used in a survey or metes and bounds legal description.
M.L.S. - Multiple Listing Service An organization of local brokers who share computerized information on all their listings with other brokers-members, so that they all can sell from a huge inventory of listings.
Mutual consent Agreement to the terms of a contract, also referred to as a meeting of the minds

Net listing
Not legal in Washington - based on a net selling price to the seller, and any amount received over and above is kept as commission to the broker.
Non-conforming use Allowing a use to continue that was previously legal, BUT because of a new zoning ordinance would be considered technically illegal.
Novation The substitution of a new contract for the original, or the substitution of new parties to the original contract, releasing the original parties of ALL liability.

A willingness to contract under definite and certain terms.
Offeree The person who receives an offer.
Offeror The person who makes an offer.
One-party listing A listing where the owner agrees to pay the agent ONLY if the named party buys the property.
Open house A method of prospecting used by agents to meet buyers and show prospective sellers their professional services.
Open listing A non-exclusive listing- Commission paid to the broker ONLY if the broker is responsible for bringing a ready willing and able buyer.
Option Agreement to keep an offer open for a specified time to purchase or lease property at a set price within the specific time period.
Optionee The person who is given the option.
Optionor The person who gives the option.

The interior wall that subdivides the space inside the building.
Patent The first grant of conveyance in a chain of title issued to a private owner by the government.
Person Includes individuals, corporations, legal representatives, trusts, partnerships, trustees, receivers, fiduciaries, and other associations OR organizations.
Pier A column of masonry or field stone used to support other structural members.
Pitch The inclination of a slope.
Plan A cross-section drawing of the structure to be built.
Plaster Sand and lime, mixed with cement, that can be trawled on interior or exterior walls.
Plate Horizontal members that provide bearing for the walls, joists, ceiling and rafters.
Platting A system to describe subdivided or platted-subdivision lots using numbers for the lot and block on a plat map.
Point of beginning Used in metes and bounds description as the starting point- can be a monument or point measured from a monument.
Police power State government rights to regulate use of private property for the protection of the public safety, health, welfare, morals, and general welfare.
Post The vertical structure that rests on a footing or foundation and supports beams and trusses.
Prefabricated Components built in a construction facility, moved to a site and assembled on a foundation or basement.
Prima facie evidence “Proof on its face”. Evidence that establishes proof.
Principal meridian Used in government survey system- is the main north-south line in a grid as the starting point to number ranges and township tiers.
Procuring cause The person who is responsible for directly or indirectly bringing a bona fide offer.
Purchase and sale agreement A receipt for earnest money and a binding contract between the buyer and seller of real property.

Quiet enjoyment
Right that a tenant (typically) or an owner has to the use of the property without interference or possession of others.
Quit claim A transfer of all one's interest, as in a parcel of real estate, especially without a warranty of title.

A unit to a measure the resistance to heat loss.
Rafter The supporting parallel structural members of the roof.
Range Used in the government survey system- north and south tier of land six miles wide.
Real estate brokerage Business of bringing a buyer and seller together and negotiating sales contract between the two parties.
Rectangular survey A land description land is divided into townships- townships are divided into 36 sections- each section is one square mile.
Redlining Credit discrimination in making real estate loans on properties in certain neighborhoods based on the racial OR ethnic composition.
Reinforced concrete Concrete poured around steel bars or steel meshwork (such as Rebar).
Reliction Water receding from the high water mark, making new uncovered ground into adjoining land.
Rescission Termination or cancellation of a contract with a provision to restore the parties, to their previous status as nearly as possible.
Rezone A zoning ordinance amendment that changes the use of property resulting from a successful application for rezone by an owner who believed the property was improperly zoned.
Riser The vertical steps between the stair treads.
Roof types:
Very slight slope to provide drainage.
Gable Pitched roof.
Gable Hip Pitched with inclining sides.
Hip Sides incline to a peak.
Mansard Flat on top, with the sides sloping downward from the outside edges of the roof.
Shed Type Also called “salt box”; has ONLY one slope either from the front to back or side to side.
Gambrel Barn style roof with bi-level slopes.
Roughed in The installation of pipes, wires, etc. in the interior walls, making it ready to install fixtures at a future date.

One square mile and contains 640 acres. 36 sections are in a township.
Sheathing Inner sub-covering that is placed beside the exterior studding or rafters.
Siding The permanent exterior covering of the outside wall of a frame structure.
Sill The bottom horizontal part of the frame of a structure, that rests on the foundation or the bottom part of a window or exterior doorframe.
Single wall Type of construction where the exterior frame cover is both the sheathing and the exterior wall cover.
Special assessment A tax levied against property to pay for a local improvement project that benefits the property.
Specific performance A court order forcing the defaulting party to carry out the terms of a contract.
Specifications The written description of the quality of materials and workmanship that are to be the standard for the project.
Sphere of Influence A list of names of people with whom you have regular contact (family, friends, social and business contacts, past customers, etc) which can be referred to your real estate broker.
Statute of Frauds State law requiring certain contracts to be in writing in order to be enforceable.
Steering The illegal practice of directing prospective buyers OR tenants to OR from certain neighborhoods according to their race, religion, OR national origin.
Stick built The method of constructing the dwelling on site to UBC code.
Storm windows (Storm doors) An extra window or glass door placed outside the other window to provide added protection from cold weather.
Stucco Cement type plaster applied as a covering to the exterior. Sometimes a more durable synthetic stucco such as Drivid is used.
Stud Parallel vertical framing in walls and partitions commonly set 16 inches apart.
Sub floor The material that is laid directly on the floor joists during construction, before the finished floor is laid.

Tape and texture
The process used on drywall to cover seams and texture the wall before painting.
Tender An unconditional offer or tender made by a party showing willingness to perform their part of the contract.
Tester Someone posing as a renter OR buyer, for the purpose of gathering evidence against any unlawful practices of discrimination.
Timber Sawed wood 4x4 or larger in dimension .
Time is of the essence clause Clause used to make meeting the deadlines in the contract a legal obligation.
Title Title is NOT a document. It is the ownership of property with ALL of its rights.
Tongue and groove Boards that have a groove on one side and a tongue on the other side to slide together, to make the floor look as though there are no seams.
Township Six miles square and contains 36 sections - used in the government survey system.
Trim The finish work such as moldings, sills, railings, casing, baseboards, and other trim items applied.
Truss Trusses give support over wide spans, such as floors and roofs.

Undue influence
Using pressure, OR taking unfair advantage of person’s distress, need, OR weakness.
Unenforceable Contract An otherwise valid contract that cannot OR will NOT be enforced by legal action.
Unilateral contract A contract between parties where ONLY one party is obligated to perform.

Enforceable contract containing ALL the necessary elements.
Variance An authorization from zoning officials to conduct a land use that is prohibited in a zoning ordinance to eliminate undue hardship for the property owner.
Void A contract that lacks an essential element, or contains illegal actions and is legally unenforceable - without force or effect.
Voidable Not void until the innocent injured party takes action to rescind the contract.

Warranty deed Deed used to convey real property and contains warranties of title and quiet possession and by which the grantor agrees to defend the property against the lawful claims of third persons.
Water rights Collective rights to guarantee a supply of water, source of water, or access to a body of water.

X An individual that cannot write may execute a signature with a mark or an X.

Yield rate
The return on an investment expressed as a percentage which is arrived at by taking the annual net income from the property and dividing it by the cost or market value of the property.

Zero lot line
Municipal zoning category wherein a building or structure may abut the neighboring property line.
Zoning Police power that regulates and controls the uses of property.