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CAD (Computer Aided Design) - Computer software designed create building drawings.

CAM Charges (Common Area maintenance) – The “normal” costs of upkeep and maintenance that a Landowner spends while running a building or shopping center. Although CAM charges normally include parking lot cleaning, lot striping, landscaping, etc. is has been known to be a “slush-fund” for some Landlords and abused to the point where it covers (“all vehicles used in conjunction with the operation of the buildings…READ: his wife’s Mercedes). Since Tenants usually pay a proportionate amount of their share, some uses (especially those open 24 hours a day) should pay more behooves the Tenant to always retain the right to audit the charges... just to keep the Landlords honest.

A curvature built into a beam or truss and its crown placed upwards to compensate for the loads that will encounter when weight is placed upon it.

CAN SIGN – A sign that contains all of its text and/or logo symbols within a single enclosed cabinet (may or may not be illuminated).


CANNIBALIZATION – The financial impact (whether estimated or actual) that one location has, or will have, on another.    

CANNIBALIZATION STUDY - A detailed report designed to gauge or estimate the potential for and amount of the potential impact that one location will have on another.

CANOPY – A structure constructed of fabric or other material placed so as to extend outward from a building to provide a weather protective for doors, windows and other openings.

(Typical Window Canopy)

CANOPY SIGN – A sign painted or otherwise made part of a canopy.

CAPACITY - The ability of an HVAC system to heat and/or cool a given amount of space. For heating, this is usually expressed in BTU's. For cooling, it is usually given in tons.

CAPITAL - Accumulated wealth. A portion of wealth which is set aside for the production of additional wealth; specifically, the funds belonging to the partners or shareholders of a business, invested with the expressed intention of their remaining permanently in the business.

CAPITAL EXPENDITURES - An expense line item that includes expenses for anticipated capital expenditures required to maintain a building and future capital improvements of major building systems (e.g. HVAC, parking lot, carpets, roof, etc.). Replacement reserves are typically calculated on a per unit basis (e.g. multifamily - per unit; office, retail, industrial - per square foot; etc.).

CAPITAL GAIN – Profit coming from the sale of an asset.

CAPITAL GAINS TAX – The taxes charged on the profits made from the sale of an investment. Capital gains are generally taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income.

CAPITAL PROJECT - Capital projects are construction projects including public buildings, roads, street improvements, lighting, parks, and their improvement or rehabilitation paid for under the community’s capital budget.

CAPITALIZATION RATE (CAP RATE) - A “Cap Rate” is the rate of return on net operating income considered acceptable for an investor and used to determine the capitalized value. This rate should provide a return on, as well as a return of, capital; also known as "cap rate". Also, the ratio of the annual NOI to the property price (or value).

CAPILLARY FRINGE - The capillary fringe is the subsurface layer in which groundwater seeps up from a water table by capillary action to fill pores. Pores at the base of the capillary fringe are filled with water due to tension saturation. This saturated portion of the capillary fringe is less than total capillary rise because of the presence of a mix in pore size. If pore size is small and relatively uniform, it is possible that soils can be completely saturated with water for several feet above the water table. Alternately, the saturated portion will extend only a few inches above the water table when pore size is large. Capillary action supports a vadose zone above the saturated base within which water content decreases with distance above the water table. In soils with a wide range in pore size, the unsaturated zone can be several times thicker than the saturated zone.


Water Table

(Typical Water Table)


CAPS - Caps are used on adjustable rate mortgages (ARM’s) to limit the interest rate and/or the payment. Most ARM’s have a periodic cap that is around 2% per year and a life cap of around 5%-6% over the life of the loan. "Payment only" caps sometimes create negative amortization where the principal balance of the loan increases rather than decreases over time.

CARBON MONOXIDE - Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas produced by burning of fuel. CO is poisonous and symptoms of poisoning are similar to those of the flu (headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness).

CARRYING CHANNEL - Main supporting member of a suspended ceiling system to which furring members or channels attach.

CARVED LETTERS – Lettering that is carved, routed, chiseled, sandblasted or otherwise engraved into the substrate of a sign face either by hand or computer controlled machinery. 

CARVED SIGN – A sign made by carving, routing, chiseling, sandblasting or otherwise engraving of letters and characters and/or patterns into the substrate of a sign face either by hand or computer controlled machinery.

CArved Sign
(Typical Carved Sign)

CASEMENT- Glazed sash or frame hung to open like a door.

CASING- The trim around windows, doors, columns or piers.

Window Casing, Muntin, Stile, Rail Illustration


CASH FLOW - The net income generated by a property before depreciation and other non-cash expenses (i.e., The amount of money the Landlord receives from the lease payments after deducting operating expenses, taxes, insurance, etc).

CASH ON CASH RETURN – The ratio (expressed as a percentage) of annual, before-tax, cash flow to the total amount of cash invested.

Latin for: Let the buyer beware. The buyer must examine the goods or property and buy at his own risk.

Is an area within a town or a city that serves as the focus point for its business activities. Typically an area’s “Downtown” it’s characterized by a relatively dense concentration of retail, commercial and other business activity, the CBD is usually the retail and service center of a community. Due to its compactness and emphasis on pedestrian traffic, CBD’s often provide public parking lots and access to multiple public transportation stops.

C,C&R’s (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) - Often found in residential subdivisions and Planned Unit Developments (PUD’s), C,C&R’s are usually written into the property’s deed or the bylaws of an association and define how a property can be used. Usually to prevent property owners from making changes to their individual properties that could adversely affect the property values of other owners. (Can limit signage, hours or operation, property use and even the color of exterior finishes).

CEMENT BOARD- A factory-manufactured panel made from aggregated and reinforced Portland cement.

CENSUS BLOCK - The smallest geographical area, as defined by visible boundaries, for which census data is collected. Census blocks make up Census Block Groups that make up Census Tracts.

CENCUS BLOCK GROUP – The subdivisions of census tracts, with each generally contain between 600 and 3000 people, with an optimum size of 1,500 people.

CENSUS TRACT – A permanently established geographic area, as defined by the Untied States Census Bureau, containing a population of approximately 4,000 people.

CENTER OF INFLUENCE – A person; due to the nature of their relationships, is in a position to sway others.

CENTIGRADE - A temperature scale with the freezing point of water 00 and the boiling point 1000 at sea level.

CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT (CBD) – The center, or core-shopping district, of a village, town or city. 

CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) - State law requiring public agencies to review projects before approval to identify possible adverse effects on the environment.

CERTIFICATE OF ELIGIBILITY – Issued by Veteran’s Administration (VA) stating the amount of entitlement available to a veteran in order to qualify for a no-money down VA loan.

CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY (C of O) - A document issued by the local governmental authorities – usually the building department - that states that the building or inhabited space is in compliance with law and in a safe and proper condition to be occupied.

CERTIFICATE OF REASONABLE VALUE - Commonly referred as a "CRV". Veteran's Administration's certified appraisal of value of real property.

CERTIFICATE OF TITLE - A certification issued by a title company or a written opinion rendered by an attorney that the seller has good marketable and insurable title to the property which he is offering for sale. A certificate of title offers no protection against any hidden defects in the title which an examination of the public records could not reveal. The issuer of a certificate of title is liable only for damages due to negligence. The protection offered a homeowner under a certificate of title is not as great as that offered in a title insurance policy.

CERTIFIED COPY - A true copy, attested to be true by the officer holding the original.

CCR'S - Abbreviation for: Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions.

CERTIFICATE OF SATISFACTION - A certificate issued by the Clerk of the Court certifying that a judgment has been satisfied.

CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) - The measurement of liquids or gasses as they past a given point over the duration of one minute.

CHAIN - A unit of measurement used by surveyors. A chain consists of 100 links equal to 66 feet.

CHAIN OF TITLE - A term applied to the past series of transactions and documents affecting the title to a particular parcel of land. A history of conveyances and encumbrances affecting the title from the time the original patent was granted, or as far back as records are available.

CHALK LINE - Straight working line made by snapping a chalked cord stretched between two points, transferring chalk to work surface.

CHANGE ORDER - A document usually signed by the tenant when making revisions to the original construction drawings or build-out plans. It is the tenant’s written authorization to revise the plans and usually indicates the tenant’s willingness to pay for the revisions.

CHANGEABLE COPY SIGN – A sign where the copy on the face of the sign can be changed at will; either manually using attachable letters, mechanically using a rotating panel or electronically via computer controlled bulbs, LED's or an LCD screen.

changeable copy sign

CHANNEL LETTER – A three-dimensional letter formed out of a channel into which a light source such as a neon tube or other light source may be placed.

Channel Letters

CHATTEL - Any item of property other than real estate, usually referred to as personal property; an item of movable property.

CHATTEL MORTGAGE - A claim on personal property (instead of real property) used to secure or guarantee a promissory note. (See definition of Security Agreement and Security Interest).

CHATTEL REAL - An estate related to real estate, such as a lease on real property.

CHILLED WATER SYSTEM - A type of air conditioning system where water is cooled by a remote chiller then piped throughout a building to cool and dehumidify the space.

CITY COUNCIL – A group of elected officials that comprise the legislative body of a city for the purpose of approving budgets, establishing policies and performing other management duties.

CIRCUIT BREAKER - An electro-mechanical switch which acts as a fail-safe device, usually located inside the electrical panel or circuit breaker box. It is designed to both limit the amount of electric power flowing through a circuit and to automatically shut the power off, in the event of a power surge or a malfunctioning machine or appliance.

Circuit Breaker

(Typical Circuit Breaker and interior view)


CIVIL ENGINEER – A licensed professional engineer that mostly deals with the design, construction and/or maintenance of infrastructure. A Civil Engineer can specialize in one of several sub-disciplines (i.e., Structural, Environmental, Geotechnical, Transportation, Construction, etc) and serve the public sector through the municipal and federal levels.

CLADDING The siding, or materials, that cover the exterior of a building.

CLASS “A” BUILDING - A term commonly used when referring to the highest quality buildings. Building classification may rate how the building is generally accepted in the market, or could be a personal classification by the individual referring to that structure.

CLASS “B” BUILDING - A term commonly used to describe an average building. Building classification may rate how the building is generally accepted in the market, or could be a personal classification by the individual referring to that structure. 

CLASS “C” BUILDING - A term commonly used to describe a below average building. Building classification may rate how the building is generally accepted in the market, or could be a personal classification by the individual referring to that structure.

CLEAR TITLE - A title policy that is not encumbered or burdened with defects.

CLEARANCE – The smallest vertical distance between the grade beneath the sign and the bottom of the sign; also known as “Ground Clearance”.

Ground Clearence illustration


CLOSING COSTS – Costs involved in purchasing real estate in addition to the amount of the mortgage loan.

CLOSING STATEMENT - An accounting of funds made to the buyer and seller separately. Required by law to be made at the completion of every real estate transaction. Itemizes all funds received from or credited to and all payments made or debited to the party for whom the statement is prepared.

CLOUD IN TITLE - An outstanding claim or encumbrance, which, if valid, would affect or impair the title of the owner of the real property.

CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) - A method of determining the value of real property where it is compared to similar properties either on or off the market.

CODE OF ETHICS – Standards subscribed to by members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) ( )

COGNOVIT NOTE - A note containing a confession of judgment by the borrower. If the debtor falls into arrears, according to the agreement, the creditor can obtain a judgment against the person (without notification). Although not an illegal practice, they are outlawed in most states.

COLLATERAL – That which protects the rights of a lender in case of a default on a loan. In real estate financing, the real property serves as collateral giving the lender the right to obtain title to the property in case of a default by the borrower.

COLLATERAL SECURITY - Often called simply "collateral". In banking parlance, it means some security given in addition to the personal obligation of the borrower, as a chattel mortgage or deed of trust.

COLLUSION - An agreement between two or more persons to defraud another of his rights by the use of lawful means, or to obtain an object forbidden by law.

COLOR OF TITLE - That which appears to be good title but which is not title in fact. Example: A deed from a party, which was not entitled to convey the property.

COLUMN – A vertical load-bearing member.

COMMENCEMENT DATE – The date on which the lease takes affect and the landlords and tenants obligations begin. From the landlord’s perspective, it’s the day the tenant starts paying rent and additional rent on the occupied space.

COMMERCIAL ACRE - A term applied to the remainder of an acre of newly subdivided land after the area devoted to streets, sidewalks and curbs, etc. has been deducted from the acre.

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY - Property intended for use by all types of retail and wholesale stores, office buildings, hotels and service establishments.

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE – Activity in or property used for commercial uses (retail, hotels, service establishments, etc.)
COMMINGLING - Mixing money belonging to others with personal or business funds.

COMMISSION - A fee charged for services rendered, usually paid to a real estate broker or other properly licensed individual for acting as the procuring agent in a transaction. Commonly, a real estate commission is based upon an agreed upon percentage of the final sale or lease price

COMMITMENT TO INSURE - A report issued by a title insurance company, or its agent, showing the condition or the title and committing the title insurance company to issue a form policy as designated in the commitment, upon compliance with and satisfaction of requirements set forth in the commitment.

COMMON AREA – The areas of a building or shopping center that is shared space and, therefore, common to all tenants (i.e., walkways, elevators, parking lots and garages, etc.).

COMMON AREA FACTOR – (Numerator / denominator)  Any space in a building affording common use for all tenants, with the exception of vertical penetrations. Translation - Lobbies, corridors, restrooms, common building break rooms, building conference rooms, health facility, janitorial closets and storage rooms. In office buildings it does not include the stairwells or the elevator shafts, flues or vertical ducting.

COMMON AREA MAINTENENCE (CAM) - It’s a fee charged to tenants to maintain the outward and overall appearance of the property. [Capitalized expenses]

COMMON LAW - The principles and rules of law, originating from usage and custom, sanctioned by the courts, which are not dependent upon legislative expression or enactment for their authority; also that body of law, based on custom and usage, developed and formulated by the old English courts.

COMMUNITY SHOPPING CENTER – A medium-sized retail center that provides goods and services to the surrounding area. Typically having between 10 and 40 stores and usually anchored by supermarkets, home improvement centers or other large retailers along with smaller “daily needs” retailers (dry cleaners, haircutters, take-out restaurants, etc.). Community shopping centers tend to run between 60,000 square feet up to 300,000 square feet and can be of a variety of configurations.

Community Shopping Center

                    (Typical Community Shopping Center Layout)


COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT – Enacted by the United States Congress in 1977 requiring lenders to provide full credit services in the communities serviced by a bank. (Please see: for additional information).

COMPARABLES - (aka; “Comps”) The historical sales or leasing prices of properties similar in nature to a particular property used to determine its Fair Market Value.

COMPARATIVE MARKET ANALYSIS (CMA) - A method of estimating the value of real property, where it is compared to the sales or rentals of similar properties.

COMPENSATING FACTORS – Features that may offset negatives, increasing the possibility that the borrower’s application for a loan be approved.

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN - A comprehensive master plan that identifies the standards, objectives, principles, guidelines, principals and policies for the future growth and development of a community.

COMPRESSOR – A pump designed to compress a gas and, in the instance of HVAC systems; also serves to loop the refrigerant from the indoor evaporator to the outdoor condenser.

COMPS – Real Estate slang for “comparables”, meaning comparable sales or leases.

CONCESSIONS – The backing off of a demand or Items given up during contract negotiations (i.e. free rent, landlord’s work, time, etc).

CONCRETE FOOTING - The concrete base or bottom of a foundation wall, pier or column, which functions to distribute the weight of a load-bearing column over a larger area.


Concrete Footing
(Typical Concrete Footing)

CONCRETE SIGN – A carved or cast sign that uses concrete as a substrate.

Concrete Sign
(Typical Concrete Sign)


CONDEMNATION - The right of the state or federal government to take private property for public purposes (roads, parks, schools, etc). The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution allows the government to take private property so long as the taking is for a public use and the owner is justly compensated (“…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” – US Constitution 1791). See Condemnation, Taking or Expropriation.

CONDENSOR - A device that transfers unwanted heat out of a refrigeration system to a medium (either air, water, or a combination of air and water) that absorbs the heat and transfers it to a disposal point. There are three types of condensers: air-cooled condensers, water-cooled condensers, and evaporative condensers. The evaporative condenser uses a combination of air and water as its condensing medium. Most residential systems have an air-cooled condenser.

CONDENSOR COIL - A series or network of tubes filled with refrigerant, normally located outside the home, that removes heat from the hot, gaseous refrigerant so that the refrigerant becomes liquid again.

CONDENSING UNIT - Part of a refrigerating mechanism which pumps vaporized refrigerant from the evaporator, compresses it, liquefies it in the condenser and returns it to the refrigerant control. The outdoor portion of a split system air conditioner contains the compressor and outdoor coil ignoring the reverse cycle operation, also the outdoor in a heat pump system.

CONDITION - A condition is a requirement or qualification that is attached to a reviewing board’s approval of a proposed development project. A condition must be complied with before the local building inspector or department can issue a building permit or certificate of occupancy.

CONDITIONS – Additional information or documentation that must be provided to the underwriter before the final loan approval will be granted. A requirement or qualification that is attached to a reviewing board’s approval of a proposed development project. A condition must be complied with before the local building inspector or department can issue a building permit or certificate of occupancy.

CONDITIONAL APPROVAL – An approval that is subject to certain terms and conditions that need to be met before gaining final approval.

CONDITIONAL OFFER – An offer that contains specific terms and or contingencies that need to be obtained or met before the offer “goes hard”.

CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT - See "Special Use Permit."

CONSIDERATION – Anything of value given to another as an inducement to enter into a contract.

CONDITIONED NEGATIVE DECLARATION (CND) - Under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, a CND is a negative declaration issued by a "lead agency" for an "unlisted action." This involves an action that as initially proposed may result in one or more significant adverse environmental impacts, but mitigation measures are required by the lead agency to modify the proposed action so that no significant adverse environmental impacts will result.

CONDITIONAL SALE CONTRACT - A contract for the sale of property stating that delivery is to be made to the buyer, title to remain vested in the seller until the conditions of the contract have been fulfilled.

CONDOMINIUM - A system of individual fee ownership of units in a multi-unit structure, combined with joint ownership of common areas of the structure and the land.

CONDOMINIUM DECLARATION - A declaration describes condominium ownership. It commits the property to condominium development, defines the complex and the air spaces, the general common elements and limited common elements and establishes the basic rights and obligations of the owners. In addition, it provides for the creation of a management association with the authority to collect common expenses and otherwise act for the benefit of all owners. It makes it possible for the assessor to tax each unit separately.

CONDOMINIUM FEE – A fee charged by the condominium association to cover the costs of operation of the condominium, maintenance of the common areas and financial reserves.

CONDUIT – A flexible or rigid - plastic, metal or composite covering that protects electric cables from chafing, wear and/or the elements.

FMC, Flexable Metal Conduit
(Typical FMC - or Flexible Metal Conduit)


CONFIRMATION OF SALE - A court approval of the sale of property by a Personal Representative, Guardian or Conservator.

CONFISCATION - The seizing of property without compensation.

CONSERVATION - The process of utilizing resources in such a manner as to minimize depletion.

CONFORMING LOAN – A mortgage that meets the guidelines as set by Fannie Mae and/or Freddie Mac.

CONSERVATOR/CONSERVATRIX - A person, appointed by a court, to protect and/or preserve the property of an individual who is physically incapacitated or otherwise not able to handle their own affairs.

CONSIDERATION - One of the essential elements of a contract; a promise or an act of legal value bargained for and received in return for a promise.

CONSTANT - The percentage which, when applied directly to the face value of a debt, develops the annual amount of money necessary to pay a specified net rate of interest on the reducing balance and to liquidate the debt in a specified time period. For example, a 6% loan with a 20-year amortization has a constant of approximately 8½%. Thus, a $10,000.00 loan amortized over 20 years requires an annual payment of approximately $850.00.

CONTIGUOUS SPACE - Refers to the space next door, or adjoining the tenant’s occupied space

CONTRACT - An agreement, enforceable at law, between two or more competent persons, having for its object a legal purpose, wherein the parties agree to act in a certain manner.

CONTRACT FOR DEED - An agreement to sell and purchase, under which title is withheld for the purchaser until such time as the required payments to the seller have been completed. Commonly referred to as an Installment Land Contract.

CONTRACT RENT - The actual rent paid under the terms of the lease.

CONSTRUCTION – The building, modification or renovation of a project.

CONSTRUCTION BUDGET – The estimated cost allocated for the completion of a building project. (SAMPLE: Construction Budget.pdf

CONSTRUCTION COSTS – Costs associated with a building project (i.e., materials, labor, etc.), but that exclude the architectural and engineering fees, financing fees, mortgage fees, etc.

CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS – The drawings and specifications created by an architect that sets forth, in detail, the requirements necessary for the construction of a project.

CONSTRUCTION LOAN – A short-term loan given to an owner or builder for the purpose of funding the cost of construction. Usually construction loans are paid out as the work progresses.

CONSTRUCTION MORTGAGE OR DEED OF TRUST - A short-term mortgage or deed of trust used to finance the building of a structure.

CONSTRUCTION SIGN – A temporary sign that identifies the contractor, architect, designer or other affiliated organization responsible for a new project.

CONSTRUCTIVE EVICTION - Breach of a covenant of warranty or quiet enjoyment, i.e., the inability of a lessee to obtain possession because of a paramount defect in title, or a condition making occupancy hazardous.

CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE - Often called "legal notice"; the conclusive presumption that all persons have knowledge of the contents of an instrument recorded in the office of the county clerk and recorder.

CONSULTANT – An individual that provides professional advice or services for a fee.

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI) - This is the federal government index that measures the change in cost of a variety of goods. Sometimes used as the basis for adjusting annual rent increases and referred to as a "cost of living" increase. It is used as an indicator to reflect future pricing as an adjustment for inflation. (A link to a really cool inflation Calculator)

CONTINGENTCY – A contractual provision that renders an agreement incomplete (not “In force and Effect”) until a designated event, such as receiving permits or obtaining financing, occurs.

CONTRACT – A legal agreement, usually written, between two or more parties.

CONTRACT DOCUMENTS - A complete set of drawings, specifications, bidding instructions, construction agreements, etc. used in construction.

CONTRACT OF PURCHASE – An agreement for the sale of a piece of property.

CONTRACT OF SALE – A written agreement that spells out the terms and conditions for the sale of a property.

CONTRACT SALES PRICE – The price of a property as stated in the sales contract.

CONTRACTOR – An individual, partnership, corporation, etc. hired for the purpose of a specific phase of a construction project. Since there are many different types of contractors (General Contractors, Sub-Contractors, etc), it is important to always check their license, references and quality or work. 

CONTOUR - The surface configuration of land.

COVENANTS - An agreement or promise to perform or avoid doing a specified action.

CONVENTIONAL MORTGAGE OR DEED OF TRUST - A mortgage or deed of trust securing a loan made by investors without governmental underwriting (i.e., which is not FHA insured or VA guaranteed).

CONVERSION – A change in the use of a building or property .

CONVEY - The act of transferring, or deeding, title to another party.

CONVEYANCE - An instrument in writing by which some estate, interest or title in real estate is transferred for one person to another such as a deed or mortgage or deed of trust.

CONVEYANCE - The transfer of ownership (title) from one party to another.

COOLING CAPACITY - A measurement of an HVAC unit’s ability to remove heat from an enclosed space.

COOPERATIVE OWNERSHIP - A form of apartment ownership. Ownership of shares in a cooperative venture, which entitles the owner to use, rent or sell a specific apartment. The corporation usually reserves the right to approve certain actions such as a sale or improvement (distinguish condominium ownership).

COORDIANATE SYSTEM - A method of land description using measurements from an intersection of a defined north-south axis and a defined east-west axis.

COP (Coefficient of Performance) - The measurement of  the energy efficiency of a chiller.

CORNER POST A timber (solid or built-up ) or other framing member that forms the corner of a frame.

CORPORATION - A group or body of persons established and treated by law as an individual or unit with rights and liabilities or both, distinct and apart from those of the persons composing it. A corporation is an entity having certain powers and duties of a natural person. Being created by law, it may continue for any length of time the law prescribes.

CORPOREAL RIGHTS - Possessory rights in real property.

CORRECTION LINES - A system of compensating for inaccuracies in the Government Rectangular Survey System due to the curvature of the earth. Every fourth township line, 24 mile intervals, is used as a correction line on which the intervals between the north and south range lines are re-measured and corrected to a full six miles.

COST - A historical record of past expenditures, or an amount, which would be given in exchange for other things.

COST OF LIVING INCREASE – Meant to insure a certain standard of living in a specific regional area, it is a poor standard in which to base rental increases on. Rising tides do not raise all boats equally; COL increases only protect a Landlord’s lifestyle, not the Tenant’s. 

COST OF FUNDS INDEX – A common index used for adjustable rate mortgages based upon the average cost of borrowed funds by depository institutions.

COST PLUS CONTRACT – A building contract that sets the builder’s profit at a set percentage of actual costs and materials.

COUNTER-OFFER - What every Landlord will do…

COUNTY - The primary political administrative subdivision of a state. Although Louisiana has parishes in lieu of counties and Alaska refers to these subdivisions as boroughs and/or census areas. The District of Columbia is treated as a single county unit. In Virginia, all cities are by law independent of counties; therefore they are treated as county units. The cities of Baltimore, MD, St. Louis, MO and Carson City, NV are also independent and therefore classified as counties.

COURSES AND DISTANCES - A method of describing or locating real property. This description gives a starting point and the direction and length of lines to be run, practically indistinguishable from metes and bounds description.

COVENANTS - An agreement written into deeds and other instruments promising performance or non-performance of certain acts, or stipulating certain uses or non-uses of the property.

CREDIT REPORT – Detail of information regarding an applicant’s credit history.

C.P.I. (Consumer Price Index) - This is the federal government index that measures the change in cost of a variety of goods. Sometimes used as the basis for adjusting annual rent increases and referred to as a "cost of living" increase. It is used as an indicator to reflect future pricing as an adjustment for inflation.

CREDIT RATED – The assessment of an individual or company’s financial history, assets and liabilities used in determining that party’s ability to repay a loan or obligation.

CREDIT SCORE – A numerical score (between x – x) on statistics showing risk of default on a loan; credit scores are an important factor in qualifying for all loans and most franchising opportunities.

CRIPPLE - Short supporting stud that is placed between the header of a door or window opening and the top plate, the purpose of which is to transfer the load that would normally be placed on the absent stud.

Framing Cripple


CROSS EASEMENT – A right, as evidenced by a written agreement, that gives permission for someone to use the property of another for reasons of access, parking or other purpose.

CROTCH LOCATION – A part of a shopping center that occurs at a bend in the shopping center’s design. Because of it’s limited frontage (and therefore visibility), stores in this position (should) always command the lowest rent in a center. Suitable only for service uses that do not require strong visibility (Karate Dojos, Dance Studios, etc). It is usually the least desirable position in a shopping center.

Crotch Location


CSI (The Construction Specifications Institute) - A professional organization of construction specification writers. (insert web site)

CUBIC FOOT PER SECOND - A unit of discharge for measurement of flowing liquid, equal to a flow of one cubic foot per second past a given section. Also called Second-Foot.

CUL DE SAC - A road or passageway with only one outlet.The terminus of a street or alley.  Usually laid out by traffic engineers to provide a circular turn around for vehicles.

CUMULATIVE IMPACT ANALYSIS - In conducting an environmental review of a proposed project, its negative impacts on the environment may be considered in conjunction with those of nearby or related projects to determine whether, cumulatively, their adverse impacts are significant and require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement.

CURTAIN WALL - Exterior wall of a building that is supported by the structure and carries no part of the vertical load except its own. Curtain walls must be designed to withstand wind loads and transfer them to the structure.


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