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- Leverage The use of a small amount of cash--a 5 percent or 10 percent down payment--to buy a piece of property.
- Liabilities A borrower's debts and financial obligations.
- Liability insurance A policy that protects owners against any claims of negligence, personal injury or property damage.
- Lien A claim laid by one person or company on the property of another as security for money owed.
- Life cap A limit on the amount that a loan rate can move during the term of the mortgage. For example, the rate on an adjustable-rate mortgage that begins at 5 percent and has a lifetime cap of 6 percentage points cannot rise above 11 percent, even if rates on fixed-rate mortgages soar to 20 percent.
- Life-cycle cost analysis An analysis of a building project's expected operating, maintenance and replacement costs, calculated by an architect.
- Limited partnership Real estate syndicates and other investment groups use this type of ownership.. A general partner makes the group's investment decisions, oversees the investment and is principally liable for any losses.
- Lintel A horizontal piece over a door or window that carries the weight of the structure above it.
- Liquid assets Cash and all other assets that can be converted to cash relatively quickly. Liquid assets can include money in savings and checking accounts, money-market accounts, and most certificates of deposit.
- Liquidated damages When a real estate deal goes awry, one party often is entitled to liquidated damages, a sum of money set out in the purchase contract in that event.
- Listing A piece of property placed on the market by a listing agent.
- Listing inventories The known number of houses for sale within a given market.
- Live-in partnership An arrangement in which two unrelated people purchase a home.
- Live-work space An officially designated dwelling in which the occupant conducts a home-based business or enterprise.
- Load-bearing wall A wall that supports not only its own weight, but the weight of other parts of a home. Also called a bearing wall.
- Loan application The first step toward submitting a home loan requires the borrower to itemize basic financial information.
- Loan application fee A fee charged by lenders to for making a loan application.
- Loan commitment A promise by a lender or other financial institution to make or insure a loan for a specified amount and on specific terms.
- Loan officer An official representative of a lending institution who is empowered to act on behalf of the lender within certain limits.
- Loan origination fee Most lenders charge borrowers an origination fee--or points--for processing a loan. A point is 1 percent of the total loan amount.
- Loan processing fee A fee charged by some lenders for gathering information to enable the lender to process the loan.
- Loan term The amount of a time set by the lender for a buyer to pay a mortgage. Most conventional loans have 30-year or 15-year terms.
- Loan -to-value ratio A technical measure used by lenders to assess the relationship of the loan amount to the value of the property
- Lock-in When interest rates are volatile, many borrowers want to "lock in" an interest rate and many lenders will oblige, setting a limit on the amount of time the lock-in is in effect.
- Loft A living space not partitioned into rooms or a small space built above a larger room.
- Log cabin Homes constructed of rough-hewn timbers and a standard housing form in the early European settlement of the U.S.
- Low-ball offer An offer made to a seller that is substantially below market value. The longer a property stays on the market, the more likely there are to be such offers.
- Low density A low concentration of housing units in a specific area.
- Low-documentation loan A mortgage that requires only minimal verification of income and assets.
- Low-down-payment loan A home loan that requires the borrower to make only a small down payment before obtaining the financing needed to purchase a house.
- Landscape A home's surroundings can range from a shrub-studded emerald lawn to a native-plant xeriscape. It is a major component of curb appeal.
- Landscape architect A professional who holds a degree in landscape architecture, which involves training in horticulture, landscape design and planning.
- Landscape designer A landscape designer has training in horticulture and landscape planning, but does not necessarily hold a degree.
- Landscape contractor A professional who carries out the plans of a landscape architect or a landscape designer.
- Late charge A fee a lender imposes on a borrower when the borrower does not make a payment on time.
- Late payment A payment a lender receives after the due date has passed.
- Latent defect An invisible problem in a piece of property such as bad wiring, termite damage or lead paint.
- Lead A metallic chemical element present in older dwellings, primarily in the form of lead-based paint and lead plumbing. Exposure to lead has been found to be a health risk.
- Lease A binding agreement that contains the terms and conditions of a renter's occupancy.
- Leasehold estate An arrangement in which the borrower does not own a specific piece of property but possesses a long-term lease.
- Lease option A lease that contains the right to purchase the property for a specific price within a certain time frame.
- Lender A bank, savings institution or mortgage company that offers home loans.
- Legal blemish Blemishes on a piece of property, such as a zoning violation or fraudulent title claim.
- Legal description A specific way of identifying and locating a piece of real estate that is acceptable to a court.
- Letter of intent A formal statement that the buyer intends to purchase the property for a certain price on a certain date.
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