2 minute reading time  

The continuation of my own version of a glossary of real estate terms. Click here for the A’s and B’s and the C’s. And now. The one you’ve been waiting for! The letter D!


Seemingly integral to house-buying, it’s defined by Nassem Nicholas Taleb as “a mistake between lender and borrower, and both should suffer.” If that quote doesn’t pique your interest in Taleb’s work, maybe this one will – “Economics make homeopath and alternative healers look empirical and scientific.” 


A piece of legal paper – “signed, sealed and delivered” – to affirm ownership of a property. Once upon a time, the document had to be safeguarded from the likes of deed-stealing villains like Snidely Whiplash. Now it’s all digital and not nearly as much fun.


Where delinquency leads, and it’s not good. (See below, Delinquency.)


What happens when you fail to make your mortgage payments on time. (For what happens next, see Default, above.)


Or “good faith deposit,” the amount of buyer’s money held in escrow to secure a contract to purchase a property. (Typically it’s 3% of the purchase price in California, so nothing to sneeze at.) 


For heaven’s sake, I don’t know! Ask your accountant to explain.


Important documents that sellers must provide and buyers should review at point of sale. Everybody signs these papers. Hardly anyone reads them.


If your agent really cares, she’ll bring these to your early-morning signing appointment.

Down payment:

The lack thereof is the hurdle faced by many would-be first-time homebuyers. Even though they are earning high salaries, it’s hard to save money in San Francisco. Unless your parents are local and you can live with them for 5-10 years.

Photo Credit: Tania Miron 

Cynthia Cummins is the founder of Kindred SF Homes and has been serving homeowners and homebuyers for 3 decades. For information on San Francisco Bay Area real estate visit KindredSFhomes.com. For my writing and mindfulness blog, visit WildHeartWriting.org