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PAD LOCATION – A freestanding site located within the parking lot of a retail center. Because of its increased visibility, it is usually the most coveted (and therefore, expensive) position in a shopping center.


PAINTED WALL SIGN – A Sign that is painted directly on the fascia of a building or store front. 

painted wall sign

(Typical Painted Wall Sign)


PARAPET WALL - Extension of an exterior wall above and/or through the roof surface.

PARCEL - A piece of property. See "Lot."

PARTITION ACTION - Court proceedings by which co-owners seek to sever their joint ownership.

PARTNERSHIP - An association of two or more persons to carry on, as co-owners, a business for profit. Each partner is responsible for liabilities of the partnership, which is a separate entity from the individual interests of each partner.

PARTICIPATION MORTGAGE - A mortgage where the borrower not only amortizes the loan, but also pays a portion of the gross income to the lender.

PARTY WALL - A wall erected on the line between two adjoining properties, which are under different ownership, for the use of both properties. A common wall dividing two properties and shared by both.



PASS THROUGHS - Building and operating expenses that are to be paid by the tenant.

PATENT - A document issued for the purpose of granting public lands to an individual. An exclusive right and title to property granted by the United States of America. Conveyance of title to government land.

PAYMENT CAP – A limitation on increases in payment rather than increases in interest rates on some types of ARM loans. A contributor to Negative Amortization (which see).

PENALTY - An extra payment or charge required of the borrower for deviating from the terms of the original loan agreement. Usually levied for being late in making a regular payment or for paying off the loan before it is due.

PENNY (d) - Suffix designating the size of nails, such as 6d (penny) nail, originally indicating the price, in English pence, per 100 nails. Does not designate a constant length or size, and will vary by type (e.g., common and box nails).

PER CAPITA – Meaning “Per Person”. From Latin meaning “Per Head”.

PER CAPITA INCOME – The average income of an area per person. It is obtained by dividing Total Income of an area by total population of that area.

PERCENTAGE RENT – Rent or Additional Rent that is based upon a percentage of a Tenant’s gross sales volume.

PERCOLATION TEST - A soil test to determine if soil will take sufficient water seepage to permit use of a septic tank.

PERFORMANCE BOND - A bond that binds a surety company to complete a construction contract if the contractor defaults.

PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATION - States how a building element must perform as opposed to describing equipment, products or systems by name.

PERMITS - Approvals required by local building authorities, including building, land use, fire, energy code, etc.

PERSONAL PROPERTY - Any property, which is not real property; also called Personalty. Generally; all things which are not real property; things of a temporary or movable nature. (See Chattel)

PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE - One appointed by a probate court to administer the estate of a deceased person.

PHSYSICAL TRADE BARRIER - An impediment such as a river or roadway that physically prohibits traffic from crossing it. Also referred to as a Traffic Barrier.

PILASTER - A rectangular column that usually projects out from the wall to which it's attached by about a third of its width. Orignally designed to be both structural as well as ornimental, they remain an effective way to increase masonry's structural capacity.

Pilaster illustration
(Typical Pilaster)


PILLAR - A large post, often ornamental and used as supporting architecture.

(The Pillars of the US Capitol Building)

PITCH OF ROOF - The steepness or slope of the surface, generally expressed in inches of vertical rise per 12" horizontal distance ("Run") , such as "8-in-12 pitch."

illustartion of a roof's pitch

PITI – (Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance) - Parts of a mortgage or loan that includes an escrow fund established to accumulate funds for the future payment of taxes and insurance (in addition to principal and interest) on behalf of the borrower.

PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT (PUD) – Property that has been planned and zoned for specific development. Planned Unit Development ("PUD") - A planned unit development is an overlay zoning district that permits land developments on several parcels to be planned as single units and contain both residential dwellings and commercial uses. It is usually available to land owners as a mixed use option to single uses permitted as-of-right by the zoning ordinance.

See: Planning Commission

PLANNING COMMISSION - A group of citizens appointed by the city council or board of supervisors to consider land use planning matters including proposals to adopt or amend a general plan or zoning ordinance, take action on subdivisions, and approve use permits and variances (also called a Planning Board).

PLAT – A parcel of land surveyed and divided into smaller lots. Plat - This is a site plan or subdivision map that depicts the arrangements of buildings, roads, and other services for a development.

PLAT PLAN – A drawing of the legal boundaries of a property and the location of buildings within these boundaries.

PLATE - "Top" plate is the horizontal member fastened to the top of the studs or wall on which the rafters, joists or trusses rest; "sole" plate is positioned at bottom of studs or wall.

PLATFORM - Floor surface raised above the ground or floor level.

PLENUM - Chamber in which the pressure of the air is higher (as in a forced-air furnace system) than that of the surrounding air. Frequently a description of the space above a suspended ceiling.

PM TRAFFIC – The side of a roadway that has the most intense traffic during the weekday evening commute. Often referred to as the “Going home side” of a road, it is important to many businesses that rely on customers that need or want products or services during the evening rush hour (i.e., Supermarkets, home meal replacement restaurants, etc.). (See: AM TRAFFIC)

POINTS – A charge by the lender usually equal to 1% of the loan amount.

POLE SIGN – A freestanding sign with a visible support structure that is permanently secured to the ground. Also referred to as a Pylon Sign (which see); pole signs may be internally or externally illuminated and, depending on roadway conditions (street trees, sign pollution, general roadway conditions, etc) can offer excellent visibility from a fair distance.

(Typical Pole sign with reader board)


POLITICAL SIGNS – A temporary sign that advertises a candidate or candidates for public elective office or to support or defeat a proposition or issue at a general, primary, special, school or any other election decided by ballot or any sign displaying a political opinion.

POLYGON - A closed path or circuit composed of a infinite sequence of straight line segments.

POLYGON DEMOGRAPHICS – A demographic report that uses a series of straight lines (a polygon) to defines its borders rather than using scaled radius lines (one mile, five miles, etc). Because it can be "drawn" around impassable (physical) or undesirable (psychological) barriers, it can produce a more accurate depiction a given trade area.

polygon - radius illustration


PORTABLE SIGN – a sign that is designed to be moved from place to place and not permanently anchored or secured to either a building or the ground. Often placed on vehicles, it is an opportunity to gain more attention to your business while increasing positive customer awareness.


PORTFOLIO LENDER – A lender that retains loans in its own portfolio, rather than selling it on a secondary market.

PORTLAND CEMENT - Hydraulic cement produced by pulverizing clinker consisting essentially of hydraulic calcium silicates, usually containing one or more forms of calcium sulfate as an inter-ground addition.

POSITIVE DECLARATION ("pos dec") - A positive declaration is a written determination by a lead agency, under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, that the implementation of the action as proposed is likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment and that an environmental impact statement will be required.

PRE-APPROVAL – Receiving a loan prior to selecting a property to purchase.

PRE-LEASING - The leasing of a project before construction of the project has been completed.

PRELIMINARY PLAT APPROVAL - Preliminary plat approval is the approval by the authorized local administrative body of a preliminary subdivision drawing or plat that shows the site conditions, subdivision lines, and proposed improvements as specified in the locality’s subdivision regulations.

PREPAIDS – Closing costs paid at the time of settlement, for charges that occurs in the future (i.e., Taxes, Insurance, etc.).

PREPAYMENT PENALTY – Charges by the lender if the loan is pain off before the end of the term.

PRE-QUALIFICATION – Determining a borrower’s potential qualification for a mortgage, although does not guarantee a commitment for a loan by a lender.

PRESCRIPTION SPECIFICATION - Traditional procedure used on building projects to describe by name products, equipment or systems to be used.

PRINCIPAL – The original amount of a debt, on which the interest is calculated.

PRINCIPAL USE - A principal use is the primary use of a lot that is permitted under the district regulations in a zoning law. These regulations may allow one or more principal uses in any given district. Unless the district regulations allow mixed uses, only one principal use may be made of a single lot, along with uses that are accessory to that principal use.

PRIVATE MORTGAGE INSURANCE – Mortgage insurance provided by a purchaser to insure the lender in the event of a default. Usually required with down payments of less than 20%.

PROCESSING – A procedure from the time of a loan application through submission to an underwriter.

PROJECTING SIGN - A building mounted sign with the faces of the sign perpendicular to the building fascia.

(Typical Projecting Sign)


PREMISES – Generally means a lot with all its appurtenances and buildings that function as a single unit.

PROMISSORY NOTE - A written instrument acknowledging a debt and promising payment. Following a loan commitment from the lender, the borrower signs a note, promising to repay the loan under stipulated terms. The promissory note establishes personal liability for its repayment.

PROPERTY - The rights of ownership. The right to use, possess, enjoy and dispose of a thing in every legal way and to exclude everyone else from interfering with these rights. Property is generally classified into two groups, personal property and real property.


PRO-RATA SHARE - Percentage of building occupied by the tenant, which is usually based on the rentable or leaseable square footage measurement of your space compared to the rentable or leaseable square footage of the building. Your leased space divided by the total size of the building.

PRORATE - To allocate between seller and buyer their proportionate share of an obligation paid or due. For example, real property taxes or fire insurance.

PRORATION - Adjustments of interest, taxes, insurance, etc; on a prorated basis as of the closing date. Fire insurance is normally paid for a few years in advance. If a property is sold during this time, the seller wants a refund on that portion of the advance payment that has not been used at time of closing.

PROTECTION - Protection of existing conditions i.e., flooring, windows, counter tops, mechanical systems, roofing, equipment etc… Protection can also address winter conditions i.e., tenting a building to allow installation of brick work.

PSYCOLOGICAL TRADE BARRIER – An impediment - not clearly defined - that prohibits or restricts traffic flow or movement. Also referred to as a Traffic Barrier, it could be an area of heavy traffic, a low-income neighborhood, or other reason that most people do not want to drive through or past.

PUBLIC HEARING - These hearings afford citizens affected by a reviewing board’s decision an opportunity to have their views heard before decisions are made. State statutes require that public hearings be held regarding the application for a variance or a subdivision approval. Public hearings regarding site plan applications and draft environmental impact statements may be required as a matter of local practice.

PUBLIC SERVICES - Public services are those services provided by the municipal government for the benefit of the community, such as fire and police protection, education, solid waste disposal, street cleaning, and snow removal.

PUBLIC TRUSTEE - The public official in each county whose office has been created by statute, to whom title to real property is conveyed by Deed of Trust for the use and benefit of the beneficiary, who usually is the lender.

PUNCH LIST - A construction document used to organize the completion of a construction project. Upon completion of a project, it is a list (punch list) of items that have not been completed or workmanship that needs to be fixed or redone by the General or sub-contractors.

PURCHASE MONEY MORTGAGE - A mortgage given by the purchaser to secure a loan for part or all of the purchase price. Such a mortgage becomes a lien on the property simultaneously with the passing of title, and if promptly recorded becomes prior to any lien against the purchaser.

PYLON SIGN – A freestanding sign with a visible support structure that is permanently secured to the ground. Also referred to as a Pole Sign; pylon signs may be internally or externally illuminated and, depending on roadway conditions (street trees, sign pollution, etc) can offer excellent visibility from a fair distance.

(Typical Pole sign with reader board)


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