Real Estate Glossary G [Part 1]

Terms Beginning With - G

Property Development & Investment Glossary, Terms & Definitions


Generally Recognized Accounting Principles’ is an abbreviation for ‘generally accepted accounting principles.’ Various sets of commonly recognized accounting principles exist across the world.


The triangle-shaped part of an end wall that rises from the top wall and goes under the inverted V of a sloping roof to help water drain. A gable can be made of weatherboard, tiles, or brick, and it can go above the rafters.

Underneath the roof, the triangular region at the end and top of a home.

The triangle-shaped end of a building; the vertical plane above the eaves and between the slopes of a roof with ridges.

Gable roof

A roof with two intersecting sloping planes that meet at a flat ridge.

A roof with ridges that ends in a gable.


General merchandise, garments, furniture, and other merchandise are examples of retail merchandise. Also known as shopper’s stuff.


When an asset is sold, a profit is made.

An rise in the amount of money or the value of a piece of property.

Gambrel roof

A Dutch colonial style of roof with a steep slope at the bottom and a flatter slope at the top.

Gang nail plate, Fishplate

Steel plates are attached to both sides of each truss junction. Gussett is another name for this garment.

Each truss junction has a plate attached to both sides.

Gantt chart

A graphical representation of tasks, their length, timeframes, and sequencing.


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Gap analysis

Assessment of the space gap between the demand for and supply of a specific commercial property type in a given market area, where the gap is expressed as the amount of square footage required minus the amount of square footage available during a specified time frame. Keep in mind that a positive gap indicates that demand is higher than supply. When the gap is positive, it suggests that commercial real estate deals could be fruitful. When supply exceeds demand (or when a negative gap occurs), however, buyers and sellers may choose to hold off on transactions because there is an abundance of market inventory.

Gap financing

The loan used to make up the difference between the base loan (floor loan) and the total amount needed. Gap financing is usually used to fill a temporary need until permanent financing is found. This is why it is sometimes called a bridge loan or swing loan.

Gap financing can also be used when it is hard or too expensive to get permanent financing. By getting gap financing and waiting, it may be possible to get better terms.

Gap group

People with moderate incomes who need some kind of help or subsidy to qualify for a loan.

Gap in title

A break in the chain of title, like when the records don’t show a transfer to a particular grantor. This could happen if the grantor didn’t make sure the deed was recorded. garden apartment A type of building with more than one unit that has a lawn and/or garden area. Usually found in low-rise condominium projects.

Gap loan

A mortgage that bridges a gap in the mortgage market.

Garden apartments

A reduced apartment building, typically in a suburban setting.

These developments have a low density of development and are located in suburban and nonurban locations where land is less expensive than in urban areas.

Low-density two- or three-story multifamily housing with ample open space around buildings and on-site parking.

A term used to describe a group of two or more apartment buildings set in a garden-like area. Most of the time, they are walk-up buildings with two or three floors. Part of the garden on the ground floor is part of the title for these apartments in a multi-story building. This means that they have exclusive use of what would otherwise be shared property.


A legal process that gives creditors a way to protect their rights to a debtor’s property that is in the hands of a third party (garnishee). Some types of property that can be garnished are goods or effects of the debtor that are hidden in the hands of third parties, debts owed to the debtor by the garnishee, wages payable by the garnishee as allowed by law, and security interests of the debtor in the hands of the garnishee. Usually, a writ of garnishment must be served on the garnishee, who must then seize all of the creditor’s property in order to pay the creditor-plaintiff the amount of the judgment that the plaintiff has recovered (post judgment) or may recover (prejudgment). The debtor can get his or her property back if he or she files a bond with the court for the amount needed to pay the creditor’s claim, plus costs and interest, and if the court rules in favor of the creditor.

If garnishment happens after the court has made a decision, the property is given to the creditor. If the debt is being fought over, the person who has the property should give it to the court. Most of the time, the complaint and writ of garnishment are issued because the creditor asked for them or because the creditor later asked the court to tell the officer serving the garnishment papers to leave a copy with the garnishee and to call the garnishee in to answer some questions. Because of decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court that require notice and a hearing before wages or property can be garnished, a garnishment process that doesn’t follow this rule could be challenged on constitutional grounds.

Gas lateral

Getting the gas service to a home by digging a trench in the ground.

Gate valve

The ability to stop the flow of water through a pipe using a valve.


A garden structure that is mostly made of light metal or wood and can be used to enjoy the view.


When a vendor agrees to sell a property but then sells it to another person or raises the price.


A word used in accounting to describe a company’s debt-to-equity ratio.

General agent

One who is authorized to represent a principle, usually a corporate firm, in its business dealings. Within the limitations of the commercial or employment relationship, a general agent can contract and bind the principal.

One who has been given permission by a boss to do anything needed to keep a job or business running. The most important thing about a general agency is that the service stays the same, like when a property manager takes care of a large condo complex. Most real estate brokers are treated as special agents when a listing agreement gives them limited permission to act but not to make decisions.

Person or organisation that has full control of a property, such as a property manager.

General contractor

A contractor who, by a legal agreement with the owner or developer, assumes complete responsibility for the building of a project and engages others as subcontractors to do specified tasks.

Typically, a construction business is in charge of ensuring that all components of construction are finished on schedule and within budget.

A construction expert who signs a formal contract with a developer to build a building or project on real estate. This person is also called the “prime contractor,” and they often negotiate separate contracts with subcontractors who specialize in different parts of the building process, like plumbing, electricity, air conditioning, drywall, and so on. If the general contractor doesn’t pay the subcontractors, the subcontractors can put a mechanics’ lien on the whole project. So, owners shouldn’t give the final payment to the general contractor until they know that all subcontractors have been paid. Most of the time, to become a general contractor, you have to pass a qualifying exam and get a license from the right state agency.

A person or company who, for a charge, develops a structure for another party.

Someone who is in charge of the project’s implementation, supervision, and coordination. Some of the construction work can be done by the individual.

General improvement district

A local government agency, like a water district, that was set up to do a certain job. To do what it needs to do, it sells bonds and collects general taxes.

General law title

It is based on a thorough history of ownership and predates the Torrens title system, in which ownership is government-recorded via certificates of title.

There are two ways to prove who owns land. One is the Torrens Title System, which uses certificates of title that have been filed with the government. The other is a much older way to prove ownership, which is to show what is called a “good root of title.” This is a set of documents that show the history of the land over a certain time period and show who the current legal owner of the land is based on that history. Common law title is also called old systems title and old law title.

General lien

A security interest or lien arising from conduct unrelated to property ownership.

A creditor’s right to sell all of the debtor’s property, both real and personal, to pay off the debt. In contrast to a specific lien on a certain piece of property, a general lien is against the debtors as a whole and is attached to all of their property. General liens are often caused by unpaid taxes like income, gift, estate, inheritance, and franchise taxes. Judgment liens and government tax liens are also common types of general liens.

A debtor’s whole property, both real and personal, is encumbered by a lien.

A debt that ensnares a person’s entire property.

General partner

A co-owner of a partnership who can sign contracts on behalf of the partnership and is fully responsible for all of its debts. The general partner can be a business or a person. In a limited partnership, the general partner is in charge of running the business, has the power to make decisions on behalf of the partnership on their own, is responsible to the limited partners as a fiduciary, and is fully responsible for the partnership’s debts and obligations.

In a limited partnership, an individual or corporation acts as the managing partner and is liable for the firm’s debts.

General market area gap analysis

In commercial real estate, a positive gap is identified by conducting a gap analysis for a city or multiple cities (concurrently) to determine where demand exceeds supply.

General market factors

Aspects of a market’s structure that are affected by its demographics, economy, and location.

General partnership

A legal organization in which all partners have equal rights to the firm’s administration and behavior; each partner acts as an agent for the partnership.

Co-ownership is a way for two or more people to run a business together for profit. All of the owners are general partners, which means they are all fully responsible for the partnership’s debts and obligations. A written agreement is a good idea, but it is not required. A general partnership can end if one of the general partners dies, leaves the business, goes bankrupt, or is legally unable to do so.

A partnership in which all partners are jointly and severally accountable for the partnership’s debts and liabilities.

Multiple owners, limitless responsibility for each equity holder, and flow through taxation of both taxable income and cash payouts define this ownership arrangement.

General plan

A long-term plan by the government to control how land is used and built on in an orderly way; a plan for a well-balanced community growth.

When a developer plans a subdivision, he or she might come up with a general building scheme, also called a “general plan,” so that the community as a whole will look similar. For a general plan to work, the sub-divider will make sure that each conveyance is subject to restrictions that are written down. So, a person who owns a lot can tell another person who owns a lot not to break the general plan. For example, one lot owner could stop another from building a restaurant in a subdivision where most of the lots are meant for residential use only.

General services administration (GSA)

In 1949, the U.S. government set up a separate agency to manage, lease, and sell its buildings.

General warranty deed

The highest type of deed in which the grantor is held accountable for all potential covenants or legal guarantees insuring proper title.

A deed in which the seller pledges to defend the buyer against any disputes to the property’s title.

A deed that guarantees the right to ownership indefinitely.

Generation X

People who were born in the 1960s and 1970s are called “baby boomers” in sociology, demography, and other fields. The term is also used in popular culture. Gen Xers were born after the baby boomers and grew up with TVs and computers. Gen Xers usually bought homes right after they finished school, because they were more likely to live in a two-income household. Their parents, who have more money, have often helped them buy things. They now buy from the baby boomer generation.

Generic space

Multiple-purpose commercial real estate, like flexible office space.


Reclamation of physically degraded residential neighborhoods and repair of a dilapidated neighborhood for the usage of primarily middle-class people.


A coding procedure that assigns an attribute value to a digital map feature.

Geographic information system (GIS)

A mapping system built for overlapping and complicated distributional patterns in analysis, planning, and management applications. GIS is divided into two types: vector and raster.

Computerized ways for evaluating data about communities that make use of numerous maps and map combinations or layers.

System(s) (typically digital) used to collect, process, store, retrieve, manage, manipulate, and present geographical data and information.


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Geographic submarket

Number of households or housing units within a specific geographic unit or division that are known to exist or estimated to exist based on tenure, income, and other socio-economic attributes (for example, in various census tracts).


A study that studies the terrestrial and underwater relief features of the earth’s surface, as well as equivalent features of a celestial body, in order to find a genetic explanation for them.


To establish the link between planar map coordinates and real-world coordinates.

Georgian architecture

Formal colonial style that was based on English designs from the 18th century. It has simple lines and doors, windows, and chimneys that are all the same size.

Geospatial data

Geospatial data is information that identifies the geographic position and attributes of natural or artificial features and boundaries on the planet; it may be produced through methods such as remote sensing, mapping, and surveying.

GF C I, or G F I Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

To turn off all electric current, this plug’s ultra-sensitivity comes in handy. The majority of the time, external waterproof outlets and garage outlets are installed in bathrooms and kitchens.

GI loan

Loan backed by the government.

Gift causa mortis

An older word for a gift made with the idea that the giver will die soon or that will only be used if or when the giver dies. For the purposes of the federal estate tax for people who died before 1982, a gift made within three years of death was considered a gift made in anticipation of death and was automatically added to the estate of the person who died, up to the amount of the annual exclusion. This rule no longer applies to people who died after 1981, unless they were given a life insurance policy as a gift.

Gift deed

A good deed where the payment is “love and affection.” Because the deed is not backed by something of value, the donee (the person who gets the gift) may not be able to make the donor keep some of the promises or agreements in the deed. A gift deed is legal unless it was made to cheat creditors out of money. Most of the time, an attorney-in-fact isn’t allowed to sign a gift deed.

When a gift deed is used to transfer real estate, a title report will often show that there may be an unpaid gift tax. This “cloud” must then be removed by tax officials by giving a clearance.

A deed performed for the sake of love and devotion rather than money.

Gift letter

A letter that tells a lender or government agency that the money being used to buy real estate (often the down payment) was a gift from a relative and that there is no need to pay it back. Depending on the type of loan, some lenders don’t let you use gift letters.

Gift tax

A federal tax with different rates that a donor pays when making a gift. For the purposes of the gift tax, a gift is the transfer of any kind of property by an individual for less than what the property is worth in money or money’s worth (“detached and disinterested generosity”). There is an exclusion of $13,000 per donor, per donee (the person who gets the gift), per year. The donor can subtract this amount from the taxable value of gifts to each donee. But you can’t get a tax break for these gifts.

For example, a mother could give each of her five children $11,000 as a gift every year. He can also give each of their five children $11,000.

Tax laws are always changing, so you should talk to a tax lawyer or accountant for specific information.

Federal tax law also has an annual exemption for gifts that are given to pay for medical or educational costs (specifically, tuition). Note that room and board payments do not count.


Government bonds are referred to as gilts in the United Kingdom.

Ginnie Mae

The Government National Mortgage Association’s nickname (GNMA).

A government corporation that is owned by the government and is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In 1968, the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), which is now called Fannie Mae, was split into two separate companies, one of which became Ginnie Mae. Fannie Mae is still helping the traditional market. Ginnie Mae guarantees the principal and interest payments from mortgage-backed securities (MBS) that are backed by cash flows from insured or guaranteed loans from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Department of Veterans Affairs Home Loan Program for Veterans (VA), the Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (RD).

Ginnie Mae brings together the global capital markets and the U.S. housing markets by making sure that payments will be made. Ginnie Mae doesn’t buy mortgages, and it doesn’t buy, sell, or issue mortgage-backed securities (MBS). It also doesn’t hold an MBS investment portfolio or issue debt securities. Ginnie Mae pays for herself through a variety of fees.

Ginnie Mae can’t buy mortgage loans to put together pools, so it works with loan poolers, who are usually big banks, to put together approved pools. Only loans that Ginnie Mae has approved can be put into a Ginnie Mae pool. This means that only FHA, VA, and some FmHA loans can be put into a Ginnie Mae pool.

The Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA) is a government agency that purchases FHA and VA mortgages on behalf of the United States government.


A large wooden or steel beam that supports the floor joists and serves as the primary horizontal support for the floor.

Main wood or steel beam used to support isolated spots along its length intense stresses.


A service that lets you do banking through the post office.

GIS data depot

Online clearinghouse for biophysical and cultural GIS data for counties and states in the United States and other countries; provider of GIS-related news and events.


Installing glass, which is often done with glazier’s points and glazing compound.

Global coordinate system

The network of east-west and north-south lines (parallels and meridians) used to measure places on Earth; degrees, minutes, and seconds are the units of measurement in this system.

Global positioning system (GPS)

The Navigation Satellite Timing and Ranging (NAVST AR) GPS system is a passive satellite-based navigation system controlled and maintained by the United States Department of Defense (DOD).


Being or becoming globalized is a state. Local economic change and property values have been profoundly impacted by globalization, the concept used to acknowledge cross-jurisdictional interdependencies and the continuing integration of local, regional, and national economies into a larger global economic and production system.

Globe valve

Water flow can be adjusted to any level between completely on and completely off with this valve.

Gloss enamel

Finishing paint that dries to a sheen or lustre, develops a durable coating, and provides the greatest possible smoothness to the surface.

Glued laminated beam (Glulam)

A wood lamination or lam is used to construct a structural beam.

Going concern

A business that is actually open and running. One where the change of ownership wouldn’t stop the business from running.

Going concern value

The difference between the value of an established business property and the value of selling the real estate and other assets of a new business. This is usually related to the concept of “value in use” instead of “market value.” The term takes into account how well a business is known and how much it can make. Sometimes used to figure out if a company is solvent or not, or to figure out its value for a merger or to give out stock.

Going-in cap rate

The overall capitalization rate is the ratio of the first-year net operational income to the whole value (or acquisition price) of the property.

Going-out cap rate

The ratio of the property’s total value at the time of sale to its estimated net operating income in the year following sale.

Good consideration

A reason in a gift deed that is based on love and affection for someone who is related to you by blood or marriage. But a good reason alone is not enough to back up a contract. For example, if a father writes in a contract that he will give his farm to his daughter on her 21st birthday and then changes his mind, the daughter can’t sue him for breaking the contract because she didn’t give him anything of value to back up his promise.

Good faith

Bona fide: An action is done in good faith if it is done honestly, regardless of whether it is done carelessly or not. The laws about recording are meant to protect people who buy things in good faith. Most laws against discrimination say that a broker has to send all offers to lease or buy that are made in good faith. By “adverse possession,” a person can get the title to someone else’s real property without paying for it. However, many states add the requirement of “good faith” to this.

When someone does something in “bad faith,” it is sometimes a crime. For example, under the National Banking Act, it is a misdemeanor for an investor-borrower to lie about his plans to live in the home when he applies for an owner-occupant loan.

An act between two parties that is carried out in good faith.

Good faith estimate (GFE)

At closing, the amount of money a borrower must pay to secure a mortgage. The Good Faith Estimate must be provided by the lender within three business days of the initial loan application, as mandated by federal law.

A first estimate of how much it will cost to close. The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act says that lenders must give a good-faith estimate of closing costs to loan applicants within three business days of receiving a completed loan application. The application is not complete until the property is found. The goal of the GFE is to give the consumer enough information so that they can look for the best loan and terms. The GFE also sets rules for fees that might change before closing or might not. For example, a new three-day waiting period starts when lender fees like points, origination fees, underwriting fees, and loan processing fees change. When a lender’s chosen settlement provider raises fees by more than 10% or when the borrower chooses a provider from the lender’s list, a three-day waiting period is also triggered. Fees like those for escrow and title insurance, which the lender has no control over, can go up without a waiting period.

Good funds

Before closing a deal, a state law requires escrow companies to prove that they have received loan funds (through a deposit or an electronic transfer). This puts an end to the practice of giving lenders a few days of “float” on the loan proceeds.

Good title

Title to real estate that is free of enough problems, such as easements, restrictive covenants, mortgages, and so on.

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

A tax that is paid by the person who buys the goods or services in the end. The supplier of the transaction is responsible for collecting the GST and sending it to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). As an input tax credit, businesses with an Australian Business Number (ABN) can get the GST back from the ATO.

Goods or services

Items available for purchase in the marketplace.


An intangible asset that can be sold and comes from a business’s reputation and the expectation that customers will keep coming back. It includes other intangible assets like a trade name and “going concern” value. When a business is sold, the price is often based on the value of its goodwill. Goodwill is a capital asset, but it is not an asset that loses value over time. So, a seller would rather put a high value on the goodwill (and get a capital gain) than put a low value on it (because goodwill cannot be depreciated). If goodwill is taken into account in a market value assessment, the appraiser should say so.

Government forces

One of four elements influencing real estate value according to appraisal theory ( e.g., government controls and regulations, public services, zoning, and building codes). Environmental, economic, and social causes are the other three.

Government incentives

A governmental subsidy or set of measures designed to entice businesses or investment dollars to settle in a particular area, typically with the goals of boosting the local economy and fostering progress.

Government patent

The first time the government gave land to the people, it was called a land grant.

Government sponsored enterprises (GSE)

A word that refers to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and a number of other minor government corporations established by acts of Congress to support an active secondary market for house mortgages.

The United States Congress formed and chartered a financial services corporation for public policy goals. Despite the implied backing of the United States government, GSE securities are not backed by the federal government’s complete faith and credit. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Bank System, and the Farm Credit System are a few examples.

Government survey method

A way to describe land that is used in over 30 states in the U.S., especially in the western states. This system is also called the geodetic or rectangular survey system. It is based on pairs of principal meridians and base lines. Each pair controls the surveys in a certain area. The main meridians run north to south, and the base lines run east to west. The government survey method was made to make a checkerboard of squares that are all the same size and cover a certain area. Quadrangles are squares with sides that are each 24 miles long. Each quadrangle is further broken up into 16 squares called townships. Each township’s four sides are six miles long. A range is a row of townships that runs from north to south. It is numbered from east to west based on how far it is from the main meridian. Now, 36 major meridians run through different parts of the United States.

Because the earth is round, the north-south lines, also called range lines, come together as they move north. So that they stay as close to six miles apart as possible and keep the township’s square shape, the lines are drawn for about 24 miles and then changed so that they are again six miles apart.

A township is 36 square miles and is six miles on a side. The baseline is used to number the townships from north to south. A section is the name for every square mile, which is equal to 640 acres. From the northeast corner of a township, the sections are numbered back and forth until the last section (36) is reached in the southeast corner. This way of numbering (shown in the picture) makes sure that the borders of any two sections with the same number are also the same. When describing land, sections are usually broken up into half-sections, which are 320 acres, quarter-sections, which are 160 acres, and so on. Then, land acreage is usually described by saying that a certain quarter of a certain township, or tier, is north or south of a certain baseline and east or west of a certain meridian.

A section is the smallest piece of land that is usually surveyed by the government. At the corner of each section, there is a survey monument. “the N12 of the NE14 of the SE14 of Section 17, Township 14 North, Range 4 West of the 6th Principal Meridian” is an example of how the government would describe a piece of land.

In general, the smaller the piece of land is, the longer the description is. This method works well for finding large parcels, but not for small lots.


Continued at…
:point_right: Real Estate Glossary G [Part 2]