Glossary Of Terms



Add Value – Fourth stage of four-stage transaction management process pertaining to a transaction managerc’s planning, effort, and continual contact with key decision-makers, investors, and users, as well as contact with ancillary professionals. This ongoing process allows for feedback, establishes a network for problem solving, provides a means to offer additional services to the client, and enhances the transaction manager’s preparedness for the next assignment.

Adjusted Basis – The original cost basis of a property plus capital improvements, less total accumulated cost recovery deductions, and partial sales taken during the holding period.

Amortization – The repayment of loan principal through equal payments over a designated period of time consisting of both principal and interest.

Annual debt service (ADS)-The total amount of principal and interest to be paid each year to satisfy the obligations of a loan contract.

Annual percentage rate (APR) – The true annual interest rate payable for a loan in one year taking account of all charges made to the borrower, including compound interest, discount points, commitment fees, mortgage insurance premiums. It also takes into account the time at which the principal is repaid (especially when payments of principal are made in installments throughout the year, but interest is charged at the beginning of the year), but not the actual expenses incurred by the lender in making the loan and recharged to the borrower.

Appreciation potential – The possibility or probability that a real estate investment will increase in value during the holding period.

Assessed value – The value of real property established by the tax assessor for the purpose of levying real estate taxes.

Average annual – effective rate The average annual effective rent divided by the square footage

Averaging method – A simple technique used to forecast next period’s/year’s vacancy rate by averaging previous years’ vacancy rates; especially effective where vacancy rates have remained relatively flat or show little variability over time.


Balloon payment – The final payment of the balance due on a partially amortized loan.

Base (in lease terminology) – A face, quoted, dollar amount representing the rate or rent in dollars per square foot per year and typically referred to as the base rate.

Base rent – The minimum rent due to the landlord. Typically, it is a fixed amount. This is a face, quoted, contract amount of periodic rent. The annual base rate is the amount upon which escalations are calculated.

Basis – The total amount paid for a property, including equity capital and the amount of debt incurred.

Break-even point -The stage at which an investment produces an income that is just sufficient to cover recurring expenditure. For an investment in real property, the point at which gross income is equal to normal operating expenses, including debt service (the stage at which the next cash flow becomes positive). Also known as the default point.


Common Area Maintenance (CAM) – Charges paid by the tenant for the upkeep of areas designated for use and benefit of all tenants. CAM charges are common in shopping centers. Tenants are charged for parking lot maintenance, snow removal, and utilities.

CAM cap – The maximum amount for which the tenant pays its share of common area maintenance costs. The owner pays for any CAM expenses exceeding that amount.

Capitalization rate (CAP Rate) – A percentage that relates the value of an income-producing property to its future income, expressed as net operating income divided by purchase price. Also referred to as cap rate.

Capital expenditures – Property improvements that cannot be expensed as a current operating expense for tax purposes. Examples include a new roof, tenant improvements, or a parking lot such items are added to the basis of the property and then can be depreciated over the holding period. Distinguished from cash outflows for expense items such as new paint or plumbing repairs (operating expenses) that can be expensed in the year they occur. Also see operating expenses.

Capital gain – Taxable income derived from the sale of a capital asset. It is equal to the sales price less the cost of sale, adjusted basis, suspended losses, excess cost recovery, and recapture of straight-line cost recovery.

Capital Markets – The supply and demand for resources to invest in real estate and other investments.

Capital tax – Any tax on a change in capital value (including capital gains tax, estate tax, or inheritance tax); as distinguished from a tax on income.

Cash flow after taxes (CFAT) – For properties, it is the result of first calculating the net operating income, less mortgage and construction loan interest, less cost recovery for improvements and personal property, less amortization of loan points and leasing commissions to arrive at real estate taxable income. Next, real estate taxable income is multiplied by the applicable marginal tax rate to result in the tax liability (savings). Then, from the net operating income, annual debt service is subtracted to equal the cash flow before taxes (CFBT). Finally, the cash flow after taxes (CFAT) is calculated from the CFBT, less the tax liability (savings), plus investment tax credit. The Cash Flow Analysis Worksheet can be used to calculate a property’s gross operating income, net operating income, real estate taxable income and tax liability or (savings), CFBT, and CFAT.

Cash flow before taxes (CFBT – For properties, it is the result of calculating the effective rental income, plus other income not affected by vacancy, less total operating expenses, less annual debt service, funded reserves, leasing commissions, and capital additions. The Annual Property Operating Data form can be used to calculate a property’s effective rental income, gross operating income, total operating expenses, net operating income, and cash flow before taxes.

Cash-on-cash rate – A return measure that is calculated as cash flow before taxes divided by the initial equity investment.

Cash proceeds from sale – The sales price less sales costs, mortgage balance, and tax liability on sale. Also known as sales proceeds after tax.

Close – Third stage of four-stage transaction management process pertaining to bringing the parties together and consummating an agreement. The acronym CLOSE represents the contingencies, legal instruments, obstacles, signatures, and execution involved in the close stage.

Commercial real estate – Any multifamily residential, office, industrial, or retail property that can be bought or sold in a real estate market.

Common area – For lease purposes, the areas of a building (and its site) that are available for the nonexclusive use of all its tenants, such as lobbies, corridors, and parking lots. (Real Estate Information Standards)

Comparative advantage– The principle that cities or regions tend to produce those items or support those activities for which they have the greatest advantage over other areas as defined by the factors of production, demand, supporting industries, and quality of life considerations, as defined in relation to human, financial, and physical resources, and opportunity costs costs expressed in terms of opportunities foregone.

Compound interest – Interest computed on the original principal and accumulated interest.

Compounding – A type of calculation in which interest earned is reinvested and earns additional interest.

Contract rent – The total rental obligation, expressed in dollars, as specified in a lease. Also known as base rent.(Real Estate Information Standards)

Cost  – The actual dollar amount paid for a property or the amount needed to build or improve it at a specified time in the future.

Cost approach – A method of determining the market value of a property by evaluating the costs of creating a property exactly like the subject.

Cost approach improvement value – The current cost to construct a reproduction of, or replacement for, the existing structure less an estimate for accrued depreciation from all causes.

Cost of capita – The average cost of capital (whether equity or debt), taking into account the relative proportions of each source of capital.

Cost of occupancy – Expenditures that are required to assume and maintain occupancy of a space. Such expenditures include rent and/or mortgage payments, and recurring costs, such as real estate taxes, repairs, operating expenses, and other outgoings directly resulting from the use of the property
Cost recovery An annual deduction based on the class life of an asset.

Cost recovery recapture – According to the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, for properties sold after May 6, 1997, a noncorporate taxpayer will have to recapture, or pay taxes on, any straight-line cost recovery taken during the holding period, to the extent there is any gain.


Debt-coverage ratio (DCR)– Ratio of net operating income to annual debt service. Expressed as net operating income divided by annual debt service.

Depreciation – The loss of utility and value of a property.

Demographics – Characteristics of human populations as defined by population size and density of regions, population growth rates, migration, vital statistics, and their effect on socio-economic conditions

Discount rate – The percentage rate at which money or cash flows are discounted. The discount rate reflects both the market risk-free rate of interest and a risk premium. Also see opportunity cost.

Discounted effective rent– The cash flows over the term of the lease, discounted to the present value.

Discounting – The process of reducing the value of money received in the future to reflect the opportunity cost of waiting to receive the money.

Double-Net Lease (NN) -A double net lease is a lease agreement in which the tenant is responsible for both property taxes and premiums for insuring the building. Unlike a single net lease, which only requires the tenant to pay property taxes, a double net lease passes more expenses along in the form of insurance payments. The landlord is still held responsible for structural maintenance expenses.

Due Diligence – The process of examining a property, related documents, and procedures conducted by or for the potential lender or purchaser to reduce risk. Applying a consistent standard of inspection and investigation one can determine if the actual conditions do or do not reflect the information as represented.


Economic base – Those economic activities or sectors in a local or regional economy that account for a certain share of the area’s income that is generated from exports of goods and services

Economic characteristics – Attributes of the workforce, including production and employment activities

Economic obsolescence – The reduction in a property’s value due to external circumstances such as legislation or changes in nearby property use.

Economic sectors – Branches or divisions of a local or regional economy in which particular activities take place.

Efficiency – A measure of the capacity or effectiveness of space to produce the desired results with a minimum expenditure of time, money, energy, and materials.

Employment ratios – The percentage of total employees (at the firm or industry level) that are office space users.

Environmental conditions – Features or state of the physical environment and the surroundings, factors, or forces which influence or modify that environment.

Environmental hazards – Any physical or natural condition or event which possesses a risk to humans

Environmental impacts – The repercussions of an activity or specific land use on the physical/social environment as a consequence of emissions, waste disposal, water and power useage, etc

Equity lease – A type of joint venture arrangement in which an owner enters into a contract with a user who agrees to occupy a space and pay rent as a tenant, but at the same time, receives a share of the ownership benefits such as periodic cash flows, interest and cost recovery deductions, and perhaps a share of the sales proceeds.

Equity yield rate – The return on the portion of an investment financed by equity capital.

Exchange (1031 Exchange) -Under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code, like-kind property used in a trade or business or held as an investment can be exchanged tax-deferred. Under a fully qualified Section 1031 exchange, real estate is traded for other like-kind property. All capital gains taxes are deferred until the newly acquired real estate is disposed of in a taxable transaction. The underlying philosophy behind the deferral of capital gains taxes is that taxation should not occur as long as the original investment remains intact in the form of (like-kind) real estate (like-kind refers to real property as such, rather than the quality or quantity of property).

Expense stop – The level  (or maximum amount) up to which the landlord will pay certain operating expenses. Amounts above the stop are the responsibility of the tenant.

External economies – Savings or cost-cutting allowances realized by firms or industries within a given city that are primarily due to the advantages of sharing production inputs, information, and infrastructure and/or possibly linked to a city’s comparative advantage to support a given activity.

External obsolescence – A form or source of accrued depreciation considered in the cost approach to market value. The loss of value is because of external forces and change. For example, a new mall causes traffic and congestion, negatively affecting residential property values nearby, or a motel is no longer viable because a highway is rerouted, or another example would be depressed market conditions.


Factors of production – The rudimentary components of any production process or system consisting of: land and land-based resources (including raw materials); capital, which includes real capital such as machinery, facilities, and infrastructure and financial capital to start or expand businesses; labor or human input (as defined in terms of labor hours or quality/productivity); and technology which includes production know-how and methods, as well as management and operations skills

Fair value of an asset (or liability) – The amount at which the asset (or liability) could be bought (or incurred) or sold (or settled) in a current transaction between willing parties, that is, other than in a forced or liquidation sale.

Fashion/specialty center – This type of retail center is composed mainly of upscale apparel shops, boutiques, and craft shops carrying selected fashion or unique merchandise of high quality and price.These centers need not be anchored, although sometimes restaurants or entertainment can provide the draw of anchors.The physical design of the center is very sophisticated, emphasizing a rich décor and high-quality landscaping.These centers usually are found in trade areas having high-income levels.

Feasibility analysis – The process of evaluating a proposed project to determine if that project will satisfy the objectives set forth by the agents involved (including owners, investors, developers, and lessees).

Financial leverage – The use of borrowed funds to acquire an investment.

First Refusal Right or Right of First Refusal (Purchase): A lease clause giving a tenant the first opportunity to buy a property at the same price and on the same terms and conditions as those contained in a third party offer that the owner has expressed a willingness to accept.

Fixed expenses – Costs that do not change with a building’s occupancy rate.They include property taxes, insurance, and some forms of building maintenance.

Fixed lease – A lease in which the lessee pays a fixed rental amount for the duration of the lease.

Flex space – Space that is flexible in terms of what it can be used for (for example, space that could be utilized for industrial or office activities). Also see cross-over (office use) demand.

Forecast – An estimate or prediction of a future condition or outcome.

Forecast periodAn upcoming time period of interest in which a forecast is to be made.

Formal (or geographic)data – Information/data collected and presented by formal region.Also see formal region.

Fully amortized mortgage loan – A method of loan amortization in which equal periodic payments completely repay the loan.

Functional obsolescence – A form or source of accrued depreciation considered in the cost approach to market value. The reduced capacity of a property or improvements to perform their intended functions due to new technology, poor design, or changes in market standards.


Gap analysis – An evaluation of the difference in the demand and supply of space (measured in terms of square footage) for a particular type of commercial property in a given market area where gaps are expressed as the amount of square footage demanded less the amount of square footage available in a given time period. Note that if demand exceeds supply, the gap will be positive. A positive gap indicates that potential opportunities exist for successful commercial real estate transactions. However, transactions might be avoided when supply exceeds demand (or when a negative gap occurs), as there is an oversupply of available space in the market.

General market factors – Factors influenced by the demographic, economic, and locational characteristics and the organizational aspects of a market. Generic space Commercial space that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as multiple-use office space.

Geographic submarket – The total number of households or housing units within a given area as defined by tenure, income, and other socio-economic attributes that are known to exist or estimated to be within specific geographic units or divisions (for example, in various census tracts).

Globalization – The condition of being or becoming globalized.A concept used to recognize cross jurisdictional interdependencies and the continuing integration of local, regional, and national economies which now form a larger economic and production system that is worldwide in scope and application; a trend that has greatly affected local economic change and real estate values.

Government incentives – Concession given or measures taken by local or regional government to attract firms or investment dollars to a given locality for the purposes of promoting economic growth and encouraging development.

Gross area – The entire floor area of a building or the total square footage of a floor.

Gross leasable area (GLA) – The total floor area designed for tenant occupancy and exclusive use, including basements, mezzanines, and upper floors, and it is measured from the center line of joint partitions and from outside wall faces. GLA is that area on which tenants pay rent; it is the area that produces income.

Gross lease – A lease in which all expenses associated with owning and operating the property are paid by the landlord. Also see net lease.

Gross operating income – The total income generated by the operations of a property before payment of operating expenses.It is calculated from potential rental income, plus other income affected by vacancy, less vacancy and credit losses, plus other income not affected by vacancy. The Annual Property Operating Data form or the Cash Flow Analysis Worksheet can be used to calculate a property’s gross operating income.

Gross rent multiplier (GRM) – A method investors may use to determine market value. This method calculates the market value of a property by using the gross rents an investor anticipates the property will produce at end of year 1 multiplied by a given factor (known as the gross rent multiplier extracted from the marketplace).

Ground lease – A lease of the land only. Usually the land is leased for a relatively long period of time to a tenant that constructs a building on the property. A land lease separates ownership of the land from ownership of buildings and improvements constructed on the land.

Growth patterns – In reference to the patterns of urban or population growth in a geographic market, an important consideration in retail trade area analyses as growth patterns are known to affect sales/revenue potential within a market given the tendency of retail to follow population movement and income concentrations over time.


Heavy utility – needs In reference to location-decision considerations made in relation to the energy or power requirements of a firm/user in the assessment of the feasibility of a location to support a given activity.

Hedging – Protecting oneself against negative outcomes.

Highest and best use – The reasonably probable and legal use of vacant land or an improved property, which is physically possible, appropriately supported, financially feasible, and that results in the highest value. [Appraisal Institute]
Highest and best use (financial) analysis A determination of the highest and best use of one or more sites (either vacant or as though vacant) or properties as improved by examining the profitability of all possible use scenarios (including renovation, rehabilitation, demolition, and replacement).

Household – A housing unit or residence at a given location that is occupied by one or more persons (that is, a social unit comprised of one or more individuals living together in the same dwelling or place).

Household population – The total number of households in a given geographic market or submarket as defined by specific demographic and socio-economic characteristics.

Housing demand – The total number of housing units demanded in a given market, defined as occupied household units divided by one minus the vacancy allowance for that market (where demand is affected by the rate at which new households are being added to the market, allowing for a normal level of vacancy).

HVAC: Acronyms for “Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning”


Improvements – The term typically refers to the improvements made to or inside a building but may include any permanent structure or other developments such as a street, sidewalks, utilities, etc.

Income capitalization approach– A method to estimate the value of an income-producing property by converting net operating income into a value.The cap rate is divided into the net operating income to obtain the estimated value.Value = net operating income ÷ capitalization rate
Index lease A lease in which the rental amount adjusts accordingly to changes and/or movements in a price index, commonly the consumer price index.
Industrial gap The difference between the demand for an industrial property and the supply of that property in a given market or area.

Industrial property – Commercial properties that are used for the purposes of production, manufacturing, or distribution.

Industrial service area – The geographic area within a market that contains either an acceptable number of employees (and meets necessary labor requirements), or the necessary service and resources needed to support a given industrial activity or facility.

Initial investment – The outlay of cash needed to acquire an investment.
Insurable value The value of the portions of the property that are physically destructible.

Intangible characteristics – Attributes that are not directly measurable or quantifiable, and therefore must be expressed in a qualitative or abstract manner.

Interest-only loan – A method of loan amortization in which interest is paid periodically over the term of the loan and the entire original loan amount is paid at maturity.

Internal growth – The rate at which a base population or the number of new households is changing due to natural increase (births less deaths) and time (the aging and maturation of that population), as children are born, grow up, and form families and households of their own.

Internal rate of return (IRR) – The percentage rate earned on each dollar that remains in an investment each year. The IRR of an investment is the discount rate at which the sum of the present value of future cash flows equals the initial capital investment.

Internal rate of return method – A comparison method that calculates the internal rate of return of the differential cash flow between any two investment alternatives, then compares that rate with the user’s opportunity cost.Also see internal rate of return.

Inventory – The supply or stock of a given commodity or a listing thereof.
IRR See internal rate of return.


No glossary terms are available


Key federal laws – With respect to the handling of hazardous materials, they are important laws or statutes enacted to enforce the responsible handling of materials to minimize the danger to human beings and/or the environment.


Labor pool – A body or core group of workers (employed and employable) that make up the local labor force.

Landlord – The lessor or owner of the leased property.

Landlord-paid tenant improvements (LPTI) – The total cost (outlay) of necessary tenant improvements paid by the landlord netted against any contribution made by the tenant.

Land sale-leaseback  -The same concept as a sale-leaseback, but only the land is sold and leased back using a ground lease.

Leakage (retail) – Purchases made in other service areas by consumers located within the subject area (representing a loss of revenue for retailers located within the trade area in which those consumers reside).

Lease – A contract that creates the relationship of landlord and tenant. A contractually binding agreement that grants a right to exclusive possession or use of property, usually in return for a periodic payment called rent.

Lease buyout – The process by which a landlord, tenant, or third party pays to extinguish the tenant’s remaining lease obligation and rights under its existing lease agreement.

Leased fee – In exchange for permitting a tenant to use the property, the owner/lessor has the right to receive rental income and the right to repossess the property upon termination of the lease.

Leased fee interest – The value (to the owner) of the rental payments plus the value of the property at the end of the lease term (reversionary interest).
Leasehold estate In exchange for rent, the tenant has the right to occupy and use the property for the duration of the lease.

Leasehold interest – The value (to the tenant) of the lease. The value of the leasehold interest is determined by present value of the difference between market rent and the contract rent.

Leasing – A means of obtaining the physical and partial economic use of a property for a specified period without obtaining an ownership interest
Lessee The person renting or leasing the property. Also known as a tenant.
Lessor The person who rents or leases a property to another. Also known as a landlord.

Leverage – The use of borrowed funds to finance a portion of the cost of an investment.

Linkages – The cost to transport goods, services, or people to and from a site measured in time, distance, and inconvenience.

Liquidation value – The likely price that a property would bring in a forced sale (foreclosure or tax sale). Used when a sale must occur with limited exposure time to the market or with restrictive conditions of sale.

Liquidity -The ability to convert an investment into cash quickly without loss of principal.

Loan balance  -The amount of money remaining to be paid on an amortizing loan at a given time.

Loan or mortgage value  -That portion of the value of real property recognized by the lender when used to secure a loan

Loan point – A charge prepaid by the borrower upon the origination of a loan. One point equals one percent of the loan amount.

Loan-to-value ratio (L/V)– The amount of money borrowed in relation to the total market value of a property. Expressed as the loan amount divided by the property value.

Location analysis – The process of evaluating whether a general location meets the requirements of being both possible and practical as defined on the basis of technical and functional components.


Macro economy – Generally used in reference to matters of economy or economic factors and forces portrayed or operating at the macro-level (as opposed to micro-level), used synonymously with national economy.

Management – The ability to monitor the performance of an investment and make changes as needed.

Managing risk – The steps taken by an investor or manager to control or reduce investment risk.

Marketability – The ability to sell or lease a property quickly. Marketability deals with the appeal and demand for a property, good, or service.

Market area – A geographical area in which supply and demand operate to influence the course of industrial and commercial activities, for example, a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

Market adjustments – A change in market parameters or conditions brought about in response to one or more market signals (including price changes from shifts in supply and demand); typically characterized as cycles, fluctuations, or trends (categories that differ in terms of cause, duration, and impact on commercial real estate markets).

Market analysis – The process of examining market supply and demand conditions, demographic characteristics, and opportunities; identifying alternative locations/sites that meet specific objectives or satisfy various criteria; and assessing the financial feasibility of those locations/sites to facilitate decision making regarding the commercial potential or suitability of various locations/sites to support a given activity or use.

Market data – Information/data collected and displayed for a given market or by market area

Market data approach – A method of determining the property’s value by analyzing recent sales or rental prices of comparable properties.
Market dynamics In reference to changing market conditions and the underlying processes responsible for creating change and defining/redefining interrelationships amongst components in an economic system (consider the change in price levels of a given commodity as an outcome of the forces and interplay of supply and demand).

Market feasibility – Pertaining to the evaluation or selection of a site or an analysis of a site’s highest and best use. Also see feasibility analysis.

Market gap – The demand for space minus the supply of space for a specific type of commercial property in a given real estate market. Also see general market area gap analysis.

Market opportunities – Advantageous circumstances in a market which facilitate a given action or outcome that is generally viewed as favorable from a money-making standpoint.

Market pricing – The pricing of commodities (including rental rates of various types of commercial properties) as determined by the forces and factors of influence operating in a market.

Market risk – The possibility that downward market trends will reduce an investment’s market value.

Market-share – Refers to the percentage of total sales in a retail category that each competing outlet is expected to capture based on current patterns and trends in the market.

Market strategy – A course of action defined with respect to a particular real estate market phase. For example, consider the market strategy of avoiding real estate transactions when there is an oversupply of space available in the market.

Market value – The most probable price that a property would bring in a competitive and open market under fair sale conditions. Market value also refers to an estimate of this price.

Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)– Generally, the area in and around a major city. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) defines an MSA as having one of the following characteristics: a city with a population of at least 50,000, or an urbanized area with a population of at least 50,000 with a total metropolitan population of 100,000.

Moving expenses – The cost incurred by the tenant to move into the new space. The landlord may pay a portion or all, depending on what is negotiated in the lease. Also see moving allowance.

Multifamily housing – Housing units that accommodate more than one family or household.

Multiple-use office space – Office space that can be used for a variety of purposes; sometimes referred to as generic office space.


Negative leverage – Borrowed funds are invested at a rate of return lower than the cost of funds to the borrower.

Neighborhood center – This center is designed to provide convenience shopping for the day-to-day needs of consumers in the immediate neighborhood. According to ICSC’s SCORE publication, a supermarket anchors half of these centers, while about a third have a drugstore anchor. Stores offering pharmaceuticals and health-related products, sundries, snacks and personal services, support these anchors. A neighborhood center is usually configured as a straightline strip with no enclosed walkway or mall area, although a canopy may connect the storefronts.

Net lease – A lease in which there is a provision for the tenant to pay, in addition to rent, certain costs associated with the operation of the property. These costs may include property taxes, insurance, repairs, utilities, and maintenance. There are also “NN” (double net) and “NNN” (triple net) leases. The difference between the three is the degree to which the tenant is responsible for operating costs. Also see gross lease.

Net operating income (NOI) – The potential rental income plus other income, less vacancy, credit losses, and operating expenses.
Neutral leverage An investment situation in which the cost of borrowed funds is exactly equal to the yield provided by the investment.
NOI See net operating income.


Obsolescence – In reference to the inadequacy, disuse, outdated, or nonfunctionality of facilities, infrastructure, products, or production technologies due to effects of time, changing market conditions, or decay (a factor considered in depreciation to cover the decline in value of fixed assets due to the invention and adoption of new production technologies, or changing consumer demand).

Occupancy cost – The actual dollars paid out by the tenant to occupy the space. It can be expressed in either pre-tax or after-tax dollars.

Office Low-rise – Fewer than seven stories high above ground level. Mid-rise – Between seven and twenty-five stories above ground level High-rise – Higher than twenty-five stories above ground level.

Office gap – The difference between the demand for office space and the supply of office space by property type, submarket, sector, or user classification in a given geographic market.

Office property – A commercial property type used to maintain or occupy professional or business offices. Such properties typically house management and staff operations. The term office can refer to whole buildings, floors, parts of floors, and office parks. Office space that can be used for a variety of purposes is sometimes referred to as generic office space. Office properties may be classified as Class A, B, or C. Class A properties are the most functionally modern. Properties Classed B and C in the same market typically command lower rents because they are older and in need of modernization. They may not be as efficient or desirable as Class A properties because their design or condition causes functional problems

Operating expense stop – A negotiable amount at which the owner’s contribution to operating expenses stops. It also can be stated as the amount above which the tenant is responsible for its pro rata share of operating expenses.

Operating expenses – Cash outlays necessary to operate and maintain a property. Examples of operating expenses include real estate taxes, property insurance, property management and maintenance expenses, utilities, and legal or accounting expenses. Operating expenses do not include capital expenditures, debt service, or cost recovery.

Opportunity cost – The cost of selecting one alternative is the benefit foregone from the next best alternative. Also see discount rate.
Original basis The total amount paid for a property, including equity capital and the amount of debt incurred.

Out-migration – The process by which a given geographic area expels or loses individuals/households to locations outside that area (an outflux of individuals/households from a given area).

Outlet center – A retail property type usually located in rural or occasionally in tourist locations, outlet centers consist mostly of manufacturers’ outlet stores selling their own brands at a discount. These centers are typically not anchored. A strip configuration is most common, although some are enclosed malls, and others can be arranged in a village cluster.
Overage rent See percentage rent.

Oversupply – In reference to commercial real estate, oversupply is a stock or supply of a given commercial property type that is greater than that which can be cleared under prevailing prices levels and market conditions (for example, excess supply). Also, a phase of the real estate market cycle denoting that period of time in which commercial real estate markets become saturated with units due to overbuilding.

Owners moving expense – See moving allowance.

Owning – A means of obtaining the full economic use of a property for an unspecified period by obtaining an ownership interest.


Partially amortized mortgage loan – The payments do not repay the loan over its term and thus a lump sum (balloon) is required to repay the loan.

Participation mortgage – A loan secured by real property, with a stated interest rate that also provides for a share to the lender in annual net cash flow, gain on sale, or proceeds from refinancing the property.

Passive income – Income from rental activity, limited business interests, or other activities in which the investor does not materially participate.
Passive losses Losses from the ownership of passive investments.

Payment (PMT)– A periodic amount paid or received for two or more periods.
Percentage lease A lease in which the rent amount is based on a percentage of gross sales (monthly or annually) made by the tenant.

Percentage rent – The additional rent (over a base amount) that is paid by tenants to owners on tenant sales over a specified dollar amount. It is frequently found in retail leases. Also known as overage rent.

Perfect market – A market in which the products are homogenous, there is complete information, and no buyers or sellers may influence the market.
Physical depreciation or deterioration A form or source of accrued depreciation considered in the cost approach to market value.The physical decay or deterioration of a property that may result from breakage, deferred maintenance, effects of age on construction material, and normal wear and tear. (Barron’s Dictionary of Real Estate Terms)
PMT See payment.

Population growth – The rate at which a given population base in a given geographic area is growing (positive or negative) in relation to the forces of internal growth, in-migration, and out-migration; a factor that is widely acknowledged as having the greatest impact on the demand for housing.

Population migration – The movement and relocation of people from one place of residence to another in response to social and economic factors and forces; a long-term trend that can be expected to affect local economies and real estate values.

Portfolio income – Income from interest, dividends, royalties, or the disposition of property held for investment.

Positive leverage – Borrowed funds are invested at a rate of return higher than the cost of the funds to the borrower.

Potential rental income – The total amount of rental income for a property if it were 100 percent occupied and rented at competitive market rates.

Price – The dollar amount that was offered, asked, or actually paid for a property.

Principal – The portion of a loan payment used toward reducing the original loan amount

Production – Any economic activity that alters, enhances, or transforms a product or material, thereby increasing the value of that product or material by changing its physical form and/or location.

Property data – Property/site-specific information obtained from primary and secondary sources.

Property market – The supply and demand for ownership interests in property.

Property type – The classification of commercial real estate based on its primary use. The four primary property types are: retail, industrial, office, and multi-family residential.

Purchasing – power risk The variability in the future purchasing power of income received from an investment.


Qualify – First stage of four-stage transaction management process pertaining to the process of gathering and evaluating information to measure a client’s readiness, willingness, and ability to consummate a transaction. The acronym QUALIFY represents the considerations of quantify, usage, authority, latitude, intention, financial, and yield involved in the qualify stage.

Quality of life – The psychological and individual aspects of social well-being as perceived and experienced by people in reference to a given geographic area, which reflect a state of mind or position on the prevailing quality of existence in relation to various socio-economic and environmental conditions and/or amenities known to be associated or found within that area.


Range – The maximum distance consumers are willing to travel to purchase a good or service from a given establishment or location. Hence, the boundary or outer limits of the market area circumscribed about a location at which a good or service may be purchased can be easily identified having knowledge of the range.

Rate  of return – The percentage return on each dollar invested. Also known as yield.

Real estate cycles (phases) – The regularly repeating sequence of economic downturns and upturns and associated changes in real estate market transactions tied to market dynamics and changing macroeconomic conditions, whose phases include (in order) recession, recovery, expansion, and oversupply.

Real estate fluctuations – Short-term variations in real estate prices or rents (usually lasting anywhere from one day to a few months) caused by natural hazards (such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and wildfires) or boosts or shocks to the local economy (such as the entry or exit of major employers).

Real estate investment trust (REIT)– An investment vehicle in which investors purchase certificates of ownership in the trust, which in turn invests the money in real property and then distributes any profits to the investors. The trust is not subject to corporate income tax as long as it complies with the tax requirements for a REIT. Shareholders must include their share of the REIT’s income in their personal tax returns.

Real estate trends Long-term – movements or tendencies in the demand for commercial real estate (which can typically last for years or decades), usually tied to macro-economic or business cycles.

Recession – A period of reduced economic activity or a general economic downturn marked by a decline in employment, production, sales, profits, and weak economic growth that is not as severe or prolonged as a depression. As a result, sales in real estate markets are slow, property values and price levels are flat or decreasing, and there is virtually no construction of new stock given excess supply of units in most real estate markets.

Recovery – A period of increasing economic activity or a general economic upturn, typically following a stabilization of key sectors and industries, marked by increasing sales and recovering prices in real estate markets as a direct result of an external shock (for example, a favorable tax code revision) or an increase in demand for commercial real estate which, in turn, leads to the absorption of excess space. Little or no construction occurs during the initial stages of this phase until most of the excess space is absorbed or until reasonable financing opportunities become available.

Regional center – This center type provides general merchandise (a large percentage of which is apparel) and services in full depth and variety. Its main attractions are its anchors: traditional, mass merchant, discount department stores, or fashion specialty stores. A typical regional center is usually enclosed with an inward orientation of the stores connected by a common walkway and parking surrounds the outside perimeter

Regulatory requirements – In reference to land use, they are restrictions or guidelines on development or use of land, properties, or facilities as defined in accordance with design standards, building construction requirements, land use plans, occupancy codes, and zoning classifications as determined by the controlling – or governing parties at the municipal or county levels.

Rent concession – Concessions a landlord may offer a tenant in order to secure their tenancy. While rental abatement is one form of a concession, there are many others such as: increased tenant improvement allowance, signage, lower than market rental rates and moving allowances are only a few of the many.

Rentable area – The computed area of a building as defined by the guidelines of Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) and typically measured in square feet, including both core/structure and useable area. The actual square foot area for which the tenant will pay rent. It is the gross area of an office building, less uninterrupted vertical space (such as stairways and elevators). Unlike useable area, rentable area includes common areas such as lobbies, restrooms, and hallways as well as the measurement of structural columns and architectural projections.

Rent escalators – Items specified in a lease such as base rent, operating expenses, and taxes that may increase by predetermined amounts at stated intervals or by a constant annual percentage. Also see index lease and expense stop.

Replacement cost – The estimated cost to construct, at current prices, a building with utility equivalent to the building being appraised, using modern materials and current standards, design, and layout.

Residential property – Single- or multifamily housing units that are used, serve, or are designed as a place of residence.
Retail – Also see community center, fashion/specialty center, neighborhood center, outlet center, power center, regional center, superregional center, and theme/festival center.

Retail gap analysis – A gap analysis performed specifically on retail floorspace in a given market or trade area.

Retail property – Properties used exclusively to market and sell consumer goods and services.

Retail trade area – Also referred to as service area, is generally defined as the geographic or formal area from which a sustained patronage is attracted to support a retail center or establishment; the extent to which is determined by numerous factors including the site characteristics of the center or establishment, its accessibility, the presence or absence of physical barriers to movement, and general limitations imposed by driving time, congestion, and distance/separation.

Risk – The probability that actual cash flows from an investment will vary from the forecasted cash flows.


Safe rate – The rate a low risk, liquid investment achieves.

Sale cost – The brokerage commissions and fees, and any additional transaction costs that are incurred during the sale of the property.

Sale-leaseback – A leasing and financing strategy in which a property owner sells its property to an investor, then leases it back.This strategy frees capital that otherwise would be frozen in equity.

Sale proceeds after tax – The sale proceeds before tax minus the tax liability on the sale

Sale(s) proceeds before tax – The sale price minus the sale costs and the mortgage loan balance.

Sales comparison approach – A way to determine market value by comparing a subject property to properties with the same or similar characteristics.
Sales comparison value An estimate of value derived by comparing the property being appraised to similar properties that have been sold recently, applying appropriate units of comparison, and making adjustments to the sales prices of the comparable based on the elements of comparison.
Sales per square foot Sales revenue generated per square foot of retail floor space.

Sales potential – The possible or expected revenue of a retail outlet as defined by conditions within the market or trade area and the forces of competition.

Sales volume – The total amount of sales/revenue generated by a retail outlet or facility in a given time period.

Sample – A subset of a statistical population (typically selected randomly).
Sandwich lease See sublease

Scale economies – Cost reductions, savings, or advantages that come about from efficiency gains associated with increasing levels of production output or the increased size of an operation or system (as the average cost of production falls with increasing output or size).

Securitization – The practice of indirectly investing in real estate markets in ways that minimize risk (for example, investments made collectively with pooled money or the use of investment packages/funds, such as mortgage backed securities sold on the secondary financial market) as opposed to direct investments where investors own property or hold mortgages; a long-term trend that has had significant impact on real estate values.

Service area – The geographical area that encompasses/delineates the principal share of clients or customers served by the tenants of the property (a concept that becomes less applicable as the service area of the customer base increases).

Single Tenant Net Lease – Property that is fully occupied by a single user. Single tenant properties often feature a “triple net lease” structure.

Sinking fund – A fund designed to accumulate a designated amount of money over a specified period of time. The periodic amount of money deposited plus compound interest will accumulate to the designated amount of money over the specified period of time.

Step-up lease – A lease in which the rental amount paid by the lessee increases by a preset rate or set dollar amount at predetermined intervals. A step lease is a means for the lessor to hedge against inflation and future maintenance or operational expenses.

Sublease – A lease in which the original tenant (lessee) sublets all or part of the leasehold interest to another tenant (known as a subtenant) while still retaining a leasehold interest in the property. Also known as a sandwich lease due to the sandwiching of the original lessee between the lessor and the subtenant.

Submarket – A segment or portion of a larger geographic market defined and identified on the basis of one or more attributes that distinguish it from other submarkets or locations.

Substitute basis -The basis in a property acquired in a qualified Section 1031 Exchange is reduced by deferred gain and becomes the substitute basis. For example, if the market value of property given up is $200,000, and the basis in that property was $75,000, then realized gain equals $125,000. Assume the market value of property acquired through a taxdeferred exchange is $350,000, then subtracting the unrecognized gain of $125,000 equals the substitute basis of $225,000. The effect of this adjustment to basis is to build in the deferred $125,000 gain into the property acquired. If the new property were sold the next day for $350,000, a $125,000 gain would be reported.
Sunk costs Investment costs that are committed and cannot be recovered.

Supply – The amount of property that will be made available for sale or rent at a given price or rental rate.

Suspended losses – Passive losses that cannot be used in the current year are suspended for use in future years or at the time of sale.

Synthetic lease – A leasing and financing strategy whereby the terms of the lease under specific Financial Accounting Standard Board guidelines change the lease obligation from a capital lease (long-term lease on the company’s balance sheet) to an operating lease (short-term lease on the company’s balance sheet).


Target market – Likely users or investors whose needs match the property’s features. Alternatively, when representing users, the target market is the kind of property that matches your user-client’s needs.

Tax impact – The impact of taxes on investment income and rate of return.

Tax liability – Real estate taxable income multiplied by the tax rate.

Tax savings (annual expense) – Entry on the tenant’s Cash Flow Form. All annual expenses incurred by the tenant are tax deductible. The tax savings are calculated by multiplying the annual deduction by the tenant’s tax rate

Tax savings (capital expenditure) – Entry on the tenant’s Cash Flow Form. It refers to any tax savings associated with any capital expenditure by the tenant in terms of the site or major, unusual business expenses incurred to make the new office efficient for the business. The amount of tax savings is calculated by multiplying the annual deduction amount by the tenant’s tax rate.

Tax shelter – The ability of real estate investments to reduce an investor’s tax liability through the use of cost recovery.

Taxable income – Adjusted gross income less personal deductions and exemptions.

Taxation – How an investment is affected by tax laws and codes.

Technical feasibility – In the case of site selection, it is an evaluation of multiple sites to determine which sites should be considered further based upon their physical limitations, regulatory requirements, and environmental and legal considerations; whereas in the case of highest and best use, it refers to the determination of the possible uses of a particular site as based upon technical considerations.

Tenant – A person or entity who has possession of the property though a lease. A tenant also may be referred to as a lessee.
Tenant improvements Preparation of leased premises prior to or during a tenant’s occupancy, which may be paid for by either the landlord, the tenant, or both.

Tenant paid tenant improvements (TPTI) – The total cost (outlay) of necessary tenant improvements paid by the tenant netted against any allowance provided by the landlord.

Tenure – A designation which distinguishes between the renter versus owner-occupied status of housing units or households.

Threshold population – The minimum number of people or minimum market area or sales volume necessary to sustain a business or make it economically viable. Also see high order goods and lower order goods.

TI – See tenant improvements.

TI allowance from owner (entry on the tenant’s Cash Flow Form) – A specified amount of money the owner will pay for tenant improvement.

Total effective rent – The total dollar amount (cash flow) that the tenant actually will pay out over the entire period analyzed.

Total employment – The total number of actively employed people in the workforce within a given geographic area at a particular point in time.

Total existing – inventory In reference to commercial real state, it is existing and currently available supply or stock as represented by the total number of units or total amount of space available of a specific commercial property type in a given market at a particular point in time.

Total– supply of commercial real estate Refers to all existing space vacant or occupied, built, forecasted, or demolished, for a particular market area for a specific period of time.

TPTI – See tenant-paid tenant improvements.

Triple Net Lease (NNN) – A triple net lease (NNN) is a lease agreement on a property whereby the tenant or lessee promises to pay all the expenses of the property including real estate taxes, building insurance, and maintenance. These payments are in addition to the fees for rent and utilities, and all payments are typically the responsibility of the landlord.

Trade area – An area delineated about a central or dominant location, comprising a zone that is dependent upon production output from that location to meet internal demand, whose outermost boundaries are defined in terms of the presence or absence of interactions with that central or dominant location (for example, a localized area over which some specific activity or transaction takes place). Note that in central place theory context, the terms trade area and range are used interchangeably.


Urban system (city as a system) – A complex and structured urban environment or system composed of highly diverse, interacting, and interdependent parts and activities aggregated or organized in such a way as to serve a common purpose and/or satisfy the needs and wants of people residing in and dependent upon that system.

Useable area – Rentable area, less certain common areas that are shared by all tenants of the office building (such as corridors, storage facilities, and bathrooms). Also defined in office buildings as the area that is available for the exclusive use of the tenant. Useable area = rentable area building efficiency percentage.

User criteria – In reference to the identification and classification of properties and the evaluation of feasibility characteristics of various locations/sites in accordance with the specific needs of the user as defined by its business requirements, and the use and zoning restrictions in any given jurisdiction or municipality.


Vacancy – The number of units or space (of a specific commercial type) that are vacant and available for occupancy at a particular point in time within a given market (usually expressed as a vacancy rate).

Vacancy allowance – A desirable level of vacancy that is known to facilitate transactions and turnover in a housing market (for example, a vacancy rate that allows the market to operate smoothly and efficiently by enhancing household mobility); an index used for estimating housing demand.

Vacancy rate – The percentage of the total supply of units or space of a specific commercial type that is vacant and available for occupancy at a particular point in time within a given market.

Variable – A measurable attribute of a person, place, property, location, or other phenomenon of interest, whose value may vary from observation to observation.

Variable expenses – Costs, such as utilities, that vary with a building’s occupancy rate.


Weighted – average cost of capital (WACC) – The average cost of capital (whether equity or debt), taking into account the relative proportions of each source of capital.


No glossary terms are available.


Yield – A measure of investment performance that gauges the percentage return on each dollar invested. Also known as rate of return.


Zoning – The designation of specific areas by a local planning authority within a given jurisdiction for the purpose of legally defining land use or land use categories.