Glossary R

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A measure of a material’s resistance to heat loss, usually applied to insulation products. The higher the R-value, the slower the rate of heat loss.

Radiant heating

A form of home heating delivered by electric-resistance elements–either wall registers or cables or foils beneath the flooring or above the ceiling–or via hot water circulated through in-the-floor tubing or room radiators.


A ground-generated radioactive gas that seeps into some homes through sump pumps, cracks in the foundation and other inlets. A serious health hazard.


One of a series of beams that form the slope of a pitched roof and are analogous to floor joists.


The horizontal structural members of a door. Most doors have a top rail, a bottom rail, and a center rail connected at both ends to vertical stiles.

Rammed-earth construction

An alternative building process in which dirt is compacted into large structural frames to create walls.

Ranch style

A modern style of home popularized in the 1950s and championed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, among others.

Rate cap

The maximum interest rate charge allowed on the monthly payment of an adjustable rate mortgage during an adjustment period.

Rate lock

A lender’s commitment to a borrower to guarantee (or “lock in”) a specific interest rate for a limited amount of time.

Rate type

Rate type determines if and how payments adjust over the loan term. Available rate types include fixed-rate, balloon, and adjustable-rate.

Rate-improvement mortgage

A loan with a clause that entitles a borrower to a one-time interest rate cut without going through refinancing.

Real estate

Land and anything permanently affixed to it, including buildings.

Real estate agent

A person licensed by a state to represent a buyer or a seller in a real estate transaction in exchange for a commission. Unless they are also brokers, agents must work in association with a real estate broker or brokerage company.

Real estate broker

A person, corporation, or partnership licensed by a state to represent a buyer or seller in a real estate transaction in exchange for a commission. Brokers supervise licensed sales agents, who then act for the broker (who is legally the principal agent in any transaction).

Real estate investment trust (REIT)

Publicly traded companies that own, develop, and operate commercial properties.

Real estate professional

Any real estate broker, sales agent, or attorney who holds a real estate license.

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)

A federal law designed to make sellers and buyers aware of settlement fees and other transaction-related costs. RESPA also outlaws kickbacks in the real estate business.

Real property

Land and any permanent fixtures on it, including buildings, trees, and other fixtures.


A designation for an agent or broker who is a member of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers.


A designation for an agent or broker who is a member of the National Association of Realtors.


A lender’s act of conveying a property back to a borrower who has completely paid off his or her mortgage.


A public official responsible for keeping record of all real estate transactions.


The filing of property-related documents into the public record.

Recording fee

A fee charged by real estate agents for conveying the sale of a piece of property into the public record.


An illegal practice by a bank or insurance company that denies credit or insurance to people based on ethnic background or neighborhood.


The process of replacing an older mortgage with a new mortgage that has better terms.


The principle that the value of a better-quality property is adversely affected by the proximity of a lesser-quality property.

Regulation Z

A federal code issued under the Truth in Lending Act that requires that a borrower be advised in writing of all costs associated with the credit portion of a financial transaction.

Rehabilitation mortgage

A mortgage that provides for the costs of repairing and improving a resale home or building.

REIT (real estate investment trusts)

Publicly traded companies that own, develop, and operate commercial properties.

Release clause

A provision in a purchase contract that allows a seller to continue marketing their home and accept other offers.

Relocation benefits

Employer-provided benefits for new employees. These benefits can include moving costs, reimbursement for temporary housing and transportation, real estate agent assistance, and discounted loans.

Relocation company

A firm that administers all aspects of relocating new employees from one location to another.

Remaining balance

The amount of unpaid principal on a home loan.

Remaining term

The original loan term minus the number of payments made.

Rent loss insurance

A policy that covers any loss of rent or rental value in the event that fire or other damage renders the property uninhabitable.

Renter’s insurance

A policy for renters that covers the replacement value of possessions.

Repayment plan

When a borrower falls behind in mortgage payments, many lenders will negotiate a repayment plan rather than go to court.

Replacement cost

The current cost of rebuilding a structure to its original specifications.

Replacement reserve fund

Money that is set aside from homeowners’ assessments to replace common property such as furniture in a planned development’s community room.


Replacing damaged mortar in the joints between bricks or stones.


To take back property. A lender holding a mortgage may repossess a property if the buyer fails to make payments.

Resale value

A property’s future value, which can be affected by many factors including the surrounding neighborhood, school district scores, and economic and housing market conditions.


The cancellation of a contract by law or consent from the parties involved.

Reserve fund

Money set aside by a homeowners’ association for major repairs or improvements.

Resilient channel

A channel run across wall studs underneath wallboard to reduce sound transmission.

RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act)

A federal law designed to make sellers and buyers aware of settlement fees and other transaction-related costs. RESPA also outlaws kickbacks in the real estate business.


Any limitation on the use of property.

Restructured loan

A mortgage in which new terms are negotiated.

Return on investment

The amount of profit a property generates.

Reverse mortgage

A special type of loan available to equity-rich, older owners. Repayment is not necessary until the borrower sells the property.

Ridge board

A horizontal board that serves as the apex of the roof structure.

Ridge vent

A vent located along the ridge board of the roof that allows moisture to escape.

Right of first refusal

An agreement by a property owner to give another person the right to buy or rent the property before it goes on the open market.

Right of way

The right to pass over or use another’s land.

Right to rescission

A provision in the federal Truth in Lending Act that allows borrowers to cancel certain kinds of loans within three days of signing.

Riparian rights

An owner’s right to use a river, stream, or lake bordering the owner’s property.


Vertical boards between the steps of a stairway.

Rocker switch

An electrical switch operated by tapping the top or bottom of the control plate.


A limitation on annual assessed value increases or a reduction in the amount of property tax paid.

Roof sheathing

Flat boards nailed to the rafters to which a covering is fastened.


The installation of plumbing, electrical, and other mechanical systems.

Rural Housing Service

A U.S. Department of Agriculture program that provides financing to farmers and certain borrowers to purchase rural property when other funds are not available.

RV pad

A large concrete pad designated for parking a recreational vehicle.

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Kaitlyn Espada

The Alaska Real Estate Lady
Signature Real Estate Alaska
(907) 414-1664