Real Estate Glossary

Our glossary is the largest dictionary of real estate and construction terms on the Internet with almost 10,000 definitions.
Ca - Cal - Car - Cas - Ce - Cen - Ch - Cho - Cle - Co
Col - Com - Con - Cond - Cont - Coo - Cos - Cr - Cro - Cu
Legal action, such as a lawsuit, between a plaintiff and a defendant.
Case Hardening
Also called carburizing. Case hardening is the addition of hardness, to the surface of steel by heating the steel in contact with carbon. Heated material is exposed to carbon then hardened by quenching or cooling slowly, reheating and quenching again. Used on tolls which need to retain the resilience of a soft metal to avoid cracking but need a hard surface or when it is simpler or cheaper to shape and carburize a softer material rather than using a harder metal. Cutting tools used for metal lathes or milling machines or the center of a lathe tailstock are usually carburized for wear resistance. Tools that must remain sharp while being resistant to impact are often carburized.
Case Law
System of jurisprudence that is based on court decisions instead of statutes passed by a legislative body, i.e. based on the principles decided by the courts
Cased Opening
Finished interior opening, without a door, in a building wall.
Frames, which are hinged at the sides on the vertical sash, allowing them to swing open.
Casement Window
A window, which is hinged on the side, allowing it to swing open outward. A quadrant gear forces a lever to open and close the window when the crankshaft, which is attached to a gear that turns the quadrant gear, is turned. Windows will be held in any position by the gearing, which can also be operated by remote control.
Cash Accounting
Keeping records of money received or expended.
Cash Basis
Method of accounting in which expenses are recorded when cash is paid and revenue is recorded when cash is received.
Cash Equity
Amount, in cash, invested in property.
Cash Equivalency
Price for which real estate would be sold if all cash was involved.
Cash Flow
Cash remaining on a rental property when the operating expenses and loan payment are deducted from the gross rental.
Cash Flow Statement
Financial records of receipts and expenditures during a specific period.
Cash Value
Expected market value of property if sold today.
Cash-out Refinance
Refinancing of a mortgage where the money received from the new loan is greater than the amount due on the old loan. These funds can then be used in any manner by the borrower.
Cashier's Check
A check guaranteed by bank funds rather than a depositor's account.
Trim or molding, around openings, such as windows and doors. Casing can also be the molding inside of which a door is hunt but it is actually only the inner boards. Also, method of creating a form for the pouring of concrete.
Casing Bead
To provide smooth edges without trimming the plaster, a metal plaster stop can be fastened to the framing around the doors and windows.
Tool created by the pouring of molten metal into molds and allowing it to harden.
Pouring concrete in place, on site instead of offsite as pre-cast material.
Cast Iron
Extremely strong and rigid iron alloy made by casting in a mold, which is used to make plumbing fixtures and waste pipes. It is strong and rigid and a poor conductor of heat so that water stays warmer in a cast iron tub but it does tend to being brittle.
Cast Iron Soil Pipe
Pipe, made of cast iron, used for gravity-rated vents and drains.
Cast Iron Valve
Valves, made of cast iron, used in water systems.
A building built with turrets and battlements to resemble a castle. An edge that has square edges referred to as merlons and crenels.
Castellated Nut
Nut with notches in its surface that can be secured in place by using a cotter pin stuck into a hole in the shaft on which the nut is threaded. This prevents the nut from turning since the cotter pin fits into the crenels or notches on the top surface.
Small wheel with freely rolling ball, which is attached to each leg of a piece of furniture, allowing it to move easily.
Casualty Loss
Loss, which arises from the destruction of property resulting from circumstances of an unanticipated or unusual nature.
Cat Faces
Small depressions in the finish coat of plaster which happen due to depressions in the brown coat of plaster. Correction occurs when plaster is floated.
Cat Short
Used to stiff and strengthen wall in a house, these 2 x 4's are installed between wall studs in a line halfway up the height of the stud. Also serving as a nailing surface, there can be more than one line if the studs are extra length.
Additive that initiates a chemical reaction.
Catalytic Coating
Paint-like surface, which hardens by chemical reaction.
Catalytic Converter
Device that is part of the exhaust system of a vehicle and contains a chemical catalyst to reduce pollution emissions.
Automatically securing latch on a gate or door.
Catch Basin
Basin which collects water that has been rerouted from another location.
When a line is freely suspended from two fixed points, the curve that occurs in the cable is a catenary.
Cathedral Ceiling
High, vaulted, open ceiling.
Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)
Monitor screen of a computer.
A positively charged ion.
Cat's Eyes
Weld defect in which a small piece of foreign matter or a hole is encircled by a bright area. Also referred to as fish eyes. Alternately, defective paint surface spotted with rainbow patterned rings.
Cat's Paw
Rounded cross section pry bar, which has notched and flattened ends, one of which is bent at right angles to the bar, to pull nails.
Cattle Gate
Trench, between two gateposts, which is covered by a grate of parallel bars.
Sealant, usually silicon or acrylic, used to fill cracks and crevices.
Caulking Cord
Flat, gray soft band of material segmented into six beads of caulk of various widths, which is used for setting sink drains and for permanent or temporary caulking. Less messy than plumbers compounds, it can also be used as a base for other caulks to fill in a large gap.
Caulking Gun
Trigger plunger type of tool, which forces caulk from a cartridge.
Caulking Iron, Inside and Outside
Tool that is used to caulk lead and oakum joint leaks in cast iron piping.
Cause of Action
Legal claim with enough basis in fact to have a lawsuit.
Paved roadway constructed above lowlands.
Latin for caution or warning.
Caveat Actor
When action is undertaken in conformity with contractual provisions, legal responsibilities arise with the concept that the person taking action must "beware" (caveat).
Caveat Emptor
Latin for "Let the buyer beware". Legal principal by which the buyer is responsible for ensuring the quality of good purchased.
Caveat Vendor
Latin for "Let the seller beware". The vendor is obligated for action by the buyer for any explicit or implied modifications in the contract or warranty.
An atrium or courtyard Cave-in Excavation collapse.
Concave quarter round molding.
Mason's hammer that is used for rough finishing stone, with a pointed head on one side and a flat side.
A hole or hollow place.
Cavity, Ceiling
Lighting zone that is from the lighting fixture level to the ceiling, which is one of the three light zones, used to design a lighting system. The value of the reflected light is figured into the formula which specifies the type and number of lighting fixtures ideal for a room.
Cavity, Floor
Lighting zone, which is from the floor to the work level that is one of the three light zones, used to design a lighting system. The value of the reflected light is figured into the formula which specifies the type and number of lighting fixtures ideal for a room.
Cavity, Room
Lighting zone that is from the light fixture level to the work level, which is one of the three light zones, used to design a lighting system. The value of the reflected light is figured into the formula which specifies the type and number of lighting fixtures ideal for a room.
Cavity Wall
Used in more southerly climates, it is a hollow masonry wall consisting of an inner and outer wall with dead air space between them, which provides increased thermal insulation. Both walls sides are separately reinforced for seismic resistance.
C/B Ratio
Also referred to as the saturation coefficient, a ration of the weight of water absorbed by masonry units in cold water to the weight absorbed in boiling water.
C shaped metal clamp that has an adjustable threaded screw that bridges the open part of the C and clamps onto a surface.
Chromated Copper Arsenate, a chemical preservative injected into wood to make it resistant to insect infestation or rot. CCA gives the wood a greenish tint. Copper acts as a fungicide, arsenic as an insecticide while chromium is the agent that binds everything to the wood.
see Consumer Credit Counseling Service.
CD (Certificate of Deposit)
Document representing that the bearer has a specified amount of money on deposit in a financial institution.

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