Glossary (R)

Terms commonly used in the real estate and mortgage marketplace.



A toxic gas found in the soil beneath a house that can contribute to cancer and other illnesses.

Rate Cap

The limit on the amount an interest rate on an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) can increase or decrease during an adjustment period.

Rate Lock

An agreement in which an interest rate is “locked in” or guaranteed for a specified period of time prior to closing. See also “Lock-in Rate.”

Ratified Sales Contract

A contract that shows both you and the seller of the house have agreed to your offer. This offer may include sales contingencies, such as obtaining a mortgage of a certain type and rate, getting an acceptable inspection, making repairs, closing by a certain date, etc.

Real Estate Professional

An individual who provides services in buying and selling homes. The real estate professional is paid a percentage of the home sale price by the seller. Unless you’ve specifically contracted with a buyer’s agent, the real estate professional represents the interest of the seller. Real estate professionals may be able to refer you to local lenders or mortgage brokers, but are generally not involved in the lending process.

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)

A federal law that requires lenders to provide home mortgage borrowers with information about transaction-related costs prior to settlement, as well as information during the life of the loan regarding servicing and escrow accounts. RESPA also prohibits kickbacks and unearned fees in the mortgage loan business.

Real Property

Land and anything permanently affixed thereto — including buildings, fences, trees, and minerals.


The public official who keeps records of transactions that affect real property in the area. Sometimes known as a “Registrar of Deeds” or “County Clerk.”


The filing of a lien or other legal documents in the appropriate public record.


Getting a new mortgage with all or some portion of the proceeds used to pay off the prior mortgage.

Rehabilitation Mortgage

A mortgage loan made to cover the costs of repairing, improving, and sometimes acquiring an existing property.

Remaining Term

The original number of payments due on the loan minus the number of payments that have been made.

Repayment Plan

An arrangement by which a borrower agrees to make additional payments to pay down past due amounts while still making regularly scheduled payments.

Replacement Cost

The cost to replace damaged personal property without a deduction for depreciation.


The cancellation or annulment of a transaction or contract by operation of law or by mutual consent. Borrowers have a right to cancel certain mortgage refinance and home equity transactions within three business days after closing, or for up to three years in certain instances.

Revolving Debt

Credit that is extended by a creditor under a plan in which (1) the creditor contemplates repeated transactions; (2) the creditor may impose a finance charge from time to time on an outstanding unpaid balance; and (3) the amount of credit that may be extended to the consumer during the term of the plan is generally made available to the extent that any outstanding balance is repaid.

Right of First Refusal

A provision in an agreement that requires the owner of a property to give another party the first opportunity to purchase or lease the property before he or she offers it for sale or lease to others.

Rural Housing Service (RHS)

An agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which operates a range of programs to help rural communities and individuals by providing loan and grants for housing and community facilities. The agency also works with private lenders to guarantee loans for the purchase or construction of single-family housing.