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EARNEST MONEY - Advance payment, part of the purchase price, to bind a contract for the sale and purchase of property. It is an evidence of good faith on the part of the purchaser.

EASEMENT – A right to use portions of land that is not owned by the user (a right of way). Easement Agreements are written contracts that may include a survey or metes and bounds descriptions to demonstrate the exact lines and position.

EAVES - The lower part of a roof that projects over a wall or other supporting structure..

(A well appointed Eave)


EBITEarnings Before Interest and Taxes.

EBITDEarnings Before Interest, Taxes and Depreciation.

EBITDA – Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization.

ECONOMIC LIFE - The period over which a property will yield a return on the investment, over and above the economic or ground rent (due to land).

ECONOMIC OBSOLESCENCE - A loss in value due to factors away from the subject property but adversely affecting the value of the subject property.

ECONOMIC RENT - An analysis used to determine the property’s market rent.

EFFECTIVE INTEREST RATE - The percentage of interest that is actually being paid by the borrower for the use of the money.

EFFECTIVE RENT - the overall average of rent (base rent and additional rent) paid throughout the entire term of the lease.

EGRESS - The right to leave a tract of land. Often used interchangeable with access (see access).

EIFS – Exterior Insulation Finish Systems ("EIFS") are a type of building product that provides exterior walls with a finished surface, insulation and waterproofing in an integrated composite system. EIFS is also known as "synthetic stucco" and "Senergy", "Finestone", "Dryvit" or "Sto" - popular EIFS brands. EIFS is a modern, lightweight synthetic wall cladding that includes foam plastic insulation and thin synthetic coatings. There is also an EIFS-like product called a Direct-Applied Finish System (or DAFS), which is essentially an EIFS but without the insulation - this product is not EIFS and has quite different characteristics.

EIR (ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT) - Detailed review of a proposed project, its potential adverse environmental effects, possible changes that can be made to reduce adverse effects, and possible alternatives.

ELECTRICAL ENGINEER - An engineer that designs the electrical and communications systems for a building.

ELECTRONIC AIR CLEANERS - A catch-all phrase used to describe an array of electronic devices designed to filter particles and contaminants from an enclosed area.

ELEVATION - A drawing that depicts the exterior design of a building or structure.

EMERGENCY HEAT (Supplemental or Auxiliary Heat) - The back-up heating element that is built into a Heat Pump system.

EMINENT DOMAIN - The right of the state or federal government to take private property for public purposes (roads, parks, schools, etc).
The Fifth Amendment to the US 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.”). “Just Compensation” usually comes down to who has the best appraiser. See Condemnation, Taking or Expropriation.

ENABLING ACT - An enabling act is legislation passed by the New York State Legislature authorizing cities, towns, and villages to carry out functions in the public interest. The power to adopt comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances, and land use regulations is delegated to towns, villages, and cities under the Town Law, Village Law, General City Law, and Municipal Home Rule Law.

ENCROACHMENT - Refers to a property, use or improvement (A fence, sign, accessory building, etc.) that extends over someone else’s property line.

ENCUMBER - To burden a parcel of land with a lien or charge such as a mortgage or deed of trust.

ENCUMBRANCE / Encumbrance - A claim, lien, charge or liability attached to and binding upon real property, such as a judgment, mortgage, deed of trust, mechanics lien, lien for unpaid taxes, right-of-way.

END-CAP – A term used to describe the ends of a shopping center. Aside from a pad location (which see), end-caps are usually one of the more desirable positions in a shopping center, because of its visibility. It is very common for an anchor store to also be an end-cap.


(Typical Shopping Center End-Cap)


ENDORSEMENT - A written change or modification of a commitment or policy. Also, signing one's name on a negotiable instrument or to an attachment thereto.

ENERGY CODE - That portion of the building code that relates to energy usage conservation requirements, and standards. In California this is part of Title 24, and is sometimes referred to as "Title 24".

ENERGY EFFICIENCY RATIO (EER) - Means the ratio of the cooling capacity of the air conditioner in British Thermal Units per hour, to the total electrical input in watts under ARI-specified test conditions.

ENERGY STAR – A government backed program that helps individuals and businesses protect the environment through energy efficiency programs, ideas and incentives. (

Energy Star logo
(Energy Star logo)


ENVIRONMENT - The environment is defined broadly under the State Environmental Quality Review Act to include the physical conditions that will be affected by a proposed action, including land, air, water, minerals, flora, fauna, noise, resources of agricultural, archeological, historic or aesthetic significance, existing patterns of population concentration, distribution, or growth, existing community or neighborhood character, and human health.

Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) - A required form, completed by an applicant, that to assist an agency in determining if there is an environmental significance of a proposed action. A properly completed EAF must contain enough information to describe the proposed action, its location, purpose, and potential impacts on the environment.

Environmental Impact Report (EIR) - Detailed review of a proposed project, its potential adverse environmental effects, possible changes that can be made to reduce adverse effects, and possible alternatives.

Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) - A certified document prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act stating the potential positive or negative impact a project will have on its environment.

Environmental Quality Review - The process that reviewing boards must conduct to determine whether proposed projects may have a significant adverse impact on the environment and, if they do, to study these impacts and identify alternatives and mitigation conditions that protect the environment to the maximum extent practicable.

Environmental Review - The State Environmental Quality Review Act requires local agencies that review applications for land use approvals to take a hard look at the environmental impact of the proposed projects. Where the proposed project may have a significant negative impact on the environment the agency must prepare an environmental impact statement before approving the project. The adoption of comprehensive plans, zoning amendments, and other land use regulations are also subject to environmental review.

EQUITY - The value which an owner has in real estate over and above the liens against it (your property is worth $250,000, you owe $100,000; your equity is $150,000).

EROSION - The wearing away of land by natural actions such as wind or water.

ESCALATION - An Increase either in payments, interest or both that is triggered by a certain event.

ESCALATION CLAUSE - A clause within a lease that addresses the increases to be passed on to the tenant over the life of the lease. An Escalation Clause usually has a pre-determined amount (either a set dollar amount, a percentage over the base rent or tied to the Consumer Price Index – aka: CPI).

ESCHEAT - A reversion of property to the state in those cases where an individual dies without heirs or devisees and without heirs or devisees and without a will.

ESCROW - A procedure whereby a disinterested third party handles documents, property and/or funds on behalf of other parties under the terms of an escrow agreement.

ESCROW AGREEMENT - A written agreement made between two or more parties that sets forth the obligations of the parties, describes the monies (or other things of value) to be deposited in escrow, and then instructs the escrow agent about when and how to dispose of the monies. Called "Complete" or "Perfect" escrow when the required funds are deposited which enables the carrying out of the instructions.

ESCROW AMOUNT – The money or other valuables held by a third party on behalf of others.

ESTATE - A person's possessions.

ESTIMATE - A judgment or approximation usually concerning the value or the cost.

ESTOPPEL - A legal doctrine, that bars someone from asserting certain rights which are inconsistent with a previous representation.

Estoppel Certificate - A legal document signed by both the tenant and landlord stating the current conditions of the lease and any other agreements between the landlord and tenant.

ET. AL. - Abbreviated Latin for et alius, meaning "and all", "and another" or "and others".

ET. UX. - Abbreviated Latin meaning "and wife".

ET. VIR. - Abbreviated Latin meaning "and husband".

EVAPORATOR - A component in an HVAC system that changes a liquid into a gas.

EVICTION - A legal action to remove (by force or other means, if necessary) someone from a property.

EXCLUSIONARY ZONING - A manipulative zoning practice that discourages building area density whereby making property too valuable for use as low income housing.

EXCEPTIONS - A list of flaws, clouds, encumbrances or uncertainties, or other interests that title insurance will not guarantee that our insured has a priority over.

EXCLUSIVE AGENCY LISTING - An agreement between parties where the owner of a property appoints a licensed real estate broker as his sole agent for a specified period of time. The owner may sell or lease the property to a buyer, which he himself finds without paying the broker's commission.

EXCLUSIVE AGREEMENT - An agreement between and owner and a brokerage firm, which states the real estate broker, will be the sole representative in marketing the property for sale or lease or to manage the property. In return the owner promises to compensate the broker by paying a commission or a fee, according to the terms and conditions of a written agreement (A “Commission Agreement”).

EXCLUSIVE RIGHT (TO SELL OR LEASE) - A listing whereby the owner appoints one real estate broker as his sole and exclusive agent for a specified period of time. No matter who sells or leases the property, including the owner himself, the broker is entitled to a commission.

EXECUTIVE SESSION - An executive session is a meeting, or portion of a meeting, that is closed to the public because the topics to be discussed involve real estate, litigation, or sensitive personnel matters.

EXECUTE - To complete, make, perform or do. Usually refers to the signing, sealing and delivery of a document. To execute a contract is to perform the contract, to follow out to the end, to complete.

EXECUTION - A writ issued by a court to the sheriff directing him to seize and sell property to satisfy a debt.

EXECUTOR - See "Personal Representative".

EXHIBIT - An attachment to the lease.

EXPANSION - The addition of space to a building.

EXPENSE STOP - Is an established dollar amount towards operating expenses of the building that the landlord is willing to pay. A tenant is usually required to pay their proportionate share of any costs over and above this set amount.

EXTERIOR INSULATION and FINISH SYSTEM (EIFS) - Originally developed at the end of World War II as a way to repair war-ravaged buildings, EIF's are a composite system consisting of an outer finish coat over a reinforcement adhered to foam plastic insulation that is fastened to the masonry, concrete, sheathing or directly to the structural framing.

EXTERNALLY ILLUMINATED SIGN – A sign made legible in the absence of daylight by devices external to the sign where light is either reflected or projected upon it.

externally illuminated sign

(A Typical Externally Illuminated Sign)


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