Real Estate Glossary D

Damper - A movable plate in a fireplace that allows smoke and fumes to travel up the chimney's flue.

Days on the market - The period of time a property is listed for sale until it is sold or taken off the market

Deadbolt lock - Locks that require a key to open from the outside and a turn button from the inside.

Dealer - An IRS designation for a person who regularly buys and sells real property.

Debt - Any amount one person owes to another.

Debt service - The amount of money needed to meet the periodic payments of principal and interest when a debt is amortized.

Deck - A roofless, floored area that adjoins a house.

Declaration of restrictions - A statement of all the covenants, conditions and restrictions ("CC&R's"), which affect a parcel of land.

Dedication - The application of privately owned land to the public for no consideration, with the intent that the land will be accepted and used for public purposes.

Deed - A written instrument by which a property owner "grantor" transfers to a "grantee" an ownership in real property.

Deep-seal floor drain - A drain used to dispose of water from the basement floor to a sewer line.  

Deferred commissions - Commissions, which are earned, but not yet fully paid.

Deferred maintenance - Any repair or maintenance of a piece of property that has been postponed, resulting in a decline in property value.

Deficiency judgment - A judgment against a borrower, endorser, or guarantor for the balance of the debt issued when the security for a loan is insufficient to satisfy the debt.

Delinquent mortgage - A mortgage that involves a borrower who is behind on payments. If the borrower cannot bring the payments up to date within a specified number of days, the lender may begin foreclosure proceedings.

Density - A term, frequently used in connection with zoning requirements, which means the maximum number of building units per acre or the number of occupants or families per unit of land area (acre, square mile, etc.); usually the ratio of land area to improvement area.

Density test - An analysis of soil to determine if the surface can support the foundation of a house.

Dentils - Small rectangular blocks that project from a building, usually under cornices or along rooflines.

Depreciation (appraisal) - A loss in value due to any cause; any condition, which adversely affects the value of an improvement.

Depreciation (tax) - For tax purposes, depreciation is an expense deduction taken for an investment in depreciable property.

Depth table - Tables of percentage designed to provide a uniform system of measuring the additional value to lots which accrues because of added depth, with the extra depth valued according to the added utility which it creates.

Descent - The acquisition of an estate by inheritance, where an heir succeeds to the property by operation of law. Descent literally means the hereditary succession of an heir to property of an ancestor who dies intestate.

Design/build - A project in which the owner contracts directly with an individual or company to perform design and construction.

Designer - Unlike architects, designers are limited to drawing blueprints.

Developer - One who attempts to put land to its most profitable use by the construction of improvements.

Devise - A transfer of real property under a will.

Dimension plans - Plans, which show the layout of a house but are less detailed than full blueprints.

Disability insurance - An insurance policy, which covers an individual's ability to produce income.

Disclaimer - A statement denying legal responsibility, frequently found in the form of, "There are no promises, representations, oral understandings or agreements except as contained herein."

Disclosure - A statement to a potential buyer listing information relevant to a piece of property, such as the presence of radon or lead paint.

Discrimination - The act of making a distinction against or in favor of a person on the basis of the group or class to which the person belongs; the failure to treat people equally.

Distraint - The right of a landlord, pursuant to a court order, to seize tenants belongings for rents in arrears.

Distressed property - Property that is in poor physical or financial condition.

Document needs list - A list of documents a lender requires when a potential submits a loan application.. The required documents range from paycheck stubs to credit card statements.

Domed ceiling - A hemispherical ceiling that projects upward without support.

Dormer - A window set upright in a sloping roof.

Double escrow - An escrow set up to handle the concurrent sale of one property and purchase of another property by same party.

Double-hung window - A window that consists of two sashes that slide up and down.   A window that consists of two sashes that slide up and down.

Dovetail joints - Joints that lock two pieces of wood together with meshed teeth.

Dower - The legal right or interest a wife acquires in property her husband held or acquired anytime during marriage.

Down payment - The amount of money a buyer agrees to give the seller when a sales agreement is signed. Complete financing is later secured with a lender.

Down spouts - A vertical gutter that empties water from the roof to the ground.

Drainage - A system of gutters and drainpipes that carry water away from the foundation of a house.

Draw  - A payment made to subcontractors or suppliers from a construction loan.

Dropped ceiling - A flat ceiling built lower than the original ceiling.

Dry rot - A fungal decay that causes wood to become brittle and crumble.

Drywall - A construction material composed of gypsum or plaster wrapped in paper and produced in large sheets that can be nailed to wall studs.

Duct - Any kind of pipe or channel that carries water, wiring or conditioned air through a house.

Duplex - A structure that provides housing accommodations for two families by having separate entrances, kitchens, bedrooms, lanais, living rooms and bathrooms. A two-family dwelling. family dwelling.

Duress - Unlawful constraint or action exercised upon a person whereby he is forced to perform some act against his will. A contract entered into under duress is void.

Dutch colonial style - A design that features barnlike gambrel roof, a ground like gambrel roof, a ground level front porch, and dormers.