Real Estate Glossary Terms Beginning With – W

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Updated: October 1, 2021

Terms Beginning With - W

Property Development & Investment Glossary, Terms & Definitions

Wainscoting

A wall's lining is made of wood. The lower part of a wall that is finished differently than the wall above is also called wainscoting.

Waiver

voluntarily relinquish one's claim to one's property. To avoid being sued for breach of contract, it's a good idea to include a clause in every contract stating that any waiver, modification, or amendment of the document's provisions is only valid if signed by the party seeking enforcement. A person may not waive certain rights granted by statute in some cases, according to the law. Provisions that purport to bind prospective purchasers of subdivided land to waive compliance with state subdivision registration laws, for example, are generally void in contracts. Agreements to waive rights provided by a landlord-tenant code may also be null and void.

Waivers of mechanic's lien rights, known as lien waivers, must be submitted by the subcontractors before the general contractor can release the final payment to them.

Contingencies in contracts placed for the benefit of one party can be waived by that party at any time for any reason. A buyer who agrees to buy a farm contingent on favorable soil tests can waive the contingency and purchase the farm even if the soil tests are negative.

Walk-through

A final look at a property right before the sale. This gives the buyer peace of mind that the property has been left empty, that any needed repairs have been made, and that the property is in pretty much the same shape as when the buyer made the offer. If there is damage, the buyer could ask for money to be held at the closing to pay for the repairs.

Walk-up

A multi-story apartment building without an elevator.

Wall sheathing

The outside siding is stapled to the outside face of the wall studs using plywood, gypsum board, or other materials.

Wall-to-wall carpeting

The whole floor of a room is covered with carpet. When a seller says that a property has wall-to-wall carpeting, the broker should make sure that there is, in fact, wall-to-wall carpeting. This will prevent the common problem of the buyer finding gaps in the carpeting when the seller moves out the furniture. Most of the time, wall-to-wall carpeting is treated as a fixture. However, to avoid disagreements, the buyer and seller should say in the sales contract who will own the wall-to-wall carpeting.

Wall-to-wall carpeting that meets minimum FHA standards is now accepted as finished flooring in new or existing homes and multifamily properties and is considered part of the real property.

Wallboard

A board that serves as the final covering for an interior wall or ceiling. Plastic laminated plywood, asbestos/cement sheeting, plywood, molded gypsum, plasterboard, and other materials can be used to make wallboard. Wallboard is applied in thin sheets over the insulation and is frequently used as a substitute for plaster walls, though it can also be used as a base for plaster.

Warehouse

A structure used for storing products or commerce; it can be used by the owner or leased to one or more tenants. Warehouses are increasingly being used for order fulfillment and/or repackaging.

A structure devoted to the storage of goods and equipment. Low risk, low rate of return, and net lease are some of the advantages of owning a warehouse. Industrial properties are typically referred to as such.

Make provision for interim storage of products.

Warehousing

A line of credit that is usually given to a mortgage banker by a commercial bank. Most of the time, a mortgage banker will borrow short-term money to pay for mortgage loans and use the loans as collateral.

The banker then stores a number of these loans, similar to how a wholesaler stores clothes or furniture, so that they can be sold to a large financial institution at a later time. When the loans are sold, the mortgage banker usually gets the value of the warehoused mortgage loans plus an origination fee of 1% and a promise of a servicing fee of about 0.5% over the life of the loan.

Warehousing a loan

The combining of many mortgages with the intention of selling them on the secondary mortgage market.

Warranty

A promise that certain facts stated are true; a guarantee from the seller that the title is clear and the property is in good shape. In contract law, a warranty is a promise or stipulation that a certain fact about the subject of the contract is or will be as stated or promised. This can be done in writing or verbally.

A warranty is different from a representation because a representation is a promise made during sales negotiations that is not part of the contract. Also, a warranty must always be given at the same time as the contract and as a part of it. A representation, on the other hand, comes before the contract and leads to it.

To show that a warranty was broken, a buyer must show that the thing that broke the warranty was still happening on the date of closing (such as when the seller asserts that adequate water is available for drinking purposes when in fact it is not). A court can only give damages for a breach of warranty, not rescission like it can for a misrepresentation.

When a warranty is broken, the contract is still binding, and the only thing that can be done about it is to get damages. If the seller makes a false claim, the buyer can choose to back out of the contract and get their money back.

At the moment, courts tend to enforce an implied warranty of fitness and marketability against builders and sellers of new homes, including condo units. This rejection of the common-law "buyer beware" rule has not yet been used to stop older homes from being resold.

The Magnusen-Moss Warranty Act is a federal law that says any warranty, whether it's from the manufacturer or the seller, on a consumer product for the home must be fully and fairly disclosed. The law covers separate pieces of equipment like air conditioners, furnaces, and water heaters that are attached to real property. The Federal Trade Commission is in charge of running the act.

In a contract, a commitment is made.

Warranty deed

A deed that includes a clause guaranteeing that title to real property is clear and unencumbered.

A deed in which the grantor guarantees that the property has a good, clear title. Also called a "general warranty deed." The most common covenants of title are the covenant of seisin, the covenant of quiet enjoyment, the covenant against encumbrances, the covenant of warranty for life, and the covenant of further assurance. The title is what is guaranteed by a warranty deed, not the quality of the building. Most real estate deed transfers use a warranty deed, which gives the most protection of any type of deed.

An agreement by the grantee to defend the premises against the valid claims of a third party, as well as an assurance that he is the property owner and would defend the title supplied.

Waste

A landowner with less than full ownership, like a tenant, life tenant, mortgagor, or vendee, who uses or abuses their property in a wrong way. So, waste lowers the value of the land or the person who owns the title or the reversion.

The word "waste" also includes "improvement waste," which is when the owner of a piece of land makes changes to it that aren't allowed, even if those changes make the property worth more. Even though the tenant is usually not responsible for cleaning up waste (because it raises the value of the future interest), the owner of the future interest does not have to pay for the improvement.

Waste can happen if you don't pay your property taxes, insurance, or mortgage, or if you make big changes to how the property was originally used, like turning it from a home to a heavy industrial site. Basically, any action on the land that significantly lowers the security value of the property is a waste. Other types of waste that people choose to make are cutting down trees, taking out minerals, or destroying buildings.

Waste line

A pipe that takes waste from anything other than a toilet, like a bathtub, shower, sink, or basin.

Wasteland

Lava land, for example, is considered inappropriate for farming because of its lack of productivity and lack of development. To avoid paying real estate taxes, an owner may appeal to the local tax department to have his or her property classified as wasteland.

Wasting asset

A property like a forest, an oil well, a quarry, or a mine whose resources are used up by drilling and using them. Also includes rights like patent rights and franchises that have a set length of time.

Water

Water is real property when it is in its natural state. It becomes personal property when it is separated from the land and made portable by putting it in containers.

There are three types of water, which are: Surface water is water that is spread out over the land or held in depressions. It comes from rain, snow, or water that comes up from springs. Surface water is different from water that flows to a fixed channel, which is a watercourse, or water that collects in a body that can be seen, like a river or lake. Floodwater is the water that comes from rivers and streams that flow too much.

Water Table

The top limit of the groundwater zone. It is frequently a transition zone rather than a border line in fine-textured materials. The shape of the water table frequently resembles that of the surrounding topography.

Above or below groundwater level, based on where it is positioned in relation to the surface.

Watercourse

A moving body of water that flows along a regular path or channel and has a bed and sides.

Waterfront property

Real estate abutting a waterway, whether it be a canal, lake or ocean.

Watershed

The area that drains water into the stream next to it. Also called the drainage basin. Many cities and towns make it illegal for property owners in a watershed area to fill in or do anything else that would stop water from flowing.

Way

A street, alley, or other way for people or vehicles to move around that is there permanently.

Wear and tear

Deterioration of a piece of property over time due to use, weather, and the passage of time. Cost recovery only applies to property that is subject to normal wear and tear. Tenants are expected to return their leased property in good shape, with the exception of normal wear and tear.

Weep hole

One of the small holes left in a wall to allow water to drain, like in a foundation or retaining wall.

Weighted average cost of capital

Capital cost is calculated by dividing the cost of each component by the proportion of total capital that it represents.

Wellhead Protection

Land use planning and management to limit pollutant sources in the region that contribute to the recharging of community wells.

Wet column

A small hole in a wall that allows excess water to drain, such as in a foundation or retaining wall.

Wet columns

Columns with plumbing fixtures for drinking, sinks, and other purposes; the pipes are routed via a tiny enclosure (chase) against the column.

Wetland

A wetland is a region where the ground is continuously wet or wet most of the year and is populated by water-loving (or water-tolerant) plants such as cattails, mangroves, or cypress.

Wetlands

There are wetland plant communities in places like swamps, ponds, estuaries, and marshes where groundwater is at or near the surface of the ground for enough of the year. Because these areas are so prone to flooding, there are many federal, state, and local rules that apply to them, like protecting the environment and zoning for special preservation and conservation.

Wetlands on agricultural land are found by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and farmers can rely on a single wetlands determination. The EPA and the U.S. Corps of Engineers are both in charge of making sure that Section 404 is followed.

Wholesale price index

An index that measures variations in the wholesale price of a typical "basket" of items over a given time period.

Wholesaler

A person who acts as a go-between in the process of raising capital.

Widow's quarantine

The amount of time after a husband dies that a widow can stay in the house where her husband used to live without having to pay rent. In the meantime, she has the right to get enough money from his estate to live on.

Wild deed

A deed in the chain of title in which the first party (the grantor) does not have a recorded interest in the property in question. If the grantor doesn't know about the chain of title, the deed doesn't make him or her aware of it. But if you know it's there, you know that this first party may have had a legal right to the property in question through a document that wasn't recorded.

Will

The process of distributing one's assets following one's death.

A written document that tells the court what to do with probate property (tenancy in severalty or tenancy in common) after the maker dies (the testator). A will doesn't take effect until the testator dies, so it can be changed or canceled at any time while the testator is still alive. The person making the will must be of sound mind and of legal age. They must also say that the document is their last will and testament and sign it, usually in front of two or more trustworthy people who sign their names as witnesses to the will. Most of the time, a witness can't be a person who gets something from the will. The person who makes the will usually names an executor or personal representative and, if there are minor children, a guardian. No one should try to write a will without talking to a lawyer first.

The laws of intestacy say that a person's property goes to their heirs if they die without a will or with a will that wasn't done right. A law may let a surviving spouse choose to take a one-third life estate as dower or courtesy, an elective share, or some other survivorship portion given by law instead of the spouse's share in the will, if there is one.

Window jamb trim

Window frame and jamb are joined by a narrow strip of molding that runs vertically.

Window sash

The part of the window that holds the glass and can be moved. Sash windows slide up and down. They can be single, where only the bottom half of the window opens, or double, where both the top and bottom parts can be moved.

Wipeout

A drop in property value caused by public actions like planning rules, denying a permit, or the government using land in a way that is annoying. A wipeout is what happens to the public when governments let private actions happen that end up hurting the public.

Withholding

The act of keeping back tax money that was supposed to be paid.

Without prejudice

When these phrases are used during a negotiation, they signify that any proposition or plan made cannot be used as evidence later if the negotiations fail.

Without recourse

A type of qualified endorsement that keeps the maker from being personally responsible. In a promissory note that is backed by a mortgage on real property, a "without-recourse" note means that the mortgagee can only pay off the claim against the property. If the mortgagor doesn't pay, the mortgagee can't sue the mortgagor for the difference.

A mortgage that secures a note with no recourse, allowing the lender to rely only on the property if the borrower defaults.

Witness

If you need to prove the validity of your signature, you can do so by signing the contract, deed, or will with your name on it. In most cases, the validity of a real estate contract does not necessitate the presence of any witnesses. A will, on the other hand, typically necessitates the presence of two unbiased witnesses.

Wood destroying insect inspection report (NPMA-33)

A HUD-approved report for FHA and VA loans that includes an inspection for insects that eat wood, such as termites, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and reinfesting wood-boring beetles. Mold, mildew, and organisms that damage wood but are not insects are not in the report. It is not a warranty, and it is only good for 90 days after the inspection. Both FHA and VA loans require that any active pests be treated. The report has ideas for getting rid of the things that make insects more likely to show up.

Work breakdown structure (WBS)

A deliverable-oriented collection of project pieces that organize and define the project's scope. Each lower level represents a more precise specification of a project component. Products or services may be used as project components.

Work letter

A detailed addition to a lease that spells out all of the improvements that the landlord will make for the tenant and all of the improvements that the tenant will pay for herself.

The section of the lease that specifies all of the tasks that the landlord must perform for the renter.

Worker's compensation insurance

Employee injury insurance protects you against lawsuits.

Workers' compensation law

All businesses in the state are required by law to provide workers' compensation insurance in the event of a loss of job due to illness or injury at work. It doesn't matter if real estate brokers believe their salesmen to be employees or independent contractors; this law applies to them. As a result, if a salesman gets hurt on the job, their medical bills and lost pay are reimbursed. The real estate license may be suspended or revoked if a broker fails to maintain the required insurance coverage.

Working capital

Assets that can be turned into cash and used to run daily business.

The gap between current assets and current liabilities is known as the current asset-to-current liability ratio.

Working drawings

An architect's final-stage drawings that include everything from the lighting plan to the precise method of construction are called "final-stage drawings."

Detailed floor drawings that show all of the modifications that need to be made. They are intended to serve as guidelines for the numerous contractors engaged.

Workout loan

A loan in which the lender has agreed to decrease the debt service payment in order to save the property from being foreclosed on.

Workout plan

A mortgagee's attempt to help a defaulting borrower come up with a payment plan rather than foreclosing on the property. Workout plans may include increasing loan terms, accruing interest or lowering interest rates. 

Worthier title doctrine

A common-law rule that said if a testator gave an heir exactly the same interest in land that the heir would get through the laws of descent, then the laws of descent were more important and the heir got the title through descent instead of by devise.

Wraparound lender

Assumes responsible for fulfilling debt service obligations on the "wrapped" mortgage note.

Wraparound mortgage

A mortgage that is subordinate to, but includes, the sum payable on an existing mortgage note, as well as any money to be disbursed on the new note. An all-inclusive mortgage is another term for an all-inclusive loan.

A way to pay for a home in which the second mortgage comes after the first mortgage. The second mortgage includes both the unpaid principal balance of the first mortgage and any extra money the lender gives. An all-inclusive loan is sometimes called an overriding loan or an overlapping loan.

In essence, it is an extra mortgage in which another lender refinances a borrower by giving them a loan that is more than the amount of their first mortgage. This is done without cashing out the first mortgage or making it go away. The wraparound combines two or more debts into a single obligation (like a "consolidated loan"), and the wrap, or secondary, mortgagee pays the obligations of the first mortgage from the total payments received.

The arbitrage is the difference between the two mortgage notes' interest rates. Even though the wraparound lender pays the first mortgage's debt service, it does not take on the first mortgage's debt. When the wraparound mortgage goes into default, the main mortgage usually goes into default as well.

For example, let's say a house is worth $300,000 and it already has a first mortgage for $100,000 at 7% interest and 15 years left on the term. The business owner wants to get an extra $100,000 in capital. Under traditional financing, the owner would have to refinance the building for $200,000, probably at a higher interest rate, say 11 percent, and use $100,000 to pay off the existing first mortgage and the rest for the new needs.

The owner can get a lower interest rate, say 9 percent, by using a wraparound mortgage.

The actual amount given to the borrower through the wraparound mortgage is $100,000. The new lender pays the first mortgage, which is for $100,000 and has an interest rate of 7%. The owner pays the new wraparound mortgage, which is for $200,000 and has an interest rate of 9%.

There can't be a "due-on-encumbrance" clause in the first mortgage, because that would make it impossible to use the wraparound mortgage. When a house is turned into condos, the wraparound mortgage is a good idea because the existing mortgage usually has a lower rate than the current market rate.

Because the usury ceiling laws in many states only apply to second liens and not to residential first liens, many state laws have been changed to define wraparound loans as first liens, following the definition made by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. So, wraparound loans can be made by institutional lenders.

A mortgage that secures a loan and includes both the existing debt's sum due and any additional monies supplied.

Writ of execution

A court order that tells a court officer (sheriff or police officer) to seize and sell the defendant's property to pay off a judgment. Before carrying out the levy, the officer may have to give notice of the sale and try to sell enough personal property to cover the debt. Most of the time, the buyer's title goes back to the date of the judgment and is free of any liens that were made after the attachment.

When there aren't enough assets in the district where the judgment was made, the plaintiff can get a writ of execution from a higher court that covers all of the defendant's assets, no matter where they are in the state.

Write-off

1. Taking an asset off the books, such as a debt that can't be paid.

2. A tax write-off.

Excess investment deductions that can be used to offset income taxes on other sources of income.

Glossary Index

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