E

Earnest Money
A deposit made by the potential home buyer to show that he or she is serious about buying the house.

Encroachment
An improvement that intrudes illegally on another’s property.

Encumbrance
Anything that affects or limits the fee simple title to a property, such as mortgages, leases, easements, or restrictions.

Equity
A homeowner’s financial interest in a property. Equity is the difference between the fair market value of the property and the amount still owed on its mortgage and other liens.

Escrow
An item of value, money, or documents deposited with a third party to be delivered upon the fulfillment of a condition. For example, the earnest money deposit is put into escrow until delivered to the seller when the transaction is closed.

Equitable Title
The interest held by one who has agreed to purchase, but has not yet closed the transaction.

Equity
The value of the unencumbered interest in real estate as determined by subtracting the total of the unpaid mortgage balances plus the sum of any current liens against the property from the property’s fair market value.

Escheat
The reversion of property to the state in the event that the owner dies without leaving a will and has no legal heirs.

Estoppel
A doctrine of law that stops one from later denying facts which that person once acknowledged were true and others accepted on good faith.

Eviction
The lawful expulsion of an occupant from real property.

Examination of Title
The report on the title of a property from the public records or an abstract of the title.

Exculpatory Clause
Provision in a mortgage allowing the borrower to surrender the property to the lender without personal liability.

Executor
A person named in a will to administer an estate. The court will appoint an administrator if no executor is named.

Extension
A written agreement between all parties on a contract allowing an additional specified period of time during which all parties are expected to perform their contractual obligations.