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Glossary of Terms beginning with B



The slope of the ground around a house.

Ball Cock Valve

The valve inside a toilet tank that controls the filling of the tank.

Balloon Mortgage

A mortgage loan in which the monthly payments are not large enough to repay the loan by the end of the term. So at the end of the term, the remaining balance comes due in a single large payment.

Balloon Payment

The final large payment at the end of a balloon mortgage term.


When a person or business is unable to pay their debts and seeks protection of the state against creditors. Bankruptcies remain on credit records for up to ten years and can prevent a person from being able to get a loan.


A structural supporting member.

Bill of Sale

A physical receipt indicating the sale of property.

Biweekly Mortgage

A mortgage where you make "half payments" every two weeks, rather than one payment per month. This results in making the equivalent of 13 monthly payments per year, rather than 12, significantly reducing the time it takes to pay off a thirty year mortgage.

Blighted Area

Any region of a city or town that has fallen into disrepair or otherwise has become undesirable.

Bona Fide

Any genuine offer, made without intent to defraud or deceive.

Bridge Financing

An interim loan made to facilitate the purchase of a new home before the buyer's current residence sells and its equity is available to fund the new purchase.


Structural members used between beams to strengthen the structure.


An individual who facilitates the purchase of property by bringing together a buyer and a seller.


British Thermal Unit. A unit of measurement used to describe heating or cooling capacity.

Buffer Zone

A segment of land between two disparate municipal zones which acts as a shield to keep one zone from encroaching upon the other. Often used to separate residential districts from commercial areas.

Building Code

Regulations that ensure the safety and material compliance of new construction within a municipality. Building codes are localized to ensure they are adequate to meet the risk of common hazards.

Building Line or Setback

The statutory distance between buildings and the property line, imposed by municipalities, home associations, or other agreements.


Specific items of personal property which are installed in a real estate improvement such that they become part of the building. Built-in microwave ovens and dishwashers are common examples.


A one-story, home-style dating from the early twentieth century. Often characterized by a low-pitched roof.

Buy Down

Extra money paid in a lump sum to reduce the interest rate of a fixed rate mortgage for a period of time. The borrower may pay the extra money in order to have a lower payment at the beginning of the mortgage. Or paid by the seller, or lender, as incentive to buy the property or take on the mortgage.

BX Cable

Electrical cable shrouded in a galvanized steel outer cover.

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