Glossary of Terms

ABSORPTION RATE – The estimate of the rate at which office space will be leased or occupied each year.

AIR RIGHTS – The right to the use of the air space above property without the right to use the surface of the property. However, air rights may restrict surface rights, especially height of improvements.

AMPERE – A measure of electrical current equal to the current produced by the force of one volt through a resistance of one ohm. (See also: Coulomb)

AMORTIZATION – Paying off a debt, with interest, usually in equal payments at regular intervals.

ANNUAL LOAN CONSTANT – The principal and interest of a loan expressed as the constant annual payment required to retire a debt at a specified rate of interest over a specified time.

APPORTIONMENT – A proper allocation of income and expenses of property, especially after a division of ownership.

APPRAISAL METHODS – Generally, three major methods of appraisal: Cost Approach, Income Approach, Market Value (comparables) Approach.

BASE LEASE – A contract stating the minimum established requirements that are applicable to all tenants.

BASE RENT – The “fixed” component of rent in a commercial property. Base rent, also known as net rent, remains static while additional rent floats with actual costs.

BASE YEAR (or AMOUNT) – The year for which taxes and operating expenses of a property are included in the Base Rent (or the amount so included).

BASIS POINT – A finance term meaning a yield of 1/100th of 1% annually.

BAY – An unfinished area between a row of columns and the bearing wall. Usually, it’s the smallest area into which a building can be partitioned.

BLOCK LAYOUT – A preliminary sketch showing tenant spaces on various floors.

BOOK VALUE – The value of a property as a capital asset (cost plus additions to value, less depreciation).

BORROWED LIGHT – A partition of glass or plastic panels between an interior dark space and a space lit by daylight or high-intensity artificial light.

BRADLEY – A round, wash-up sink accommodating up to eight people with one plumbing connection.

BREATHER ROOF – A storage tank roof which rises and lowers depending on the level of the stored gas or liquid.

BUBBLE SCHEMATIC – Used in early stages of space planning, a simplified diagram which indicates activity centers, personnel interactions, and people circulation without a formalized layout.

BUILDING CORE – The central or arterial part of a multistory building that intergrates functions and service needs for established occupants. It usually includes toilet facitities, elevator banks, janitor’s closets, utilities, mechanical facitilities, smoke shafts and stairwells.

CANCELLATION CLAUSE – A provision which gives the tenant a non-binding right to cancel its lease under certain terms and conditions.

CAPITALIZATION RATE – The percentage (acceptable to an average buyer) used to determine the value of income property through capitalization.

CAVEAT EMPTOR – From Latin: “Let the buyer beware.”

CEILING PLENUM – A totally enclosed area above the ceiling used for heating air.

CERTIFICATE OF INSURANCE – A certificate issued by an insurance company (or its agent) verifying that a certain insurance policy is in effect. This is frequently required for a lease.

CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY – A certificate issued by a local building department to a builder or renovator, stating that the building is in proper condition to be occupied.

CHANGE ORDER – An order issued any time there is a change in the specifications, price or time in the building contract, as authorized by the owner, architect or engineer.

CIRCULATION ALLOWANCE – Space needed to have sufficient access to, from and around a work space.

CLOSING COSTS – Expenses incidental to a sale of real estate, such as loan fees, title fees, appraisal fees, etc.

CONDUIT – A flexible, hollow metal pipe, typically located inside sheetrock walls, through which wiring or cabling is inserted to service electrical, telecommunications and networking requirements.

CONSIDERATION – Something of value given by one party to persuade another party to sign a contract.

CONTRACT FOR DEED – A contract for the sale of real estate in which the purchaser pays the price in installments over an extended period of possession. Title is retained by the seller until final payment.

CONSTRUCTION ALLOWANCE – The building owner’s contribution toward preparing a tenant’s space for occupancy.

CORE SPACE – The area in a building which includes the square footage used for public corridors, elevators, washrooms, stairwells, and electrical and janitorial closets.

DEAD LOAD – (1) Most commonly, the weight of a truck, exclusive of cargo. (2) The weight of a building or other structure, includingfurnances, air conditioning units, elevators, and other permanent machinery, but not furniture, people, or inventory of a business in the structure.

DEED OF TRUST – Also known as a trust deed, an instrument used to convey a mortgage lien by which the mortgagor conveys a title to a trustee who holds it for the benefit of the noteholder (the lender).

DEED RESTRICTIONS – Limitations on the use of property placed in the conveyancing deed by the grantor, which bind all future owners.

DEMISE – Synonymous with “lease” or “let”.

DEMISED PREMISES – Premises, or parts of real estate, in which an interest or estate has been transferred temporarily, such as an interest in real property conveyed in a lease.

DRY MORTGAGE – A lien which places no personal liability on the mortgagor, looking only to the property for security.

EASEMENT APPURTENANT – An easement for the benefit of another parcel of land, such as the right to cross parcel A to reach B. The easement will pass witht the transfer of property to a new owner.

ECOMOMIC OBSOLESCENCE – Impairment of desirability, useful life or use and value of a property arising from economic forces outside the building or property. Examples might be changes in optimum land use, legislative enactments that restrict or impair property rights and changes in supply-demand relationships.

EFFECTIVE GROSS INCOME – Scheduled gross income of a property minus the vacancy rate.

EMPLOYMENT LETTER – A letter from an employer stating the time a person has been employed and income from said employment.

EQUALIZATION – The raising or lowering of assessed values for tax purposes in a particular county or taxing district to make them equal to assessments in other counties or districts.

ESCALATION CLAUSE – The clause in a lease providing for periodic increases in the base rent. Thes increases may be fixed or tied to indexes (such as the consumer price index). Escalation clauses should not be confused with expense items that are passed through to a tenant on an annual basis as additional rent (real estate taxes, insurance, maintenance, and repairs).

ESCHEAT – A reversion of perperty to the state in the absense of an individual owner. Usually occurs when a property owner dies intestate, and without heirs.

ESTOPPEL – A legal doctrine that holds that a person may not claim or allege something to be true (even if it is true) because of his previous acts or statements to the contrary upon which another party has relied in good faith. For example, a tenant may be requested to sign an “estoppel certificate” which describes the terms of his or her lease. If a potential buyer of the building relies on the estoppel certificate for his purchase thereof, and if it turns out that the statements expressed in the estoppel certificate were misleading or incorrect, the tenant will be liable to the buyer for his statements to the extent that the buyer is injured.

ESTOPPEL CERTIFICATE – A document in which a tenant certifies to a landlord the amount he or she is obligated to on a lease and the time remaining on the lease.

EXPENSE RATIO – The percentage of gross income consumed by the operating expenses of a property.

FEE SIMPLE – An estate under which the owner is entitled to unrestricted powers to dispose of the property, and which can be left by will or inherited. Commonly, an synonym for ownership.

FIRE WALL – A wall to divide parts of a building, and prevent the spread of fire. Should rise from basement level to a minimum of three feet above roof level, and all openings through the wall should be protected by fireproof doors.

FIRST RIGHT OF REFUSAL – A lease concession that gives a tenant the first right, within a limited period of time, to a designated additional space that another tenant has expressed a desire to lease.

FLOOR LOAN – The lower of two amounts of a single take out loan. For example: A lender agrees to loan on an office building being constructed, in the amount of eighty percent of appraised value if the building is seventy-five percent occupied, but only seventy percent of appraised values if the building is less than seventy-five percent occupied. The lower amount is the floor plan.

FOOT CANDLE – A measurement of light level, equivalent to the light of one candle at one foot.

FUNCTIONAL OBSOLESCENCE – Defects in a building or stucture that detract from its value or marketability.

GRANTEE – (1) One to whom a grant is made. Generally, the buyer. (2) A person to whom an interest in land is conveyed by deed, grant, or other written instrument.

GRANTOR – (1) One who grants property or property rights. (2) A person who tranfers his or her interest in land to another.

GROSS INCOME MULTIPLIER – A figure which, when multiplied by the annual gross income, will theoretically determine the market value. A general rule of thumb which varies with specific properties and areas.

GROSS RENT MULTIPLIER – Used as a multiplier of the gross income of a property, it produces an estimate of the property’s value.

HABENDUM – The clause in a deed, following the granting clause, which defines the extent of the estate of the grantee.

HARD COSTS – (construction) Typically, thos costs incurred in the physical construction of the building, exclusive of fees for professional services and financing.

HEREDITAMENTS – (1) Anything which could be considered real property. (2) Anything which may be inherited.

HIGHEST AND BEST USE – The possible use of land that will produce the greatest net income and thereby develop the highest land value.

HOLD HARMLESS – To indemnify another. To secure another against loss or damage or claims of a third party. (Also Save harmless)

HOLD HARMLESS LEASE CLAUSE – A standard provision that states that the owner will not be liable for damages or injury sustained in, on, or about the leased premises; also referred to as indemnification clause.

INCHOATE INSTRUMENT – An unrecorded instrument (such as a deed) which is valid only between the parties and those having actual notice; but not against “the world” as it would be after recording.

INCOME APPROACH – The process of estimating the value of an income producing property by viewing its net operating income as a perpetual annuity.

INCUMBRANCE (ENCUMBRANCE) – A claim, lien, charge, or liability attached to and binding real property. Any right to, or interest in, land which may exist in one other than the owner, but which will not prevent the transfer of fee title.

INSTALLMENT SALE – A tax term used to describe a sale which is usually accomplished by use of a land contract, If the seller receives less than 30% of the sale price in the year of the sale (not including interest), the tax on the profit (gain) from the sale may be paid over the installment period, provided the 30% rule is followed each year.

JOINT TENANCY – An undivided interest in property, taken by two or more joint tenants. The interests much be equal, accuring under the same conveyance, and beginning at the same time. Upon the death of a joint tenant, the interest passes to the surviving joint tenants, the rather than to the heirs of the deceased.

JUDGMENT PROOF – One against whom a judgment creditor cannot collect (no assets). If one can show he was defrauded by a “judgement proof” real estate licensee, he may recover from the state fund in states having such a fund.

JUNIOR LIEN – A lien which is subordinate to a prior lien.

KEENE’S CEMENT – An unusually tough and durable gypsum plaster to which alum has been added. Used primarily for walls of commercial buildings.

KEYMAN INSURANCE – Insurance through loss (through death or disability) of a “key” (important) person in a company. The liability is the estimated cost of the loss (in business lost, and replacement of the individual). Some lenders require this insurance before lending to small companies which rely on one or a few “key” people.

KNOCK DOWN – Any parts of a building which can be easily assembled, installed, or removed, such as certain types of window frames, partitions, etc.

LALLY COLUMNS – Load-bearing steel columns, which are filled with concrete (lally).

LATENT DEFECT – (1) A hidden or concealed defect. One which could not be discovered by inspection, using resonable care. In legal descriptions, a latent defect may be corrected, and a totally new description not necessary. (2) A physical deficiency or construction defect not readily ascertianable from a reasonable inspection of the property. (Also Hidden defect)

LAW DAY – (1) The day (date) in a note, mortgage, etc., when the debt is to be paid. (2) A holiday honoring the law and legal profession.

LETTER OF INTENT – An agreement binding the lessor to continuing negotiations in good faith, once a qualified tenant has been found, until all negotiating points have been covered. It takes the space off the market during the negotiating period. (Also Offer to lease)

LIEN – A right given by law to a creditor to have a debt or charge satisfied out of the property of the debtor. It applies to a particular piece or pieces of real or personal property.

LIVE LOAD – A load that may be removed or replaced on a structure. It includes the impact effect, such as people walking on a surface.

LOAD FACTOR – A percentage added to the Usable Area of the space to determine the Rentable Area.

LOSS FACTOR – The percentage of Rentable Area which is not included in the Usable Area of the space.

MARKET VALUE APPROACH – Appraising the value of property by comparing the price of similar properties (comparables) recently sold. The degree of similarity of the properties and circumstances of the sale are the important characteristics to consider.

MECHANIC’S LIEN – (1) A lien created by statute for the purpose of securing priority of payment for the price or value of work performed and materials furnished in construction or repair of improvements to land, and which attaches to the land as well as the improvements. (2) A lien established by law in favor of those who provide labor or material for the improvement of real estate.

MORTGAGE LIEN – A claim on real estate given to the mortgagee when the mortgagor executes a mortgage or trust deed to secure a note.

MORTGAGE WAREHOUSING – A system whereby a mortgage company will hold loans which would ordinarily be sold, in order to sell laterat a lower discount. These mortgages are used as collateral security with a bank to borrow new money to loan.

MULLIONS – Metal strips placed at regular intervals along a window line, designed to receive a wall partition. Mullions are frequently used as a guideline by space planners for breaking apart interior spaces into manageable units.

NET LEASE – (1) A lease requiring the tenant to pay, in addition to a fixed rental, the expenses of the property leased, such as taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc. In some states the terms net net, net net net, triple net, and other such repetitions are used. (2) Lease under which a tenant pays the agreed upon base rent plus utilities and taxes.

NET-NET LEASE – Lease under which the tenant pays the agreed upon base rent plus utilities, taxes, insurance and maintenance.

NET-NET-NET LEASE – Lease under which the tenant pay the agreed upon base rent plus all costs of utilities, taxes, insurance, maintenance and repair. (Also Triple net lease)

NET OPERATING INCOME (NOI) – Effective gross income from a property minus operating expenses.

“NO BONUS” CLAUSE – A clause under the eminent domain section of a lease, giving the lessee the right to recover only the value of his physical improvements in the event of a taking, and not the value of his leesehold interest (the difference between the fixed rent of the lease and current market rental value). Not applicable in all states.

NOTICE OF RECISION – A recorded notice to rescind a notice of default of a mortgage or deed of trust.

NOVATION – Mutually agreed to substitution of a new debt for an old debt between the same debtor and creditor, or of a new debtor for a prior debtor.

OBSOLESCENCE – An appraisal term meaning that the age of a structure may cause it to become undesirable in use or appearance (old fashioned) and consequently lose income and value.

ORIGINATION FEE – A fee made by a lender for making a real estate loan. Usually a percentage of the amount loaned, such as one percent.

OVERHEAD – The expenses of a business or property. Commonly referred to as the “nut”.

PERFORMANCE BOND – A bond posted by a builder to insure completion of a project.

PIGGYBACK LOAN – A loan made jointly by two or more lenders on the same property under one mortgage or trust deed. A 90% loan, for example, may have one lender loaning 80% and another (subordinate) lender loaning the top 10% (high risk portion).

PRO FORMA – A set of figures projecting costs and income on a proposed new property. Used as a basis for capitalization.

PROCURING CAUSE – The legal dictum that states that if the broker’s efforts are the fundation on which the negotiations that result in a sale are begun, he or she is entitled to a commission.

PROFIT A PRENDRE – A right to take from the soil, such as by logging, mining, drilling, etc. The taking (profit) is the distinguishing characteristic from an easement, although easement is fequently used as a synonym.

PUNCHLIST – A list prepared by the architect, designer and owner, formally submitted to the contractor to note any deficiencies when they check all completed construction. A punchlist is also used by tenants to inspect improvements made to their space by landlords prior to their occupancy. This assures verification that such work has been accomplished in a good, workmanlike manner with respect to the contract documents.

PURCHASE-MONEY MORTGAGE – A note secured by a mortgage or trust deed given by a buyer or to a seller as part of the purchase price of real estate.

QUANTITY SURVEY METHOD – Also called “price take-off” method. A process of arriving at an estimate of new construction costs by a detailed estimate of quantities of necessary building materials plus labor costs.

QUESTION OF LAW – Given the facts, what laws, if any, are applicable; decided by a judge, even a jury trial.

QUIET ENJOYMENT – A covenant, usually inserted into a lease, promising that the tenant shall enjoy possession of the premises in peace and without disturbance.

QUIET-TITLE SUIT – A suit to remove a defect, cloud or questionable claim against the title to a property.

READY, WILLING, AND ABLE – Capable of present performance. A broker supplying an offer from a ready, willing and able buyer, which meets the price and terms of the listing, is entitled to a commission, even though the seller is not bound to accept the offer. A standard listing agreement would state this.

REGISTRAR OF DEEDS – A term used in some states to describe the person in charge of recorded instruments. More commonly called a recorder.

RENTABLE AREA – (1) The area (square footage) for which rent can be charged. For example: An office building would not rent the space used for stairways, elevators, public washrooms, hallways, etc.

REVERSIONARY INTEREST – The right to the future enjoyment of property presently in the possession of or occupied by another.

SALE-LEASEBACK – A sale and subsequent lease from the buyer back to the seller. Although the lease actually follows the sale, both are agreed to as part of the same transaction.

SCHEDULED GROSS INCOME – The rental rate of a property multiplied by the total rentable square footage.

– The gaining or retaining of equity in a property by someone other than the buyer. For example: the seller retains a 25% interest in the property. This makes the buyer responsible for only 75% of the purchase price and, therefore, lowers the necessary financing by 25%. This obviously makes the property more affordable. By agreement, expenses are shared as well as any increase in value when the property is sold.

SIGNAL-ZONE CLOSET – A closet holding communications equipment, such as telephone or intercom systems.

SINKING FUND – A fund (often invested) which will be used to replace improvements as needed. Most commonly set aside from the income of income producing property.

SOFT COSTS – (construction) Costs of constructing and leasing a building other than costs of building the actual physical structure.

SPECIAL-WARRANTY DEED – A deed in which grantor convenants against lawful claims of all persons claiming by, through, or under grantor only.

SUBLEASE – A lease given by a lessee for a part of the leasehold interest but holding on to some reversionary interest in the lessee.

SUBORDINATION – An agreement whereby a lienholder, a tenant or one having a interest or claim in or against personal or real property, places the interest behind that of another.

SUBROGATION – Replacing one person with another in regard to a legal right, interest or obligation.

TAKE OUT COMMITMENT – Agreement by a lender to place a long term (take out) loan on real property after completion of construction.

TENANCY AT SUFFERANCE – The status of a tenant after the expiration of a lease. The building owner may then terminate the tenancy at will.

TENANT AT SUFFERANCE – One who comes into possession lawfully, but holds over after the termination of his interest.

TENANCY AT WILL – The landlord agrees that tenant may stay in possession of the premises after expiration fo the lease and pay rent for the time the space is occupied, until either building owner or tenant terminates the tenancy.

TOMBSTONE TITLE – Information to validate title taken from tombstones, such as the death of an owner, date of death, names of survivors, etc.

TRANSFER LOBBY – A floor area in a building where passengers switch elevators from one that serves only the lower levels to one serving the upper levels.

TRUST DEED – An instrument used to create a mortgage lien by which the mortgagor conveys title to a trustee who holds it for the benefit of the noteholder.

TRUSTEE’S DEED – A deed executed by a trustee that conveys land held in a trust.

UNEARNED INCREMENT – An increase in value to real property due to some change in the area rather than an improvement in the property itself.

UNMARKETABLE TITLE – Not saleable. A title whcih has serious defects.

UNSUFRUCT – The right to use and profit from property vested in another, so long as the user (usufructary) does not change the substance of the property. Would include an easement but not a profit a prendre.

USABLE AREA – On a multitenant floor, usable area is the gross area minus core space. (Core space includes the square footage used for public corridors, elevators, washrooms, stairwells, and electrical and janitorial closets.) On a single-tenant floor, the usable area is the gross square footage excluding the building lobby, ducts, stairwells, and elevators.

VALUE AFTER THE TAKING – In the case of a partial taking under eminent domain, the value of the part not taken.

VARA – A Spanish or Portuguese unit of measure of approximately 33 inches.

VERTICAL LEASING PLAN – A judgment by the leasing agent of which types of tenants would be suited to certain spaces within a high-rise building.

VOLUNTARY LIEN – A lien placed against real property by the voluntary act of the owner. Most commonly, a mortgage or deed of trust.

WARRANTY DEED – (1) A deed used in many states to convey fee title to real property. Until the widespread use of title insurance, the warranties by the grantor were very important to the grantee. When title insurance is purchased, the warranties become less important as a practical means of recovery by the grantee for defective title. (2) A deed that warrants that the grantor of the deed is the owners’ and will defend and protect the grantee against claims.

“WEAR AND TEAR” – The deterioration or loss in value caused by the normal and reasonable use of the property. In leases, the tenant is not usually responsible for “normal wear and tear”.

WEEP HOLES – Small holes in a retaining wall or other wall where it may be necessary to drain off excess water to avoid pressure build-up.

WET COLUMNS – Columns where provisions are made to have a plumbing fixture (i.e. drinking fountain) installed.

WORKLETTER – That part of the lease pertaining to all work that is to be done for the tenant by the landlord in detail; also referred to as a construction rider.

YIELD – (1) Ratio of income from an investment to the total cost of the investment over a given period of time. (2) Rate of return on any investment.

ZERO LOT LINE – The construction of a building on any of the boundary lines of a lot. Usually built on the front line, such as a store build to the sidewalk.

ZONING ORDINANCE – A law (generally at the city or county level) controlling the use of land and construction of improvements in a given area (zone).

ZYGOCEPHALUM – In civil law an inaccurate measure of land. The area of land a yoke of oxen could plow in one day.

I wanted to thank you again for the very successful and expeditious sale of my client’s commercial property in Charlotte. I had received a referral to you from another broker, and your performance has borne out their recommendation. Throughout the process you were readily available, were helpful and forthright with your marketing and pricing advice, and always stayed in communication with me as to the progress of advertising, inquiries and showings. I would not hesitate to recommend you to anyone in need of commercial brokerage services in your area. Please feel free to share this letter with others to whom you feel it might be useful.
John C. ThomsonJohn C. Thomson Attorney at Law
Just a quick letter to thank you for your work in finding the perfect home for our business. We had many qualifications for our perfect home, and you were able to search the market and find the right building, at the right price, and of course provide helpful advice to assist with the decision to purchase the building. As a first time commercial building owner, I know I was a demanding customer with the number of questions I asked throughout the process. Your professionalism, ability to educate, and your guidance were critical in helping us close the deal. is now the proud occupant of 44,000 sq ft and we are excited about our next stage of growth- thanks to your help. Please call me if I can be of further assistance or provide a personal recommendation at 704-523-3886 ext. 201.
Keith A
Thanks to your professionalism in advice on how to market the property, keeping us informed of feed back through calls, emails and visits helped us through the process. In the end, we realized our best move was hiring you for this sale. Your thoughtfulness and consideration helped us keep our sanity. Gene joins me in our thanks.
I would like to place on record your most helpful assistance from the beginning when we decided to look for a larger location. It was with your assistance that we finally decided to move to Arrowridge Boulevard and we much appreciated your positive help in arranging the Lease for us on favorable terms and then ensuring that the layout of the new premises was to the required design and standards.
Frank G. BatesPresidentGutermann of America, Inc.
Ian Bertolina helped us locate and negotiate a new Corporate office location within the Charlotte area. His knowledge of the market, professionalism and efficiency were exceptional. I highly recommend you consider using his services for your real estate needs. He provided us excellent advice and counsel throughout the process. Thanks Ian!!
Gary R. WiegmannChairmanChairman US GreenFiber, LLCCharlotte, NC
I am very pleased to write this letter of recommendation for lan Bertolina. lan represented our Charlotte, North Carolina property as broker. He worked very hard to sell our property. As we had few contacts in Charlotte he provided us with reputable, reliable sources in Charlotte to assist us with maintenance, environmental and legal issues. His efforts resulted in a satisfactory conclusion as we were able to sell our property for a good price. We highly recommend lan Bertolina…you won’t be sorry.
Tom WallerManagerStafford Family Limited Partnership
Thank you again for your efforts with selling our Charlotte facility. I appreciated your patience and guidance as we resolved the many difficult issues the building presented us during the sales process. Now the contracts are closed and I would not hesitate to recommend your service to any future commercial property sellers.
Uwe HalderCHT Bezema
It was a pleasure working with you in the purchase of 400 E.Arrowhead Dr. I and Thafseera would like to thank you for patiently working with us in this project from start to finish all the while helping us understand the process and simplifying for us the complexities involved in procuring a commercial space. At the end we are glad we had you as the realtor and we thank God for the right place He put us in. Once again thank very much. I look forward to working with you in future projects.
Mohamed Haroon SaitSait's LLC
Thanks to your professionalism in advice on how to market the property, keeping us informed of feedback through calls, e mails and visits helped us through the process. In the end, we realized our best move was hiring you for this sale. Your thoughtfulness and consideration helped us keep our sanity.
You were always easily accessible to us during our hunt for the perfect place and did a great job of listening to our needs and showing us properties that filled those requirements. As someone who had never coordinated a move before, I can tell you it was so nice to have you there to guide me through something that was very foreign to me. I felt like you sincerely had our best interest in mind throughout the whole process and that you negotiated a very fair deal for us. I would definitely recommend you to any business looking to relocate.
Lisa RaynsfordOperations ManagerPitman