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DAMAGES - The amount of compensation recoverable by a person who has sustained an injury, either in his person, property or relative rights, through the act or default of another.

DAMPER - Found inside of the HVAC's ductwork, it is a movable plate that opens and closes to control or regulate airflow.

DATE OF LEASE - The date in which a lease has been fully executed (signed) by both the tenant and the landlord. Also know as the “LEASE DATE”.

DAY POPULATION – The estimated number of daytime workers in a given area. The benefit, due to the expanded population, is the potential for strong daytime business. Typically restaurants, office supply stores, hotels, etc. look to develop near areas of high daytime population.

DBA - "Doing Business As". (as in John Doe d/b/a: "Joe's Sporting Goods"). Usually will have filed a Trade Name Affidavit reciting the John Doe is doing business under the assumed name of "Joe's Sporting Goods".

DEAD LOAD A permanent load, such as the structure itself, that does not move.

DEBT SERVICE - The Payments to be made on a loan.

DEBTOR - A person or entity that owes money to another.

DECELERATION LANE – an expansion of roadway that allows vehicles to reduce their speed so they can safely make turns or enter the traffic flow of a slower roadway.

DECISION - An opinion or position reached by a local reviewing body, administrative agency or officer regarding an application for a permit or approval.

DECREE OF FORECLOSURE - Decree by a court for the foreclosure of a mortgage, contract, or other liens.

DEDICATION - The "voluntary" transfer of private property for public use. Although sometimes as a gift, most commonly it comes down to a building or zoning department condition of approval. It is becoming a common practice among local governments to request that a developer dedicate of a portion of land from a proposed project for future public use (i.e., road expansions, etc). The benefit to the the developer is that they get their approval while the issuing agency saves money by avoiding a future condemnation proceeding.

DEED - A legal document that conveys to another the right, title and/or interest in property

DEED RESTRICTION - A provision in a property's deed that controls, or limits, the future use of the land. These are often imposed to insure that the owner complies with conditions as imposed by Planned Unit Development (PUD) or a landowner with an interest in restricting how adjacent properties are used to prevent lowering property values or restricting competition..

DEED OF TRUST - A financing instrument giving legal claim to the property to a trustee designated by the lender who may exercise power-of-sale in the event of a default by the borrower. The document is recorded, which secures a loan to the owner of the property. Similar in many ways to a mortgage.

DEFAULT - The non-performance of a duty; the omission or failure to perform a legal duty or the failure to meet an obligation when due. Failing to observe agreed upon terms of a contract or financing instrument.

DEFERRED MAINTENANCE - The delay or postponement of normal maintenance and/or upkeep on a property that usually results in creating lower property values.

DEFERRED PAYMENT OPTIONS - The privilege of deferring income payments to take advantage of the tax statutes.

DELIVERY - The act of conveying something. A required step in the transference of title.

DEMISING WALL - A common wall, that separates two separate tenants. (In many instances, the tenant’s square footage is measured from the middle of a common wall).

Demising Wall

(Typical Demising Wall)


DEMOGRAPHICS – A study of the population characteristics of a given area. Usually providing the area's size, household counts, ages and other vital statistics. Although most commonly viewed in radii (from a tenth of a mile on up), demographics used for commercial and/or retail studies should be also viewed as a polygon that considers drive times, physical or psychological trade barriers, etc. (thereby presenting a more accurate depiction of a trade area).  

DEMOLITION - The systematic deconstruction of a property's improvements, usually by manual or mechanical means. Since it usually includes buildings, site work, etc and the possible hazards and contaminants that could be present, there are numerous steps that need to take place prior to the removal of a structure (including asbestos abatement, obtaining demo permits, submitting necessary notifications, disconnecting utilities, rodent baiting, and development of site-specific safety and work plans (Fencing, etc.).

DENSITY – When referring to population; it is the estimated population of a given area divided by the square miles of the land area. Where it applies to development, it is the number of structures in a given study area.

DENSITY BONUS - See "Incentive Zoning."

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DOE) –A Federal agency whose mission is to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States; to promote scientific and technological innovation in support of that mission; and to ensure the environmental cleanup of the national nuclear weapons complex. ( )

DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD)– The Cabinet-level Federal agency that houses the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) and Federal Housing Administration (FHA); also oversees the Government National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). ( )

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS (DVA) - An independent federal agency, which oversees programs for military veterans, including loan and mortgage programs. (For more information, please see: ( ).

DEPRECIATION - Loss or decrease in the value of real property brought about by age, physical deterioration or functional or economic obsolescence.

DESIGN – Describes both the physical drawing or concept of something or the act of creating it.

DESIGN ARCHITECT - A licensed professional that creates the original building concept, but not necessarily the actual construction drawings, and may not be the architect of record. Design Architects usually work on large-scale projects.

DESIGN BUILD - A method of project delivery in which the owner contracts directly with a single entity that is responsible for both design and construction services for a construction project.

DESIGN DEVELOPMENT - The preparation of more detailed drawings and final design plans, showing correct sizes and shapes for rooms. Also included is an outline of the construction specifications, listing the major materials to be used.

DESIGN LOAD - Combination of weight (dead load) and other applied forces (live loads) for which a building or part of a building is designed. Based on the worst possible combination of loads.

DESIGN REVIEW COMMITTEE (Architectural Review Committee OR Board) -
A committee, usually appointed by the city council or other elected body, that considers the design and exterior aesthetics of proposed development.

DESIGNATED MARKING AREA (DMA) - The geographic region covered by a particular television or radio stations. (Also know as an ADI or Area of Dominant Influence).

DESIST AND REFRAIN ORDER - An order directing a person to desist and refrain from committing an act in violation of the real estate law. (See: Cease and Desist Order)

DESTINATION POINT - An assembly of traffic generators with a strong demographic pull.

DETAIL - A detailed drawing that shows a particular element of a building project to allow it to be better described and understood.

DEVELOPMENT OVERLAY ZONE - In development overlay zones, the legislature may provide incentives, such as waivers of certain zoning requirements or density bonuses, for developers who build the type of development desired.

DETERMINATION - A decision rendered by an administrative body giving its decision or opinion on a particular subject.

DEVELOPMENT – A catch-all phrase that describes the act of improving, expanding, creating, renovating or changing a property or area.

DEVELOPMENT OVERLAY ZONES- An area designated to provide incentives, such as waivers of certain zoning requirements or density bonuses, for developers who build the type of development desired.

DEVISE - A gift of real property by the last will and testament of the donor. The disposition of land by will. A term used for land alone and never for personal property.

DEVISEE - One who receives a bequest made by will.

DEVISOR - One who bequeaths by will.

DEW POINT - The temperature at which air becomes saturated with moisture and below which condensation occurs.

DIRECT VENT - A system where air is pulled and exhausted directly to the exterior of a building, usually avoiding vertical roof penetrations and chimneys.

DIRECTIONAL SIGN – Signs designed to give direction to either pedestrians or vehicles.

Directional Sign

(An effective Directional Sign is unobstructed, well-placed and easily identifiable)


DIRECTORY SIGN - A sign that identifies the names and locations of tenants in a multi-tenant building or in a development made up of a group of buildings but does not include any advertising message.

DISCOUNT - An amount deducted in advance from the principal before the borrower is given the use of the principal.

DISCOUNT POINT – Charge by a lender to increase yield which reduces interest rates to a borrower; one discount point equates to 1% of the loan amount.

DISPOSABLE INCOME - Income available for saving or spending after paying mortgage, car payments, insurance, taxes and other financial obligations.

DISPOSSESS - To deprive one of the uses of real estate.

DISTRICT - A district is a portion of a community identified on the locality’s zoning map within which one or more principal land uses are permitted along with their accessory uses and any special land uses permitted by the zoning provisions for the district.

DMA (DESIGNATED MARKING AREA) - The geographic region covered by a particular television station; also referred to as the station's (Also know as an ADI or Area of Dominant Influence).

DOMINANT PORTION - A feature that makes up more than 50% of the inside surface of a permanent wall.

DOT (Department of Transportation) - An abbreviation for Department Of Transporatation.

DOUBLE-HUNG WINDOW A window assembly whose sash slides vertically and is often offset in a double track.



DOWN PAYMENT – The difference between the sales price and the loan amount paid by the purchaser. The amount of the down payment often effects other terms and conditions of a loan.

DRIP A small angled overhang protruding from an exterior horizontal surface (such as a soffit) designed to draw water away and preventing the migration of water back along the surface.

DRIVER REACTION TIME – The amount of time (usually expressed in hundredth’s of a second) that a driver of a motor vehicle has to locate, identify and make a directional choice.

DRIVE THROUGH – A dedicated exterior lane that allows customers to purchase goods, services or make a transaction without having to leave their vehicles.

DRIVE THROUGH CANOPY – A marquee-like roof that extends over a drive-through window that serves to protect it from the elements.

DRIVE THROUGH CANOPY SIGN – A small sign, usually directional in nature, that conveys a message or warning.

DRYWALL A generic term for an interior-wall surfacing material. Usually applied directly to the framing with mechanical fasteners (nails or drywall screws), it can also refer to installation process itself. See SHEETROCK.

DUCT - A cylindrical or rectangular "tube" manufactured from sheet metal, fiberglass or a composite material that is used to move air between a heating, cooling or HVAC unit to a designated area or room.

DUCTWORK – The system of ducts that carry air through a building.

DUMBWAITER - A small elevator/lift system designed to carry cargo and materials rather than people.

DUMPSTER - Metal bin-style trash containers designed for construction debris. Dumpsters vary in size typically from 10 yards to 30 yards.

DUNNAGE – A mounting stand used to secure HVAC systems.

DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY - A power of attorney, which is not affected by the disability of the person giving the power to his attorney in fact (must be specifically recited in the power of attorney).

DURESS - Unlawful constraint exercised upon a person whereby he is forced to do some act against his will.


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