Dictionary of Terms - U

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US Department Of Housing And Urban Development: Also known as HUD. This federal agency oversees the Federal Housing Administration and a variety of housing and community development programs.
Under Improved Land: Land that due to the fact that it is not being used under its highest and best use does not generate the maximum amount of income that could be generated.
Underimprovement: An improvement that is less than a property's highest ahd best use.
Underwriters' Knot: A code-approved knot tied at the end of an electrical cord to prevent the wires from being pulled away from their connection to electrical terminals.
Underwriting Fee: A fee charged by mortgage lenders to verify information on the loan application and make a final decision about whether or not to approve the loan.
Underwriting: The process in which lenders evaluate the risks posed by a particular borrower and set appropriate conditions for the loan.
Undivided Interest: See tenancy in common.
Unenforceable Contract: A contract that has all the elements of a valid contract yet neither party can sue the other to force performance of it. For example an unsigned contract is generally unenforceable.
Unequal Appraisal: occurs when the market value for a property exceeds the market value established by the appraisal district for comparable properties after making reasonable adjustments. Unequal appraisal sometimes occurs when properties are selectively reappraised following their acquisition. In other cases it occurs because the appraisal district has inaccurate data for a property or submarket. It can also occur when the appraisal district reappraises the market value for only a portion of properties in an area. Property owners can appeal both market value and unequal appraisal annually in Texas.
Uniform Commercial Code (UCC): A body of law relating to commercial transactions, such as conditional sales contracts, pledges and chattel mortgages. It applies to real property in the area of fixtures when a security interest is given to the vendor.
Uniform Residential Appraisal Report (URAR): An appraisal form requested by many federal agencies to value residential properties in a consistent matter.
Uniform Settlement Statement: A special HUD form that itemizes all charges to be paid by a borrower and seller in connection with the settlement.
Uniform Standards Of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP): Minimal criteria for appraisal competency promulgated by the Appraisal Foundation at the direction of Congress, to be applied to appraisals that require the services of a state-licensed or certified appraiser.
Uniformity: Assessed values which have the same relationship to market value or some other value standard as do all other assessments within the taxing jurisdiction and/or all other assessments of property of the same classification within the taxing jurisdiction. Implies the equalization of the tax burden. (See: Equity)
Unilateral Contract: A one-sided contract wherein one party makes a promise so as to induce a second party to do something. The second party is not legally bound to perform; however if the second party does comply the first party is obligated to keep the promise.
Unit-in-place Method: A method for finding the reproduction cost of a building in which the construction cost per square foot of each component part of the subject building (including material, labor, overhead and builder's profit) is multiplied by the number of square feet of the component part in the subject building.
Units Of Comparison: A physical or economic measure by which the property's price can be divided to provide a more standardized comparison of the properties. The measure should be one that accounts for differences in the price typically paid for the properties such as price per square foot (office building), price per seat (theater) or price per gallon of gas pumped (gas station). Income can also be a unit of comparison such as when price is divided by effective gross income to obtain an effective gross income multiplier. If land value is sought, the unit may be square foot, front foot or per site.
Unity Of Ownership: The four unities that are traditionally needed to create a joint tenancy-unity of title time interest and possession.
Universal Agent: A person empowered to do anything the principal could do personally.
Unrecorded Deed: A deed that transfers ownership from one party to another without being officially recorded.
Use Value: The value of a property designed to fit the specific requirements of the owner but that would have little or no use to another owner. Also referred to as value-in-use.
Useful Life: The period of time over which the asset may reasonably be expected to perform the function for which it was designed or intended.
Usury: Charging interest at a higher rate than the maximum rate established by state law.

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