Real Estate Glossary

Real Estate Glossary – Property Terms and Definitions

In order to understand the real estate industry well, you need to read to know the various property terminologies regarding the industry. The glossary spells out words ranging from real estate buying, renting, financing, mortgages, disposal, development and management of properties for commercial benefits.



Acceleration clause or Acceleration Covenant

A contract provision that empowers a money lender to oblige a borrower to pay back all or part of an outstanding loan upon failing to comply with some agreed upon conditions. An acceleration clause outlines the reasons that the lender can claim loan repayment. Such clauses are also common in mortgages or purchase of real estate in portions.


The acre is a unit of land area used in the imperial and customary systems. One acre is equivalent to 0.0015625 square miles, 4,840 square yards, 43,560 square feet or nearly 4,047 square metres (0.405 hectares)


It is the cultivation of crops or rearing of animals for food and commercial benefits.


It is a housing unit in form of a flat that is part of a bigger building in form of a self-contained or non-self-contained nature.


An upsurge in the value or price of a property


It is a building with a line of shopping archways, each counter-thrusting the next, supported by walkways enclosed by a line of arches on one or both sides.

Assessed Value

The value put on property by an asset value or public tax assessor for aim of taxation or purchase.


Placing value on property for the purpose of purchase or taxation.


An official who establishes the value of a property for taxation purposes or else. 


These are items of value possessed by a person, government, company or institution. Assets that can be speedily transformed into cash are called “liquid assets.” These comprise of bank accounts, mutual funds, stocks, bonds and many more. Assets also include real estate, personal property and debts owed to somebody by others.

Association of Uganda Real Estate Agents

The umbrella body of Uganda real estate agents, managers, developers, organizations and other real estate professionals in the country.



A broker is person or an agency (firm) that organizes business transactions between a buyer and a seller for a commission upon the execution of deal.

Buganda Land Board

Buganda Land Board (BLB) is an expert body set up by His Majesty the (King) Kabaka of Buganda to manage land, assets and properties returned under Restitution of Assets and Properties Act of 1993. Those properties include The Bulange, The Butikkiro, The Lubiri at Mengo, The Buganda Court Building, Official Residencies of Former Omulamuzi and Omuwanika at Mengo, Kabaka’s official 350 Square Miles of land, Banalinya’s Land, Kabaka’s lake, Namasole’s 10 Square Miles, Land Next to The Mengo Lubiri on which Buganda Ministerial Houses used to stand, Buganda Works Building at Kakeeka, all Bassekabaka’s Tombs, Nalinya’s House at Lubaga and Basiima House among others.


A low house, with a wide-ranging front entrance with no upper floor or rooms set in the roof, classically with dormer windows. A bungalow originally came from Bengal province in South Asia, but now found all over the globe.



An agreed arrangement in which a borrower gets anything of some worth in exchange for a promise to pay back the creditor on a future date.


In a loan leading Agreement, collateral is a borrower’s pledge of particular property to a creditor, to secure reimbursement of a loan. It is a protection for a lender against a borrower’s default. It can be used to compensate the loan to any borrower failing to pay the principal and interest under the terms of a loan commitment


It is the fee paid to a real estate agent or a broker for selling your property. The standard commission is usually 10% of the property price but it can be agreed upon between the seller and the agent below this percentage.


This is the action or process of awarding money to someone as a recompense for the loss, injury, or suffering.


A building with several apartments or housing units which are individually owned different people.


A provision for an unexpected event or circumstance and usually such occurrence is possible but cannot be anticipated with certainty.


From a legal perspective, Conveyancing is the transfer of legal property title from one person to another, or the permitting of an encumbrance like a mortgage or a lien.

Customary Land

Is that land owned by Native communities and managed in accordance with their customs, as different from the legal tenure commonly set up during the colonial eras. Common ownership is one system of customary land tenure.


Deed – 1

It is the document which transfers possession or ownership of a property. It usually contains the names of both old and new owners plus a legal portrayal of the property and the person transferring the property signs it. It is hard to transfer real estate minus having anything in script that is practically a deed.

Deed – 2

Any legal apparatus in writing which permits, supports or authorizes an interest, right, or property signed, confirmed, conveyed, and in some dominions sealed. A deed universally connected with transmitting title to property. The deed has a superior presupposition of legitimacy and is less rebuttable than a mechanism signed by the party to a deed. A deed may be bilateral or unilateral. Deeds may include licenses, commissions, conveyances, patents and tentatively powers of attorney in case effect as deeds.


An amount of money paid as an initial installment when buying something or as a commitment to a contract with the balance payable later as agreed among parties involved in a transaction.


The subsequent decrease in the worth, price or value of an asset as time elapses owing to in particular wear and tear.

Down payment

The money disbursement used in the perspective of the buying of expensive assets like a car or a house, where the payment is the primary upfront lot of the full sum due and it’s commonly offered in cash at a time when the transaction is finalized. Down payment is aimed at ensuring that the lending institution has sufficient capital to generate money for a loan in small reserve banking. In the real estate world, the asset acts as collateral to secure and protect the loan against nonpayment. If the debtor fails on repayment of the loan, the moneylender is lawfully eligible to sell off the property and remain with a portion of the earnings sufficient enough to reclaim the remaining loan balance with interest and fees added on. A down payment in this regard lessens the moneylender’s risk to a lesser amount compared to the value of the security, rending it more possible for the lender to recover the total sum in the incident of failure to pay.



This is the right of way allowing persons other than the landlord right of entry to or over a property.

Eminent domain

The right of a government to take control or possession of a private property for public utilization once payment of its reasonable market value is done. Eminent domain is the basis for condemnation proceedings.


This is the development done by someone that encroaches illegitimately on the property of another person.


It is a claimed right against a property by a party that is in most cases not the owner disturbs affects or restricts the fee simple title to a property. An encumbrance can have an effect on the transfer of the property and hampers its free use until it is lifted. The most known categories of encumbrance relate to real estate and include leases, property tax liens, mortgages and easements.


An item of value, money, deed or documents deposited with a third party to be provided upon the gratification of a condition as agreed by parties. It is an autonomous impartial account by which all interests of the parties involved in the business transaction are safeguarded.

Escrow Account

This account is fundamentally an allotment tank used to real estate transaction for keeping money tentatively.  The escrow officer generally a lawyer or title company representative keeps all the vital documents and deposits as the sellers and buyers work out the necessary details. After the closing of the deal, the escrow official records the deed and transfer of the title that make the property formally yours.


It is the net worth of an individual at a given time, either dead or alive. In short, it is the sum of a person’s properties, legal rights, entitlements and interests to property of any kind.


The removal of a property tenant from rental property by the landlord.

Exclusive listing

A written contract which gives a licensed property or real estate agent the exclusive right to sell a property for an agreed time.


A person named in a will by the deceased or appointed by the court to administer an estate. A court can also appoint an administrator to oversee the property in case no executor is named.



Is the growing of crops and keeping animals for food and cash purpose.

Fish Farming

It is a major method of aquaculture involving raising fish commercially in man-made dams, tanks or enclosures on water bodies usually for profit and food.


A process of taking possession of a property under mortgage as a result of failing to pay for it by the mortgagor.

Freehold tenure

Is the lawful right to possess a piece of property without any boundaries on its use.

Furnished Apartment

A serviced housing unit that offers short or medium term residential need perfect for vacation, business or transfer needs.



A metric unit of an area equivalent to 10,000 square meters or to 2.471 acres.



Money paid recurrently at a specific rate for the use of cash lent, or for postponing or delaying the reimbursement of a debt.


Kabaka’s Land

Land in some parts of central Uganda (Buganda) that is under the jurisdiction of the King of Buganda and administered by Buganda Land Board.

Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA)

A legal body, set up by Parliament of Uganda to be is liable for the operations of Kampala, the Capital City of Uganda.

Kampala Industrial and Business Park (KIBP)

This is an 894 acres (362 hectare) development project that houses factories and industries in South Namanve. This business park is located 15 km from Kampala city center along Kampala – Jinja Highway that is part of the northern transport access strip in East Africa connecting Uganda to Kenya, Rwanda and Democratic  Republic of Congo.


Land Administration

This is the application and operationalization of the rules of land tenure. Land administration, whether official or casual, encompasses a wide-ranging scope of processes and systems to administer. The procedures of land administration embrace the transfer of land rights from one party or person to another via sale, lease, gift, loan or heritage. Administration further involves the regulating of property and land development; conservation and use of the land; gathering of revenues from land through sales, rent, leasing and taxation among others. The resolving of conflicts concerning the ownership and the use of land is also part of land administration. Land administration roles may be categorized into four components including Juridical, regulatory, fiscal and information management.

Land Banking

The method of purchasing land as an investment asset, reserve it for future use or sell when the value has gone up.

Land for Sale

Land put on market for sale either by the owner or a real estate agent, broker or company.

Land Ownership

Under the common law systems, land ownership is a legal regime in which land is possessed and owned by a person who is said to hold the title under its present tenure.

Land Tenure

This refers to the status of groups or individuals in relationship to property ownership and utilization. Tenure may be Mailo, Freehold, Public and Communal.

Land Tenure Security

Land Tenure Security means the right of individuals, groups of people or organizations to proficient safeguard by their government against any forcible evictions. Land tenure security is thus a component of property rights. These rights include the right to remain on one’s land and utilize it to profit from that land in possible ways an individual or groups’ value as long as they don’t damage others. In town areas, land tenure is repeatedly apprehensive for shantytown occupants and for the underprivileged. Where in rural settings, land tenure is also at times insecure for the poor, as well as for women folks, who face difficulties like illegitimate expulsions by family members after the demise of a father.

Land Surveying

Land surveying or surveying is the measurement and mapping of land surface using arithmetic, expert technology and apparatus.

Land Surveyor

The professional that does Land Surveying works.

Land Title

A system by which possession and owning of a real property is established by the issuance of a formal certificate demonstrating the name of a person or persons in whom that ownership is conferred. A land title usually indicates the size, tenure system, encumbrance status, registration history and the area under which it is administered.


A legal document spelling out terms under which one party reach agreement to rent property from another party. A lease gives assurance to the renter (lessee) use of a property and equally guarantees the property owner (lessor) consistent disbursements from the lessee for a specified period. In cooperation, the lessee and the lessor are obliged to maintain the terms in the contract for the lease tenancy to remain binding.

Lease Agreement

The legal contract signed between two parties, the lessor and the lessee regarding the use of real estate. The lessor is the legitimate owner of the property; the lessee attains the right to make use of the asset in exchange for rental fees.


An individual, corporation or an organization that takes the right and powers to use anything of value like a property, house, building, and land acquired through a lease agreement.


One of the signatories of a lease agreement that agrees to lease a property to the lessee for a specified period of time as may be agree and enshrined in the lease contract.


A lender can be an individual, public or private organization that extends funds to another party for a specified period of time on condition that the money will be repaid. In this case, a lender is usually given a security as his money is being used with interest accruing to it.


The future sacrifices of economic benefits that the body is indebted to make to other bodies due to past transactions or events, payment of which may result in the allocation or use of property endowment of services or other yielding of economic paybacks in the coming time.


Legal right to hang onto possession of property owned by another person till a debt unsettled by that person is cleared.

Liquid Assets

Assets that can be turned into cash in a short time with very minimal loss or depreciation of value. Such assets include items like demand and time deposits, accounts receivable, gilt edged securities and valuable metals (like gold and silver) that are measured to be liquid assets.


Domesticated birds and animals raised in an agrarian setting to yield produces like food, meat, fiber and labor.


It is debt offered by an individual or organization to another individual or company at an interest rate and supported by a note which stipulates the principal amount, interest rate plus date of repayment. A loan involves the reallocation of the borrower’s asset to the lender as a security in the event of default for various causes.

Loan Servicing

This is the process by which a lender like bank collects the principal, interest and escrow payments from the debtor.


Mailo Land 

Is that land registered and held in eternity or perpetuity with its holder having a land title for it. This type of land tenure system in Uganda has its roots in the allocation of land pursuant to the Uganda Agreement of 1900, subject to legislative qualifications.


A self-contained living apartment or housing unit that is usually part of a larger house but extends over two stories with its own independent entrance. For instance 2-story apartment  at the back of the larger house is maisonette.




Property Management 

Is the operation, monitoring, control and oversight of real estate on behalf of the landlord or property owner.