Real Estate Glossary Letter :  E

Real Estate Glossary Letter :  E



EARTHWORKS – or SITEWORKS – Engineering works performed to prepare the site for construction work; includes tasks such as clearing the land of trees, old structures, and debris; hard-digging; moving large quantities of soil and rock to create a suitable height and level for construction, etc.

EASEMENT – A right to use the land of another (not involving the taking of any part of the natural produce of that land, or any part of its soil) or a right to prevent the owner of that land from using that land in a particular manner. Most commonly used where Government authorities have the right to run, for example, electrical mains, drainage, sewerage or right of way through the private property.

EAVES – The lower or outer edge of a roof which projects over the side walls of a structure.

EFFECTIVE AGE – The age of an item, such as a building, as indicated by its physical condition and utility compared to its useful life, in contrast to its chronological age. The amount of maintenance and care given to the building will help determine its effective age. A 5-year old building may have an effective age of 10 years due to poor maintenance of the building.5

EFFECTIVE CAUSE OF SALE – Where the efforts of a particular real estate agent are considered to have been an essential element in a purchaser entering into a binding contract with a vendor for the sale of a property. An agent considered to be the effective cause of sale will usually be entitled to a commission in respect of that sale.

EFFECTIVE DATE – The date something commences or closes.

EFFLORESCENCE – A white, powdery substance that sometimes appears on brick walls.

EFFLUENT – A liquid discharge from sewerage or septic systems.

EGRESS – The exit point or way out from a property.

ELECTRICAL CONDUIT – Metal, plastic, or fibre pipes through which electrical wires are run. Electrical conduits protect and route wires, making it especially useful when following irregular building profiles or when installing lines in exposed locations.

ELEVATION – A geometrical drawing of the building’s façades or interior walls.

ENCROACHMENT – The use of, or intrusion onto, another person’s property without consent. This usually refers to a structure.

ENCUMBRANCE – A charge or liability on a property; for example, a mortgage or a special condition on the use to which it may be put (e.g. easements, caveat, restrictions and reservations). A third party’s right that obstructs the use or transfer of a property.

ENCUMBRANCEE – The registered proprietor of an encumbrance.

ENCUMBRANCER – The registered proprietor of land subject to an encumbrance.

ENDURING POWER OF ATTORNEY – A Power of Attorney that permits the donee or attorney to continue to act for the donor even though the donor may suffer from a legal incapacity.  This may also include dealing in land and property transactions. See also power of attorney.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STUDY – A multi-disciplinary assessment of existing environmental conditions and the likely effect on a specified environment of the introduction of a proposed development or actions which may change the existing environmental conditions and ecological balance.

ENVIRONMENTAL LOAD – Structural loads that act on a building as a result of natural phenomena such as topography (e.g., soil movement) and weather (e.g., snow, rain).

EQUITY – (a) A synonym for a share (as distinct from fixed interest) investment; (b) the interest or value that an owner has in an asset over and above the debt against it. For example, a homeowner has equity in that part of the value of his or her house above the amount borrowed from a lender.

EQUIVALENT MAIN AREA – The total area under the main roof with percentage reductions for structures that are considered to be a lesser component or of differing construction than the main structure – eg carports, garages, verandahs, porches and rear lean-to.

ESCROW (Used in the USA only) – Monies set aside at settlement to take care of any unsettled issues.

ESCUTCHEON PLATE – A plate surrounding or covering a keyhole.


  • An interest in land, classified either as a freehold estate (being one of uncertain duration) including the fee simple, fee tail or life estate; as a leasehold estate (being of a duration which is either certain or which is capable of being rendered certain). The third classification of an estate is that of a Crown lessee.
  • The total property of a person – eg the estate of a deceased person or of a person who is bankrupt.


ESTIMATED SELLING PRICE – The price an agent estimates a property will attract. It must be recorded on the sales agency agreement as a single figure.

EVICTION – The lawful removal of a person from a property.

EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS – A formal legal process that creates a binding contract for the sale of real property on agreed terms. The vendor and purchaser each sign a copy of the sale contract and then exchange these documents, after which time the contract becomes legally binding on the parties. The parties are then bound to proceed to settlement, subject to any cooling off period that may apply. A deposit is usually also paid by the purchaser to the vendor during the exchange process. Any party that unilaterally declines to proceed to the settlement may forfeit deposit monies or be subject to a damages claim.

EXECUTOR – A person appointed under the terms of a will to execute provisions and dispose of the property as written or implied. A female in this role is referred to as an Executrix.

EXCLUSIONS – Any item that is specifically not included in the sale. e.g. An above ground pool, garden shed, etc.

EXCLUSIVE AGENCY AGREEMENT – The agreement between an agent and a vendor establishing an Exclusive Listing.

EXCLUSIVE LISTING – Where a single agent only is appointed to sell or lease a property under an Exclusive Agency Agreement.

EXPANSION JOINT– A mid-structure joint or gap designed to accommodate expected building movements caused by temperature changes, wind sway, seismic events, etc. Also called movement joint.

EXPANSIVE SOILS – Soils prone to significant volume changes related to the amount of water present. They expand with moisture and shrink as moisture levels fall. Without design strategies to accommodate the movement and stress caused by underlying expansive soil, the building foundation may sustain extensive damage as the ground lifts and collapses during wet and dry seasons. For example Bay of Biscay or Clay soils.

EXPOSED AGGREGATE FINISH – A pebbled concrete finish. It derives its name from the technique used to achieve this look: The top layer of partially set concrete is washed and swept to reveal the aggregate beneath the finer particles. Commonly used for swimming pool edges/surrounds, patios, driveways and walkways. Sometimes called washed concrete finish.

EXTENSION – An increase in the length of time or a section forming an addition to a building. e.g. a family room that has been added and attached to an existing part of a property.

EXTENSION OF LEASE – An agreement extending or renewing the terms of a lease for a period beyond the expiration date.

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